The perfect Easter roast - how to cook lamb, crispy roast potatoes and homemade mint sauce

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Roast lamb is perfect for an Easter Sunday dinner

Easter isn't all about the sweet treats. While munching on chocolate  eggs and hot cross buns is all part of the fun, the main event has to be  the Sunday roast.

Sitting down to eat with family and friends is a tradition for many  households over the long Bank Holiday weekend - and roast lamb served  with mint sauce or a red wine gravy, some crispy roast potatoes and  seasonal vegetables is the perfect Easter feast.

Whether you're having a small celebration at home with your family or  inviting the whole neighbourhood over for a slap-up meal, it's important  to get the basics right. Timings, temperatures and, of course, those  all-important ingredients are key to getting your guests' tastebuds  tingling.

The lamb

Award-winning butcher Jerry O'Leary, from Cork in Ireland, revealed to RSVP Live that there are two common mistakes people make when cooking lamb.  Firstly, you should never put lamb from the fridge straight into the  oven as it won't cook evenly. Make sure you're meat has been out of the  fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Secondly, you should opt for a bone-in joint rather than a boneless one.  "Don’t imagine the boneless roasts are better because they’re easier to  cut," he said. "Don’t miss out on the flavour from the bone and let’s  be honest they look more impressive too."

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When it comes to cooking time, he suggests 25 minutes per pound of meat  at 180C. Once cooked, you can then transfer the joint into a serving  dish, cover it in foil and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before  serving it up.

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If you've got the time, Gareth Crosby, head chef at Shutters restaurant  in Canary Wharf, suggests a longer cooking time for the ultimate  slow-roasted Easter lamb. He believes a whole lamb shoulder is best and  it needs to be in the oven for more than a few hours,

"The best seasoning is crushed garlic rubbed all over, then drizzled  with lemon juice," he said. "The lemon really helps cut through the  fattiness of the lamb."

He also suggests placing peeled onions cut in half and whole carrots  underneath the lamb to catch all the juices during cooking. "Cook it  slow and low about 140 or 150 degrees and it will stay in there a good  four or five hours," he said. "The meat will fall off the bone."

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Roast potatoes

A roast dinner just isn't complete without a large dish of perfectly  roasted potatoes - crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy in the  middle. Chef Darina Allen has shared her top tips on how to make the  perfect roasties, as well as the mistakes you need to avoid,

Roast potatoes

First up, never use new potatoes. Good-quality dry, floury potatoes  such as Golden Wonders or Kerr’s Pinks are your best bet, according to  Darina. For best results, peel the potatoes just before roasting,  but resist the temptation to soak them in water as they should be dry  before cooking for the best results. If you don't dry your potatoes off,   even when tossed in fat or oil, they will stick to the roasting tin.

You'll need to use a good oil or fat to cook them in. Darina says roast  potatoes can be cooked in extra virgin olive oil, top-quality sunflower  oil, duck fat, goose fat, pork fat (lard) or beef dripping. Each gives a  delicious but different flavour.

Once you've tossed the potatoes in your chosen fat, you're ready to  roast. Cook them in a hot oven (200°C/400°F/gas mark 6) for 30 to 60  minutes, depending on their size.