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James Street South Cookery School: Shoulder of lamb and Pineapple upside down cake

Shoulder of lamb with potatoes – now, how Easter is that?

SPRING has finally sprung and this Easter weekend we will hopefully all be out and about enjoying the sunshine – he says optimistically.

The long weekend at Easter provides a wonderful excuse to spend time with friends and family and both of these dishes are perfect to enjoy over a long lunch. They will definitely be on the menu at my house, even though the local pineapple harvest is still a bit away.

Get down to your local butcher or farm shop to pick up the freshest and best lamb as well as the world's best spuds and onions are all available at markets across Northern Ireland.

SHOULDER OF LAMB WITH POTATOES

(Serves 6)

1.8kg shoulder of lamb, with the bone

salt

pepper

6 cloves garlic, finely diced

150g duck fat

2 onions, sliced

700g waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small bunch of thyme, removed from stalk

Start by preheating the oven to 180C. Place the lamb in a large roasting dish and season with salt and pepper. You can insert the springs of thyme and the garlic into little slits made in the skin of the lamb with a sharp knife.

Heat 100g of the duck fat in a saucepan and pour over the lamb once warmed. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, basting the lamb with the fat. Take the rest of the duck fat and cook the onions in it until golden.

Remove the lamb from the oven, place the potatoes in layers around the base of the lamb, pour over the duck fat and onions, place another layer of potatoes on top of the onions and add 100ml of water and sprinkle with any remaining garlic or thyme. Make sure the lamb is sitting on top.

Place back into the oven and cook for a further 35 minutes until meat and potatoes are cooked. Baste the meat with the liquid throughout this period.

Season to taste and when cooked, remove and cover in tinfoil and leave to rest.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

(Serves 6 in individual tarts)

330g butter, room temperature

330g caster sugar

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 6 thick slices

4 eggs

200g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

50g ground almonds

Start by taking six individual tart cases around 3-4 inches deep. Melt about 80g of the butter and add in 80g of the caster sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Brush this mixture inside the tins.

Heat the rest of the butter gently in a frying pan. Once the butter begins to bubble add the pineapple and cook, turning to ensure that all are coated in the butter. Remove from the heat once coloured. Place a tablespoon of the cooking liquid and the pineapple into the bottom of each tart case. Leave the rest of the liquid in the pan.

Place the remaining liquid with the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and almonds into a food processor and mix thoroughly, until it has combined into a smooth mix. Pour the mixture into each tin evenly over the pineapple slices.

Preheat the oven to 170C and cook for 30-40 minutes until golden. Leave to cool and run a knife around the edge of each tin. Serve on warmed plates, spooning over any excess liquid, with a dollop of thick crème fraiche.

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