Last week I was invited to the launch of a new campaign: Lamb. Tasty Easy Fun at Cafe Spice Namaste in London. Not only did I learn a lot about lamb, but I ate some of the tastiest lamb dishes I’d eaten in a long time. Thank you Cyrus Todiwala for some amazing food.
The campaign aims to encourage younger consumers in the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark to consider lamb as an everyday meat to buy and cook with regularly. It doesn’t only have to be a roasted lamb joint with mint sauce on a Sunday. It is a versatile meat that can be enjoyed at any time and cooked in many different ways. Of course it can be slow cooked but you can also cook a quick steak, cutlets or a stir fry too. And of course lamb mince is great for burgers, mince and koftas.
As we enjoyed canapes Jane Ritchie-Smith from AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) introduced the campaign, highlighting the quality and sustainability of lamb. Unlike some animals, sheep do not need quality land to survive on. They often thrive on hillsides and the type of land that would be unsuitable for any other type of agriculture or farming and therefore make an important contribution to the economy in rural areas.
John Kirkpatrick, a sheep producer then talked briefly about sheep farming, followed by Cyrus Todiwala demonstrating some lamb dishes and talking about the way lamb is used in his restaurant, Cafe Spice Namaste. As he likes to support smaller independent sheep producers and I grew up on a farm with sheep, I was impressed by his approach.
As I mentioned above, I was especially impressed by the food. There were a variety of lamb canapes – Kadduk Sheek Kavaabs, barbecue lamb breast fingers and diced lamb with chilli, garlic and cinnamon. I was feeling well fed before the meal even started!
There was then a starter of lamb cutlets and liver and sweetbread samosas. I don’t often eat offal but I could have eaten a lot of those samosas! The next course was a lamb burger stuffed with chilli, cheese and garlic. The final lamb course was a lamb curry with the most amazing coconut stir fried green vegetables and lamb rice. Finally at the end there was one lamb free course – kulfi and stewed figs.
After all that lamb you might think I’d never want to eat lamb again in my life but I came away inspired to add my own twist on some of my favourite dishes of the evening. I make a lot of stir fries but usually with chicken. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a lamb stir fry until now but as the message of the campaign was that lamb can be a great meat to cook with everyday at home, I felt it was only fitting I created my own quick easy and tasty lamb dish. I love lamb with spices but if you’re not confident blending lots of spices together you can make something just as delicious using a spice blend or just 2 or 3 individual spices. This lamb stir fry simply uses garam masala, a common Indian spice blend plus a little cayenne pepper for extra heat. It’s super quick to prepare, especially if you miss out step 1, and really tasty too. I’ll definitely be making it again.
Ingredients – Serves 2
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
Small knob of fresh ginger, finely diced
1 red chilli pepper, sliced
2 lamb steaks
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
How to Make Lamb stir fry
1. If you have time, put the lamb in the freezer for 30 minutes before beginning the cooking. This will make it easier to cut into strips.
2. Slice the lamb into strips. Remove any hard bits of fat.
3. Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the lamb, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the lamb is just cooked. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs at the end.
5. Serve the stir fry wrapped in chapatis with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
You can find out more about the campaign at www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk and also follow them on Twitter @TastyEasyLamb or Facebook Tasty Easy Lamb