Weekly menu 5

Another menu – wonder if you’re bored yet? I hope some of the previous weeks have given you some inspiration and perhaps tried something new which you didn’t think you had time to cook on a school night.   I can honestly say I am enjoying sharing what we eat on a weekly basis, it somehow makes me feel less OCD about the whole planning meals thing!

Saturday – Indian Shepherd’s pie
Sunday – Rack of lamb with pesto and puy lentils
Monday – Homemade pizza
Tuesday – Chicken and rosemary casserole
Wednesday – Moroccan spiced cauliflower soup
Thursday – Smokey ham and beetroot pasta bake
 Friday – Lemon sole with brown butter sauce

Indian Shepherd’s pie
700 g potatoes

50 g butter
200 ml milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 black cardamom pods
1 onion, chopped
Small chunk of ginger, size of the end of your thumb cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder (mild or hot your choice)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
450 g minced lamb
150 ml lamb or chicken stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 large handfuls frozen peas

Boil and mash the potatoes, using either a ricer or masher then set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cardamom pods and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.  Now add the onions and fry until golden brown.

In a mini chopper or food processor, put the garlic and ginger with a splash of water and blitz to a paste, add to the onions with all the remaining spices and season to taste.  Cook for 1 minute then add the lamb and brown well over a medium heat.

Add the stock, tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil.  Then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid has nearly all gone and only a little is left.  Allow this mix to cool a little and remove the cardamom pods.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4.  Warm your milk, and butter in a pan and season with salt and pepper then add to the mashed potatoes and stir well.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Stir the peas into the lamb mixture and put the whole lot into an ovenproof dish.  Top with the mashed potatoes and using a fork rough up the top.  Put into the over for 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  If you want you can add a sprinkling of grated cheddar on the top before putting in the oven.

Rack of lamb with pesto and puy lentils

4 tbsp olive oil
2 racks of lamb with four bones each, French trimmed – butcher can do this for you or from supermarket usually already done
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
A handful basil
35 g pine nuts
20 g parmesan, grated
handful dry breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 medium carrots, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 sticks celery, finely diced
200 ml Masala
150 ml chicken stock
125 g puy lentils, or 250 g if pre-cooked
handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Season the lamb with salt & pepper and then put fat side down into the pan. Fry until the skin has turned a deep golden colour. Remove from the pan and leave to cool while you make the pesto.

Place the garlic, basil leaves and pine nuts into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a rough paste. Tip into a mixing bowl. Add the grated parmesan and breadcrumbs season with salt & pepper. Use a splash of olive oil and stir to bring it all together into a pesto.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Brush the lamb with 1 tbsp of the Dijon mustard and then pat the pesto mixture on to form a crust, pressing it on with your hands. Put the lamb into a roasting tin and then into the hot oven and cook for 12-15 mins. Remove and rest briefly.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan you cooked the lamb in, and gently fry the carrots, onion and celery. Add the Marsala and a cupful of stock to make a gravy. Add the lentils and follow the cooking instructions on the pack, if using precoked then cook for a few minutes until some of the gravey is absorbed. Then fold through the chopped parsley and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

To serve, slice the lamb cutlets and serve on a bed of the lentils. If you’re not into lentils you can always serve this with some veg and roasted new potatoes instead, and just allow the gravy to simmer down and thicken a bit after you add the stock and Marsala.

Homemade pizza

100 g each strong white and strong wholewheat flour
7 g sachet fast acting yeast
125 ml warm water
5 tbsp passata
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
squirt of tomato puree
1 small ball mozzarella
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves
Toppings: anything you like really, I use cherry tomatoes, red onion, anchovies and olives
Grated cheddar and parmesan to top

Mix the flours and yeast with a pinch of salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade (or by hand in a large bowl). Pour in the water and mix to a soft dough, then work for 1 min or knead by hand for a couple of minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a round about 30cm across. Lift onto a lightly olive oiled baking sheet or pizza tray.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Put the passata into a small saucepan with the tomato puree and dried herbs and cook on a low to medium heat for about 10 mins, it should be a thick consistency with an intense flavour when you are done, you can add a splash of Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce if you like as well. Once cooked and cooled a little spread all over your pizza base. Scatter the fresh basil leaves on top of the passata. Then either cut your Mozzarella into slices or pinch off bits and dot around your base. Finally add the rest of your toppings, nicely arranged so you get a bit of everything on each slice and finish with grated cheese.

Put into your pre-heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until golden and crisp around the edges (use your judgement on the timing may take slightly longer or less time depending on the speed of your oven). Serve with salad or just on its own. [CHEAT TIP: If you don’t have time to make the base or can’t be bothered then use naan bread, plain or flavoured is fine, it’s a brilliant alternative and tastes fantastic just reduce the oven temperature to 200C/gas 6 and the cooking time to 8-10 mins]

Chicken and rosemary casserole
1 tbsp olive oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion , finely sliced
2 garlic cloves , sliced
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
400 g can chopped tomato
1 tbsp capers , drained
handful of baby button mushrooms
75 ml red wine

Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan or casserole dish, then brown the chicken all over. Add half the chopped rosemary, stir to coat, then set aside on a plate.

In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil, then gently cook the onion for about 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic, anchovies, baby mushrooms and remaining rosemary, then fry for a few mins more until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and capers and wine and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then return the chicken pieces to the pan. Cover, then cook for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Then remove the lid and bubble for about another 5 minutes to thicken the sauce up. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary then and serve with a salad or some focaccia bread.

Moroccan spiced cauliflower soup

1 large cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander
1-2 tbsp harissa paste , depending on how hot you like it
1 ltr hot veg or chicken stock
handful of toasted flaked almonds, reserve a few to scatter on top before serving – to toast put into a flat based dry frying pan over a medium heat until golden and they smell toasted

Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add ground cinnamon, cumin and coriander and harissa paste and fry for 2 mins. Add the cauliflower, stock and almonds, stir and adjust seasoning. Cover and cook for 20 mins until the cauliflower is tender. Blend soup in a liquidiser until smooth, then serve with an extra drizzle of harissa if you like and a few flakes of toasted almonds. This is quite a thick soup, if too thick you can add more water or stock to thin it down and put it back into the pan to heat through. Great with flatbread.

Smokey ham and beetroot pasta bake
375 g dried penne pasta
50 g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
450 ml milk
150 ml double cream
150 g mature cheddar or Gruyère, grated
200 g smoked ham, torn into shreds
handful chives, finely chopped
500 g cooked beetroot, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.  Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat add the onion and cook for 10-15 minutes until getting soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute before stirring through the flour.  Then pour in milk and cream. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour.  Turn off the heat and stir through half the cheese, ham and chives. Season as necessary.

Stir through the cooked pasta and beetroot and spoon into a baking dish. Scatter over the rest of the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Could be served with a fresh green salad or in a bowl in front of the telly works too!

Lemon sole with brown butter sauce
2 fillets lemon sole – roughly 150 g each, skinless
3 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
45 g butter, chopped into cubes
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Small handful chopped parsley
1 tbsp small capers
Salt and pepper

Run your fingers over the fish to check for small bones and remove with a pair of tweezers.  Season the flour generously with salt and pepper and spread on a large plate. Coat the fish fillets in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, when the oil is very hot – smoking almost then put the fish in skinned side up and lower the heat to medium.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until golden then  turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes until golden again.  Put onto a warmed plate and cover with foil.

Wipe the pan out with kitchen roll and put back on medium heat.  Add the butter then cook until it is a light brown colour.  turn off the heat and add the lemon juice – be careful as it will splutter.  Then add the parsley and capers and stir well.  Return the fish to the pan and spoon over the butter sauce.   Serve with new potatoes finished in butter and parsley and any veg of your choice.

(Credits: Good Food Magazine, Love Beetroot, Rachel Khoo, Anjum Anand, JJMoola’s Kitchen)


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