Last weekend, we decided to celebrate the marvelous weather and the vernal equinox with an Easter preview dinner. We invited over Mike and his photographically talented (and otherwise delightful) fiance, Sara to enjoy lamb, vegetables and bananagrams.

The meal was built around a top round of lamb. After considering a few options, I couldn’t resist the photos that Marc took, and used his very simple, quick and delicious recipe. Marc’s recipe calls for a rub of salt, pepper, cumin and fennel seeds. You then brown the lamb in a cast iron skillet above high heat. Finally, you finish the lamb in a 350 degree oven, until it reaches your desired temperature (this took about 20 minutes in our case). I also used Marc’s recipe for a quick mint sauce. This was very speedy and I promise tastes nothing like mint jelly. You simply whiz mint, shallots, garlic, cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, sugar and salt in the food processor and serve.

Alongside the fabulous lamb and mint sauce, I pulled together a number of side dishes. I recently got my hands on Gourmet Today, which is highly recommended, and used the meal as an excuse to try out some of their ideas. To start, we served crostini with a wonderful chickpea, garlic, and mint topping.  I also made glazed pearl onions with grapes, which are so beautiful that they are the photo linking users from to Epicurious.

We also feasted on minted peas with riceItalian parsley and beet salad with fresh ricotta, and ended our meal with  meyer lemon mousse and chocolate cupcakes.

Hope these dishes provide some inspiration for your  Easter feast this weekend. Thanks so much to Sara for her fantastic food photos!