Lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas with homemade tzatsiki

Go Greek this summer with these lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas. Ideal to make and enjoy straight away but also delicious cold as well as freezing well. Dig in for dinner or pack for a picnic! Every for kofta need a killer dip so I’ve given you my homemade tzatsiki recipe too- don’t say I don’t treat you!

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Ingredients- serves 4-6
400g lamb mince
2 medium beetroots- peeled and grated
1 small pack of feta
1 small pack of fresh mint- finely chopped
Ground cumin and coriander
Salt and pepper

For the tzatsiki
Natural Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber- grated
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
Olive oil
Ground cumin

1. Start off by placing the lamb mince in a large bowl and add in the grated beetroot, crumble in the feta, chopped mint and season well. Add 1 tsp of the ground cumin and 1 tsp ground coriander. Work the mince with your hands so it becomes firm and binds together. Decent mince shouldn’t need an egg or breadcrumbs to help it along so give it a little time and form small sausages with the mixture. Place the kofta on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour or until you need them.

2. Meanwhile make the tzatsiki by grabbing a bowl and pouring the yogurt in followed by the mint, cucumber,garlic, a glug of olive oil, pinch of salt and a good pinch of ground cumin. Cover and chill.

3. When you’re ready to enjoy the koftas, simply heat a little oil in a large nonstick frying pan and fry in batches over a medium heat. Serve in pitta bread with salad, pickled chillies and top with the tzatsiki. If you have leftover kofta then they are delicious cooked in a tagine style with a base of tomato- http://wp.me/p4O5jd-e3.

Greek lamb, beetroot, feta and mint kofta with homemade tzatsiki- a summertime winner!

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Greek style shoulder of lamb with foolproof lemon and caper roasted potatoes

Spring has sprung which means that British lamb is in season so get it while you can. I chose to use half a  lamb shoulder but this would work with leg as well. If you are serving a large crowd then simply double the marinade ingredients and use a whole shoulder. If the idea of roast potatoes gives you cold sweats then look no further- these work every time! I served the meat with a red wine, balsamic and shallot sauce which you must try- find the recipe here: http://whatchloecooked.co.uk/2015/04/04/golden-artichoke-and-spinach-gratin/.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the lamb
Half a lamb shoulder- approx. 800g
3 garlic cloves
2 tsps dried oregano
Small handful rosemary- finely chopped
Zest of one small lemon
3 anchovy fillets
Good glug of olive oil

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For the roasted potatoes

Maris Piper potatoes (or similar)- enough for 4
Good glug of vegetable oil
Small handful of non- pareille capers
Juice from half a lemon
Salt to season

1. Start off by marinating the lamb well in advance- the morning does the trick but you may want to do it the night before. Simply add all the marinade ingredients into a pestle and mortar and give it a good old bash until you have a thick paste. Rub the paste into the lamb, cover well with foil and pop in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.

2. To cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 150c/ 130 fan. I set the lamb on a trestle of cut onion segments and a little water (100ml will do) to give the lamb a nice steamy environment. Pop the lamb joint on the top and roast for around 2 and a half hours until juicy and tender. Some ovens will vary so do check from time to time and baste the lamb.

3. For the potatoes, parboil halved potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water and drain well. Some recipes suggest you give the potatoes a shake to mess up the edges however I find that the act of tipping the potatoes in the colander during the draining process is enough. Heat a decent glug of oil in roasting tray and pop in the oven until hot. Add in the potato halves and turn in the oil. Roast with the lamb for around an hour until golden on the outside and fluffy in the centre.

When they are ready, blot them quickly onto kitchen roll to remove any excess oil before squeezing over the lemon juice and sprinkling over the capers. I also like adding a few flakes of sea salt for a bit of extra seasoning. If you are like me, most capers end up being eaten before they make it anywhere near the potatoes so a few extra ones never go amiss!

4. When the lamb is nearly ready, remove the foil for around 10 minutes and finish off to give it a lovely colour before resting for 10 minutes.

Irresistible Greek style spring lamb with crunchy lemon and caper potatoes- a winner this season!

Lamb, swede and feta bake

Think of this as a delicious twist on a traditional greek moussaka! It’s a perfect balance of sweet swede, savoury lamb and salty feta so dig in!

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Ingredients- serves 4
1 tbsp vegetable oil
400g lean lamb mince
1 onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp crushed chillies
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp tomato puree
Splash of white wine
400ml tinned chopped tomatoes
200ml beef stock
1 swede- cut into thin slices

For the topping
50g butter
50g plain flour
500ml milk
1 egg
200g feta

1. Take a large pan and heat the oil over a medium/ high heat. Brown the lamb and remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain any excess fat before cooking the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Add in the chilli, oregano and nutmeg for a further minute.

2. Next up goes the tomato puree to cook out for another couple of minutes before adding a healthy splash of white wine. Wait for this to reduce by half and then pop in the stock and tinned tomatoes. Season well. Simmer for half an hour until starting to reduce and then remove from the heat.

3. Take one large or two medium size ovenproof roasting dishes and lightly oil. Add a layer of the thinly sliced swede before adding the lamb and then another layer of swede. Preheat the oven at this stage to 190c/ 170 fan.

4. You then need to make the sauce for the topping by taking a medium-sized pan and melting the butter and flour together. Stir well before gradually adding the milk. Bring up to the boil and then lower to a simmer and cook until you have a smooth sauce. Remember to keep stirring! Take the pan off the heat (this is really important) and then crack one egg into it and whisk in well to combine. The egg thickens and enriches the sauce so it is a worthwhile addition. Next in goes 100g of the feta and stir well again. Pour the sauce over the lamb and swede before crumbling the remaining 100g of feta over the top.

5. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes before removing the foil and then cooking for another 30 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with bread or greens.

I served mine with purple sprouting broccoli which I had steamed lightly before finishing in a frying pan along with a small knob of butter, panko crumbs, one anchovy and a clove of garlic which complemented the lamb perfectly. Lamb, swede and feta bake- a break from the ordinary!

Melt in the mouth red wine and rosemary braised lamb shanks

This recipe treats beautiful lamb shanks with the respect they deserve. I cook the shanks slow and low in the oven but you could also use a slow cooker if you prefer and leave on for a few hours whilst you put your feet up.

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Ingredients- serves 2 (can be doubled)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lamb shanks- approx 350g each
1 banana shallot- finely sliced
Clove of garlic- crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 anchovy fillets- cut into thirds
80ml red wine
100ml lamb stock
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Dash of balsamic vinegar
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper to season
2 small carrots- finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to. 160c/ 140 fan.Grab your casserole and heat the oil over a medium/ high heat. Brown off the lamb shanks and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and, using the fat from the lamb, cook the shallot and onion until softened.

2. Pop in the tomato puree and anchovy (a little savoury bomb!) and cook out for a minute or two before adding the wine; the wine needs to be reduced by half. Next up goes the stock, tinned tomatoes and a dash of balsamic vinegar (trust me, it works!) and stir well to combine. Throw in the carrots and rosemary and season to taste.

3. Bring the pan to a simmer and then add the lamb shanks back to the pan. Pop the lamb in the oven for 2- 2 1/2 hours (depending on the size of the shanks) until the sauce has thickened and the lamb falls away from the bone. Remember to turn the shanks halfway through cooking.I like to take the shanks out of the oven about ten minutes before the end, take the shanks out gently and set aside before further thickening the sauce on the hob before serving. Serve with dauphinoise potatoes (see below!) and seasonal greens such as kale.

Easy Dauphinoise Potatoes

Potatoes and cream- what’s not to like?! Not one to eat everyday but one to treat yourself to every now and again. You could substitute cream for creme fraiche if you prefer and do try it with a splash of vegetable stock over the top too.

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Ingredients- serves 4
Small Knob of unsalted butter
1 garlic clove- cut in half
800g potatoes- cut into thin slices
300ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan. Choose a large oven proof dish (or a couple of smaller dishes if you prefer) and rub the inside with butter so the potatoes don’t stick to the sides. Take the cut garlic clove and rub this inside too.

2. Layer the potatoes in the dish. Save any smaller slices for the top so they crisp up.  Add a little seasoning to the cream before pouring over the top. Cook in the oven for 50- 60 minutes until the point of a sharp knife goes really through the golden layers of potato. You can also add gruyere cheese on top of you like.

A classic, creamy treat that’s perfect as a supporting act to a whole host of mains. A sumptuous dinner that you’ll come back to time and time again!

Chinese lamb stir fry

Thinking of a midweek Chinese takeaway? Here is my version of a simple but moreish take on a traditional dish from Beijing. Chinese wood ear mushrooms are worth seeking it as there is no other variety like it.

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Ingredients- serves 4
400g lamb leg fillet
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp cornflour paste
20g dried wood ear mushrooms
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 spring onions- finely chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Slice the lamb fillets into delicate, thin pieces and place in a shallow dish or bowl. Mix the sugar, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry and cornflour paste and coat the lamb in it. At this stage, if you like a bit of a tingle then add 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan pepper to the dish, or alternatively drop in a couple of whole peppercorns for a more mellow hint and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.

2. Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in a bowl and leave for 25 minutes. The mushrooms will expand on size so make sure they have room! When they are ready cut into small pieces.

3. Heat half of the oil in a hot wok and stir fry the lamb for 1 minute. Remove from the wok and set aside. Take the remaining oil and add to the wok. Add the spring onions, ginger, mushrooms and yellow bean sauce (if using) and stir well to combine and fry for 2 minutes before adding the lamb back in to heat through.

4. Serve in a dish and drizzle over the sesame oil. I serve this with rice on the side and Chinese greens such as pak choi or tatsoi.

Try this recipe and you’ll soon forget about your local Chinese takeaway! Not a soggy prawn cracker in sight!