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Fab roasts (part 1) - Lemon-and-herb crusted rack of lamb, Pork belly with cider gravy, Anchovy lamb with lentils

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Feeding a crowd doesn't mean you can't serve an impressive main everyone will love.

Lemon-and-herb crusted rack of lamb

Pine nuts add a lovely creaminess, and supply zinc, which balances blood sugar.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Easy

Description: Lemon-and-herb crusted rack of lamb

Lemon-and-herb crusted rack of lamb

Small bunch mint, leaves only

Small bunch chives, finely snipped

Zest and juice 1/2 lemon

1 small garlic clove, crushed

2tbsp toasted pine nuts

3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 racks of lamb, trimmed of all fat

75g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

  1. Heat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Whizz the herbs, lemon zest and juice, garlic, pine nuts and oil in a food processor until coarse. Spread half over the lamb meat, and mix the rest with the breadcrumbs. Put the racks in a shallow roasting tin, then press the breadcrumb mixture on top of the herbs.
  2. Place in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes for rare to medium, 25 to 28 minutes for medium to well done (you may need to cover it loosely with foil after 15 minutes to prevent the crust from browning too much).
  3. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with new potatoes and spring vegetables.

Per serving: 422 calories, 26g fat (7g saturated), 15g carbohydrate

Pork belly with cider gravy

Fennel seeds flavor the pork with lovely aniseed and can also aid digestion.

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration

Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Serves 6

Easy

Description: Pork belly with cider gravy

Pork belly with cider gravy

1.8kg (41b) boneless pork belly, skin scored

2tsp fennel seeds, finely crushed

1tsp black peppercorns, crushed

2 onions, sliced

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed

1tbsp olive oil

500ml (18fl oz) chicken or veg stock

250ml (9fl oz) cider

1tbsp flour

  1. The day before cooking, place the pork skin side up on a wire rack over the sink. Pour a kettle of boiling water over the skin. Repeat, then pat dry. Turn it over; rub on the fennel seeds and peppercorns. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered and skin side up.
  2. Heat the oven to 150 C, 130 C fan, 300 F, gas 2. Put the onions and garlic in a roasting tin, add the pork, skin side up, and rub with the oil and 1/2tsp sea salt.
  3. Pour in the stock and cider and cook for 3 hours. After this time, strain off the cooking liquid and set aside. Remove the onions and garlic, place the pork back into the clean roasting tin on a wire rack and heat the oven to 220 C, 200 C fan, 425 F, gas 7. Roast for a further 30 minutes, until the crackling is crisp.
  4. Strain the cooking juices into a Jug, pressing down on the onions and garlic. Leave the juices to settle for a minute, then spoon off the fat, reserving 3tbsp.
  5. Heat the Juices in a pan. Mix the flour with 1tbsp fat, whisk in, and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Season, adding more flour and fat mixture if necessary.

Per serving: 568 calories, 42g fat (15g saturated), 6g carbohydrate

Anchovy lamb with lentils

Add a real depth of flavor to the lamb and up your omega 3s with anchovies.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Serves 8

Easy

Description: Anchovy lamb with lentils

Anchovy lamb with lentils

100g (4oz) anchovies

14 garlic cloves, peeled, cut into slivers

2kg (41/2lb) leg of lamb

4 sprigs rosemary

3tbsp balsamic glaze

2 large onions, halved and sliced

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

350g (12oz) puy lentils

1tsp vegetable stock powder

  1. Heat the oven to 220 C, 200 C fan, 425 F, gas 7 Drain the anchovies. Halve 12 anchovies widthways; wrap 1 half around 1 garlic sliver Make 12 x 1cm (1/2in) incisions in the top of the lamb with a sharp knife. Insert an anchovy-garlic "spike", then a piece of rosemary, reserving 4 garlic slivers. Brush half the glaze over the lamb.
  2. Add the remaining anchovies, garlic and glaze to a mortar Pound to a rough paste and put to one side. Put three-quarters of the onions in a roasting tin, drizzle over a little olive oil and top with the lamb. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 F, gas 3 and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  3. Half an hour before the end of roasting time, put the lentils, remaining onions and 700ml (11/4pt) hot water into a deep pan. Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, part-covered, for 25 minutes until tender.
  4. Once cooked, remove the lamb, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes. Drain and discard most of the lentil liquid. Add the stock powder to the lentils over the heat, stirring until dissolved, then add the anchovy paste and remaining oil. Serve the whole lamb with the lentils spooned around.
Per serving: 490 calories, 20g fat (7g saturated), 26g carbohydrate
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