Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed developing recipes for the Devon-based Well Hung Meat Company, making the most of their delicious organic lamb. The last in this series is this recipe for summery Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps.

Featuring little gem lettuce stuffed with lightly spiced minced lamb, this is a beautifully versatile dish to evoke warm sunshine on the dreariest of days. Serve alone as a starter, as part of a mezze, or with a simple cous cous salad for a light lunch, it’s fun finger food that goes down well with children as much as adults.

middle eastern lamb lettuce wrap 2 - web

It’s a feast of textures and flavours: the crisp lettuce, the crunchy carrot, and the juicy, nutty pomegranate through to the succulent, soft, spicy lamb; the sharp olives, capers and preserved lemon paired with the bitter tang of the tahini dressing; all perfectly balanced by the soothing, syrupy sweet pomegranate molasses and creamy crème fraiche.

For a dish that boasts so much, it’s also ridiculously easy to pull together. So, a winner on all fronts.

Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps

Serves 6 as a starter

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
400g Well Hung Meat Company lamb mince
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
50g pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 heads little gem lettuce, leaves washed and separated
100 pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 tsp water
200g Holy Cow crème fraiche
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently sweat the onion until translucent.

Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced lamb, ginger and cinnamon. Mix together and continue cooking for around 7 minutes until the lamb begins to brown.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the green olives, capers and pomegranate molasses.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the dressing, pour the olive oil and tahini into a jug with the chopped preserved lemon and water, and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses. If it feels too thick, mix in a little more water.

Just before serving, stir the grated carrot into the warm lamb mixture. Spoon the lamb into the separated lettuce leaves and arrange on plates. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and scatter with pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.

middle eastern lamb lettuce wrap 3 - web

 

spiced rack of lamb 3 - web

 

 

Spiced rack of lamb with braised lettuce and herb mash

 

moussaka and greek salad 2 - web

 

 

Easy lamb moussaka

 

 

Disclosure: I was supplied with a complimentary samples of lamb from the Well Hung Meat Company and crème fraiche from Holy Cow in order to develop this recipe. As ever, all views expressed are mine and only products I genuinely like make it onto my blog.  

Janie’s pomegranate salad dressing

Pomegranate Dressing-2129

Moving house is such hard work, isn’t it? They say it’s one of the most stressful things you ever do in life, and I couldn’t agree more. But thankfully, the stressful bit is over and our move from Somerset back to Bristol is finally complete – hurrah! Southville is our new home, albeit temporary as we’re renting while we find ourselves a house to buy, but I am absolutely adoring city life again.

The stress however has been replaced by what seems a permanent state of exhaustion as we focus on trying to sort out the new place (oh my, the never-ending unpacking!) balanced with the day job. We’ll get there soon, I’m sure, but it does mean I’m being rather distracted from the blog.

And so my fabulous blogging buddy, Janie from The Hedge Combers has come to my rescue with this impeccably timed guest post and her delicious recipe for a pomegranate salad dressing. I’m definitely trying this at the weekend with the leftovers from our Sunday roast… Enjoy! Continue reading “Janie’s pomegranate salad dressing”

Jewelled Persian rice with pomegranates, walnuts & parsley

jewelled persian rice3

Don’t you just love pomegranate seeds? I reckon you could scatter a handful on practically any old dish and it would be transformed into something quite magical. Or is that just me?

It’s clear to see why the beautiful pomegranate is one of the possible contenders for the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. I’d have been tempted.

This Persian jewelled rice however is as far removed from just any old dish as you can get. It’s a wonderfully light and fragrant taste of the Middle East, incredibly easy to prepare and looks a million dollars. Or should that be rial?

As well as pomegranate, it features juicy dried cranberries, walnuts, orange zest, flat leaf parsley and is flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, saffron and garlic. This fluffy, fruity, delicately spiced rice makes a perfect light lunch served just as it is or as a delicious accompaniment to meat or fish. I also plan to take some on our next summer picnic. Continue reading “Jewelled Persian rice with pomegranates, walnuts & parsley”

Pretend it’s still summer with an Appletiser mocktail

appletiser mocktail 2

The weather’s turned rather grim here in the West Country. Just yesterday we were out paddling in the local stream, and then the heavens opened overnight and it suddenly feels rather chilly and wintry today. The slippers and big jumpers have come o ut and I think the central heating might be back on soon.

But that hasn’t stopped us from pretending it’s still summer. Appletiser sent me some bottles of their new Apple & Pomegranate sparkling fruit juice to try out, which are the perfect base for some summerlicious cocktails and mocktails, particularly if you have a bag of berries stashed in the freezer. Continue reading “Pretend it’s still summer with an Appletiser mocktail”

Lemon roast chicken for Sunday supper and Monday lunch

lemon roast chicken beetroot carrot sweet potato

Before I had a family and had slightly more disposable income, I rarely took a homemade lunch into work. I’d usually pop out to the local sandwich shop, or on a Friday I might join colleagues for a pub lunch and a shandy. Those were the days!

Keeping a lid on our food budget means preparing a packed lunch most days, for me and my husband and the girls. And very often that means making the most of the leftovers from the night before. But lunchbox leftovers don’t need to be dull, and they don’t need to be a case of simply reheating last night’s dinner.

leftover lunchesI’ve teamed up with Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine from money-saving site VoucherCodes.co.uk to devise a recipe that demonstrates how you can spend just a tenner on a delicious family meal for four that can then be magically transformed into a deliciously different lunch the following day.

The good folk at Most Wanted are keen to help people make the most of their money without compromising on life’s little luxuries. While a trip to the local deli might be a nice treat, regularly spending £5 on a salad or panini can’t be cost-effective. So they’re on the search for tasty recipes that create an abundance of leftovers you can eat for lunch without it costing a fortune.

I love a roast on a Sunday and, what’s more, they are ideal for leaving you with heaps of delicious leftovers for versatile weekday lunches, from soups and curries to sandwiches, wraps and salads. Personally I like to play with my leftovers a little, so I don’t find myself growing bored eating the same dish again and again.

This lemon roast chicken with beetroot, carrot and sweet potato is a colourful and cheery take on a roast dinner, making the most of those seasonal root vegetables. The veggies are roasted along with the chicken for an incredibly easy meal, full of rich, sweet, caramelised flavours.

lemon roast chicken carrot beetroot sweet potato

To give the chicken its incredibly fresh, vibrant flavour, I roast it with half a lemon stuffed inside, and then when the cooked chicken is resting, I squeeze the juice of the other half all over the skin. It’s so simple but it tastes glorious.

lemon roast chicken

Then to turn the roast into a different dish for Monday lunch, I’ve used the leftover meat and vegetables in a tasty bulgur wheat salad with fresh mint and coriander and lots of nutty, juicy pomegranate seeds. The colours are fantastic and I love the way the beetroot juices soak into the bulgur wheat turning it pink.

lemon roast chicken beetroot carrot sweet potato

What’s more, you should also have enough chicken left over to cook up a soup for Tuesday lunch, making a stock from the chicken bones.

And all this for under £10. Pretty good, eh?

lemon roast chicken carrot beetroot sweet potato

Lemon roast chicken with beetroot, carrots and sweet potato

Serves 4 with leftovers

1 medium chicken (around 1.5kg)
1 lemon
salt and pepper
25g soft butter
400g raw beetroots
450g carrots
350g sweet potatoes
olive oil
mixed salad leaves

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Sit the chicken in a roasting tin. Cut the lemon in half, and then one of the halves into quarters. Place the lemon quarters inside the chicken cavity and sprinkle some salt in there too.

Rub the butter over the skin and sprinkle with some more salt. Put the chicken in the oven and roast for around 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you poke a sharp knife into the thickest part of a leg. If the skin is browning too quickly, cover with a sheet of kitchen foil.

Peel the beetroot, carrot and sweet potato. Cut the beetroot and sweet potato into wedges, and slice the carrot into similar sized chunks.

Place the beetroot onto a sheet of foil and drizzle over a little olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper. Wrap loosely and place in another roasting tin.

Place the carrot and sweet potato at the other end of the tin, and similarly drizzle with oil and a little salt and pepper. Mix it up with your hands to make sure the vegetables are well coated.

Put the vegetables in the oven once the chicken has had around 50 minutes of its cooking time. Roast the vegetables for around 40 minutes, until they are tender and beginning to brown.

When the chicken is out of the oven, sprinkle with a little more salt and squeeze the juice from the other half of lemon all over the crispy skin. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Serve the roast chicken and vegetables with a simple leaf salad. There’s no need for any dressing; simply pour over the lemony roast chicken juices. Don’t be greedy now – make sure you leave enough chicken and veggies for tomorrow’s lunch.

So now for those leftovers…

lemon chicken bulgar wheat roast vegetables

Lemon chicken and bulgur wheat salad with roast vegetables and pomegranate seeds

Serves 4

125g bulgur wheat
leftover roast vegetables – beetroot, sweet potato and carrot
handful each of fresh coriander and mint, roughly chopped
seeds from half a pomegranate
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper
leftover cold roast chicken

Rinse the bulgur wheat and place in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water to at least double the height of the bulgur wheat, and leave for 15 minutes. Drain the bulgur wheat and leave to cool.

To assemble the salad, simply place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl with the vegetables, fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

Squeeze over the lemon juice and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season to taste.

Mix it all together gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

If you’re serving this straightaway, lay pieces of shredded chicken on top of the salad and bring to the table.

If you’re taking the salad to school or work for lunch, I share the salad between the plastic boxes and then place the torn pieces of chicken on top before popping the lid on.

For some reason, I prefer to keep the chicken separate to the rest of the salad, but feel free to mix it all up together if you like.

So there you have my two ways with a roast chicken.

How do you use your Sunday roast leftovers?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by VoucherCodes. I received a fee to buy the ingredients and develop the recipes. 

no food waste challenge

 

As these recipes are a brilliant way to ensure you reduce your food waste, I’m entering them into this month’s No Waste Food Challenge hosted by London Unattached and Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.