I rather enjoy making my own stock for an Irish stew using the bones from middle neck of lamb from which the meat has been filleted. You need a friendly family butcher or a sharp knife for this job. Once you have separated the bones from the meat, it’s worth baking the bones at a moderate heat until they begin to brown, as this adds extra flavour to the stock.

YOU WILL NEED 4lb (1.8kg) middle neck of lamb — which, when boned, should give you about 2lb of meat 2lb (1.2kg) potatoes — cut into bite-sized chunks 1lb (450g) carrots — chopped Sprig fresh thyme leaves removed from stalk Chopped parsley to garnish Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.

For the stock: The bones from the lamb, baked until brown One large carrot — chopped One onion — quartered Two sprigs thyme Several sprigs fresh parsley One bay leaf 3 litres of water.

METHOD Place all the ingredients for the stock into a large pan, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about two hours without a lid.

Strain the stock and pour the liquid into a clean pan, bring to the boil and allow it to bubble without a lid until you only have about a litre left.

Place lamb chunks into the stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes before adding all other ingredients.

Simmer again until the lamb is tender which should take about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to settle for about ten minutes, garnish with a little chopped parsley and serve.