Marinated roast lamb with chickpea puree and garlic beans.

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This was a bit of a surprise HIT! Who knew that simple old chick peas pureed up into a mash could be so awesome together with lamb. Have a go, it’s tasty.

INGREDIENTS:
For the lamb

1 – 1 1/2kg lamb roast (leg, shoulder etc.)
4 garlic cloves (crushed with salt)
1/2 lemon (juice of)
2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or smoked)
1 small red onion (grated)
4 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the chickpea puree

2 400g cans chickpeas
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (roughly ground in a mortar)
30 strands saffron (infused in 2 tbsp boiling water for 5 minutes)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
salt & pepper

For the beans

250g green beans
2 garlic cloves (very finely chopped)
30g butter

DIRECTIONS:
To marinade the lamb, The night before or a few hours in advance, mix all the ingredients together. Stab the meat deeply all over with a knife. Rub the marinade all over. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Cook the meat depending on it’s size and type. For this weight at least for 40 minutes, or longer depending on your taste. While the meat is cooking make the puree and then as the meat is resting for 10 minutes make the beans.

To make the puree. Drain the chick peas, reserving the liquid. Now puree using a hand held mixer or in a food processor. Add the liquid to create a sloppy consistency like a wet mashed potato.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and cook the onions, garilc and cumin until browned. Mix in the puree together with the saffron mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stand back as it spits and HURTS! Remove from heat and add some salt and pepper if you feel like it.

To make the beans, steam for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Melt the butter in the pan and gently saute the garlic and beans for 3-4 minutes.

SERVING:
Serve lamb slices, with the puree and beans. Delicious!!

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Slow cooked lamb shanks

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Picture the scene: winter in England, raining outside, wind howling… the smell of lamb slowly cooking all through a lovely warm house. Something very comforting about this one.

INGREDIENTS:
800g-1kg lamb (cubed or in shanks)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion (diced)
1 heaped tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
1 heaped tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 carrot (finely chopped)
1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
2 cups red wine
2 400g cans of plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons pearl barley
salt & pepper
45g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons parmesan (grated)

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and fry the meat for a few minutes until lightly browned.
Add the onions, rosemary, thyme, celery, garlic and carrot, turn down the heat and continue frying for about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until the liquid almost evaporates.
Add the tomatoes, barley and enough water to cover the meat by about 1cm. Put the lid on the pan and reduce the heat to very low. Cook the meat for 2 1/2 hours stirring occasionally as the barley might stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the meat is very tender.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.

SERVING:
Lovely with pasta or with mashed potatoes.

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Lamb Kofte with Spicy Tomato Relish

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This was a bit of a make up but was very tasty indeed.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small onion (grated)
500g minced lamb
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon corriander powder
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh mint (chopped) or 1 teaspoon dried
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the ingredients by hand for about 5 minutes until well mixed. Leave for at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Divide the mixture into 8 equal parts and shape each into a thick sausage about 10cm long. Cook under the grill, or even better on the BBQ for about 15-20 minutes until slightly charred on the outside.

Spicy tomato relish

INGREDIENTS:
1 zuccini (diced)
1 small red onion (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
200g tomato passata
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil and gently fry the onions and zuccini for about 15 minutes until they are very soft. Add the garlic and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin and chilli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomato passata and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer the sauce for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens into a relishlike consistency. Check for seasoning.

You can eat this either warm or made in advance and cold.

SERVING:
Serve the kofte on a bed of lettuce with the relish on the side, with grilled or BBQ zuccini and eggplant slices and warmed pita breads. You can also pop a few pickled veg on the side if you’re feeling exotic.

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Risotto with Asparagus

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This is a fabulously tasty risotto I made last night. Apparently it’s the “nicest thing you’ve ever made”.

INGREDIENTS:
1 bundle of asparagus spears (10-12)
65g unsalted butter
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Cut the tough ends from the asparagus and boil for 5 minutes. Refresh the asparagus in ice cold water. Retain 2 cups of the cooking liquid and combine it with the stock. Keep it hot over a low heat. Chop the asparagus into 2cm chunks, keep separate the top two portions of each stem as they don’t take as long to cook as the thicker bottom sections. Set aside.In a large frying pan, melt only 40g of the butter and fry the onions until they are soft and golden. Add the large pieces of asparagus and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes until all the rice is well coated with butter. Ladle in one amount of the stock and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir constantly.
Ladle in another and repeat this process for about 10 minutes. At this point, add the remaining asparagus and continue cooking and stirring the rice with more ladlefulls of stock until it runs out (about 15 minutes). The consistency of the rice should be very creamy but not too runny. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the remaining butter and parmesan cheese and season well with salt & pepper.

SERVING:
Serve, drizzled with a touch of olive oil and a fresh green salad.

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Moorish Pork BBQ

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Moorish and moreish… This is an easy one to prepare.

INGREDIENTS:
1kg boneless pork roast
1 heaped teaspoon cumin
1 heaped teaspoon paprika (smoked)
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves pulped with 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh corriander (very finely chopped)
1/4 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the marinade ingredients and rub into the pork. Leave covered for at leat 1/2 hour, but the longer the better. Leave overnight in the fridge for the best results. Cook the pork in a preheated oven 200ºC for 35-45 minutes in the oven or 30 minutes on the BBQ until the outside is charred and the inside succulent. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before serving.

SERVING:
Slice and serve warm with yoghurt and cous cous.

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Fava

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This is a Greek classic. It’s great for a party or for just stuffing your face with while you’re watching the telly. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and a bit addictive.

INGREDIENTS:
250g split yellow lentils
1 small onion (roughly chopped)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
5 tablespoons Greek olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

DIRECTIONS:
cook the lentils, coarsely chopped onion, garlic, dried oregano, salt & pepper in 2 litres of water for 45 minutes until very soft (add more water if neccessary)
Drain, and reserve the cooking liquid. Cool the lentils.
In a blender, blend the lentils to form a smooth paste. Stir in the olive oil, fresh oregano and finely chopped onion. Season more if needed. If the paste is too dry add the cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time.

SERVING:
Serve with warm pita breads.

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Figs & Fritata

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I went to a Ready Steady Cook dinner party at the weekend. I rolled my eyes at the thought of it, but, turns out it was a great night. The idea was that each guest would bring an ingredient which could be either eaten on its own or cooked within 25 minutes.

The ingredients alongside a few staples supplied by the host are then discussed by the guests and a meal is agreed upon. Then all the guests help to make it. It was delicious!

Here’s what we made and a brief recipe for each (If I can remember correctly due to excessive alcohol consumption and memory loss).

FIGS IN BORSH BACON
FIGS & FETA

INGREDIENTS:
10 fresh figs (halved)
2 tablespoons feta cheese
5 slices of Borsh bacon (Canadian bacon)
Salt & pepper.

DIRECTIONS:
for 10 of the fig halves, spread on a small amount of feta and add salt & pepper.
for the remaining 10, halve the bacon slices lengthways and wrap the figs. Secure with a toothpick.
Cook under grill for 5-10 mintes until bacon begins to brown slightly.
Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Pancetta & Vegetable Fritata

INGREDIENTS:
150g Pancetta (diced)
3 tablespoons olive oil
30g butter or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red capsicum (roughly chopped)
1 red onion (thinly sliced)
1 zuccini (halved lengthways and sliced)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 small tomato (de seeded and roughly chopped)
4 tablespoons rocket (chopped)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley (chopped)
10 eggs
Salt & Pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil and fry the pancetta, capsicum and onions over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until browned, add the zuccini and garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes, turn off the heat and cool.
In a large bowl beat the eggs (not too much) add salt & pepper, the chopped herbs and tomato. Put the cooled vegetables into the egg mixture and press down with a spoon to submerge everything. Leave for 5-10 minutes.
Heat the grill to medium/hot. On the hob, In a large metal handled frying pan, heat the butter/oil till it begns to smoke, but not burn. Pour in all the egg mixture. Shake the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Shake the pan to stop the egg sticking. Remove from the heat and place under the grill. Grill the egg for about 5-8 minutes until completely set. Remove and leave to cool.
Serve straight from the pan either warm or at room temperature.

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Yoghurt Marinade for Chicken or Lamb

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If you like something different for the BBQ, then try this marinade. It acts as both a flavouring and a tenderiser to the meat – clever stuff!

INGREDIENTS:
1 small onion (finely grated)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
30-40 strands of saffron infused with 4 tablespoons boiling water
100g Greek yoghurt
1 lemon (juice only)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon powdered cumin
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley (very finely chopped)
black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the ingredients and coat the meat and leave for at least 2 hours before cooking on the BBQ.

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Bruschetta x 3

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This was a simple sunday dinner. I had an impressive hangover from the previous night and couldn’t be arsed to cook. This works well as party food or as a starter too…

9 thick slices of foccacia
1 garlic clove

Toast the bread and rub with garlic clove.

OLIVE & ANCHOVY WITH ROASTED CAPSICUM

6 pitted black olives
5 anchovy fillets
pepper
1 tablespoon roasted red capsicum
1 teaspoon dried mint

Mince the olive and anchovies and add pepper
Spread the paste on 3 slices of bread and place capsicum then a pinch of mint on top

MUSHROOM & RED ONION WITH FETA

1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
2 large button mushrooms (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons soft feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)

Fry the onion in olive oil over a medium heat until soft, add the mushroom and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until browned, take off heat and stir in parsley.
Spread the feta on 3 slices of bread then spoon over the mushroom mixture. Season with salt & pepper.

TOMATO & ONION

1/4 red onion (thinly diced)
1 medium tomato (finely diced)
1/2 tablespoon fresh basil
salt & pepper.

Combine all ingredients and place on 3 slices of bread.

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Italian White Wine Casserole & Italian Red Wine Casserole

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I had a panic on today. A dinner party with 2 hours to notice. So after a sweaty whirl around the supermarket I created not one but two beef casseroles. Due to the fact that I had bought enough beef to feed a small pride of lions.

WHITE WINE CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:
800g beef (casserole steak) cut into large pieces
1/2 cup plain flour (seasoned with salt & pepper)
30g butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
large pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon powdered oregano
6 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsely (chopped)
1 teaspoon lemon zest

METHOD:
Dust the steak in the flour and then fry in a large lidded pan in batches with the oil, butter and garlic until brown. Place all meat in the pan and add the wine, bay leaves, powdered and fresh oregano and cinnamon. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
Add 250ml warm water stir and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours with the lid on for the first 45 minutes stirring regularly, until the meat begins to fall apart and the sauce thickens (add more water if neccessary). Stir in the lemon zest and parsley and serve.

RED WINE CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:
800g beef (casserole steak) cut into medium pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion (diced)
2 whole garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsely (chopped)
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

DIRECTIONS:
In a large lidded pan, fry the onion in the oil until golden. Add the garlic and stir briefly. Add the meat gradually browning it all.
Add the wine, bay leaf, basil, oregano, salt & pepper, powdered oregano and cook till the alcohol burns off. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
Add 250ml warm water stir and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours with the lid on for the first 45 minutes stirring regularly, until the meat begins to fall apart and the sauce thickens. Add the parsley and the sugar – check for seasoning and serve.

SERVING:
We had salad and fettucini pasta.

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