Take Your Taste Buds on a Flavorful Adventure this Easter Holiday

Take Your Taste Buds on a Flavorful Adventure this Easter Holiday
Take Your Taste Buds on a Flavorful Adventure this Easter Holiday

Fragrant Lamb Shoulder with Sticky Figs, Pistachio and Lemon Gravel

Looking for something delicious and dazzling for your Easter dinner table this year? Move over ham! Step aside roast beef! Award-winning international chef and cookbook author, Chef Mel, aka “The Happy Chef”, has a tender and succulent lamb that pairs perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavors of figs and lemon, while the crunchy pistachios add a satisfying texture. A must-try dish for all foodies this spring holiday!


• 4-8 lbs. lamb shoulder bone-in
• Salt and pepper to season
• 4-8 cups weak chicken stock (this will depend on the depth of the baking dish you use
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric (or powder)
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 cinnamon quill and 3 star anise
• 2 tablespoons chopped dried figs or pitted dates
• zest of one lemon
• 1/2 cup almonds/pistachios/ other nuts roasted and chopped


Season the shoulder with salt and pepper, some of the turmeric and spices and rub into the skin with a little water or oil to give the shoulder a nice suntan! Now place skin side up in a roasting tray with the stock making sure the stock comes at least halfway up the shoulder so it is nicely submerged by half. If you have too much cooking liquid reserve it for later as you may need to top up the lamb during the cooking process. Roast (actually it’s braising) in a hot oven at 425 for at least an hour, remove from the oven and turn the shoulder over, return to the oven for half an hour and turn over again. Cook for another 15-30 minutes to get the skin nicely brown and crisp and then remove from oven. Mix the chopped dates, nuts and zest together. Garnish the lamb with the mixture and serve!

Note: If you have a little more time this actually benefits from a long slow cook so reduce the heat to 325 and cook for 4 hours altogether! It will be falling apart with tenderness!

Recipe courtesy of Culinary Quickies

Chef Mel first made a name for herself in Australia with her popular Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures cooking school — which teaches students how to make daily meals fun and sexy. More recently, she stole the hearts of chefs worldwide when her first cookbook, the playfully named Culinary Quickies, won the prestigious International Book Award, catapulting her to international fame. Chef Mel believes cooking should be fun, creative and rewarding, with a dash of sexy and a pinch of “culinary bling” to elevate any dish.

Want to level up your “chef-fy” skills in the kitchen and create restaurant quality meals? Check out Chef Mel’s Chef Skills Online Course, helping take home, amateur and aspiring cooks to the next level with a series of amazing tricks, tips, shortcuts and hacks you can use in the kitchen.

About Chef Mel

Chef Mel, aka The Happy Chef, is a South African born Australia-based chef who works to teach new and seasoned chefs how to be happy in their kitchens again by cooking with passion and love. Her cookbook, Culinary Quickies, won the International Book Award and was a top finalist in the United States. Chef Mel also hosts the popular Chef Mel TV on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/MelAlafaciVanillaZulu. To learn more about Chef Mel, please visit www.chefmel.me

Culinary Quickies
Culinary Quickies