We got back from France on Tuesday and the house has been upside down ever since (even more so than usual!). Culinary highlights since our return include beans on Toast (not sure why I've given 'Toast' a capital T, but I think it's worthy of one nevertheless, or maybe Nigel Slater is to blame!). Fish Fingers have been liberated from the freezer, and a lot of breakfast cereal has been eaten! I sort of got back on track with a risotto last night, although I did it with no onions or garlic due to an empty fridge! Anyway, it was time to eat some proper food!
Having made the decision to eat well again, I then had to contend with the daily battle of ambition vs reality! 2 trips to the doctor's later I was short on precious time! I needed a recipe which involved little technique, time or effort but still tasted great, no pressure! After fighting my way past mobile phone sales teams/charity teams, I made it inside the supermarket with absolutely nothing in my head! The main concern was getting in and out before Sophie woke up, plus the problem of only being able to buy what I could fit into the bottom of her pram!
I saw nice looking tomatoes on the vine, fresh thyme, rosemary and some garlic; under the pram they went! Along with pea shoots, rocket, corn on the cob, cauliflower, dwarf beans....still no idea what to make but being very careful not to the let the pram come to a halt for fear Sophie would wake up! It wasn't until I navigated over to the meat that I knew what I was going to make. The lamb looked great and a 'special offer' sticker always appeals! (How expensive is everything at the minute?!) Knowing what I had under the pram I knew that a quick trip to the cheese aisle was all that I needed to complete the meal and get the hell out of there! (Sophie woke up at the checkout, not a tear in sight despite having just had her first injections, what a trooper!).
Chump (rump) of lamb is my favourite cut; it's got the perfect ratio of flavour to tenderness and a 'healthy' amount of fat!
|Desert Island Cut!|
Lamb works so well with feta cheese; I've loved this combination since a holiday to Crete a few years ago. The best meal we had in Crete was a roast leg of lamb cooked in a wood-fired oven; the menu stated that it was served with 'Feta in the Oven'. We didn't know what to expect from this but the result was stunning, so simple but a perfect compliment to the lamb. It turned out to be baked tomatoes with cubes of feta, oregano and a large amount of olive oil on top. The charred feta was a natural seasoning to the tomato, and the juices from the tomato had made a sauce with the olive oil, it just works!
I knew that this meal was as much an assembly of ingredients as anything and then shoved in the oven, just what I needed! So here it is, a return to form and on the table in under 45 minutes!
Lamb Chump Chops with 'Feta in the Oven' and Roasties.
3 Lamb Chump Chops
4 Potatoes (peeled and diced)
Tomatoes on the vine (use your favourite)
100g Feta Cheese
2 cloves of Garlic
1. Preheat Oven to 220C. Put a frying pan on a low flame to heat up whilst you peel and dice the potatoes.
2. Add a good amount of olive to the pan and then add your potatoes, season generously with salt.
3. As they sizzle away, remove skins from garlic and rub over the lamb chops (if you haven't done this before you'll be amazed how much flavour it adds!), then add the garlic to the potatoes along with a couple of sprigs of rosemary.
|Dice them small so no par-boiling is necessary!|
4. Continue to let them cook on the hob, stirring every now and again whilst you prep the feta.
5. Place your tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, add a couple of sprigs of thyme (use sparingly as too much thyme is awful, no pun intended!), cut your feta into cubes and place on top, along with a sprinkling of oregano and a generous glug of olive oil.
|This also makes a great simple starter with some crusty bread.|
6. Place your feta and potatoes into the oven.
7. Season your lamb with salt and pepper, rub with olive oil and colour in a hot pan for around 3 minutes each side until well browned, add a few sprigs of rosemary while it's browning.
8. Take your potatoes out of the oven and place the lamb on top (chump really benefits from a bit of oven time to get that fat melting all the way through, plus it will flavour the potatoes beautifully). I remove the rosemary at this point before it goes black!
|Meat and spuds, harmony is restored (to my culinary world at least!).|
9. Return to the oven and roast until the lamb is medium-medium well (i'm not a fan of rare lamb), and the feta is golden. You can squash the caramelised garlic and stir into potatoes or discard it, your call!
10. Serve it all as you see fit! I removed the lamb to a plate and topped with some pea shoots (dressed with some of the oil from the feta), and placed the potatoes into a dish for a 'help yourself' service!
|This could be the best bit!|
What are your 'little effort, big reward' dishes? You can never have too many! Give this one a go, it's a winner!