Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Griddled lamb chops with spinach, garlic and cream

I'm on holiday for a few days - trying to prolong Easter. We went to my parents for Easter weekend but since have been at home, relishing the unexpected April sunshine, getting on with gardening (well, ahem, Simon has), reading (OK, that's mainly me), shopping (both of us) and arranging boring household necessities, like having the porch windows redone and the guttering sorted. Today we drove up the coast to the little Northumbrian coastal towns and villages with their dramatic ruined castles and quaint little houses and had lunch in a village pub. Holidays at home are vastly underrated, particularly when the weather is as lovely as it has been. And it also frees up time for cooking...

Yesterday I tried out two recipes from Marcus Wareing's How to Cook the Perfect.... Flicking through this book, the recipes are pretty straightforward, but they all look absolutely delicious, proper home-cooked dishes. I began with simple griddled lamb chops and spinach with cream and garlic, because we felt like lamb chops and Marcus suggested serving them with the spinach dish from his 'Vegetable' chapter. Both recipes are really easy. For the spinach dish, wash a 500g bag of baby spinach leaves and dry. Pour 200ml double cream into a saucepan and grate over nutmeg and a pinch of salt; simmer for 8-10 minutes and remove from the heat. Spear a garlic clove (cut into thirds) onto a fork and spoon some olive oil into a wok or deep frying pan; toss in the spinach leaves, season, then stir with the garlic fork until wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander, tip back into the pan and reheat gently. Pour the cream over the spinach and stir with the garlic fork until all the leaves are coated with cream. Serve.

Easy but very delicious. With the spinach, I served the Griddled Lamb Chops. First, make a mint sauce by melting 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly over a low heat, removing from heat and stirring in 3 tbsp malt vinegar. Cool and then add 15g chopped fresh mint.
Then, brush some lamb chops lightly with olive oil and season. Heat a griddle pan until very hot and put the chops fat side down in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until the fat renders and crisps up. (This is Marcus's tip to cooking lamb chops to perfection). Then lay the chops on their sides, strew rosemary over, and cook for another 4-5 minutes, basting with the fat in the pan, before turning them over and doing the same. Serve on a bed of spinach with the mint sauce in a bowl.

The chops were really good too - the fat was perfectly crispy - and the mint sauce complemented the crispy chops and the creamy spinach very well. I have to admit it doesn't look or sound like Marcus Wareing-style food, or at least it doesn't have 'Michelin star' written all over it - but it was very quick to make and really tasty. All the recipes in this book look invitingly unintimidating, the kind of food we (I) want to eat. I've never really had Michelin tastes. At the weekend I discovered some old exercise books at my parents house from when I was in junior school; their contents made me cringe. In my defence, the books were allegedly for 'creative writing' but the teachers set questions that were stunningly uncreative; in two consecutive years I was asked to write about 'what makes mum cross', 'my favourite food' and 'what I did on Sunday'. I defy a Booker winner to be creative on those topics. Anyway my favourite food was apparently chips swimming in vinegar, preferably thin-cut French fries not British fishshop varieties, followed by crepes in France, and then sandwiches and a packet of crisps (definitely British). I guess I've always been a bit of a pleb!


Kelly-Jane said...

Your chops and spinach look really good.

That's a great little tip for crisping the fat. I'll try that next time.

We are doing the same as you this week - week at home on holiday. Have a good break :)


pistachio said...

Ummm, I love lamb chops ... and, yes, the fat has to be crispy! Your meal looks so tasty with all that creamy spinach.

Hope you have a nice relaxing break.

pi xxx

Kathryn said...

It was lovely, thanks, KJ and Pi! Really simple but tasty.

I've been enjoying the time off!

Kathryn x