The Little Island Kitchen


As the seasons change, so do the foods on my table. The coming of spring never fails to get me excited for all the bright, crisp tastes that arrive alongside those first few crocus blooms bursting through the crusts of ice and snow. So many beautiful foods just feel right on a springtime table and lamb is one of the crowning glories. With a grassy, earthy, and slightly gamey flavour, lamb is a real treat that goes perfectly with so many of the fresh flavours of the season, and it’s still cozy enough to see you through those last chilly days. What luck that Prince Edward Island is home to quite a few thriving sheep farms!

I source my lamb from George and Melaney Matheson of Springwater Farm, located in Albion Cross and with a stall at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. Their Suffolk sheep are hormone- and antibiotic-free, combination pasture- and barn-raised, and are noted for their exceptional flavour. Many of their lambs are born in April, and they welcome visitors to come meet the new additions to the farm.

Lamb is widely eaten all over the world, with classic favourites like shepherd’s pie and roast leg of lamb being more familiar here on the Island. This month, I’ve played with ground lamb for a truly scrumptious burger that’s seasoned with the herbs and spices of the Mediterranean. The saltiness of the feta and brightness of the herbs, along with the crunch of the cucumber makes for a perfect contrast to the lightly spiced lamb patties.

Diving into the world of spices a bit further, I’ve blended up a careful selection of aromatic spices that draw inspiration from the flavours of India. This curry is glowingly golden, gently floral from the cardamom, and light on heat, though you can certainly amp it up if you wish. Serve it alongside some fluffy basmati rice and a green salad with red onion and cucumber and you’ve got a great springtime supper.

Photo credit: Paige Matthie

Mediterranean Lamb Burger

Serves 2 / 30 minutes
450g (1lb) ground lamb
75g (2.5oz) feta cheese
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
1 big handful fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 handfuls lettuce leaves
Focaccia bun

Photo Credit: Paige Matthie

1. Prepare the patties: add the cumin and oregano to the lamb in a bowl and mix gently with your fingers. Be careful not to overwork the meat or it will lose its tenderness. Split the lamb in two and form into wide patties with a depression in the middle. This will stop them from contracting into baseballs while cooking.

Photo Credit: Paige Matthie

2. Make the feta sauce: remove the feta from the brine and crumble in a bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley and mix together. Set aside.

Photo Credit: Paige Matthie

3. Get your toppings and buns ready: slice the onion and cucumber, get the lettuce to hand, and cut the focaccia bun in half. If using a loaf, cut in quarters and then slice through the middle.

4. Cook the burgers: season the patties with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and bring a cast iron pan or metal frying pan to just over medium heat. Lamb fat needs to be properly rendered or else it can have a chewy texture, so using a medium heat will allow it to cook through without overdoing it. Cook the burgers one at a time for about 3 minutes a side until well browned on the outside and just faintly pink on the inside, or more well done if you fancy.

5. Assemble and eat: spread a bit of the feta mix on the bottom of the bun and top with lettuce, cucumber the burger, another dollop of feta sauce and red onion. The feta mix is very salty so a little goes a long way.
* These are two big burgers, so they could easily be done as four.

Photo Credit: Paige Matthie

Golden Lamb Curry

Serves 6
1hr 20mins active time + 1 to 8hrs marinating
1 kg lamb shoulder, cut into 1-2″ cubes,
excess fat trimmed away
1 ¼ cup plain yogurt
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp turmeric, divided
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne
10 cardamom pods
2″ piece ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated and chopped
2 onions, finely sliced
1 cup chicken stock
Sea salt to season

Photo Credit: Paige Matthie

1. Marinade: Mix the yogurt, mustard and 1 tsp of the turmeric together in a bowl. Add the lamb and mix and cover. Refrigerate for 1 – 8 hours to let the flavours get into the meat.

2. Cook: When the meat is done marinating you are ready to cook. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the remaining spices, including the garam masala, coriander, cayenne, cardamom pods, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems for about 30 seconds until your kitchen smells gorgeous. Add the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt and stir until soft, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the lamb and all the yogurt marinade to the pot and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a rapid bubble/boil and add the chicken stock. Reduce to a low heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, remove cover, and continue to simmer for 30 additional minutes to thicken slightly. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it to prevent it thickening too much.

4. Top the curry with the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with basmati rice and a fresh salad of leaves, red onion, cucumber, shredded coconut and a dressing of yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.