“When you’re cooking for a family you want it to be simple and easy,” says John
“You get all the work done, everything ready in the fridge, get out chops that have been marinating all afternoon.”
John suggests getting kids involved by making accompanying side dishes.
He says: “If one likes a dip, get them to make it, another can chop tomatoes for a salsa or help make some Bombay potatoes.
“Get them interested and have that conversation going as well.
“I have a theory I like to call safe and scary – you make something you’ve never made before but have it with something you make all the time.
“Like potatoes mashed with spring onions served with grilled lamb chops or, if you make rice all the time make a cucumber-yoghurt dip as well.
“Or instead of plain lamb chops marinate them with some lemon juice, yoghurt and curry powder or some general spices then let them sit for a couple of hours before grilling very gently and finishing off in the oven.”
Marinating lamb is John’s top chef tip: “When you marinate lamb with lemon juice first and some thyme you are doing two things, the acid breaks it down and makes it more tender and the lemon starts to cure it and cook it anyway, so if you marinate it will probably be well done by the time you cook it.”
Lamb should be either pink or well done and while a griddle pan is great, a frying pan works just as well.
Seal chops in a pan first so they have colour on both sides then finish them in the oven.
One of the benefits of the recent lockdown was people spending more time together at home, says John.
He adds: “ For me the table is set every night, regardless of whether it’s just me and Lisa or whether the family are here because to us that’s an important time and when everyone sits down and chats.
“I’ve always believed in it as did my father and so does Lisa. In the four years we’ve lived here, there’s probably been dinner on the lap twice.”
The next time you’re at the supermarket or butchers have a look at the lamb shelf and just see what’s there, he suggests.
“A rack of lamb is a great thing to cook with, a shoulder of lamb is brilliant and means leftovers and lamb mince makes the best ever meatballs.
“Try to step outside your comfort zone a little bit,” says John. You’ll love the results.
For more delicious new seasonal lamb recipes go to simplylamb.co.uk