Food & Drink

James St Recipes: Niall McKenna's spicy lamb chops and cupcakes will put the spring in your Easter

Niall McKenna's Spicy Lamb Chops
Niall McKenna's Spicy Lamb Chops

Easter is my favourite time of the year – the spring weather is guaranteed to lift your mood – and the food in season at this time of year is fantastic. With the kids off school, I know from experience that entertaining them can be a challenge. I love to get my two into the kitchen, teaching them to cook and spending quality time baking. This is always so much fun, and I love the sugar rush as much as the kids. You may have guessed by now that this week’s recipes have been inspired by Easter and my love for baking.

The first recipes is spicy lamb chops, a twist on the traditional Easter lamb, that is sure to fire up your tastebuds. 

And for dessert, try your hand at baking a wholesome range of cupcakes. This simple cupcake recipe has a light and fluffy sponge with a decadent, sweet icing – the perfect treat to enjoy after dinner on Easter Sunday. 

If you want to up-skill in the kitchen or enjoy cooking with friends, visit our Cookery School. There is a range of classes available catering for all levels and cooking abilities on May 13.

Waterman House is thrilled to announce that celebrity guest chef Max La Manna will present a live cooking demonstration showcasing dishes from his latest book You Can Cook This. With limited tickets available, you don’t want to miss out. 

For more information or to book tickets, please visit: waterman. house


12 lamb chops, trimmed so the bones are cleaned

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp demerara caster sugar

2 tbsp mirin

3 cloves garlic, peeled

3cm ginger, peeled

1 large slice of pineapple

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp sesame oil

For the sauce

2 tbsp chilli paste (sriracha is best)

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp demerara caster sugar


To start, place the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, pineapple, chilli powder and sesame oil into a blender and whizz until all smooth.

Next, place the chops on a tray and pour over the smooth paste. 

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge, overnight is best.

At this stage, you can make the sauce and set it aside in the fridge.

Take the lamb chops out of the fridge and brush with a little rapeseed oil before cooking.

Start brushing on the sauce and grill on each side for two minutes, you can also cook these off on the barbecue, over white coals. 

Once cooked, cover in cling film and leave to rest. 

Serve with the chilli sauce.

Niall McKenna's cupcakes
Niall McKenna's cupcakes


(Makes 12)

110g unsalted butter, room temperature

110g caster sugar

2 medium eggs, beaten

2 tbsp milk

¼ tsp vanilla extract

110g self-rising flour


To start, pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with foil paper cases - these hold shape better than paper cases.

Using a wooden spoon, cream the butter until pale and fluffy, add the sugar and beat until fluffy. 

Add the beaten eggs a quarter at a time making sure each lot is mixed before adding in the next.

Next, beat in the milk and vanilla extract and fold in flour and beat again for a few seconds until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Finally divide the mixture equally among the cases and place in oven for 13 and a half minutes until the tops are firm and springy to touch. Leave to cool before decorating.

Plain Butter Icing

150g butter

300g sugar

4 tbsp milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Butter Icing

150g butter

300g sugar

4 tbsp milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Coloured Butter Icing

150g butter

300g sugar

5 tbsp milk

½ teaspoon cocoa powder

½ teaspoon food colour


Beat 150g unsalted butter until creamy and beat in 300g of sifted icing sugar. Add in the milk, vanilla and beat until smooth.

To make the chocolate or coloured butter icing, add in the additional ingredients.

Spread onto the cakes with a knife or piping bag with star nozzle.