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Timed Menu Planner for Lamb: easy on a Sunday morning


If you are a novice at making a Sunday roast we have the perfect solution for you. Here, Delia takes you step by step, through her timed menu, and to make it even easier much of it prepared in advance.

If you plain-roast lamb and serve it with this spectacular Shrewsbury sauce, you will have one of the best Sunday lunches ever - especially if you include oven-roasted new potatoes with fresh herbs and garlic and fresh shelled peas braised with rocket and spring onions. 

A first course is not always a good idea at a Sunday lunch, as you don't always want lots of work to do ahead; if you want to serve a starter, we suggest buying some smoked salmon and gravadlax from the deli counter and serving it with thinly cut, buttered brown bread, lemon wedges and a few salad leaves. You might even be able to track down a really good, bought dill sauce to go with the fish. And the dessert, mascarpone creams with summer fruit purée, can be prepared well in advance and makes a lovely, light, cool end to the meal.

The good news is that the whole lunch is very simple and easy to prepare and the result is a feast of marvellous flavours and textures that everyone will love.


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Selection of smoked fish, served with bread, lemon wedges and leaves (optional)

Roast Leg of Lamb with Shrewsbury Sauce 

Roasted New Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic 

Braised Peas, Rocket and Spring Onions

Mascarpone Creams with Summer Fruit Purée


Try to plan this little session around something good on the radio or put on some nice music, then settle down for a bit of relaxed preparation in the kitchen - it will take about 1 hour.

Make the mascarpone creams, then the summer fruit purée. When it's ready, pour it into a serving jug, cover and chill ready for tomorrow. 

Now is the time to clear up the kitchen, fill up the ice trays and put the wine in the fridge. And while we are on the subject of wine, why not pour yourself something chilled and light and sit down to shell the peas? After that, pop them into a polythene bag. Now everything is ready for tomorrow, so you can feel very smug and organised.


9.30am Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C). While it is heating, prepare the lamb - tuck in the onion, season and place it in a roasting tin. 

9.45am Approximately. Place the lamb, uncovered, on the middle shelf of the oven. Prepare the potatoes according to the recipe and leave them in a bowl to marinate. Give them a stir round in the oil from time to time during the morning. Pop the peas into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients for the recipe and set aside till you are ready for them. 

10.30am Baste the meat with its juices, which will be running by now; use a long-handled spoon and an oven glove to protect your hands.

10.35am Now for the sauce: measure the redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasoning into a small saucepan. Whisk over a gentle heat until the jelly has melted, then pour in the wine. Then leave on one side.

10.50am Next, lay the table. Then put out the plates and serving dishes ready to go into the warming drawer later. Finally baste the meat once more and then from now until noon you can have some time off to put your feet up, read the papers and just enjoy the enticing aromas emanating from the kitchen. 

Just remember to get up and baste the meat once more during this time. 

12.15pm Time to take the lamb out of the oven and raise the heat to its highest setting. Next remove the meat from the tin to a large plate, discarding the onion, and cover loosely with foil. Now make the sauce, letting it bubble and reduce very gently for 15 minutes (use a timer). Then turn out the heat. 

12.35pm Pop the potatoes into the oven on a high shelf. Assemble the smoked fish, lemon, salad leaves and bread for the starter. 

12.45pm Now put the peas on to cook, covered with a lid. Take the mascarpone pots from the fridge, turn them out on to dessert plates and leave aside, somewhere cool if possible. Next, ask someone else to carve the meat while you gently reheat the Shrewsbury sauce. 

Serve the starter, if you're having one. 

12.55pm Check the peas and stir if necessary. Also check the potatoes, which may need an extra 5 minutes. 

1pm The potatoes will be ready, so fetch them from the oven (don't turn the heat off). Now lunch is served. 

1.30pm or thereabouts. Spoon the fruit purée round the mascarpone creams and serve. 

And now let someone else make and serve the coffee while you enjoy all the enthusiastic compliments that will come your way!

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