Feeding a Volcanic Crowd…

Lamb Lagoto with Roast Lemon Spuds and Veg Couscous

Last Thursday night, myself and Niall went to see Rain Machine in The Academy.  During the set, lead singer Kyp Malone (also of TV on the Radio) talked about how the band were going to be stranded in Dublin because of the Volcanic Ash Cloud of Doom currently hovering around European airspace.

Thankfully, the Dublin show was the last date of a three week tour, so at least they didn’t have to cancel any further dates.  However, the six members of the band all had plans to travel on to further destinations in Europe to have a bit of a holiday and rest time after their tour.  However fun tours may be, they are also draining, and I think they had all been looking forward to relaxing and getting back to normality.

I thought about how I would feel after three weeks of staying in hotels and eating out for every meal.  I figured the thing I would want the most (after my own bed) would be a home-cooked meal.

So, after the gig, myself and Niall had a chat with Kyp and Carmen from the band, and Niall asked if they wanted to play at the State gig in The Mercantile the following night in return for a lunch for the whole band at our house beforehand.  They said they’d be delighted.

I hadn’t made any lamb dishes this season and figured it would be a lovely treat for the band to get a taste of Irish spring lamb.  I went for a Lamb Lagoto recipe from Issue 2 of the Jamie Oliver magazine, accompanied by Lemon Roast Potatoes frome the most recent Jamie Oliver magazine (getting serious use out of these mags, I’m telling you!) as well as a run-of-the-mill roast veg couscous.   I also made a Rasberry Clafoutis for dessert served with some double cream.

We made a teapot of Mojitos and had a lovely day with Rain Machine, super chilled out.  I hope it gave them some respite from the stress of touring – and it was really important to me that they had a good time in Dublin as they were unexpectedly stranded here!

Below are the recipes for our Volcanic Ash Inspired Lunch – FYI the Lamb Lagato is brilliant for cooking for a crowd, it literally cooks itself.

Jamie Oliver’s Lamb Lagoto for 6 – 8

Lamb Lagato is a traditional Greek stew and it’s a beautiful way to cook Lamb, or indeed Mutton if you’re cooking on a budget.  Also, there’s a really cool technique involved with the garlic that adds an incredible taste to the sauce, total kick ass stuff.

1 head of garlic, unpeeled

2kg boned leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces.  The leg of lamb is one of the most expensive parts of the lamb, so if you’re on a budget, you could either just go for 2kg of regular stewing lamb, or even half and half.  If you want to treat yourselves though, go for the leg of lamb, but expect to pay around €20-€25 for 2kg of it.

4 tbsp extra virgin oliver oil

1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried mint

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Put the whole head of garlic into a saucepan of boiling water.  Boil for 20 minutes until softened.  Drain the garlic and let it cool on a paper towel.  Once it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze each clove of garlic into a pestle and mortar – they will pop out easily and be quite soft.  Bash them into a rough paste with the pestle.

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan and brown the lamb for about 5-7 minutes.  You may need to do this in two batches as 2kg is a lot of lamb.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and garlic paste.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top up with hot water until lamb is covered and add mint and oregano.  Simmer uncovered for 2 hours until lamb is tender and sauce has thickened.

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the juice of the lemon.  I have forgotten to do this the last two times I’ve made this dish!  It’s still lovely without it, but the lemon juice adds an extra depth to the dish, so leave the lemons next to the stove to help remind you to put them in the sauce at last minute.

This is traditionally served with chips but I went for Lemon Roast Potatoes, which I more or less cut into Potato Wedge shapes.

Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Roast Potatoes for 6 – 8

These are beautiful spring/summery spuds.  My only complaint would be they were slightly dry – I wonder if I didn’t put in enough oil.  Must ask The Daily Spud.  But the flavour added by the lemon and coriander is pretty amazoballs – lovely and fresh.

1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks/wedges/quartered

1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a pestle and mortar

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Parboil your potatoes for 10 to 12 minutes in salted water.  Drain them and return to saucepan.  Put pan over heat and shake the spuds for 30 seconds until they dry out a bit.

Heat the oil in a roasting tin in your pre-heated oven.  Once nice and hot, add your potatoes carefully, followed by your lemons, coriander seeds and salt and pepper.  Toss until everything is nice and coated in oil and all the ingredients get well acqainted with each other.

Put into the oven and cook for 45 – 60 minutes, until golden brown on each side.  Make sure you check on them throughout their  cooking to give them a shake and turn every once in a while.

Fruit and Almond Clafoutis for 6 (8 at a stretch!)

Head over to the BBC Good Food website for the recipe I use for this French classic dessert.  I’m not good with desserts, and this is really the only pudding I can make.  It’s really simple and delicious served with cream.  I’ve tried it with a few fruits and I’ve found that rasberries on their own work the best.  Really yum.

Here’s a nice pic of our lovely lunch guests and myself:

And here’s a shot of Kyp Malone playing later that night at The Mercantile State gig, which was free-in, featuring Take The Money And Run, The Cast of Cheers and Super Extra Bonus Party.  One of the better Fridays I’ve had in a while!


Follow the link to have a listen to Rain Machine’s Give Blood on The Hype Machine.

Categories: Blog Trips, Dinner, Lunch Tags:


  1. Aww! Wow! PS – you were FAR too apologetic after giving me your meatball recipe the other night! :D

    • Hee hee! I just felt so bad about telling you how to squeeze all the meat out of the sausages only to learn you were a vegetarian! Oi vey!

  2. Yum. Looks delish Aoife Mc.

  3. haha – no way – what an exchange – madness – can’t believe he played in hte Mercantile – that’s awesome! Also your food looks delish espcially the pudding – nice one

  4. I’m absolutely making that pud this weekend.

    • You gotta do it Reilly – it will change your dessert making experience. FOR REALZ.

      • Purchased the basics yesterday as well as frozen berries and some fresh blueberries. I’ll try get fresh fruit closer to the weekend.

  5. what a feast! everything looks great, but i love the combination of lemon and coriander on the roasted potatoes.

  6. Oh, wow! So cool! And the lamb, as a Greek man, I heartily salute you, Aoife! I want I Want I WANT NOM!

  7. Your photos always make the food look so delectable! I want to try this recipe! I don’t particularly care for the way lamb is prepared here….

  8. Hey Ben – you gotta try this Lagoto it’s totally amazing. And so flipppin’ easy!

    Hi Susie – thanks for the nice comment! How is the lamb prepared? I presume it’s the Halal way is it? You should try this recipe though, seriously good yum yums and super super easy!

  9. You are my hero. I will now go eat clafoutis. And find some Rain Machine on YouTube.