Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Monday, 2 April 2007

Lamb is my favourite roast meat - with beef a close second. Although I love to have it the traditional way with yorkshire and mint sauce, my favourite way to serve lamb is with harrisa, chilli and lemon grass. This is perfect for a Sunday roast served with traditional roast veg but is equally good for a picnic. Wrapped in foil straight from the oven and put in the picnic basket, it is usually still warm when we reach our destination and is perfect served with a salad (OK I know it's not quite picnic weather yet, but I can dream!)
Harissa Roast Lamb
I leg of lamb
1 small bunch of fresh corriander
2 lemongrass stork, one whole the other cut into small pieces
1 jar belazu rose harissa paste (I have tried it with other harissas but it is never as nice and it really has to be this one. It is available in most supermarkets though)
2 red chillis, deseeded and chopped into pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped into pieces
500ml red wine
salt and pepper
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp gravy granuales
Begin by seasoning the lamb with salt and pepper all over. Take a sharp knife and piece a pocket along the bone almost the whole length of the leg, starting at the large end. Push the corriander and lemongrass into the pocket you have made. Then using the knife, make small slits in the top of lamb, pushing through the fat and the meat, I usually make about 20 slits. Push a piece of chilli, lemongrass and garlic into each slit.
Smear the harissa paste over the top of the lamb and place in a roasting tin. Roast in a hot oven(220oC/Gas Mark 7/Aga Roasting Oven) for 15 minutes, then pour over the red wine and continue roasting for a further 30 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 180oC/Gas Mark 4/ or move to the Simmering Oven if you have an Aga and cook gently for another hour. The actual length of time will depend on the size of your meat and also how well done you like your lamb. I usually leave mine in until the top of the lamb is nicely crusted and most of the wine has evaporated. If you are using an Aga, I normally leave the leg cooking for about 3 hours in the simmering oven as this enhances the flavour and makes the lamb really tender. Remove the lamb from the tin and place the roasting tin over a gentle heat to make the sauce. Add a dash more red wine if there is not much left in the tin and cook to evaporate the alcohol. Add the stock and the gravy granuales and simmer until thickened. This sauce is nice and spicy as it will contain some of the harissa. Serve thick slices of the lamb with the sauce, accompanied by roast veg or salad.

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