Weekly menu 8

Apologies in advance for being light on veggie dinners this week, I am clearly feeling very Meatasaurus at the moment!  The slow cooked lamb recipe will feed 2 hungry people only – quite rare for me to cook for such a small number as I am sure you  have noticed.  Enjoy!

Saturday: Spicy meatballs in tomato sauce
Sunday: Slow cooked lamb shanks
Monday: Cheddar and vegetable plait
Tuesday: Maple glazed chicken
Wednesday: Cod w/ puy lentils and watercress
Thursday: Carrot and coriander soup
Friday: Steak, broadbean and spinach warm salad

Spicy meatballs in tomato sauce
Ingredients
For the meatballs
100 ml milk
1 slices white bread
1 garlic clove
1/4 Spanish onions
1 sprigs flat parsley
1/2 kg minced beef or lamb

For the sauce
4 tbsp Spanish olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 small carrot
3/4 Spanish onions
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tsp sugar
1 glass of red wine
1 tin of canned chopped tomatoes
1 small tin of green peas

Method
 For the meatballs: Soak the bread in the milk. Finely chop the garlic, Spanish onion and flat parsley.  Whisk the egg and mix all the ingredients together in a baking tray and knead this dough with clean hands for 2 minutes (don’t over work it as the meatballs will become rubbery).

Make balls by rolling the mince between your hands and lay them on a baking tray. Roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for 10 minutes at 180C/gas 4.

For the sauce: Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with some Spanish olive oil, then fry the finely chopped garlic, carrot and Spanish onion until transparent. Add the thyme, rosemary, sugar, season with salt and pepper and the glass of red wine and flambé.

Let the wine reduce by half and add the chopped tinned tomato. Cook for five minutes, add the green peas and meatballs and cook all together for another five minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked.  Serve with rice or chunks of bread

Slow cooked lamb shanks
Ingredients
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 lamb shanks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
3 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 star anise
250 ml sherry
500 ml lamb (or meat) stock

Method
 Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Combine the smoked paprika, a teaspoon of salt, oregano, mint, thyme and rosemary in a shallow dish and season with black pepper. Place the lamb in the spice and herb mixture and turn to coat. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and brown the coated lamb on all sides in the hot oil. Set aside.

Sauté the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and star anise for about 10 minutes in the same pan, then turn the heat up and deglaze the pan with the sherry or port. Return the lamb to the casserole and pour in enough stock to cover. Stir well and once it’s bubbling, cover and pop in the oven for 3 hours until tender.

Once cooked remove the lamb shanks from the casserole and keep warm in a low oven. Strain the remaining sauce back into the casserole, pressing the veggies well to extract maximum flavour. Simmer until reduced and syrupy

Serve the shanks with the celeriac and potato mash, kale and the sauce casserole.

Cheddar and vegetable plait
Ingredients
For the pastry:
400 g plain flour
200 g chilled butter, cut into pieces
A pinch of salt
100 g extra mature cheddar, finally grated
8 tbsp chilled water
1 beaten egg, for glazing

For the filling:
 350 g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks
1 courgette, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
100 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
300 g jar of roasted red peppers, drained and torn into pieces
100 g pre-packed chestnuts, chopped
75 g extra mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tsp sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method
To make the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated cheese, then add 7-8 tbsp of chilled water and stir the mixture with a round-bladed knife so that it comes together to form a soft (but not sticky) dough. Knead lightly for a few moments until smooth, then wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes.

Simmer the butternut squash in lightly salted boiling water until tender-about 10mins. Add the courgette to the sauce pan for the final 2-3mins of cooking time. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and mushrooms until very soft. Remove and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 180 C/gas 4.

Mix together the squash, courgettes, peppers and chestnuts and season.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle and trim the edges neatly to a square measuring about 30 x 30cm.

Spread the mushroom mixture down the centre third of the pastry and pile the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and herbs. Slash the pastry on each side of the mixture at 2cm intervals, brush with beaten egg, then fold the strips over the filling to overlap like a plait.

Lift the plait onto a lightly greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer to the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold with salad.

Maple glazed chicken
Ingredients
120 ml maple syrup
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
 4x 200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
Pan roasted parsnips and steamed sugar snap peas, to serve

Method
Place the maple syrup and chilli along with the water in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken. Cook for 6 minutes each side or until chicken is cooked through and the glaze is thick and sticky.   Serve the chicken with the pan sauce, roasted parsnips and steamed  sugar snap peas.

Cod w/ puy lentils and watercress
Ingredients
200 g Puy Lentils
1 Bay leaf
700 ml of light vegetable stock or water
1 Large red onion, sliced
4 x 150 g cod fillets (skinned and boned)
50 g Watercress

For the dressing
150 g of plain yoghurt 
Small bunch of fresh chopped chives

Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon (or two limes)
1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped very finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
 Preheat the over to 220C/gas 7. Place the lentils and bay leaf in a saucepan with the stock or water and bring to the boil. Partially covered with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender. Drain away any excess liquid and discard the bay leaf. Season the lentils with a little salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, spread the onion on a lightly greased baking tray, and roast for 10 minutes. Sit the cod on top and roast for a further 10 minutes, until the cod starts to flake easily.

Mix the lentils with the watercress and the red onion, divide between 4 warmed plates, and top with the cod. Combine all the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the cod to serve.

Carrot and coriander soup
Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
450 g carrots, sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1.2 litres vegetable stock
large bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and the carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in the ground coriander and season well. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Whizz with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean pan, stir in the fresh coriander and serve with a chunk of warm bread.

Steak, broad bean and spinach warm salad
Ingredients
150 g frozenbroad beans, blanched

25 g fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
30 ml olive oil
 100 g baby spinach leaves
 2 lean sirloin or rump steaks
10 ml olive oil

For the mustard mayonnaise:
100 ml mayonnaise
 10 ml Dijon or wholegrain mustard

Method
Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the beans for 2 minutes, drain and when cool enough to handle peel the pale outer skin and set aside. Put the parsley or chives in a large bowl and add the garlic, oil, spinach leaves and broad beans.  Toss gently to coat. Season if required.

In a small bowl mix the mustard mayonnaise ingredients together and set aside.

Season the steaks, brush with the oil and cook in a preheated griddle pan, under a preheated grill according to your preference.  Transfer to a warm plate and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Pile the salad leaves on to a serving plate.  Slice the steaks diagonally, adding any meat juices to the sauce.  Toss the strips in the salad and drizzle with the sauce.  Serve immediately with the mayonnaise and crusty bread

(Credits: Omar Allibhoy, Donna Hay, Good Food Magazine, River Cottage, Simply Beef and Lamb, JJMoola’s Kitchen)

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