BRITISH lamb is the perfect meat for Easter weekend and navarin of lamb the perfect dish to cook a day in advance.

It saves the cook work on the day, and allowing the dish to sit in the refrigerator overnight enhances its flavour.

There are so many different ways to cook this classic dish, which celebrates both spring lamb and spring vegetables.

Many recipes call for a thick sauce flavoured with tomato paste, but I prefer to follow Raymond Blanc's example and allow the flavours to interact without tomato or thickening.

This dish is thought to be named after the turnip (navet in French) as originally it was the main accompanying vegetable.

For four generous portions, you will need: Two lamb fillets Half-dozen baby carrots trimmed, or two large carrots cut into 5mm slices 12 shallots - peeled One large leek - cut lengthways and chopped into small pieces Two small turnips, peeled and cut into small segments One bouquet garni (one sprig rosemary, two bay leaves, two sprigs fresh thyme and two sprigs parsley tied together) One clove garlic - coarsely chopped Little oil to fry lamb One litre (1 pts) boiling water One tspn vegetable bouillon powder Salt and freshly-ground black peppercorns to season NOTE: Small whole waxy potatoes can be added if you wish Method: Slice the lamb fillets into medallions Heat a little oil in large frying pan and fry medallions on both sides until they begin to brown Remove from pan and pat medallions with kitchen paper to remove oil Place lamb in large casserole dish, cover with the boiling water, adding bouquet garni, seasoning, garlic and vegetable bouillon powder, and allow to simmer gently at back of stove for about 30 minutes with lid on. Avoid letting the pot boil as it will toughen the meat Add remaining vegetables and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the meat is tender Check seasoning and remove bouquet garni if serving immediately. If using next day, cool and refrigerate, leaving the bouquet garni in to infuse more flavours overnight Garnish with chopped parsley if you wish.