I’ve been quite proud of my expanded dinner repertoire of late. Particularly that most of it does not follow a particular recipe to the letter. For you see, I am one of those home cooks who tend to follow recipes to the letter. I get ansy if I have to change something or leave something out and do not even bother trying to console me if it all goes pear shaped and ends up uneaten or worse… unedible. And yes, those two things are very very different.
Anyway, this is an example of me relaxing the recipe fixation and going with flavours. If I wasn’t watching the fat intake so much I would have lugged over the olive oil for the veggies to roast and then dressed the couscous and veggies in the honey mustard dressing I have come to know and love. But it was delicious all the same.
Lemony lamb with roasted vegetable and couscous salad
- lamb backstrap (as many as you need for as many as you’re feeding)
- lemon pepper
- 1 cup couscous
- pumpkin, cut into chunks
- sweet potato, cut into similar sized chunks as the pumpkin
- eggplant, cut into thick slices (as in, about 1cm thick) and then cut again to similar size pieces as vegetables
- Spanish onions, cut into chunks
- 2 tbls olive oil
- flat-leafed parsley
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 220C
- Coat the lamb in the lemon pepper and set aside while you chop the vegetables and get them cooking
- Cook vegetables for about 30 minutes or until getting some good colour and are cooked through.
- Cook the lamb using your preferred method – I would have used the stove top cast iron griddle, but have been using the knock out the fat knock out the flavour non-stick benchtop griller thingy we normally reserve for toasted sandwiches lately and been pleasantly surprised. For starters, meat is done in 3-4 minutes (as it cooks top and bottom), they get the nice ‘lines’ on them and I’m using a lot less fat in my cooking. And it’s easy to clean. I know! – and then let it rest
- Combine the couscous with 1 cup boiling water (I throw in some stock powder to add more flavour) and cover
- Combine the couscous with the vegetables, herbs, zest and juice
- Slice lamb and serve w/ couscous and green veg of choice. I cooked some asparagus on the grill after cooking the lamb as it is in season here at the mo and absolutely delicious.
As I embark on project boombalardy I have been cooking a lot more with lentils and loving it. This was something I just made up as part of the Festival of Jasper on the weekend which was simply sensational.
Puy lentils with mint and feta
- 1 cup puy lentils
- 200g feta
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
- 1 lebanese cucumber, quartered and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup (or so) kalamata olives
- 2-4 sprigs mint, finely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lime, zest finely grated and juiced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Combine the lentils with 1 1/2 cups water (or stock), bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and lentils are al dente. For want of a better expression.
- Drain lentils and toss with crumbled feta, the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, herbs and zest.
- Squeeze over lime juice and the olive oil and season.
Naturally, if you’re not watching your fat intake with the intensity of the best British train-watcher, you could pour over a few good lugs and a bit more lime juice, but this was very tasty all the same.
So Chef has a new job (here for those of you based in Sydney) which means his going to be home for dinner more nights than not. Two jobs ago this was also the case but I was working full time so it didn’t mean that much. Now, it changes things dramatically. While I always try to rustle up something delicious for dinner, it is a different ‘pressure’ for want of a better word when there are two grown ups at the table. This was last nights effort with which I was pretty pleased.
Sumac lamb with haloumi and chickpea salad
- lamb chops (I used chump chops as I had them in the freezer)
- 1x400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 block haloumi, cut into slices
- mesclun salad mix
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 cucumber, cut into rounds
- 2 shallots, sliced
- handful of mint and parsley, chopped finely
- 3/4-1 cup skim milk plain yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 lime, finely grated rind and juiced
- Coat the lamb chops liberally in sumac, rub into the meat and set aside
- Heat a griddle pan or ridged fry pan (I used our knock-out-the-fat knock-out-the-flavour grill for the first time, normally we just use it for toasted sandwiches and it actually worked really well)
- Combine the yoghurt with the lime rind, enough of the juice for your personal preference (I used 1/2 the lime), sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Set aside
- Cook the haloumi until it starts to give, cut slices in half and set aside
- Cook the lamb to your liking (I didn’t use any oil as the griddle had some of the fat from the haloumi on it)
- Combine the mesclun, herbs, tomato, cucumber and shallots with the chickpeas and haloumi
- Serve, with some of the yoghurt dressing drizzled over the salad
This is Jamie Oliver’s honey mustard and garlic dressing I made last night. I’ve doubled it because I live with a pack.
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
2 tblsp seeded mustard
2 tblsp honey
4 tblsp lemon juice
10 tblsp olive oil
– mix together