A Greek Way with Lamb Chops (4)

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Imagine gathering the flavors that to me conjure up Greek food – lamb, black olives, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon, oregano, feta cheese – and tossing them all together then cooking them in the oven in a large baking dish until the meat is tender and juicy, the potatoes a little crisp, the tomatoes bursting with juice. Dinner party worthy.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

4 x loin lamb chops

1 large onion – sliced

2 large cloves garlic – roughly chopped

8 oz. baby tomatoes – halved

2 oz. black olives – pitted and cut in half

12 oz. new potatoes – cut into 1 inch chunks

1 tbsp. each of fresh oregano, thyme, parsley – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. feta cheese – cut into small cubes (optional – I can eat this as it is made from sheep’s milk. I can’t tolerate cow’s milk)

Place the lamb chops in a large baking tray.

Put the tomatoes, olives, potatoes and herbs in a large bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Stir well, cover and leave to marinate for half and hour.

Place vegetables around the lamb chops and cook for an hour – check every so often and give veg.  astir.

Add feta cheese (optional) and serve.

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Spinach Roulade with a Tomato, Red Pepper Filling (4)

 

IMG_0073A roulade, savory or sweet, always seems impressive – actually it is very easy to make (but don’t tell your guests that!). The secret to the easy rolling of up a roulade is lining the baking tray with parchment paper brushed with oil. The filling is a mixture of  roasted baby tomatoes, red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. As the filling takes more time to prepare, start off making the tomato mixture. This dish is equally good hot or cold.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 baking tray with edges about 12 inches by 9 inches lined with oiled parchment paper

10 oz. baby spinach – cooked and chopped

4 large eggs – separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spinach in a small amount of water, drain, wrap in a clean T-towel and wring till spinach is dry. Then chop finely.

Take the 4 egg yolks, whisk and mix with the spinach in a large bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold into the spinach mixture, taking a large spoonful at a time (there should be enough of the egg whites to make about four spoonfuls).

Spread mixture in a rectangle on the oiled parchment paper. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes check if roulade is firm to the touch, if not return to the oven but keep a close eye on it.

TOMATO AND RED PEPPER SAUCE

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 dry pint baby tomatoes

4 oz. roasted red peppers from a jar – chopped

4 pieces of sun dried tomato

Place oil in an oven-proof dish, add onion, garlic and baby tomatoes. Toss well together. Cook in oven for 45 minutes.

Put tomato mixture, red peppers and sun-dried tomato pieces in a food processor and process until nice and smooth.

Spread mixture on the spinach base taking care not to go too near each end (otherwise sauce will leak out). Roll up carefully and serve immediately.

 

 

Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

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Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and and adds a zing to soups and stews.  This is a vegetarian/vegan dish but can also be served alongside roast chicken or other meats.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped

1 large garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 and 1/2 cups passata

1 cup vegetable broth

4 oz. baby/grape tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add passata, chicken broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach and cook for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (4)

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Growing up in England in the 60’s and 70’s the idea of a salad was a far cry from the salads of of today. The English salad was a handy dish because it was cold. It was sometimes served on Sunday evenings after the woman of the house had slaved over preparing Sunday lunch for the family often when the man of the house decided a few pints at the local pub was in order and he returned home only in time to take his place at the head of the table and demonstrate his carving skills. On Sunday evening a no-fuss meal of salad might be provided and of course it was a good way of using up the cold, left-over meat from lunch. A salad could also be left for the man of the house to eat if his wife had to be out in the evening. Said man didn’t have to heat  anything up as he was left a plate with some lettuce and slices of tomato, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and beetroot from a jar and a couple of slices of cold meat. The dressing was Heinz Salad Cream – still to be found today and, indeed, when there was talk of this product being discontinued a nostalgic furore ensued – today Heinz is still making Salad Cream!

When I came across mention of this vinaigrette the combination of flavors instantly appealed and the dressing didn’t let me down when I tossed tomato slices and chunks of avocado in it.

2 x beef tomatoes – sliced and each slice cut into quarters

1 x avocado – diced

For the dressing:

3 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 largish garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. of chopped basil

Place the dressing ingredients in a largish bowl and whisk together so that they emulsify.

Add tomatoes and avocado and toss well together.

 

Tomato and Bacon Chutney (1 1/2 cups)

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A dollop of tomato and bacon jam was served atop my bun-less, cheese-less burger the other day and it was a delicious surprise. I used maple bacon, but if you can’t find it regular bacon will do. After cooking the bacon I removed it from the skillet and placed paper towel underneath and on to of it so I could get rid of the grease. Then I browned and softened the onion and garlic in the bacon fat left in the pan. That needed paper towel too. The sauce is an interesting mixture of mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Goes well with sausages too.

8 oz. maple bacon – cut into thin strips

1 medium onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

12 oz. plum tomatoes – sliced and then chopped into small chunks

2 tbsp. each of Dijon mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire Sauce

Heat a lidded skillet and when hot add the bacon strips and cook until nicely browned but not too crisp. Then remove from skillet and place between two pieces of paper towel to get rid of extra grease.

Add onion and garlic to the remainder of the bacon fat and cooked until softened and the onions are a little browned. Place onion and garlic mixture between two pieces of paper towel as above.

Place bacon, onion and garlic mixture back into the skillet and add the tomatoes.

Whisk the mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl, then pour into the skillet.

Bring to a boil then turn heat down low and cook for 25 minutes removing the skillet lid every once in a while to give the mixture a stir.