I started the year setting myself a series of challenges: to try 50 new Edinburgh restaurants and eateries by the end of the year (I’m currently on 37 and it’s only May!); to see 50 shows or cultural events (currently standing at 19 but with the Edinburgh Festival in August, this won’t be hard to achieve either); and to book a Thai cookery class (booked at Chaophraya, Edinburgh) and a game cooking course at the Pot Kiln in Frilsham, near Reading.
Sadly the Pot Kiln cooking courses are no more but when EdinburghFoody.com received the #LoveLambChallenge to create a mid-week lamb dish with the chance to win a a half day lamb course at the Malton Cookery School in North Yorkshire, it was too good an opportunity not to take up the challenge. Also Yorkshire’s much nearer than Reading to Edinburgh!
For over 20 years, I have been holidaying at a wonderful villa in Portugal with friends. With breathtaking panaromic views, Vivenda Aurora has two shaded eating areas and three large chimney barbecues. It’s become a tradition for me to cook up a leg of lamb or two with all the accompaniments. It’s a labour of love taking all morning to prepare but the resulting feast is worth the effort and the compliments I receive.
Sometimes I might stud the lamb with garlic cloves, rosemary and anchovies but I’ve also marinated the lamb overnight in a spiced orange and yoghurt mix, which was a great hit. So my Spicy Mediterranean Lamb is inspired by my Portuguese holiday dish.
- 150g natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 3 tsp of Schwartz Cook Art Richly Roasted Spice Blend - Moroccan (alternatively make your own spice blend - see below)
- Dash of orange juice
- 4 lamb chops
- salt and pepper
- Half a butternut squash, seeds and skin removed
- Vine tomatoes
- 1 yellow pepper
- Fry light spray
- 2 sweet potatoes
- Handful of rocket leaves
- salt and pepper
- knob of butter
- Oil oil
- Balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze.
- To make your own spice mix: Grind 1 tsp of cumin seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar to a fine mix. Then add 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of dried coriander leaf, ½ tsp paprika, salt and pepper. Toast this mixture in a dry frying before adding to the yoghurt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Remove the skin of the butternut squash, using a vegetable peeler and also remove the seeds. Chop into 1 inch size pieces.
- Cut the yellow pepper in half and remove the seeds. Chop into similar size pieces as the butternut squash.
- Place the chopped butternut squash and pepper into a baking tin, along with the vine tomatoes, sitting them on top. Spray with 'FryLight' oil spray or a drizzle of olive oil. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Now peel the sweet potatoes and chop into large pieces. Put into a pan of cold water with some salt.
- Next, place the yoghurt, ground almonds and either the ready-made or homemade spice mix into a bowl. Add a dash of orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.
- Smother the lamb chops with the ½ of the spiced yoghurt and leave to marinate. (Save the other half of the mix for spreading over the other side of the chops mid-cooking).
- When the roasted vegetables have been cooking for 20 minutes, it's time to start cooking the sweet potatoes. Bring the water to the boil and cook the sweet potatoes until soft. When cooked, drain the water and mash the potatoes with salt and pepper and a knob of butter.
- When the vegetables are roasted, remove from the oven and keep them warm by covering the dish with foil.
- Preheat your grill to a maximum and line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone sheet.( It makes washing up easier!).
- Place the marinated lamb chops on the prepared baking tray. Slide the tray under the grill and cook the chops for 3-4 minutes by which time the spiced yoghurt should have browned in a few places. Turn the chops over and spread the remaining yoghurt mix on side two. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove the chops from the grill and leave to rest for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Now it's time to plate up.
- Spoon the mashed sweet potato into a serving ring. Remove the ring. Place the rocket around the sweet potato and sit the roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar or just balsamic vinegar glaze. Then finally sit two chops each on top of the sweet potato.
So if you want to impress with something that really doesn’t take all morning to prepare that conjures up sunny holiday memories and is packed with flavours and goodness, follow the flock and rustle up this mid-week simple #LoveLambChallenge.