Tandoori lamb fillet, Raita, three onion salad

9 Preheat grill to highest temperature, or prepare moderately hot barbecue. Cook for 7-8 minutes on each side.

10 Cucumber Raita: Grate the unpeeled cucumber.

11 Add the yoghurt, chopped mint and a pinch of salt.

12 Mix. Place raita in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

13 Onion salad: Finely slice the red, white and spring onions. Mix with the coriander, finely sliced chilli, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

7 Add to the lamb.

8 Mix well. Ensuring all the spices are blended. Cover the bowl and place in refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours.

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Tandoori lamb fillet, Raita, three onion salad

Spice it up a bit with this month’s recipe from Richard Hughes of The Lavender House in Brundall.

One of the more welcome of current food trends is the predilection to use spices and seasoning in all manner of different ways. In the not so recent past, ethnic restaurants had a monopoly on cumin, coriander, turmeric, tamarind and the like. Although they were used in traditional English dishes that date from the Raj – think Mulligatawny and potted meats, we rarely saw a crossover in culinary styles.

Thankfully, many of the great and good chefs now feel bold enough to experiment, helped by the launch of the destination Indian restaurant, such as the Cinnamon Club, Tamarind and the Cafe Namaste group. One of my favourite places to eat on a trip to the capital is a little Indian tapas restaurant (yes really!) called Imli. You can experience all manner of flavours and end up ordering dish after dish.

One of the most influential chefs working at present is Atul Kochhar. He came to prominence at his London restaurant Benares and has spread his wings to Dublin. His food is, without a doubt, some of the most exciting to be found as he cleverly takes the best of modern British cooking and gives it an Indian twist. His latest restaurant, Vitaka, is located in the Wickham vineyard near Southampton, you can’t get more English than that!

My most popular Saturday morning cookery class is the Curry and Spice Workshop, with all walks of life signing up to cook. Of course you get the occasional joker, who just wants to make the world’s hottest curry, but most understand the subtle layers of flavour you can achieve with the reserved use of the spice kit.

You can, of course, liven up almost anything with the correct pinch of this and that. From chick pea salads, to root vegetable soups and roasts. Oneof Rick Stein’s most popular dishes at his restaurant in Padstow is his Monkfish Vindaloo.

As we move into April my thoughts always turn to lamb, and it’s an ideal partner to some of the more pungent spices. I’m using lamb fillet here, which is the most expensive cut, however the recipe works equally well with rumps or chops.

If we’re really lucky and we get a bit of early sun, this works fantastically well on the barbecue, but am I just being too hopeful? Richard Hughes is the proprietor of The Lavender House Restaurant and Cookery School at Brundall. He is also a partner at the Pigs Pub at Edgefield, Country Life’s Rural Community Pub of the Year, and Managing Director at The Assembly House in Norwich city centre.

www.the lavenderhouse.co.ukwww.thepigs.org.ukwww.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk


Serves four

2 best end lamb fillets (weighing 400-600g each), trimmed of fat and sinew Marinade500ml natural yoghurt 1 large red chilli finely chopped (reserve a little for the onion salad)1 large green chilli, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp ground turmeric 2 tsp smoked paprika 3 tbsp tomato paste Juice of 1 lime3 cloves of garlic, crushed 5cm ginger, peeled and chopped 3 tbsp coriander finely chopped 1 tsp sea salt Cucumber Raita1 cucumber, washed and grated 250ml yoghurt 3 tbsp chopped mint 1 pinch Salt Onion salad1 small red onion1 white onion2 spring onions� tsp red chilliJuice of � lemon


1 Trim the fillet of any sinews.

2 Sprinkle on the cumin, coriander and turmeric.

3 Add the smoked paprika.

4 Followed by the tomato paste.

5 And the yoghurt.

6 Chop the chilli, the ginger and the garlic.