Thursday, 30 September 2010

Feta-crusted Lamb with Rich Tomato Sauce

7 or 8 bone rack of lamb, trimmed of fat then cut into 2 racks
a few thyme sprigs, left whole
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and drizzling
zest 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:
20g pack flat-leaf parsley
1 fat or 2 regular garlic cloves, crushed 
400g can cherry tomatoes

For the crust:
50g feta cheese, finely crumbled
zest 1/2 lemon
pinch dried oregano
1/2 slice white bread (day old if you can) whizzed into crumbs

Marinate the lamb first, put the racks into a non-metallic dish and mix the thyme, oil, zest, garlic and half the oregano in a bowl then rub this all over the lamb.  Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes or upto 24 hours, take the lamb out in plenty of time so you cook it from room temperature.

For the sauce finely chop the parsley stalks.  Heat a large frying pan then add 1 tbsp olive oil, add the garlic and the stalks then soften for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and remaining oregano and simmer for 5 minutes until saucy, popping the cherry tomatoes with your spoon to release all the juices and seeds.  Chop the parsley leaves roughly and add to the pan.  Preheat the oven to 230'c/Gas Mark 8.  Make the crust by mixing the remaining parsley leaves, feta, zest, oregano and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

When you're ready to cook the lamb leave most of the marinade on the meat and season well with salt and pepper.  Then press the crust onto one side of each piece and sit the racks in the sauce with the crust side facing upwards.  Strew the thyme sprigs from the marinade over the lamb and into the sauce, then drizzle everything with a little extra virgin olive oil.  Roast the lamb in the sauce, uncovered for 20 minutes (for pink and juicy meat) until the crust is golden and the sauce is thickened.  Leave to rest for 10 minutes loosely covered so that the crust doesn't go soggy, then carve the lamb between each bone to make cutlets.  Serve the cutlets with spoonfuls of the roasted down tomato sauce and potatoes/rice.

I made this for our anniversay and it was really something special, although I wasn't too keen on the lemony taste so when I made it again I cut down the amount of lemon used.
Toad in the Hole

100g plain flour
1/2 tsp english mustard powder
1 egg
300ml milk
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
8 plain pork sausages
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 tsp soft brown sugar
500ml beef stock

Preheat the oven to 220'c/Gas Mark 7.  Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the mustard powder, with a good pinch of salt.  Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then pour in a dribble fo milk.  Stir with the wooden spoon, gradually incorporating some of the flour, until you have a smooth batter in the well.  Now add a bit more milk and continue stirring until all the milk and flour have been mixed together.

Snip the links between the sausages and place in a roasting tin add 1 tbsp of the oil, tossing the sausages in it to thoroughly coat the base of the tin, then roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Take the hot tray from the oven, then quickly pour in the batter, it should sizzle and bubble when it hits the hot fat.  Put it back into the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the batter is cooked through, well risen and crisp.  If you poke a knife into the middle of the batter it should be set and not sticky or runny.

Soften the onions with the remaining oil in a large frying pan, stirring often until they are golden brown.  Sprinkle in the sugar for the final 5 minutes.  Add a spoonful of flour then cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes so it coats the onions and there is no dry flour left.  Gradually pour in he stock, stirring well to make a smooth sauce.  Simmer for 4 - 5 minutes to thicken then season.  

Or if you can't be bothered with the gravy and have a 27 year old fiance who is still addicted to tomato ketchup, skip the gravy and serve without :)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Salsa Chicken and Cheese Tortillas

4 tbsp hot salsa
2 large flour tortillas
215g can kidney beans/refried beans, drained and mashed
1 spring onions, chopped
50g chicken shredded 
85g cheddar cheese, grated
10g coriander leaves, chopped (optional)
oil, for brushing

Spread 2 tbsp salsa onto each tortilla then evenly top one of them with the beans, spring onion, chicken and cheese.  Scatter with coriander (if using) then sandwich with the other tortilla and brush with oil.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan then cook the tortilla oil side down for 4 minutes, carefully turn over by turning out onto a plate then sliding back into the pan, then cook for a further 2 minutes until golden.  Cut into wedges and serve. 

It taste a lot better than it looks all the cheese was melty and stingy.  For the chicken I just roasted a chicken breast for 20 minutes in the oven and then shredded with 2 forks :)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Chicken Chow Mein

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 large red pepper
5 spring onions
200g bean sprouts
1/2 chicken breasts
3 nests medium egg noodles
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Remove the skin from the ginger and grate 1 tbsp into a bowl.  Crush the garlic into the bowl then add the ketchup, oyster sauce, soy sauce and 3 tbsp water and stir.

Remove the seeds from the pepper and cut into strips, cut the ends from the spring onions and slice.  Boil a large pan of water and drop in the noodles, simmer for 4 minutes then drain in a colander.

Heat the wok and when hot add the oil and chicken,  fry the chicken for a few minutes then add the pepper and cook for a further minute.  Pour the sauce into the wok and stir well until bubbling.  Ad the noodles, beansprouts and spring onions a handful at a time and toss in the sauce until well coated, stirring constantly until the beansprouts wilt.

Serve in bowls.