Dinner parties are one of my favourite things about winter - getting friends or family together around a meal you've spent a decent bit of time preparing is a great way to spend these colder months. Slow cooking lends itself well to weekend feasts, and whether it's under the guise of midwinter Christmas, or whether you just fancy something rich and comforting, this is a great one to have in your repertoire.

I'm always slow cooking lamb when feeding a crowd, and shredding it with two forks after hours in the oven is always impressive for guests. With vege sides everyone has their own ideas about what to have with a roast - I like to modernise my peas with a tangy herby dressing, and then usually just stick to perfect roast potatoes. You can let your imagination run wild though, and hunt out some seasonal vege sides or salads for your dinner.

The key to entertaining is to do the prep beforehand - I'll happily spend all afternoon in the kitchen getting ready, and then keep it super simple once guests arrive, so you can enjoy yourself with a drink in your hand, with all the hard work is done.

Slow-cooked lamb

Serves 5-7

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2 red onions, roughly chopped

1.5kg lamb shoulder or butterflied leg

Zest of one small lemon

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

5-6 anchovies, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp wholegrain mustard

Small bunch fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped (parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary are good)

Generous drizzle olive oil

2 cups beef or lamb stock

1 ½ cups red wine

Take a roasting tray and lay out the lamb. Score with a knife, rub in the lemon zest, and season well with salt and pepper.

In a small jug, mix together the anchovies, garlic, mustard, and herbs. Add olive oil until you get a thick paste consistency. Pour over the lamb and rub in well.

Place the lamb in a 200C oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour the stock and the wine into the pan. Cover with tinfoil. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C and return the lamb to the oven.

Cook for at least 3 hours, but up to 4, until lamb falls apart. Serve on a serving dish with fresh herbs.

Peas with mint and Dijon

This is a lovely modern take on peas and a simple way to jazz up frozen peas.

Serves 5-7 as a side
3 cups cooked peas
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

Dressing:
1 tsp dijon mustard
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Juice and zest of ½ small lemon
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
Small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup almonds, finely chopped

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together well. Taste and adjust as necessary. Add to the peas with the onion and mix to combine.