Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fillet Steak & Saute Potatoes

For the first time in months - no roast! I feel a bit ashamed, but what we had instead was a bit tasty ...

Well we both had a lot of marking to do, so needed something quick. Plus we had left over potatoes to eat, so ... bought a piece of fillet.

I know they always say fillet doesn't have the flavour of rump or sirloin, but there's also the point that it depends on the quality of the meat as well. This looked so dark and tempting at the butchers I couldn't resist and sure enough it had flavour to match, not as strong as some cuts but incredibly beefy nonetheless. The same piece went on to make four portions of beef stroganoff too (another all time favourite) so whilst unquestionably a treat not perhaps as indulgent as you might think cost wise.

Saute potatoes - mmmm, again something you don't have every often, but worth it now and again. Plenty of salt & pepper are all both of these need really, although I do tend to use a pretty good butter in the pan I must admit. Served with our own rocket & salad and a fab bottled hollandaise we've just discovered that's made locally. I love the stuff, alhtough B isn't as keen.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lamb Roasted with Tomatoes & Orzo

Thinking about Greece for the next holiday and has fate would have it a brief wander around the local town the other day yielded two lovely Greek themed cook books from the local charity shops. One, "Culiniaria Greece", is a veritable tome on Greek cooking and lifestyle across it's many mainland & island areas, which will undoubtedly form the basis for our trip, but this recipe actually comes from the other book and was last Sunday's main course.

It's a sunshsine recipe and no mistake, and does capture something of the mediterranean and hopefully Greece in particular. You take a shoulder of lamb (unroll it if necessary) and flavour generously with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and lemon slices. Roll up, tie, and pierce with garlic slivers (never really happy doing this bit, but hey ho I usually follow the recipe first time around at least), season and add a little olive oil. Now empty into a roasting pan a couple of tins of tomatoes, more garlic, a little water, a little sugar, more oregano, a bay leaf, seasoning and add the lamb. You're now ready for the oven.

Cook as normal for the lamb to start, i.e. 25 mins or so per pound depending how you liek it, but then (and I diverged from the recipe here a bit I'll admit) when you take the lamb off to rest add a bit more (boiling) water to the roasting pan and at least two good handfuls or orzo, which here means the pasta shaped like rice (or even barley) and not barley itself. This cooks in the sauce for the last 15-20 minutes or so whilst your meat rests.

Not too bad at all on the whole, although I could perhaps have increased the sugar and the seasoning in general but very tasty none the less. I've always liked lamb and lemon and it went particularly well here, and of course here you get pretty much everything you need in one dish bar a green salad on the side.

Not sure I'll be rushing back to this recipe, but I'm sure with one or two tweaks we'll be doing it again. Just made for hot summer days I reckon.

Chicken stuffed with Soft Cheese, Pesto & Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto

Now I don't usually blog about anything other than Sunday Roasts, but this seemed too good to miss out on. After a bit of a disappointing experience at a place called Landewednack House in Cornwall (read more on Trip Advisor if you're interested) we came home looking for something really tasty but simple to throw together. What I turned out was a twist on an old Good Housekeeping recipe (no sniggering in the back please!) that always works well which combines simple ingredients in an oven baked dish.

Basically you take a chicken breast, slice it through the thickest part and then stuff with a blend of soft cheese and pesto. Then wrap it in the ham, add a little more pesto mix on top, wrap in foil and then bake for 25 minutes or so in a moderate oven. It comes out lovely and tender and all the juices mix together to form a (very watery) sauce which you can then dip into.

I served this with a twist on my usual rosemary roasties in that here I'm using pink fir apples cut a little differently, but of course the beauty of this is that you can cook the potatoes at the same time and so go off and read the paper in the meantime.

The chicken is free range from the local farm, stuffed with pesto we make as and when we need it from our own basil plants and a local cream cheese. I also added a little white wine to add flavour and increase the steam as I decided this time to include four asparagus sprigs in each of the chicken bundles as well. They turned out brilliantly, and I think may well become a regular feature when the season is right.

All in all a welcome return to Devon, and also a welcome confirmation that whatever over priced B&B's in the Lizard might think we can easily turn out food far superior to their offerings!


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