Category Archives: Lamb

Easter Lamb


IMG_9162Happy Easter to one and all… We had a pretty quite Easter weekend. One was down with tonsillitis and the other was just shattered with a lack of sleep and a touch of the cold. Thankfully yours truly felt fine…

To celebrate Easter I paid homage to our old neighbours, the Greek family Petrakis! Lamb was on the menu and don’t I wish I was able to make this when we were kids.

I gently smoked two racks of lamb with a touch of cherry wood. Of course I marinaded the lamb for 30 hours in a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, one full head of garlic (minced), 5 springs of rosemary, 10 sprigs of thyme and 10 sprigs of fresh oregano. Chop it all up and place the lamb and the herbs into a zip top bag overnight.

When ready, get your grill set to 225F (107C) with indirect heat.  Add your cherry wood and smoke the lamb for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature hits 120 F. Then get your grill nice and hot and sear the lamb for another 5-10 degrees more.

Rest it for 5 minutes and serve.

Another amazing, though quiet Easter for our family this year. It was rather special as I let Kalyna (the 5 year old) draw on the Imperial Kamado, turning it into a wonderful painted Easter Egg. Nice one kiddo!

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“Jack ‘n Five” Rack of Lamb


_MG_3688A new twist for lamb enthusiasts. I’d rate this recipe higher in terms of overall taste if I’d had a better cut of meat. Goes to show you that without a good cut of meat, you’re a bit out of luck. Last night I grilled up a new recipe that I like to call “Jack n’ Five.” It’s a combination of East meets West with a Jack Daniels inspired marinade followed by a Chinese 5 Spice butter sauce. The combination was brilliant!

So here’s what you’ll need to do. Preparation time is about a half day but you can leave the lamb to marinate over night however the JD is so strong that you really don’t need that much time to infuse the flavour. To prepare your lamb marinade, combine the following in a non-reactive bowl:

  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup quality honey
  • 2 tbsp Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey (old no 7)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Whisk this all together, place your lamb rack in a zip-top bag and then pour the marinade all over the lamb. Give the bag a careful few squishes ensuring you evenly coast the rack. Place it in a shallow plate or bowl just in case you’ve punctured the bag. Leave it in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to get this rack on the  grid, set up your grill for indirect heat. I chose direct this time round but then realised that with the honey in the marinade, it charred a bit too quickly for my liking. My lamb rack had a very flappy fat cap so I decided to truss the rack with butchers twine. It helped keep it all together during the grilling. As you proceed with the grilling, set up the internal temperature for about 400F (205C) and shoot for an internal rack temperature of 115F (46C) – you’ll not be done at that point, just ready to take it off, cut the rack into even lamb chops then grill them on a direct flame for about 30 seconds per side. Make sure you’ve flipped your rack a few times as it’s grilling, especially if you are cooking over direct flame like I did.

Just before you grill though you’ll want to prepare the Five-spice butter sauce. For that simply combine:

  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 5 tbsp oyster sauce
  • the juice of one fresh lemon
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 green onions (thinly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (at room temperature)

Bring this all to a boil and reduce down to 3/4 cup – that should take about 12 minutes on full boil. Reduce to low heat then add the butter and green onions. Whisk it gently and melt the butter which will thicken your sauce.

Once you’re lamb is done, plate up and add a heaping tablespoon or two of this sauce. The flavour will surely please the palate! There’s a wonderful sweetness followed by a bit of sour then a shot of Jack!  A really tasty meal and one I’d recommend you try!

We served the lamb with traditional Asian greens and steamed white rice. You can get creative with your sides but rest assured, the lamb is the centrepiece of this dinner.

Enjoy!

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Maple Whisky Lamb Tenderloin


IMG_4984HI folks! It’d been a while since my last post but rest assured there was a ton of grilling going on between then and now, just very little time or motivation to blog about it. We had my folks in for 3 weeks all the way from Canada so as you can imagine, we were pretty busy!

So, I came home tonight to prepare a wonderfully simple but delicious recipe using some of my all time favourite ingredients: whisky, maple syrup and lamb tenderloin. What a combination!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 lamb tenderloins – thawed and rinsed under cold water
  • 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (not the fake garbage you buy at the grocery store!!!!0
  • 1/3 cup of quality whisky (I know, it huts but I went with The Macallan Select Oak, a single malt of extraordinary smoothness remarkable sweetness and depth, so the bottle doth say!)
  • a small sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 solid nobs of butter
  • 1 splash of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Take the thyme and pluck the leaves off the stalk. Smash them in a mortar and pestle then add it to a zip top bag. Mix the maple syrup and the whisky in a non-reactive bowl then pour it into the bag once combined. Take the lamb tenderloins and chuck them in the bag, seal it and throw it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Set up your grill for direct heat at a medium temperature of about 400F. I set my mini Big Green Egg up about 90 minutes ahead of time as I wanted little flame but a hot cooking surface. About 10 minutes before the grilling I made the sauce.

The sauce goes simply like this. Take your butter and a splash of olive oil in a skillet. Heat it over medium/high heat until melted then add your red onion and garlic. Let that caramelise for few minutes watching all the while that you don’t start to burn it. Remove your lamb from the bag and please for the love of God, keep that marinade. Pour it into your skillet and reduce it to a nice semi-thick sauce. That should take about 10-15 minutes on a medium heat.

The last thing you’ll do is grill the lamb. Simply place it on an oiled grid  and turn every minute or so until your instant read thermometer reads 135F (or 57C) – Should take about 6 minutes or so. Season lightly with a bit of Kosher salt and pepper, to taste.

Then bring your sauce back up to a bubble then turn off the heat. Add the lamb and coat it thoroughly. Plate it up with a mixed salad and some halloumi cheese. Make sure you cut the lamb on an angle in the middle and then spoon a bit of the caramelised onion and garlic sauce onto the lamb.

The result was magnificent! Both Alex and Heather went nuts. The flavour dance that happens on the pallet is intense. The whisky hits first followed by a wonderful caramel flavoured shot of maple syrup. Seriously good eats my friends!

Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

More from the “Minnie Chronicles”


_MG_3652Sunday came and went but we had the privilege of having the Lock boys over for a bit of lamb after a magic day at Universal Studios Singapore. I’ll not repeat the entire recipe because you can find it here: https://biggreenasianegg.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/kalynas-mixed-herb-rack-of-lamb/  What I will do though is post a few photos of how you can happily grill up a small and tasty lamb rack on a Mini Big Green Egg…Enjoy!

Overall Kalyna Rating: 10/10

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Amazing Lamb Tenderloin


_MG_1313So, being the silly man that I am, you’d think I could have taken a photo of the inside of this tenderloin? Nope – first bite was all it took….I was hooked and thank goodness the family kept their hands away from my mouth! This was by far one of the tastiest and easiest lamb recipes EVER! (and please do excuse the photo as it does look like a lump of dog turd…but rest assured, it tasted so much better!)

Here’s what you’ll need to blow everyone’s mind!

  • A pack of chilled lamb tenderloins from our friends at QB (for those in Singapore – I HIGHLY recommend them! – the cost was about $4.25/loin and you get 12!)
  • Take out six of them and freeze the rest!
  • Rinse the with cold water. Pat them dry and arrange in a shallow dish.
  • Liberally coat the loins in quality olive oil and then rub in equal parts with the following dry herbs:
    • sea salt, black peppercorn, rosemary, roasted garlic, and dried lemon rind (or basically buy Cape Herb and Spice Lamb Rub!)

Let that sit in the dish and put it back in the fridge for a few hours.

Now go set up your grill for indirect heat and stabilise at 400F (204C). Once ready to grill, insert a temperature probe into one of the loins and arrange them on the grill to get the nice sear marks. Turn them every two to three minutes until the internal temperature hits 130F. At that point, they’re almost ready. Pull them off and now remove your plate setter (or alternatively, get your grill really hot!) Put the loins back on for about 2 more minutes to crisp up the exterior. Keep your grill lid open so you’re only cooking the outside! Total grilling time was only 13 minutes and your internal temperature should be between 135F and 140F maximum.

Tent your tenderloins with some aluminium foil when they come off and go prepare a few slices of halloumi cheese and a spinach/feta salad. Rest the tenderloin for about 10 minutes. When you’re all set, pour a glass of wine and toast the chef!

Exceptional taste, incredible tenderness and something I’ll do again and again! (this dish reminds me a lot of the rabbit loin I had in Edinburgh during Heather’s birthday dinner!)

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

PS – Happy Birthday Mama!

Kalyna’s Mixed Herb Rack of Lamb


_MG_9315Last Sunday we decided to have a nice and quiet home-cooked meal. We’ve been pretty full on the last couple of weeks with weddings and parties and Sunday was the perfect way to unwind with a small lamb rack, a good bottle of red, mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.

To prep, you’ll need a 3.5 year old helper, preferably by the name of Kalyna. She’ll help mix everything up and then give you a final rating after dinner.

You’ll need to create a wonderfully aromatic seasoning paste for this lamb with the following ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons light soy sauce

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small metal bowl and using a whisk, blend together the olive oil and soy sauce. If it looks a bit dry, add a bit more oil but go easy on the soy sauce as there’s already plenty of salt in there. Once done, grab your lamb rack, score the fat cap with a sharp knife, drizzle just a touch of olive oil and all sides and coat your lamb rack in the herb paste. Let this aside (either in the fridge, if you’re not ready to grill) or just on the counter if you’re almost good to go.

For your cooker, set your grill up for direct cooking…sort of. Build your fire and stabilise it at about 400-450F.  I put a handful of cherry wood chips on the fire just before the lamb went on. When finallhy ready to make the magic happen, carefully sear both sides of the lamb for about 4 minutes on each side with the lid of your cooker open. Once you’ve got a nice crust going, add the rack of lamb to a cast iron skillet , meat side up, close the dome and let it go for about 20-25 minutes or so or until the internal temperature of your lamb hits 135F (57C.) You’re not done yet. Once you’ve hit the target temperature, set the lamb aside in a dish and cover it with aluminium foil. Let it rest for a full ten minutes. Then, when it’s somewhat easier to handle, carefully cut the rack into individual cutlets. The cutlets will look quite rare which is what you want. When you’ve cut the rack up entirely, quickly go back to the grill and sear the cutlets on both sides for about a minute (per side) keeping your dome open.

Serve immediately!

A lovely, simple and new dish for us and the whole family enjoyed it thoroughly. Personally, I love the fact that our 3 year old digs lamb!

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Overall Kalyna Rating: 10/10

PS – kindly notice where Kalyna gave herself a haircut – that fringe isn’t supposed to be there but Kalyna figured that she was going to give herself a new look on Saturday.

Moroccan “Mechoui” Lamb


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Every once in a while you come across a recipe that just sends you into the gastronomic equivalent of an orgasm, a “foodgasm” if you will. Hold on to your chairs because this is the one! Introducing a MUST DO recipe for anyone with a charcoal grill….Mechoui Lamb, a popular Moroccan style of BBQ Lamb!

Now I meant to cook this for our dear friends Naomi and Mo but alas, the two happy wanderers along with their gorgeous little one Jasime are on their way back to the other side of the world to start a new chapter of their lives! Good luck you three and Mo, this is what you missed buddy! I’m dedicating this post to you guys…we’ll miss ya!

OK, what you’ll need to do is start with a boneless leg of lamb. They normally come all packaged up and trussed together in a net. Get rid of it. You’re going to butterfly this leg of lamb and you’ll not regret it. Simply remove the netting and rise your lamb leg under cold water. Then pat it dry and butterfly it. It’s not quite butterflied when you unravel it, so simply take a very sharp knife and cut the lamb so that it ends up a consistent flat piece. Mine in fact made two portions (one for later!!!) Now grab your trusty meat tenderiser and give both sides of the lamb a good whacking! You want to end up with a consistent thickness throughout. (Check out the photos below for the exact look…)

Once butterflied, apply a small amount of olive oil and then liberally season the lamb on both sides with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Now you can set aside the lamb, or as I did, put it back in the fridge. Now it’s time to make the most delicious spiced herb butter!

For the spiced herb butter you’ll need:

  • 125 g of butter (I used unsalted and at room temperature)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 16 fresh mint leaves from the garden, minced (or 1 tbsp dried mint)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Take all of the above and pulse it through a hand mixer or blender until it’s a lovely smooth paste. Make sure all of the spices are well incorporated throughout the butter.

Now take about a tablespoon of the spiced butter mixture and coat the bottom side of the lamb (that’s the side that would be facing outwards.) Flip the lamb over and now use about 1/3 of your mixture and spread it evenly and liberally on the side that will be facing up (or the inside of the leg of lamb.)

Now go make your dipping sauce.  This one was a personal favourite brining about a wonderful blend of flavours that are simply incredible!

  • 125 g of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp of distilled white vinegar
  • 16 (more) fresh mint leaves, slivered
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning

First melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat then add your onions and garlic. That initial waft is magic! Sauté the onions and garlic for about 5-8 minutes, until it goes translucent and slightly browned. Now add your vinegar and slivered mint and bring it to a boil. Once done, stir in your chicken stalk and bring it back up to a boil. Now simply reduce the heat to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes and let the sauce gently bubble away until it reduces a bit and melds all the wonderful flavours together.  Spoon the sauce evenly into small ramekins and place them right on the plate as you serve.

For the grill set up, simply get it up to 400-425F (204-218C) and make sure it’s set up for indirect, that is, use a platesetter if you’ve got a BGE or move your charcoal to one side of your grill. By roasting the lamb on indirect heat, you’ll stop the flare-ups that the spiced butter will cause, thus burning your lovely lamb to a crisp.

Once you’ve stabilised your temperature, you’ll grill your lamb about 15-20 minutes per side, basting the top side with the remaining spiced butter every five minutes. Do this until your butter runs out. The total time should be about 40-45 minutes and of course have your trusty instant read thermometer handy and shoot for an internal temperature of 135F (57C.)

Take the lamb off the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve your lamb on an angle and thinly. Make sure you’ve got a cutting board that’s got a juice catcher because this lamb is juicy as! We served our Mechoui with warm dipping sauce and a simple couscous and feta salad. This was one of my all time favourite lamb recipes we’ve done on the Big Green Asian Egg. Highly, highly, highly recommend it!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb


_MG_7285Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year if you’re celebrating the Lunar New Year’s Year of the Horse!)

Since horse is not something I can get easily here (if there was only a Tesco’s!) I decided to grill up a simple herb crusted rack of lamb. The rack was ok…a bit fatty but otherwise pretty tasty. My son Alex and I decided to have an early dinner tonight (around 4PM) so I figured this may be a good quick meal for the two of us.

What you’ll need to do is prepare your herb crust first. Simply take about 1.5-2 Cups of breadcrumbs, a bunch of fresh parsley, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, 4 cloves of garlic (minced) and just a drizzle of olive oil to bind it all together. Mix all the dry stuff, plus herbs and garlic in a hand blender. Add in just a splash of olive oil and make sure it’s not overly wet. If it is, add more breadcrumbs to firm it up. Set this aside.

Get your grill nice and hot. Around 500F will do nicely. Now I used my cast iron skillet to brown the lamb first. Score the lamb fat cap with a sharp knife and season well with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Once ready, add a splash of olive oil to the hot skillet (be careful here) and once it’s up to temperature start to sear the lamb on all sides. Take your time here and make sure you’re careful not to burn yourself. It can get pretty hot. Once you’ve browned the lamb nicely (see photos) set it aside and insert your trusty probe thermometer. You’re going to shoot for 135F internal temp when you’re all said and done.

I kept the lamb on the skillet throughout the entire time. I added a few small chunks of apple wood and I placed the rack meat side up and closed the dome for about 10 minutes. Note, I’ve not placed the herb coating on just yet. Once you’re done the 10 minute smoke/roast, remove the rack and generously baste it with quality dijon mustard. Once you’ve slathered it on all sides, add your herb crust on the meaty sides of your rack, place it back on the skillet (meat side up) and close the dome. Adjust your temperature to about 400F and watch the temperature until it gets to 135F. That should take about 20-25 minutes or so.

Once you’ve reached your ideal temperature, remove the rack from the skillet and place the REALLY hot skillet somewhere safe. At that temperature, cast iron stays really hot for a long, long time. If you’ve got little ones running around, make sure it’s well out of the way! Let your lamb rack rest for about 10 minutes then cut between the bones, plate and add a side of your choice. For today’s lunch I grilled up some aubergine (eggplant) to go with the lamb.

The herb crust was incredibly tasty and the lamb was done to a perfect medium rare. The only downside was the fat cap was a bit too fatty for our liking. I’ll consider a trim next time. All in all, a tasty, easy lunch that was lip smacking yummy!

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Overall Alex Rating: 8/10

Farewell to a good friend



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When you live in Singapore, you get used to the transient nature of this place with people coming in and out of your life. That said, it never really gets any easier when good friends leave and so this post is not about a recipe but a farewell note to our good friend Markus!  Good luck in London my friend and keep in touch, especially when you purchase your Big Green (English) Egg!

Here’s what Markus had to say about the modest rack of lamb dinner we had together last week!

“As my three year stint in Singapore is drawing to an end, I was invited by Heather and Roman to spend an evening at their house and experience the output of the Big Green Asian Egg. I had never seen a Green Egg before, let alone tasted anything prepared on one. Roman had told me lots about it though and I was incredibly curious to see it and verify if the results could measure up to the promise. The verdict is ‘absolutely yes it can’! It has to be said that while the Egg grilled the lamb rack to perfection, the preparation of the meal also required a lot of skill and dedication by the hosts. Roman had marinated the lamb for a day and given it a crust of curry that made it absolutely delicious. The asparagus was also just the way I love it and Heather’s salad matched everything perfectly. Shiraz was the right choice of wine. Thanks Heather and Roman for a wonderful evening with great food in the lushness of their backyard. The only downside is, now I have yet another thing I will miss again about Singapore when I sit back home in the European winter. One thing is for certain though: I will also have a Big Green Egg in my backyard. – Markus.”

Rack of Lamb with Pine Nut & Roasted Grape Gremolata!



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So there are definitely times when a recipe comes along and you just gotta try it out! Yesterday was one of those days. In fact it was a perfect day to do some fantastic, intricate and fairly technical bit of cooking. It was a rainy tropical day, the kids were exhausted after pre-Halloween partying and well I was restless and needed to create something special. The challenge? Rack of lamb with a pine nut and roasted grape gremolata.

What a recipe! Now, it’s not for the fainthearted and requires a bit of work but the result is more than worth it. So here’s what you’ll need to do.

Stage 1 – the Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of red wine (I used a Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon + 1 cup for me!)
  • 225 g of seedless red grapes
  • 2.5 cups of beef broth (I used all the broth I made from the t-bone steaks we had about 2 weeks ago….)
  • 2.5 cups of chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat and once hot, add the onions and the garlic. sauté them until soft (about 4 minutes) then add the wine and grapes. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) until the mixture has lost most of it’s liquid. Then add the two broths and increase the heat to get it all up to a boil and now let it go for about 40 minutes, or until you’ve got just about 2 cups worth left. Now, strain the liquid through a sieve and extract as much liquid as you can. Give it a good pressing and now season the sauce with a bit of salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the broth will already have plenty but give it a good whack of pepper. Cover the sauce and plonk it in the fridge.

Stage 2 – the Gremolata (which you can start at the same time as you do the sauce…it’ll save you some time but if you’re in a pinch you can make the sauce up to three days in advance!)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white grape juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 225 g of red seedless grapes
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1.5 tbsp italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Over medium heat, take your apple cider vinegar, white grape juice and sugar and brink it to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil it until it reduces to about 1/4 cup. It’ll become a lovely sticky syrup. This should take you about 6-10 minutes in total. Pour the syrup into a medium sized bowl and let it cool. Now preheat your oven to 250F (121C) with the convection fan on. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil and scatter the grapes on the sheet. Place into the oven and roast until they reduce to about half their original size. This should take you just under 2 hours. Let them cool on the sheet and set them aside. The intensity of flavour is incredible at this point. The grapes become sweeter and so much more flavourful. What a wonderful result!

Once cooled off, stir the grapes into the syrup then add your roasted pine nuts, lemon zest, mint, parsley, olive oil and garlic. Toss it all to blend nicely and not set it aside at room temperature for about an hour.

Stage 3 – The Lamb (finally!)

  • 500-600 g rack of lamb, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Curry powder (for seasoning) and what an addition this was….I’ll do this again for any lamb rub!

Set up your grill for direct heat and stabilise your temperature at about 350-400F (dome temperature.) Make sure the flames have died down a wee bit so as not to burn your lamb when you put it on a well oiled grid. Now make sure you’ve got an internal thermometer inserted into your lamb rack and in about 20 minutes you’ll be done. Flip the rack ever five minutes onto a hot spot on your grid to get a crunchy crust going. Now shoot for an internal temperature of 135F for a perfect medium doneness. (I’ve been grilling a little more on the rare side recently and Heather really enjoyed the lamb at a medium last night!)

Let your lamb rest for about 8 minutes and you’ll see the temperature rise a bit further. No need to tent it with foil as that’ll just ruin that beautiful crusty bark you’ve managed to perfect. Slice the lamb between the ribs and drizzle the sauce you’ve prepped earlier. Add a good helping of the gremolata and then add a watermelon feta salad along with honey roasted sweet potatoes.

Honestly, this was the BEST lamb rack we’ve done in a long while! Worth every second of the 4-5 hours of preparation. Big smiles from the family tonight!!!!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

 

PS – Brett Queen/David Appleton/Paul Cooper & Val Zarda – TRY THIS RECIPE!