lavender-scented roast lamb

when we moved into our house (two years ago, next month) one of the first plants i bought for the garden was lavender - i’ve always wanted a garden full of scented plants and it is an absolute favourite of mine.

i’ve used it for cooking with but only in sweet dishes, such as orange & lavender cantuccini, fruit brulee and lemon & lavender madeleines. this summer, for some reason, i got a bee in my bonnet about lavender and lamb, and this dish is the result.

i had bought a packet of the amazing smokey salt (a mix of guérande sea salt, lapsang souchong tea and lavender) from mountain farm and used this, and some freshly ground black pepper, as an initial rub for my lamb shoulder. i added extra flavour, once the meat had been browned, with a paste of dried lavender flowers (ground to a powder), lemon, thyme and honey. i then cooked the meat long and slow until it was meltingly tender.

the resulting lamb had a definite but delicate lavender flavour as part of its outer crust, which worked fabulously well and is a combination i will revisit, probably with some pomegranate thrown into the mix too. we ate this with a roasted tomato and fennel pilaf plus some courgettes with goats cheese and basil.

lavender-scented roast lamb

i rubbed a 2kg shoulder of lamb (bone in) with half a teaspoon of smoky salt (or use normal sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper. the meat was then cooked at 220c for 30 minutes so it browned.

while the lamb was cooking i ground a teaspoon of dried lavender flowers to a powder, in my pestle and mortar, which i mixed with a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves (rosemary would also work but reduce the quantities and chop it finely), the zest of one lemon and two teaspoons of honey. i rubbed this over the lamb after the initial twenty minutes of cooking (see above), added 200ml of white wine and 300ml water to the pan which i then covered with foil.

the meat was then cooked at 170c for 2 hours, by which time the meat was tender and a small amount of gravy remained.