Mother’s Mint Sauce
Whenever my mother, the great cook, serves roast lamb it comes with homemade (and homegrown) mint sauce. So simple and quick and best made ahead of time and left so flavor can develop but essential to a Sunday joint and chops too (along with redcurrant jelly) I asked how she made it – fresh mint, sugar and red wine vinegar – but no quantities were given. She just goes by taste. Here are approximate amounts.
2 tbsp. fresh mint – finely chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar (and more if needed)
Combine chopped mint and red wine vinegar.
Add sugar, stir and taste (adding more sugar if needed)
Lime Garlic Shrimp
These shrimp are versatile. You can put them in a salad, serve them hot or cold and I like to serve them on a toothpick as an hors d’oeuvres as well. I use wild caught shrimp only (too many horrors about the farm raised ones), so they are a treat. I buy them frozen, de-frost them in hot water, cook in olive oil to which finely chopped garlic has been added and squeeze over freshly squeezed lime juice.
12 shrimp (American size and preferably wild) – defrosted, if necessary
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Heat oil in a skillet and, when sizzling, add garlic. Turn down heat and cook for a few minutes.
Add shrimp and lime juice and cooked till shrimp are nice and pink and cooked through – about 10 minutes.
Cucumber Rounds with Guacamole
A very, very simple hors d’oeuvre which will satisfy vegetarians and vegans and the rest of the guacamole can be served with corn chips. You can check out my recipe for guacamole or you can buy it from the supermarket or, in my case, freshly made at the Farmer’s Market.
All you need to do is slice an English cucumber (no seeds) and spread guacamole on it.
Experimented with family – sons went for guac. and chips. Me, husband and girlfriend went with the cucumber option!
Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Dressing
At Joy Noodles in West Palm Beach, Florida they serve this dressing over thin slices of poached chicken and a salad of crisp lettuce, tomatoes, julienned carrots and cucumber. It is heavenly! I came up with my version of it and it tasted good. Have never used coconut milk in a salad dressing before but it works.
1/3 cup of lite coconut milk
1/3 tsp. fish sauce
1″ fresh ginger grated
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
2″ fresh lemongrass – finely chopped
Place all ingredients in food processor. Let dressing stand for a bit before serving to let flavor develop.
Braised Spring Vegetables (serves 4)
This mixture of veg. is bright and colorful and will go well with my spring lamb for Easter. The key thing is not to overcook the veg and to figure out which to add in what order. First into the veg. broth go the carrots thinly sliced, followed by snowpeas/mangetout, then asparagus tips and zucchini/courgettes and lastly peas and sweetcorn (I used frozen but fresh would be lovely). The whole process takes 10 minutes or so.
1 large carrot – thinly sliced
Good handful of snowpeas – topped and tailed
8 oz baby asparagus – but just use the tips
1 zucchini – sliced and then cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
1 cup veg. broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour broth into skillet and when boiling add carrots. Turn down heat so carrots are simmering and cook for 5 minutes.
Add snowpeas and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add rest of ingredients and cook for a couple more minutes until just tender.
Season and serve.