Roast lamb with cumin and fresh mint

Back in 2005 Nigel Slater, an English chef, spent a year cooking and eating with seasonal produce. Out of that experience he wrote a cook book – The Kitchen Diaries.

The book is broken down into months of the year, with a recipe or two for nearly every day. Interspersed with the recipes are beautiful photographs taken in a real kitchen with real dishes and cutlery. And the whole way through Nigel recounts his thoughts about food. We witness his deliberations in the butcher shop or at the market. He makes observations about the weather. He entertains. It’s a great book.

And so to todays recipe – from June 18, on page 198 – roast lamb with cumin and fresh mint.

It’s pretty damn simple and relies on the two condiments that complement lamb so beautifully: cumin and mint.

The final roast straight out of the oven


Nigel suggests any good cut of lamb – he used a shoulder – I used a leg.

  • 1 x leg of lamb
  • 4 x cloves of garlic
  • cumin seeds (2 – 3 large pinches)
  • Large handful of mint leaves
  • juice of two lemons
  • olive oil to make a slush
  • 1-2 glasses of white wine or stock for the gravy


Make three or four deep cuts into the lamb. Cut right through to the meat, not just the fat. Put the meat in a roasting tin.

Peel the garlic and put it into a blender with the cumin seeds, the mint and the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper and blast to a coarse paste, adding enough olive oil to make it spreadable.

Massage the lamb leg with the paste working it into the cuts you made. Best now to set aside for an hour in a cool place and let the paste work it’s wonders, basting occasionally with any excess liquid that falls out. I didn’t have time for this but I would definitely recommend it.

Roast the meat for 45 minutes to an hour on 200ºC or until it’s cooked to your liking. Remember to rest the meat for at least 10 minutes (maybe longer depending on how big your meat is).

To make the gravy remove the meat from t he roasting tray (while it’s resting) and pour in the wine or stock. Bring it to a boil and stir with a wooden spoon working any sticky residue from the side of the tin into the mixture. Let the liquid bubble a little then at the last moment add more fresh mint and check for taste.


The marinade rub ingredients ready for whizzing
Lamb leg with marinade rub ready for roasting

One comment

  1. Lisa Leong

    Your lamb looks truly delicious. I am going to try this some time next week. I roasted 500g of lamb few nights ago. I did it slightly different. I chopped onion, garlic and celery finely with blender and smeared the mixture & honey all over the lamb and let it marinate for overnight. Before I roast it I topped with a lot of cracked black pepper, cumin powder, Szechuan ground pepper, 5 spice powder and pinch of chilli powder .It tastes delicious, the only disappointment is I forgotten to test the meat with my new purchased thermometer

    Bon appetite.

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