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Spice up your life: Five simple recipes using what you already have in the cupboard

By Brian Dillon

October 28, 2020 at 5:07pm



Most of us have found ourselves with more time at home than we ever have before, and that means more time to explore in the kitchen, trying new simple recipes and introducing yourself to new flavours!

While you might think you have to go out and get special and obscure ingredients to create something new and exciting to taste, you probably already have a wealth of flavour sitting in your cupboard.

Because experimenting with flavours is what we love to do, we have once again teamed up with TryLamb to encourage our lovely readers to treat themselves to something delicious at home. So, we're here to showcase just how exciting and versatile lamb can be with these simple recipes below.

Gastro Gays' Lamb, Date, Olive and Apricot Tagine


  • 400g diced lamb shoulder
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Harissa (our recipe for our spice blend HERE)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100g dried apricots, whole
  • 100g pitted dates, whole
  • (optional) baby peppers (yellow, orange, red), in half of thirds and seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
  • 350ml tomato passata
  • 2 tsp runny honey or maple syrup
  • 5-10 saffron threads
  • Lamb (or chicken, vegetable) stock pot/cube
  • 2 tsp each plain flour and cornflour, mixed together with a little water to pouring consistency

Add later

  • Chickpeas, drained (pre-cooked)
  • A handful of large green olives, washed (pitted, if you prefer)
  • Sliced almonds, to serve
  • Parsley or coriander, chopped, to serve

Step 1: In a heavy pot on medium-high heat, heat a tbsp or two of oil until shimmering and add in your lamb in two batches, turning until each piece is sealed and golden. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and set in a bowl to one side.

Step 2: In the same pot, add a little extra oil, if need be, and turn the heat down to medium-low and gently fry the onions, followed by the garlic and ginger, until softened but not overly browned.

Step 3: Add your spices (smoked paprika, cayenne, harissa, white pepper and salt) and stir the vegetables to coat them whilst cooking out the spices a little.

Step 4: Add your tomato purée and cook for a further minute, stirring through the rest of the ingredients before deglazing with a little water.

Step 5: Add your tomato passata, honey, saffron threads and stockpot and bring the mixture up to the boil before stirring in your flour mixture.

Step 6: Add in the peppers, apricots and dates and finally return the lamb to the pot. Remove from the heat, clamp on a lid and cook at 150ºC in the oven for 2.5 hours. Then, add in the chickpeas and olives, cooking for a further 30-60 minutes until the lamb is tender, the dried fruit plumped and softened and the sauce thick and rich. You can achieve similar by cooking in the ‘high’ setting of your slow cooker for 3-4 hours; in that method, you can just add every ingredient.

Step 7: Finish with a scattering of the almonds and the chopped herbs, serving alongside some steamed rice and/or flatbread.

Gastro Gays' Lamb, Date, Olive and Apricot Tagine

Aoife Barker’s Lamb Steaks and Roasted Garlic Butter


2 lamb leg steaks
3 whole large garlic cloves, in the skin
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fresh parsley chopped
40g soft butter (room temp)

Serve with charred corn on the cob, jalapeño & honey butter: 


2 whole fresh corn on the cob
40g soft butter
20g chopped jalapeños
1 tbsp. honey

Step 1Wrap three cloves of garlic in tin foil and roast at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
Step 2Toast two tsp cumin in a dry pan for one minute.
Step 3: Cook the lamb for four/five minutes on a grill pan or grill and turn over. You'll see the juices start to come to the top when it's almost medium. Take it off to rest for five minutes at this stage.
Step 4: Place back onto the grill pan or grill and baste it with your roast garlic and cumin butter.
For the corn on the cob:

Step 1: Make the jalapeno and honey butter. Simply add 40g butter, 20g chopped jalapenos and 1tbsp honey into a bowl and mix.

Step 2: Rub the mixture over raw corn, wrap it in tin foil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (turn regularly).

Lamb Stuffed Butternut Squash

(watch the recipe video here)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180oC, 160oC Fan, Gas Mark 4. Place the butternut squash onto a large baking tray, brush with 1 teaspoon of oil. Season and roast for 45 minutes until tender.

Step 2: Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan until hot and fry the onion until soft. Add the mince and cook for 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Add the garlic, Ras el hanout, paprika, passata, tomato purée, stock and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thick. Season.

Step 4: Remove the butternut squash from the oven and spoon in the lamb mixture. Arrange onto warm plates, sprinkle with crumbled Feta, rocket leaves and pine nuts. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve.

Lamb Satay

(watch the recipe video here)

Step 1: Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes.

Step 2: In a shallow dish, combine the marinade ingredients together. Add the lamb and coat. Cover and set aside.

Step 3: To prepare the satay sauce, in a pan, combine the ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until thick.

Step 4: Heat a griddle pan to moderately high heat.

Step 5: Remove the lamb from the marinade and thread onto the skewers. Cook the lamb for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Step 6: Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, spoon onto warm plates, arrange the lamb skewers on top, serve with the sauce, cucumber ribbons, seasoned with black pepper and limes wedges.

Try Lamb’s Noodle Bowl

(watch the recipe video here)

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat and fry the lamb slices for 3-4 minutes until brown.

Step 2: Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, honey and soy sauce. Stir for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens and cooks. Remove the lamb and sauce from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Heat a clean wok with the remaining oil over moderately high heat and fry the onion until soft. Stir in broccoli, carrot and rice noodles then warm through for a few minutes. Return the lamb with the sauce to the pan and gently toss together.

Step 4: Arrange the noodles into bowls, top with the lamb and drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with salad leaves and sesame seeds before serving.

image of one of try Lamb's noodle bowl - one of their simple recipes

Looking for more delicious lamb inspiration and simple recipes? Make sure to head to to find loads more amazing recipes just like the above.

READ NEXT: How to make this mouth-watering doner kebab at home

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