A firm favourite with children of all ages. These lamb meatballs flavoured with oregano and Parmesan cheese are cooked in a passata based sauce. Usually served with spaghetti but any pasta you choose will work.
2 slices, about 55g (2 oz) white bread, preferably one day old
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
14g (½ oz) flat leaf parsley/Italian parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, beaten
28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated (¼ cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato sauce
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small stick celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 700ml bottle passata
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
Pasta and a green salad or Caesar salad
You will also need large sauté pan with lid and a large frying pan/skillet.
Heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and, when hot, add the onion and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat and leave to cool.
Now remove the crusts from the bread and tear into pieces. Put the bread in a shallow dish and cover with the milk.
Next for the tomato sauce, put the carrot, celery, and garlic in a food processor and blitz. Put the butter and oil into the sauté pan and, when hot, add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook over a medium–low heat until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the passata and add the bay leaves and seasoning. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the meatballs. Put the lamb in a large bowl. Squeeze the milk from the bread and discard adding the bread to the lamb. Put half the parsley on a chopping board, sprinkle over the dried oregano and chop the parsley finely. (This will activate the oregano.) Now add the herbs to the lamb with the egg, Parmesan, cooled onion, and some pepper. Mix together until well combined. Make into 20–24 meatballs, flattening them slightly, and place them on a baking tray lined with clingfilm/cling wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.
When the tomato sauce has cooked for the 20 minutes, stir in the milk and continue to cook gently, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.
Once the meatballs have firmed up, put two tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and brown the meatballs all over, about 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
Chop the remaining parsley and, just before serving, sprinkle over the meatballs.
This chicken dish just takes 20 minutes to cook – one to choose when time is short. The chicken breasts, chunky potatoes and garlic are sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp and then covered in a white wine sauce.
You will also need 2 large frying pans/skillets and a medium-sized serving dish.
Warm the serving dish in the oven.
Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the potatoes until just tender, about 15 minutes.
Now divide the butter and oil between the two pans/skillets.
Next season the chicken breasts. Heat the oil and butter in one of the pans and, when the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts and brown for 5 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. Reduce the heat and continue to cook the chicken for about 15 minutes until it is cooked through, turning once.
Meanwhile, drain the potatoes when they are just tender and leave for a couple of minutes to dry out. Heat the oil and butter in the other pan and, once the butter is foaming, add the potatoes with the garlic. Turn to coat and continue to cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are golden and crisp, turning occasionally.
When the chicken is ready, transfer it to the warm serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Add the potatoes and garlic once they are ready.
Pour the chicken stock and wine into the pan the chicken was cooked in and let it bubble over a high heat until reduced by half. Stir occasionally and scrape all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour over the chicken, potatoes, and garlic and serve immediately garnished with the parsley.
A lovely, tasty meal to embrace the joys of spring and the growth of the first fresh vegetables of the season. The sweet meat of boneless lamb chops are roasted with garlic and rosemary, and served with roasted asparagus and baby new potatoes along with glazed carrots.
450g (1 lb) asparagus (16–20 small spears or 12–15 large)
2 olive oil
450g (1 lb) new carrots (about 8)
300ml (10 fl oz) vegetable stock (1¼ cups)
knob of butter
1 tsp soft brown sugar
You will also need 2 roasting tins/pans. One large enough to just take the noisettes of lamb and the other for the potatoes and asparagus.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Wash the potatoes and halve any that are large. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and parboil for 7 minutes.
Wash the asparagus and snap off the any whitish, woody parts at the end of the stems. Add them to the pan of potatoes during the last 2 minutes Drain everything well.
Next make a bed of rosemary sprigs in the roasting tin/pan for the meat. Now lay the lamb on top and add the halved garlic. Season well and sprinkle over the olive oil. Roast in the bottom half of the oven for 20–25 minutes until the lamb is cooked through.
Put the potatoes in the second roasting tin and coat them well with the olive oil. Roast on a racak above the lamb for 10 minutes.
Now add the asparagus to the tin/pan with the potatoes and baste them with the oil. Roast for 10–15 minutes, turning the potatoes and asparagus a couple of times.
While everything is roasting in the oven, wash and trim the carrots. Put the carrots, vegetable stock, butter, and sugar in a pan, bring to the boil and then gently simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Add the cooking juice from the carrots to those left from roasting the lamb and use to make a gravy.
225g (8 oz) fine, fresh white breadcrumbs (3½ cups)
a green salad
You will also need a greased baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Beat together the butter, garlic, parsley, and seasoning. Set aside.
Cut a slit along the thickest part of each chicken breast, 4cm (1½) inches long and 2cm (¾ inch) deep. Push one-quarter of the butter mixture into each pocket and secure with a cocktail stick.
Put the beaten egg in a shallow bowl and spread the flour and breadcrumbs over separate plates. Coat each breast in flour, tapping off any excess, then dip into the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing them down onto the chicken.
Lay the chicken pieces on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden.
Remove the cocktail sticks and serve with a green salad.
2 Romano peppers /long red peppers or shepherd peppers
For the salad dressing
115g (4 oz) Mary Berry’s Special Mustard Dressing/Walden Farms Honey Dijon Dressing (⅓ cup)
1½ tsp clear/runny honey
1 small orange, juice only
A green salad and crusty rolls
Preheat the barbecue or grill/broiler.
Slice each chicken fillet in half to make 2 thinner fillets.
Stir together the garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, oregano and seasoning. Spread over both sides of the chicken.
Halve the peppers lengthways, de-seed and then cut into thin strips.
Whisk together the dressing with the honey and orange juice. and stir through the salad.
Barbecue or grill/broil the chicken for 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
After the first 5 minutes of cooking the chicken, add the pepper strips to the barbecue or grill/broiler and cook for about 5 minutes, turning them a couple of times. They should be just soft but not blackened.
Divide the peppers between 4 plates, top with 2 pieces of chicken and serve with the salad, and crusty rolls on the side.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan over a medium heat, then stir in the garlic. The steaks will need to be cooked two at a time. Lay the first two steaks in the pan and cook for 3 minutes each side. Remove and transfer to a warmed plate in the oven.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan and cook the remaining two steaks. Then transfer to a warmed plate in the oven.
Meanwhile whisk the vinegar with the water, pepper and honey in a small bowl. Once the steaks are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the sauce along with most of the parsley. Stir for 1 minute. The heat of the pan will be enough to heat through the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the steaks and sprinkle over the remaining parsley. Serve with the peas and other seasonal vegetables.
Chicken breasts are marinaded in a garlic, orange and wine sauce with wholegrain mustard and Tabasco to give it a kick. The marinading is well worthwhile as is produces succulent chicken breasts with lots of flavour.
1 courgette/zucchini, halved lengthways then cut into 1cm/½ inch slices
2 × 400g/28 fl oz can chopped/diced tomatoes
20g fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp light brown soft sugar
salt and pepper
a large sauté pan
Preheat the grill/broiler for 10 minutes.
Place the peppers on a baking tray, skin side up, then grill/broil until the skin has blackened and blistered. Remove from the heat and place in a plastic food storage bag using tongs. Seal the bag and leave to become cool. (The steam that is released helps to lift the skin away from the flesh.)
Meanwhile, season the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the chicken and, over a medium heat, brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce the heat to low, add the onions and cook until softened and coloured around the edges, 10 minutes.
Next, add the garlic and courgette slices, cover the pan and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, until the courgettes have started to soften.
While the vegetables are cooking, peel off the skins of the peppers and cut the flesh into thin strips.
Finally, add the tomatoes, half the basil, sugar and peppers to the pan and season. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then return the chicken breasts to the pan, pushing them down into the pan. Cook, uncovered, over a gentle heat, for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.
Serve with fettuccine and the remaining basil scattered on top.
When we were grocery shopping this week, our fish counter was displaying some wild cod and it looked so good – really white and chunky. I couldn’t resist buying some and I cooked it making a provençal dish. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It is not often we see wild fish to buy here in Canada, the main one we do see being wild pacific salmon, but I buy it when I can because there is certainly a difference. Once I found out how farmed fish was produced, with all its potential toxins, it made me realise just how much we have forgone quality for quantity. But that’s another story.
Anyway, we enjoyed our fish supper and hope you will want to try it too.
A nutritious fish dish that is full of flavour. The chunky piece of cod is baked with sliced peppers, plum tomatoes and garlic in a tomato, herb and wine sauce.
675g/1 lb 8 oz cod, skinned (chunky cod, if available)
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g/28 fl oz can plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 oz butter
large sauté pan
ovenproof dish, buttered
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Cut the fish into 4 portions and place in the ovenproof dish. Season and set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan, add the peppers and, over a medium heat, sauté for 3–4 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.
Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and add to the pan along with the garlic, wine, lemon juice and oregano. Season. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice, then simmer for a further 3–4 minutes.
Pour the vegetables over the fish and dot the fish with the butter.
Bake towards the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Baste half way through cooking.
Combine the garlic and parsley with the butter. Spread each slice on one side with the garlic butter. Arrange on a baking tray and cover with foil.
Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking.
*For the French bread
Take one loaf of French bread and remove the crusts from both ends. Slice the loaf into thick slices, about 1.25cm/½ inch. Separate the number of slices usually required by a piece of baking parchment. (This makes it easier to remove just a few slices at a time from the freezer to thaw.) Wrap the bread in foil and freeze. When needed just thaw the required number of slices and follow the recipe above.
We enjoy lovely home-baked bread and if you would like to bake your own French bread you could follow Paul’s recipe for Crusty French Bread.