Garlic, lemon and herb slow roasted lamb

If you think that slow roasting meat means having to be tied to the oven all day then think again! Lamb shoulder is the perfect cut to pop in the oven whilst you carry on about your daily business before coming back to it later when it’s tender and succulent. Slow roasting brings out the best of the flavour whilst keeping ingredients simple and fresh.

I used half a lamb shoulder which will comfortably feed four but if you have more people to serve than buy a whole shoulder and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Remember that lamb tastes better if you have time to marinade it in advance but also don’t keep it in the fridge up until the minute you want to cook it- let it rest at room temperature for about an hour.

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Ingredients- serves 4
Half a lamb shoulder
1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic (or more if you are a garlic fiend!)
Fresh thyme and oregano- dried will work too
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
200ml dry white wine

1.Start the day before if you can so the flavours of the marinade get plenty of time to work their magic. Peel the garlic cloves and cut into halves or thirds, depending on their size. Make incisions into the lamb and slide a piece of garlic into each one. Rub the herbs, oil and seasoning into the lamb all over. I then pared some lemon zest and scattered it all around the lamb before squeezing over a little of the juice. Cover the lamb and pop in the oven to do its thing!

2. When you are ready to cook, bring the lamb up to room temperature and preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. This may seem like a high oven but this is only for the first stage of cooking so don’t despair! Transfer the lamb to a roasting tray with its lemon and all and place on parchment paper. Bring the sides of the paper up before sloshing in a glass of white wine (you could also use water) and wrap loosely. Cook at 200c/ 180fan for 10 minutes before lowering the oven to 150c/ 130fan. Check the timings on the lamb you buy but for half a shoulder you are looking at around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Some recipes will tell you uncover the lamb for the last hour of cooking but I don’t find this is necessary and I prefer to keep it covered to look in all the flavour.

When the lamb is ready the juices will run clear. Allow to rest before carving and enjoy with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Keep an eye out for little slivers of beautifully sweet roasted garlic- don’t waste them!

Slow roasted lamb with garlic, lemon and herbs- a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

 

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Prawn, courgette and tomato penne

During the autumn and winter months our dinner tables are full of rich, decadent dishes but sometimes a break from this is needed so this prawn and courgette pasta does the trick. The idea behind this came following a recent trip to Italy where they served a similar pasta dish which was light and oh so moreish. Take a leaf from the Italian’s book and keep the sauce as light as possible. I used raw king prawns to make sure they stay juicy when cooked; you can use a combination of king prawns and smaller prawns if you like but throw in the smaller prawns later in cooking so they don’t dry out.

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Ingredients- serves 2
200g penne
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped or crushed
1 banana shallot- finely chopped
60ml dry white wine
1 small courgette- deseeded and chopped
100g baby plum tomatoes- halved or quartered depending on size
200g raw king prawns- deveined
2-3 tbsp. low fat crème fraiche
Fresh lemon
Handful of fresh basil

1. Get going by bringing a large pan of water to the boil and cook the penne according to packet instructions; aim for an al dente finish. Drain well and set aside whilst you make the sauce.

2. Take a frying pan and add a glug of olive oil. Cook the garlic and shallot until it is softening but make sure it does not turn golden. Add the courgette and tomatoes and cook for a further minute or so. Pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Reduce the heat to low and stir through the crème fraiche before adding in the prawns. Simmer until the prawns turn a gorgeous blush pink before finishing off with a sprinkling of fresh torn basil and a squeeze of lemon juice to lift the flavours. Remember you can adjust the creaminess of the sauce by adding more crème fraiche or loosening up the sauce with a splash of water if you find it becomes too thick.

Prawn and courgette penne- quick, light and a cinch to make!

Garithes youvetsi- Greek baked prawns with tomato and feta

Garithes youvetsi is a typical Greek dish which is quick, easy and is perfect for entertaining or for a quiet night in. I can hear you thinking that the salty feta surely doesn’t go with delicate, sweet prawns but think again! With the careful balance of prawn to feta you can’t go wrong! I have used raw peeled king prawns for ease and to avoid having to cover myself in tomato sauce when trying to remove the shell but it’s up to you. Find a good quality feta that is both sharp and salty; avoid so called salad cheese at all costs! Feel free to pop in a couple of extra ingredients such as some baby spinach leaves or roasted red pepper for an added twist.

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Ingredients- serves 2
350g raw king prawns- deveined
Olive oil
1 onion- finely chopped
1 garlic clove- finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
6 fresh vine tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes
Fresh oregano and parsley
100ml dry white wine
100g feta

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160fan ready to receive the prawns later on. Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil in a saucepan and warm over a low heat. Cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they soften and release their flavour. Stir through the cumin and cook for a further minute.

2. Next up goes the tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes then dice them; you can remove the seeds and skin if you like. Add the wine and away it goes! Most recipes that call for wine put it in the base of the recipe but many Greek dishes add it into the sauce directly; of course, if you’re feeling daring then you can add a splash of ouzo! Turn the heat up to medium and simmer until most of the liquid has reduced. Add in the oregano and half of the parsley and season to taste. If you wanted to add in a little spinach or red pepper then this would be the time to add it in.

3. Take two ovenproof baking dishes to each person has their own to dig into. Place the prawns at the bottom of the dishes before dividing the tomato sauce between the dishes and placing over the prawns. Crumble the feta over the top and bake for around 10-13 minutes until the prawns are cooked through. Sprinkle the remaining parsley to serve and you may also like to serve with a side salad or some hunks of bread.

Garithes youvetsi- a taste of Greece in the comfort of your own home!

 

Indulgent lobster and saffron cream garganelli

Most people would reach for the perennial classic, linguine, when they are making a seafood based pasta however this recipe uses garganelli instead. Garganelli are small quills with delicate ridges which hold a rich creamy pasta sauce beautifully.  I bought mine from my local Italian deli, Buongiorno Italia, which is a must visit if you ever find yourselves in St Albans- www.buongiornoitalia.co.uk. I challenge you to only buy what you intended in there and nothing more!

To make this recipe accessible I used one lobster tail per person however two would be fabulous if you have a few extra pennies going spare or of course a whole lobster. This lobster tail pasta is indulgent and extravagant but worth the effort so read on…

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Ingredients- serves 2
200g garganelli pasta
2 lobster tails- shell removed and kept whole
1 garlic clove- crushed
100ml white wine (or champagne!)
100ml double cream
Pinch of saffron
Small handful of flat leaf parsley- finely chopped
Olive oil
Knob of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to season

1. Start off by bringing a pan of water up to the boil and cooking the garganelli until al dente; drain well.

2. Whilst that is cooking away, take a large frying pan, heat to medium and add a glug of oil plus a knob of butter. Pop in the lobster tails, cover the pan with a lid and cook for a few minutes until tender. I like to baste the lobster with the butter whilst it is cooking from time to time too. Remove the lobster from the pan, allow to cool until you can handle it and chop the meat into pieces.

3. Using the same frying pan, add in the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the wine. Simmer and reduce the wine by half before adding the cream and saffron. Stir well to ensure the saffron colours the cream evenly. Season to taste before adding the lobster pieces back into the pan. Gently warm through and toss with the garganelli before adding a sprinkle of parsley.

Lobster and delicate saffron cream garganelli- treat yourself to a little luxury!