A Flavour of Ireland

March 6, 2014 Updated: March 12, 2014

First, an Irish toast: May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

Minted Mayo Lamb

Makes 4 servings

2 to 3 kg (4 to 5 lb) leg or shoulder of lamb
Salt to taste
3 to 4 mint sprigs
2 to 3 potatoes per person
1 large onion
25 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
Chopped parsley and chives to garnish

Heat oven to 160º C (325º F). Scrub or peel potatoes. Rub lamb well with salt, place in an oiled roasting pan and add potatoes. Slice the onion and scatter over the meat along with the mint sprigs. Pour the oil over, cover and roast for two hours, basting from time to time. When done, remove the cover and mint, and return to the oven to brown. Raise the oven temperature to 190º C (375º F) if necessary and when the top of the roast is nice and crisp, remove to a heated serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and chives and keep hot. Make a gravy from pan juices, if desired. Serve with a green vegetable.

Recipe by Joan R. Borin, courtesy of Irish Tourist Board

Irish Cheesecake

150 g (2/3 cup) digestive biscuits
75g (6 tbsp) butter or margarine
1 lemon or orange
200 g cream cheese, softened
50 g (2 tbsp) sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) cream

Crush the biscuits, melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the crumbs. Line a 20 cm (8-inch) flan pan or shallow dish with the crumb mixture and chill.

Wash and dry the lemon and cut two thin slices from the centre for garnish. Squeeze the juice and grate the rind from the remainder of the lemon. Cream the cheese with the sugar, stir in the rind and two-thirds of the juice. Whip the cream until thick and fold into mixture, reserving a little for garnish. Spread the cheese mixture over the crumbs and chill before serving. Decorate with the lemon garnish and the reserved whipped cream.

Susan Hallett is an award-winning writer and editor who has written for The Beaver, The Globe & Mail, Wine Tidings, and Doctor’s Review, among others. She is currently the European editor of Taste & Travel International. Email: hallett_susan@hotmail.com