Moroccan style lamb with spiced cous cous and glazed pistachios

Featured

Lamb is a meat that if often underused in my household but in this recipe it is the star of the show so don’t just leave it for Easter- hit the shops and get cooking! This dish has the perfect balance of savoury vegetables to balance the spice of the harissa, the richness of the lamb, the sweetness of the pistachios and the savouriness of the feta. The lamb can be marinated in advance if you have the time but equally it will also be delicious if it is made just ahead of time. I also made extra yogurt marinade and added some chopped coriander to serve on the side of the finished dish.

Ingredients- serves 4
For the lamb
8 lamb cutlets- trimmed
200ml natural yogurt
2 tbsp harissa paste

For the cous cous
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 courgette
1 aubergine
200g cous cous
400ml hot vegetable stock
1 tbsp harissa paste
100g feta
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

For the pistachios
2 handfuls of shelled pistachios
Knob of butter
2 tbsp sugar

1. Start off the lamb so then you have time to make the rest of the meal as it is marinating. Simply combine the yogurt and harissa in a bowl that is large enough to fit all the lamb cutlets. Season the yogurt to taste and coat the lamb cutlets well. Cover and chill until you need them.

2. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Prepare all the vegetables for roasting by chopping into small pieces that can then be tossed through the cous cous. Place on a large baking tray, drizzle with oil, season and roast until tender.

3. Take a large bowl and place the dried cous cous into it. Cover the cous cous with the hot stock and allow it to be absorbed. Use a fork and fluff the cous cous before stirring through the harissa. Before starting the lamb, make the glazed pistachios. Take a small non- stick pan. Melt the knob of unsalted butter and dissolve the sugar into it and wait for it to start to bubble. Add the pistachios and cook until glazed and sticky. Leave the cool and move onto the next step.

4. When you are ready to cook the lamb, remove it from the fridge and heat a frying pan or griddle pan to a medium heat. Cook the cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are lightly golden.

5. To serve, choose a serving plate or platter that is large enough to hold all the lamb and cous cous. Add crumbled feta to the warm cous cous and sprinkle through some freshly chopped coriander to taste before arranging on the platter. Add the glazed pistachios and arrange the lamb cutlets on top. Finish with a little more coriander if you like and serve.

Moroccan lamb cutlets with spiced cous cous and glazed pistachios- bringing a splash of colour and oddles of taste to your dinner table via the Middle East!

Nduja, red pepper and feta baked brunch eggs

Featured

I’m just going to come out and say it… I love baked eggs! They are the perfect weekend breakfast or brunch that’s quick and easy so you still have plenty of time to read the papers and keep the tea and coffee coming. You can also use this recipe as a base recipe for tweaking as you go. I often add fresh baby spinach or kale and red onion is also delicious but the key is to keep it as light as possible.

Ingredients- serves 2
2 garlic cloves- finely sliced
1/2 tbsp nduja
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 jarred roasted red peppers
Dried oregano, salt and pepper
50g feta
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Take a small overproof frying pan or ceramic dish that is big enough to fi the tomatoes into. Add a small glug of oil over a medium heat; fry the garlic for a minute before adding the nduja to melt into the mix. Sprinkle in the oregano, add the tomatoes and peppers. Season to taste, Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until thickened slightly.

2. Crumble over the feta. Make two slight hollows in the tomato mix and crack the eggs into it. Finish off in the oven until the egg white is set. Serve immediately with plenty of fresh sourdough.

Nduja, red pepper and feta baked brunch eggs- grab your bread and dip until your heart and stomach’s content!

Ultimate summertime salad

Featured

The weather is starting to hot up and thoughts start turning to lighter meals to enjoy al fresco (well, hopefully if this lasts!). If a Greek salad and Italian panzanella had a lovechild then this salad would be the result. It packs a punch and combines savoury, crunchy and satisfying ingredients to create a healthy but filling salad. To be honest this is a great meal to use up whatever salad vegetables may be lurking in the fridge as you can’t really go wrong. This salad is ideal to take on a picnic as you can make the main elements and then assemble it at the last minute to avoid soggy bread disasters or make a big bowl of it to serve at a BBQ to eat with grilled meats or fish.

Ingredients- serves 3-4
150g sourdough bread- cut into bite sized cubed
1 red onion- finely sliced
350g assorted vine tomatoes
Half a cucumber- deseeded and sliced
200g feta
1 tbsp oregano
100g pitted mixed olives
2 tbsp.red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 150c/ 130 fan. Place the chunks of bread on a baking tray so they are arranged in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake until slightly golden and crisp around the edges. Remove and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes. Cut them into a combination of halves and quarters and place in a bowl. Add the sliced onion along with 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar and 3 tbsp olive oil. Season well and  set aside to infuse.

3. In another bowl, combine the cucumber, feta, olives and oregano along with a good crack of black pepper and another tablespoon of oil.

4. Choose a suitable bowl in which to serve the salad and add half of the bread into it before adding the tomato mixture, cucumber mixture and tossing well. Add the remaining bread. Serve with an additional sprinkling of parsley and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving so the brad can soak up the juices from the tomatoes.

Ultimate summertime salad- I promise you you’ll be making this time and time again!

 

 

Roasted vegetable and feta filo pie

Who doesn’t love a good old pie from time to time?! Well this roasted vegetable and feta pie ticks all the boxes but is lighter than a pie you may devour through the winter months. Filo is light and crisp and is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. I have used a selection of vegetables with a Mediterranean vibe but you can mix and match until your heart’s content.

In order to keep the pastry crisp I have chosen to part roast the vegetables in advance so it draws out some natural moisture before popping into the pastry case. Unlike other pies this does not require precise tin lining so think of it as a free form pie that is perfect for pie making novices and well seasoned cooks alike. You will require a pie tin which is around 20cm in diameter which will feed 2 very hungry people or 4 for a lighter dinner.

IMG_20160614_193827

Ingredients- serves 4
1 packet of premade filo pastry
30g unsalted butter
1 tbsp basil pesto
1 aubergine
1 courgette
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves- kept whole
Glug of olive oil
100g feta

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Do check the cooking instructions on the packet of filo as temperatures may vary from brand to brand so adjust accordingly. Whilst this is heating, cut the vegetables into small chunks and place on a baking tray with the garlic cloves, seasoning and olive oil. Toss so they are well coated and roast for a few minutes until beginning to soften.

2. In a small pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Use a pastry brush and brush a little of the butter in the tin. Take one the first filo sheet and lay in the tin before adding more butter to this sheet. Repeat until the sheets of filo are all layered; I offset each layer so they can be gathered more easily to form a crust. If you layer the sheets like this you should end up with a star formation. The last layer should be brushed with pesto so the vegetables will sit on top.

3. Take the roasted vegetables and scatter some of the feta amongst them before placing in the lined pie tin. Gather the loose edges of the filo and you can either bring them into the centre of the tin or, as I did, fold them in to form a crust so you can see the colourful vegetables in the middle. If you do this then add a little more feta crumbled over the top before popping in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the pastry cooking time on the packet) until the filo is crisp and golden. Serve with a side salad and some buttered new potatoes if you like and dig in. The pie is also great for lunch the next day if there are any leftovers but this is highly unlikely!

Roasted vegetable and feta filo pie- a taste of the Med at home this summer!

 

Asparagus, feta and mint frittata

This time of year brings the end of the asparagus season so cue me raiding the shops and markets for what’s left in an attempt to hold onto this glorious British grown vegetable. Green, white and purple- you can’t beat asparagus in all its splendour and each with different flavour profiles so you can choose your favourite.

Frittata is perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner. I have chosen to add Jersey Royal potatoes as well to add another flavour and texture so all you need to do is serve the frittata with a salad and away you go! The frittata is also brilliant the next day when chilled overnight and then served at room temperature which makes it perfect for a make ahead picnic idea.

IMG_20160623_200607

Ingredients- serves 4
300g new potatoes
Glug of olive oil
1 banana shallot- finely sliced
6 large eggs- lightly beaten and seasoned
200g asparagus
100g feta
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped

1. Boil a kettle of water and simmer the new potatoes for a few minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside, allowing them to cool until you can handle them. Slice them into thin rounds and place in a large bowl.

2. In a frying pan that is going to be large enough to hold the eggs, potatoes and asparagus, add a glug of oil and gently fry the shallot until softened. Depending on the size of the asparagus you have, cut them into chunks and if they are particularly thick then you can also cut these lengthways. If the asparagus is a little more woody (as it can be at the end of the season) you may like to blanch it for a minute or so before using it.

3. To the bowl with the potatoes, add the beaten eggs, asparagus and most of the feta along with the mint. Gently mix to combine and add into the pan with the shallot. Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining feta. Increase the heat to medium and cook until set. Towards the end of cooking, fire up your grill and pop the pan underneath to melt the feta until golden. Serve with a salad.

Asparagus, feta and mint frittata- a frittata fit for picnics across the land this summer!

Artichoke, spinach and ricotta baked eggs

This recipe basically includes a whole host of my favourite things! I was sat trying to think of what I fancied for a late breakfast one day this week, looked in the cupboard, raided the fridge and came up with this! I loved how the earthiness of the artichokes balances with freshness of spinach and the saltiness of the feta. Marinated artichokes are a thing of beauty and so versatile so it’s always worth having a jar to hand. This recipe is for one person who fancies an indulgent treat but simply multiply the ingredients to share it with others. If you make it for more than one, I would suggest baking them in individual dishes as you simply won’t want other people to share this!

IMG_20160422_111817

Ingredients- serves 1
Splash of olive oil
1/2 white onion- finely chopped
1 garlic clove- finely sliced
Approx. half a dozen marinated sliced artichoke hearts
Handful of baby spinach- roughly chopped
2 tbsp ricotta
25g feta
1 large egg
Chilli flakes (optional)

1. Start off by preheating the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. If you are using ceramic baking dishes which are quite thick then you can preheat these too. Take a frying pan and heat a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes (if using) and cook until starting to soften but not until they are colouring.

2. Take the artichoke hearts and blot with kitchen roll to remove any excess oil. Slice the artichoke into slivers which are going to be easy to scoop up with bread. Add to the pan with the onion and cook along with the chopped spinach. Allow these to have a minute or so to themselves.

3. Next up goes the ricotta into the pan with a small splash of water to loosen it up. Give this a couple of minutes. Crumble in the feta and stir well to combine. Take the baking dishes and spoon the mixture into it carefully. Use the back of a spoon to make a hollow in the centre of the dish and crack the egg into the centre.

4. Bake for around 15 minutes but this will vary according to the size of the egg you use so do check from time to time. In the meantime toast some sourdough bread. When the artichoke is heated through and the egg is done to your liking, serve immediately. I finished mine off with a few more chilli flakes for a little bit more of a kick.

Artichoke, spinach and ricotta baked eggs- light, sumptuous and one of your soon to be new favourites!

 

Kale, spinach and cheese filo pie

If you think of a filo pie, it is likely that you think of those belonging to Greek cuisine. Well this is my take on the traditional spanakopita! Spanakopita usually includes spinach and feta but I have given it a twist to include kale and halloumi as well to make it even more scrumptious. I have used readymade filo pastry to make this even quicker and easier to make and to serve four people a pie tin which is 22cm in diameter is perfect. The pie also keeps well in the fridge for a day or two and the leftovers are great for a simple lunch.

IMG_20160202_194417

Ingredients- serves 4
1 pack of ready made filo pastry
Glug of vegetable oil
4 spring onions- chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
200g kale- washed and roughly chopped
200g spinach- washed
1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh dill)
100g feta
100g halloumi- grated
1 egg- beaten
Pepper
60g unsalted butter

1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180 fan or according to the instructions on the pastry packet as it can differ from brand to brand. Make the pie filling by wilting the spinach- you can do this by pouring a kettle of hot water over it into a colander before then squeezing out the excess water; set aside. Take a large frying pan and heat a glug of oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and spring onions and cook for a minute before adding the kale; cook until the kale is wilted and keep it moving so the garlic and onion does not catch. For the last minute or two of cooking, add in the drained spinach and dill. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. When the filling is cool enough, crumble through the feta and grated halloumi. Beat one egg and stir through the spinach mixture and season with pepper. You should not need to use extra salt as the feta and halloumi will provide this seasoning for you.

3. Now to assemble the pie! Gently melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat and dig out a pastry brush from the depths of your kitchen drawer! Brush a light coating of melted butter in the empty pie tin before adding a sheet of filo. Filo is delicate so be careful when lining the tin. Brush the filo with more butter before adding the next sheet. Line the tin so each sheet of filo is put in at a different angle. Repeat so you have about 5 layers of filo on the base of the tin before adding the cooled pie filling. Make sure it is evenly distributed and press lightly with a back of a spoon to flatten.

4. Gather the edges of the filo sheets and fold in the centre of the pie tin. Brush with more butter. I then took a couple of extra sheets and ripped and scrunches them up and popped them on top of the pie before, you guessed it, brushing with more butter. To stop the filo from curling lightly sprinkle it with water before baking in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and hot. Serve with a simple side salad, sautéed potatoes or a liberal helping of cooling tzatsiki.

Kale, spinach and cheese filo pie- my take on spanakopita which is fit for a king!