Monday 22 January 2018

Seaweed, rosemary and garlic roast leg of lamb


Seaweed, rosemary and garlic roast leg of lamb
Seaweed, rosemary and garlic roast leg of lamb
Easter sponge cake from Ballynahinch Castle. Photo: Doreen Kilfeather

There's nothing like a luscious leg of Connemara lamb for Easter lunch - and it's all the better with a side of seaweed! These novel feast-day recipes come from the chefs at Ballynahinch Castle.

Seaweed, rosemary and garlic roast leg of lamb


1 leg of lamb, bone in, approx 2kg/4 lb in weight

For the rosemary, seaweed and garlic butter: 1 bulb of garlic, halved

1 bunch of fresh rosemary

30g dillisk seaweed

30g carrageen moss seaweed

20g softened butter

Salt and pepper


1. Take the lamb joint from the fridge and allow it get to room temperate before cooking.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

3. Make a rosemary, seaweed and garlic butter. Peel 3 cloves of garlic and grate finely. Strip the leaves off 3 rosemary stalks and take 10g of each seaweed and chop finely. Combine with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper, then mash together.

4. Pierce the flesh of the lamb all over with a sharp knife or metal skewer. Massage the butter mixture into the lamb, focusing on the holes in the meat.

5. Arrange the rest of the garlic, seaweeds and rosemary in the bottom of your roasting dish and place the lamb on top.

6. Cover loosely with kitchen foil and place in the preheated oven. As the temperature rises in the joint, the flavour of the butter will permeate through the meat.

7. Remove the foil after 30 minutes of cooking. Cook for a further 45-55 minutes for medium. It can always be cooked for longer if that's your preference.

8. At the end of the cooking period, leave to rest for 20-25 minutes, covered in foil to keep warm.

9. To serve, carve the meat and accompany it with honey roast carrots, roast potatoes and a mint crème fraîche.

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12


500g strong flour

1 tsp salt

75g caster sugar

5g instant yeast

40g softened butter

1 whole egg, mixed

250ml room-temperature full-fat milk

1 peeled apple, diced

150g chopped sultanas

80g chopped mixed peel

Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross: 100g plain flour

100ml water

For the glaze: 75g apricot jam


1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar and the dry yeast, making a well in the centre. Put the softened butter, egg and milk into a jug, and pour into the dry ingredients, adding slowly until the dough comes together.

2.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 10 minutes till smooth and elastic.

3. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size (1-2 hours).

4. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, add the rest of the ingredients - the fresh and dried fruit, zest and cinnamon - then knead again to incorporate.

5. Put the dough back into a bowl for another prove for another hour, covering the bowl with some lightly oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.

6. On a lightly floured surface, knock out the air and shape into 12 buns, placing them on an oven tray lined with parchment paper (you might need two) and leaving them to rise further. They will almost double in size, so leave enough room between them so they won't touch when they expand.

7. Leave the buns to prove, covered with a clean tea towel, for one more hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

9. Mix the plain flour with a little water at a time, until you have a thick paste, then use a piping bag with a small nozzle to pipe the crosses onto the buns.

10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

11. Take the buns out of the oven and brush them with gently warmed apricot jam as a glaze, then leave to cool.

Easter sponge cake

Easter sponge cake from Ballynahinch Castle. Photo: Doreen Kilfeather


225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

To finish:

250ml whipped cream

250g soft fruit of your choice - fresh mandarin segments, blueberries, raspberries, etc

600g icing sugar, sifted

300g unsalted butter, softened

A few drops of vanilla extract

Some fruit pieces for decoration


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease two sponge tins with some butter.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until thoroughly mixed, pale and fluffy.

3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until all blended.

4. Fold in the sifted flour and salt, and blend using a spatula until you have a smooth mix.

5. Divide into the two tins, smoothing out the top of each, and then bake for about 18-22 minutes, until they are nice and golden.

6. Allow the sponges to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

7. With a palette knife, sandwich the layers together with whipped cream and your choice of fruit.

8. Beat the icing sugar and butter together with the vanilla extract until smooth, then plaster the outside of the sponge with the buttercream icing carefully, using a palette knife.

9. Add some more fruit on top as decoration.

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