Leg of Lamb with Roasted Winter Vegetables

11 Nov

¤ Geographically, Ireland is a medium-sized rural island that is slowly but steadily being consumed by sheep – Dave Barry ¤

I am at home at the moment and it seems that there is nothing more comforting than my own bed, home cooking and my dogs.

A huge part of meals at home is vegetables and tonight is no exception. We are having both of my grannies to dinner tonight and an old favourite of roast leg of lamb with roasted winter vegetables. Winter vegetables tonight include sweet potato, parsnip, butternut squash and onions. This is a tried and tested meal, that my dad has down to a fine art and I am going to try and share with you now.

Serves 6

Firstly, two hours before kick-off you need to put the winter vegetables into a hot oven.


1 butternut squash

4 parsnips

10 sweet potatoes

4 onions

1 head of garlic

Dash olive oil


1. Peel and dice all vegetables except the garlic which you only need to open slightly. Don’t cut them up too much otherwise they go too crispy in the oven.

2. Toss the vegetables in the olive oil, put in a baking dish and then put in the hot oven heated to 200°C.

3. Shake them occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Next you need to start thinking about the lamb. Tonight we have a relatively small leg so it will only need about an hour and a half in the oven, again heated to 200°C. The important thing to remember here is to sear the lamb in a hot oven for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to allow the lamb to soak up the heat without losing its juiciness and vary the length depending on the size of the lamb. The easiest thing to do is ask your butcher to be sure!


1 leg of lamb

1 head of garlic

Cooking oil

3 sprigs of rosemary


1. Put the lamb in a roasting tin. Pierce the skin with a sharp knife all over the side facing up.

2. Separate the garlic head into the cloves and slot them into the holes you have created.

3. Pour a generous amount of cooking oil over the top – I used Sunflower Oil tonight – and put in the oven.

4. After the initial 30 minutes, add the sprigs of rosemary. You don’t want to add these initially as they end up burnt.

5. After an hour of slow-cooking the leg of lamb is done. It is better to have the lamb still pink on the inside, as there is nothing worse than overcooked lamb!

Just before dinner the last thing you are going to need is gravy.


Juice from lamb

Sprinkle of flour

500ml vegetable stock


1. Drain the fat from the juices from the lamb. If they are still hot the fat will literally just pour off.

2. Put the juices over a low heat and whisk in flour until you form a paste.

3. Add the vegetable stock slowly to avoid lumps.

4. Keep over low heat until serving.

There you go! Its that easy to do a delicious leg of lamb. We are having peas alongside everything tonight, just to add a little green to the meal. Serve with redcurrant jelly and mint sauce, and make sure that you have someone who can carve!

¤ Enjoy! ¤


Turkey Chilli

7 Nov

¤ One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well – Virginia Woolf ¤

Yesterday was a lazy day, reading the sunday papers and a leisurely stroll around the National Gallery of Ireland. What really stood out for me yesterday was Jack B. Yeats’s ‘Grief. All of those emotions and desires poignantly brought to life with vivid brushstrokes. I think what I enjoyed the most is just when you think you have seen everything, another image becomes apparent, whether it is the mother consoling her child or the rider on horseback.

When we got home I didn’t feel like cooking something extravagent so I made this super easy turkey chilli. What is great about this is it can be served in so many ways, I went for baked enchilladas but you can have it in tacos, with wholegrain spagetti, in a wrap… The list really does go on!

What is even better about it is that it is just as delicious the next day and I know that I will be having it for lunch. Yum.

Serves 3/4


Dash olive oil

1 green onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

500g turkey mince

2 tbsp chilli powder

1/4 tbsp cumin

1/4 tbsp paprika

1 can chopped tomatoes


1. Warm the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and the garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the turkey mince and fry until brown.

3. Add the seasonings and cook for further 3 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Heat until piping hot and serve as desired. Thats it! It really is that easy.


As I have already mentioned you can serve this in so many ways, but you can also add whatever you like. I had some moroccan cous cous left over in my fridge, along with some scallions so I added them to the pot. I know lots of my friends wouldn’t dream of doing chilli without kidney beans and I often add a can of them to the mixture. You can also serve with salsa, lo-fat cheese, side salad… Again the list is endless !!

¤ So get experimenting and see what works for you! ¤

Butternut Squash Curry

5 Nov

¤ Butternut – A member of the Curcurbita Moschata Family ¤

I spent a portion of last summer in Cape Town in South Africa volunteering in a children’s home. I am hoping to do a separate post about that at another stage, but one of the foods that I became hooked on was butternut squash. Mashed or as a soup, butternut became a staple in my diet, despite the fact that I have never had it at home. When I got back, I went on the quest to find a way of introducing butternut to everyday meals and this recipe has become quite a regular occurrence!

Butternut Squash Curry

Serves: 4


Dash olive oil

1 butternut, diced

1 red onion, diced

2 tbsp mild curry paste

300 ml vegetable stock

1 can coconut milk

400g chickpeas

4 large tomatoes, chopped


1. If accompanying with rice, put it onto cook first. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook butternut for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add onion, curry paste and cook for 3-4 more minutes.

3. Pour over the stock and coconut milk, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

4. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Then serve with rice.


I have used a few variations in this recipe. If you are a chicken fan you can always cook some diced chicken breasts or thighs first and once browning add the butternut. If you prefer a thicker curry you can hold back on the coconut milk and add 3 tbsp of fat-free Greek yogurt instead which produces a thicker consistency.

You can also freeze this curry, and I often prepare more and freeze for those nights you just want something quick and easy.

¤ Enjoy! ¤

Here’s to a new beginning !

4 Nov

¤ Moderation in all things, including moderation – Petronius ¤

Hello world. I always swore that I would never keep a blog, but I swear lots of things. One thing that I am really going to try to stick to is my ‘new beginning’. About two months ago I went to see a dietitian about my weight, and 26lbs lighter later and I am really going to try to keep with this.

I feel its important to point out now that I am not on some wonder diet and fitness regime. I walk for an hour twice a week and swim for 40 minutes three times a week. I drink more water and less fizzy drinks. Carbs are not gone, they just only make up a quarter of my plate and its better when they are brown! More fruit and more vegetables have replaced chocolate and crisps. Its not revolutionary, just self-discipline.

The main point of this blog is to record the recipes that have replaced the takeaways. I love food blogs and there are some really great ones out there. Usually though they are filled with butter, cream and tasty treats that it is taking every inch of my will power to avoid! So I thought I would do one of my own, filled with healthy recipes!

¤ So here is too a blog stuffed with yummy recipes, hope you enjoy it as much as I am going to enjoy making it! ¤