JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Lamb chops

Horatio asked for lamb chops for supper. We don't really eat chops any more, as they can be 50% fat; instead, I buy leg steaks, which are cut across the leg and have no visible fat, so need to be cooked carefully if they are not to end up the texture of cardboard. He looked rather suspiciously at them, and even more so at the chick pea puree I had made to go with them.

The thing is, I've been reading Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. In some ways it's a very annoying book - I mean, what's wrong with a blog if you want to tell people what you're eating day to day, rather than make them wait over a year (especially if you're trying to get them to see the point of seasonal eating, you'd think doing it in real time would ram the point home rather more forcefully)? On the other hand, it's full of things you want to eat, that are just slightly nicer than the way you already cook them.

I didn't actually follow any of the recipes, but this supper was very definitely inspired by the Kitchen Diaries.

Chickpea puree
Rinse two tins of chickpeas, warm them through in water. Meanwhile, in a lot more oil than you would normally use, fry a chopped onion until brown, perhaps crisping at the edges. Blitz the chickpeas to a puree with the oil (but not the onions), some garlic and a little salt. Put in a hot dish and cover with the onions.

Fennel salad
Finely chop a head of fennel. Mix with equal quantities of rocket (or watercress) in a shallow dish. Grate the zest of a lemon over the salad. Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice and pour over the salad.

Grill your lamb. Meanwhile, fry up some chopped garlic and finely shredded mint, to go over the lamb when you serve it.

I thought this was about as good as supper gets, particularly the chickpeas. Horatio said it wasn't quite what he was imagining when he asked for chops: "I was thinking more, mashed potato and peas," he said. "Fennel, that's the one I don't like that tastes aniseedy." Lucius ate the chickpea puree dutifully, rather like a small boy eating his greens because he's been told they're good for him. Girly food, clearly. They loved the lamb, though.

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