One almost wonders how anyone could stuff up a roast lamb, but I’m amazed at how many people do. It has to be one of the most simple recipes to make, but I have to say, I’ve eaten more bad versions than good, except my own of course.

A while back I met a guy at a party (as you do), and when he learned I was a cook, he told me about his famous roast lamb and that I should come over and he’d cook for me. Well, given the amount of dinner invitations I get is almost NIL, I accepted. After the wrap he gave himself I was expecting a feast fit for a queen.

Armed with a good robust Aussie Red from the Barossa, I made the track to the neighbouring town and was greeted warmly on arrival, and the smell from the kitchen was promising. Oh how misleading those smells can be.

After about half the bottle of red (at which time I was on my ear, I’m a cheap drunk), he invited me into the kitchen to watch the serving up. Now, as a professional cook and presenter, this is something I do all the time, but, if you’re not adept at this fundamental aspect of entertaining, it’s not such a good idea to have your guests see what goes on behind kitchen doors. He really should have left me with the wine in front of the fire and called me in when it was on the table. Needless to say, I was still hopeful.

Oh, how hopes can be shattered!

The joint (if you could call it that) was this little dried up and shriveled piece of meat that bared no resemblance to anything I’d every seen, let alone lamb. You know when you over cook meat how it goes stringy and tough, well I swear I could have used this piece to tie my shoes with. It was brown for a start, not medium cooked as it should be and the outside skin was like leather housing bundled pieces of string from an old loom. He tried to carve it, I chuckled inside thinking; there’s not a knife in this world that could get through that (except maybe Crocodile Dundee’s masterpiece). He struggled and the more he tried to slice, the more the leather gave way and the loom strings frayed. It was a nightmare. Amazingly though, he didn’t seem to be aware???

Anyway, after several attempts he managed to separate it into two pieces which he haphazardly plonked on two plates. Then he proceeded to serve up the vegetables. I thought, let’s hope these redeem him. OMG, they were worse. It’s as if his oven had no thermostat and it just cooked and cooked. Firstly, the vegetables were unpeeled and whole. Turnips, sweet potato, potatoes, carrots. All roasted whole and unpeeled. And, he placed them on the plate like that. I had half a leather case, an enormous potato, a sweet potato a whole turnip and a whole carrot. No greens and worse, no gravy to help it all slide down. I just knew how I was going to be feeling after eating all that.

And I was right. By the time I’d finished the meal, I could barely move off the chair, partly because I was sloshed and the rest because all that I had just eaten pushed every piece of my hips and bum firmly into the chair and it wedged. It was not a pretty site. That was my first and last meal at his house. I am now very wary when someone tells me they make the best roast lamb on the planet, and certainly don’t solicit an invitation to find out.

I on the other hand do a pretty good job with roast lamb, so I thought I’d share it with you. Good lamb is quite robust in flavour and can also take quite robust flavourings, so don’t be shy about adding to it to create your masterpiece, and do some experimenting, lamb is very forgiving.

You can use a bone in or bone out joint. My preference is bone out. It’s easier to carve and, you can roll it out if you want and stuff it or spread it with things like pesto and curry pastes.

They take well to dry rubs, crusts and stuffing’s, or good old plain rosemary sprigs and garlic slices, like the basic recipe below.

Lamb is easy to cook and doesn’t take very long, about 20 minutes per 500g for a medium finish. If you want it rare or well done, then adjust the cooking time. See the Lamb Cooking Times.

Lamb roast is one of my staples. I make it for good friends and family and whenever I want to feel cosy and warm. It’s the perfect Sunday roast, lunch or dinner.

And if you like leftover lamb the next day with say a salad, try it with my Pumpkin Spinach and Craisin Salad Sooo… delicious.

See the " How to Make Roast Lamb " video.