Butterfly leg of organic lamb with new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and basil
Combining the potatoes and vegetables together not only looks good, but it makes it a bit easier to serve up. Also great served with crispy lamb cutlets and a squeeze of lemon.
Ingredients: one leg of lamb boned and butterflied, well trimmed; two tablespoons of fresh herbs, ie, chives and mint, chopped; two to three cloves of garlic, chopped; a squeeze of lemon juice; olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Vegetables: new potatoes, halved; four tablespoons of olive oil; salt and black pepper; 450g green beans, trimmed; container of cherry tomatoes, halved; three to four cloves of garlic, halved; two tablespoons of chopped basil; juice of a lemon.
Method: place the lamb flat in the roasting tin, skin side down. Mix the herbs and garlic together. Spread the mixture over the lamb along with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of black pepper. If possible allow the lamb to marinate for about an hour before cooking. Sprinkle some salt over the lamb just before cooking. Roast uncovered for approximately 45 minutes to serve pink. Coat the potatoes in a tablespoon of the oil and season well. Cook them in the oven with the lamb for the last 20 minutes until crispy and tender. Blanch the green beans for a minute or two. Drain and mix in a large bowl with the tomatoes, garlic, remaining oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the lot to the potatoes and continue to roast until the tomatoes are just soft, for about five minutes. Sprinkle with basil. Mound warm vegetables in a shallow bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and serve with the sliced lamb.
Spicy fried eggs
This is quite a traditional snack in many parts of Italy but of course would make a wonderful breakfast or late night supper.
Ingredients: two ripe plum tomatoes; olive oil; four slices of ciabatta or other rustic type bread; four large eggs; two garlic cloves, thinly sliced; one red chilli, thinly sliced into rings; one tablespoon of chopped fresh chives, teaspoon of balsamic vinegar; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; lightly dressed baby leaf salad with herbs, to serve.
Method: heat a heavy-based griddle pan. Thickly slice the plum tomatoes and then lightly brush with olive oil. Add to the heated pan and cook for about five minutes until nicely marked. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Brush the bread with a little more oil and toast on the same pan until nicely marked. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and crack in the eggs. Scatter over the garlic and chilli, if using, and cook for a couple of minutes, spooning the hot oil over the egg yolks until they are cooked to your liking. Place the griddled bread on warmed plates and quickly arrange the griddled tomatoes on top.
Scatter the chives into the egg pan and sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar. Season generously, then slide the eggs on to the tomatoes and drizzle over any pan juices. Add a small pile of the salad to each plate to serve.
Leek and bacon tart
Ingredients: 275g of plain flour; pinch of salt; 150g butter; two egg yolks; three tablespoons approx of very cold water. Filling: 225g streaky bacon, diced; four leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced; six eggs; 100g creamed cheese; one tablespoon of mustard; pinch of cayenne pepper and salt and black pepper.
Method: sieve the flour and salt into the food processor bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour. Whizz the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. While it is still whizzing add the egg yolks and just enough water to combine the dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C (400°F ). Roll out the pastry thinly. Line a 28cm flan dish. Remove any air pockets. Prick the base with a fork and bake blind for 15 to 20 minutes. To make the filling cook the streaky bacon in a hot pan until crisp. Add the leeks and continue to cook for three to four minutes. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl beat the eggs, creamed cheese, mustard, cayenne pepper and seasoning together. Add the leeks and bacon. Pour the filling into the baked pastry case and bake for a further 35 to 40 minutes.
Strawberry and cream liqueur fool
Ingredients: 300g strawberries, plus four halved strawberries to decorate; 50g icing sugar, plus one teaspoon; 300ml double cream; six tablespoon of cream liqueur.
For the topping: 25g plain chocolate; one teaspoon of clear honey; two tablespoons of cream liqueur.
Method: put 200g of the strawberries into a food processor with 50g of the icing sugar and blitz into a coarse puree using the pulse button. Quarter the remaining strawberries and mix with the remaining icing sugar.
Whip the cream and cream liqueur together in a large mixing bowl until it form soft peaks. Gently fold in the strawberry puree. Layer the mixture in four stemmed dessert glasses with the quartered strawberries.
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the honey and cream liqueur. Decorate the top of each fool with the halved strawberries and drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top. Yum!