Farmersgirl Kitchen

Kitchen Garden Experts – Lamb with Savoury Potatoes – a review

I should be presenting you with Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes, however what you are actually getting is Slow Roasted Lamb Leg with Herby Potatoes.  This dish sums up my difficulty in reviewing Kitchen Garden Experts, let me tell you more…

Kitchen Garden Experts features the chefs and gardeners at twenty of the UK’s most exciting restaurants, hotels, pubs and cafes, focusing on how they produce the best fruit and vegetables to appear on their menus.

The TWenty Chefs include:
Raymond Blanc and Anne-Marie Owens at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Gill Meller at River Cottage, Sir Terence Conran at Barton Court, Simon Rogan at L’Enclume, Tom Lewis at Monachyle Mhor, Jack Stein at Padstow Kitchen Garden, Skye Gyngell at Heckfield Place,  Carina Continti at The Scottish Kitchen Garden and Ruthie Rogers at River Cafe.

The Author is Cinead McTernan, a horticulturally trained writer and gardening editor of The Simple Things magazine.  She was previously editors of The Edible Garden magazine and worked on  The English Garden and BBC Gardeners’ World magazines.

Award-winning photographer Jason Ingram has worked on numerous garden and food magazines.  His published books include the Ethicurean Cookbook.

The Kitchen Garden Expert is a really good read, with lots of great gardening tips and a fascinating insight into the interaction between gardeners and chefs.  However,  I found it incredibly difficult to find many of the recipes that I either had access to ingredients for, or  for which I was prepared to do all the cheffy preparation.  If you have a fabulous kitchen garden full of unusual vegetables and herbs, or you live close to a superb market or greengrocer,  and you have a penchant to cook like a top class chef,  then I think you would really enjoy  cooking from The Kitchen Garden Expert.

Here are a few of the recipe titles:  ‘Paris Market’ and ‘Sugarsnax’ Carrots with Ham Fat Cream and Nasturtium; Sorrel Frittatta, Whitby Lobster with Quail Eggs and Garden Beans; Winteringham Wood Pigeon with Home-Grown Cabbage and Spring Onion, Plum and Almond Tart.  

If like me you are more of a home cook on the run from work to table then you can still enjoy reading the book and maybe make adaptations to the recipes to suit your ingredients and cooking style, just as I have done, so here is the original recipe for Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes and my adaptation.

Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes
Justin Hammett (Jekka McVicar and the Company of Cooks)
Serves 4

2 racks of lamb (6 bones in each)
salt and pepper
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Edible flowers to garnish (optional)

Red Wine Jus
750ml chicken stock
375ml red wine
Sprig of mint
small sprig of rosemary

Savoury Potatoes
120ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for coating ovenproof dish
1.2kg potatoes, Desiree or King Edward, peeled and thinly sliced
250g onions, thinly sliced
4 sprigs of winter savoury
Salt and pepper
500g cherry tomatoes

Roasted Vine Tomatoes
6-7 cherry tomatoes, on the vine
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sprig of winter savoury

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Heat 3 pieces of wood charcoal, each 4cm long, over a gas flame until they glow red.  Create a cup shape from a square of tinfoil and leave on one side.  Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a sturdy, cast-iron casserole and seal the lamb, fat-side down.  Drain off any excess oil.  Put the tinfoil cup into the casserole alongside the racks, and using tongs, carefully place the glowing charcoal pieces in it.  Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  The juices of the lamb should run pink when pierced with a skewer.  Leave to rest for about 20 minutes before carving into cutlets.  Discard the charcoal and skim any fat from the surface of any juices left in the pan.
2. For the Red Wine Jus, simmer the stock with the red wine and herbs until syrupy and thickened.  Add any charcoal infused juices from the lamb to the jus. Strain and discard the herbs.
3. For the Savoury Potatoes, preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the bottom and sides of a shallow ovenproof glass dish or small toasting tin with olive oil.  Arrange some potatoes in a singe overlapping layer in a concentric circle over the base of the dish or tin. Scatter with one third of the onions and a sprinkling of winter savoury leaves, season with salt and pepper, add one-third of the cherry tomatoes and generously drizzle with 40ml of olive oil  Repeat this process three times, finishing with the onions savoury and tomatoes on top. Season and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the tomato skins have darkened and the potatoes are tender.  Remove from the oven; leave to cool for a few minutes.
4. For the roasted vine tomatoes, turn the oven up to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Put eh tomato vine in a small roasting tin drizzle with oil and sprinkle with winter savoury leaves.  Roast for about 10 minutes, until the skins have blistered and the tomatoes softened.
5. To serve, place the roasted vine tomatoes over the savoury potatoes before serving with the lamb and red wine jus. Garnish with edible flowers.

Farmersgirl Kitchen Version
Lamb: Cook your leg of lamb as you prefer.  I seasoned the lamb and cooked  in a roasting tin, covered with tin foil  with rosemary and 1/2 pint of water at 160C for 3 1/2 hours until meltingly tender.
Red Wine Jus: I made the wine jus as per the recipe.
For the Savoury Potatoes: I used small new potatoes and left their skins on, substituted chives for the onions and mint for the winter savoury,  the tomatoes I used were not cherry tomatoes so I sliced them, otherwise as per the recipe.  I added chive flowers sprinkled over the bake before serving.
I didn’t add the roasted vine tomatoes.

The lamb was delicious and I would certainly make the red wine jus again, it was a nice change from gravy.  The potato bake brings a summer flavour to a traditional roast meat dish and would be good to serve at a barbeque.  I would probably use less olive oil and add some stock, so that the potatoes soak up flavour rather than oil.

Kitchen Garden Experts
by Cinead McTernan
Photography by Jason Ingram
Foreward by Raymond Blanc
Hardback RRP £20
Published by Frances Lincoln

If you would like to win a copy of Kitchen Garden Experts complete the questions on the Rafflecopter Widget, there are only two, nothing too difficult.  The competition is only open to residents of the UK.

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  1. Janey
    May 27, 2014

    I don't grow anything of my own yet, but I have plans to. I really want to grow my own potatoes! 🙂

    Jane x

  2. laura banks
    May 27, 2014

    we grow lots of herbs and use them with anything we can

  3. Leanne Lunn
    May 27, 2014

    Tomatoes we use so many, in everything. They taste so good home grown.

  4. Heather Haigh
    May 27, 2014

    I love to grow raspberries and blackberries and make desserts, especially crumbles.

  5. Alison
    May 28, 2014

    I grow raspberries and tomatoes. I try to grow lettuce but the snails don't like me too!

  6. Hazel Christopher
    May 28, 2014

    I'm growing potatoes and onions at the minute, we love to cook using potatoes as they're so versitile 🙂

  7. Jane Willis
    June 1, 2014

    My husband does the growing, we both do the cooking – herbs, salads, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cucumbers, PSB, beetroot, radishes and much more

  8. Anonymous
    June 2, 2014

    I have potatoes growing (slightly out of control!) so I'm looking forward to doing something with those. Foxes dug everything else up unfortunately…

  9. kj19
    June 5, 2014

    we used to grow so much stuff salad, fruit veg but not past 2 years, .. I love to cook my own produce

  10. Mary Chez
    June 5, 2014

    We grow tomatoes , potatoes and runner beans

  11. Anonymous
    June 8, 2014

    me and mum have done our first veggie this year!!for space reasons weve used grow bag and pots and they have gone from two,3,5.6 now 7 grow bags!!beetroot,carrots,tomatos,green beans im very excited.

  12. Tracey Peach
    June 9, 2014

    I have not started to grow anything yet but hope to start soon.

  13. Tracy K Nixon
    June 9, 2014

    We grow lots of veg and I especially enjoy cooking with the different varieties of tomatoes!

  14. mummy24
    June 9, 2014



  15. Jessica Wilde
    June 9, 2014

    Beetroot… tomatoes… onions… radishes… Anything really! 🙂

  16. Barbara Handley
    June 9, 2014

    I live in a flat so space is limited to growing tomatoes and herbs for now.

  17. Kat Lucas
    June 9, 2014

    Love growing fresh tomatoes as so many uses from fresh to making salsa or sauces with the over ripe ones.

  18. Lorraine Tinsley
    June 9, 2014

    Runner beans at the moment, we did plant loads more, but they got eaten 🙁

  19. Chanette Kennedy
    June 9, 2014

    Corn, Cauliflower and Carrots growing in a Belfast sink in the garden at the moment 🙂

  20. Charlie Wand
    June 9, 2014

    We have grown most things to various success the best are peas.

  21. Victoria
    June 9, 2014

    cant go wrong with carrots!

  22. Caroline
    June 9, 2014

    Herbs is my thing. I grow so much in the summer that I can dry enough to last me through the winter. I use a lot of homemade pestos in my cooking and love making roast veg with rosemary or lemon thyme.

  23. Adeinne
    June 9, 2014

    I would like to grow tomato's so i can make my own tomato sauce

  24. Liz Harbron
    June 10, 2014

    Courgettes, potatoes, tomatoes, broad beans, runner beans, peas and onions always seem to grow well and are versatile in cooking 🙂

  25. Holly Smith
    June 10, 2014

    I'd love to grow my own Potatoes

  26. Christine Dodd
    June 10, 2014

    I've been growing a yellow courgette variety which is really versatile for cooking

  27. kris
    June 10, 2014


  28. clair downham
    June 10, 2014

    strawberries and blueberries the kids love them

  29. Mia Fergusson
    June 10, 2014

    I like to grow and cook my own herbs.

  30. Fiona Mallard
    June 11, 2014

    I love to grow chillies, and I use them in almost everything

  31. pepicola
    June 13, 2014

    I love growing my own vegetables, but home grown sweetcorn is probably my favourite – it tastes completely different to that which you buy in the supermarket

  32. Louise A
    June 14, 2014

    love growing herbs, which I use in cooking and to make the house smell nice

  33. Amanda Mallows
    June 14, 2014

    I love to grow my own tomatoes and basil, they taste so different from those bought in the shops and make a fabulous Tomato, Bail and Feta Salad.

  34. Manda Louise
    June 15, 2014

    We grow Strawberries and Rhubard,and we have a Bramley Apple Tree,perfect for making Apple and Strawberry or Rhubard Crumble for pudding on Sunday 🙂

  35. Sisley White
    June 16, 2014

    I'm growing tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and spinach this year. It is so satisfying growing something at home and it tasting so great. I haven't heard of this book but I'd love to get it after reading your review.

  36. Catherine Harper
    June 17, 2014

    Currently growing in my garden are potatoes (2 varieties), courgettes and tomatos. Looking forward to lots of salads is the coming weeks.

  37. fozia Akhtar
    June 17, 2014

    Tomatoes to use in my tomato tarts

  38. Solange
    June 20, 2014


  39. lisa chappell
    June 20, 2014

    i love to grow and cook tomatoes and green beans <3

  40. Amy Beckett
    June 21, 2014


  41. Val Swift
    June 22, 2014

    I like to grow herbs and salad

  42. Esme Mccrubb
    June 22, 2014

    I have some potatoes and tomatoes growing at the moment

  43. sarahbox
    June 23, 2014

    Yellow courgettes.

  44. weir shane
    June 24, 2014

    we grow lots of herbs and use them with anything we can

  45. Louise Lumsden
    June 26, 2014

    we've started a small garden again this year after a few years break,due to disappointing weather,year after year as our garden doesn't really get much sunshine as rule, but this year luckily for us we've had brilliant weather so far so it's very encouraging.At the moment we've got new potatoes,peas, kale, leeks a good selection of herbs, lettuce, rocket and also have apple trees, a blackcurrant bush and a rhubarb patch. hoping to extend and grow even more next year.

  46. faye huntington
    June 26, 2014

    tomatoes ! 🙂 faye x

  47. pompeypaul25
    June 26, 2014

    I like to grow tomatoes and chillies (and berries) I have a BHUT JOLOKIA CHOCOLATE growing at the moment – described as 'An extremely rare and hard to obtain chocolate coloured natural variation of the world's hottest chilli pepper with all the heat characteristics of the orange/Red variety but with a much sweeter highly prized flavor' Not surprisingly I like to cook spicy food 🙂

  48. flamez
    June 26, 2014

    rocket !

  49. Lani Nash
    June 26, 2014

    I love to grow green beans and using them in casseroles

  50. denise s
    June 27, 2014

    tomatoes and chillies to make lots of passata and chillijam

  51. Lady Chelington
    June 27, 2014

    i love growing fresh herbs. They add such fabulous flavour to my dishes.

  52. Patricia Avery
    June 27, 2014

    Mainly veg (peas, potatoes, carrots, leeks, beetroot, sweet corn, squashes and tomatoes) but we also harvest raspberries from June until the first frosts. Nothing beats growing, cooking and eating produce freshly picked from our garden 🙂

  53. Susan
    June 27, 2014

    I don't currently grow anything but I'd like to try growing courgettes