MINT & FETA – A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN

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On a bit of a feta thing at the moment…possibly trying to pretend it’s warmer than it really is (I refuse to look at the sky at the moment.) Just given you my favourite hot feta dish..now here it is in its more usual guise – being the boss man in this classic salad – love it with lamb chops – or just on its own. Greek salad is always so fresh and attractive. Salata Horiatiki, as the traditional one is known (I’m showing off now!) is so easy to construct and fun too. And it looks so simple and vibrant on a white plate or nestling in a white bowl. It simply shouts ‘summer!’

6tbsp extra virgin olive oil  /2 tbsp fresh lemon juice / 1 garlic clove crushed  / pinch of sugar / salt and pepper / 200 gm feta cheese / a whole Cos lettuce shredded or 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce shredded / 4 tomatoes quartered / 1/2 cucumber sliced  /12 or so black olives  / Fresh herbs such as oregano, flat leafed parsley or basil and definitely some mint !

Make a dressing by whisking together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, sugar salt & pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Rinse the block of feta under cold running water. Then cube it into about 1 inch squares. (Some Greek tavernas leave it whole smothered in oregano for you to break up at your leisure.) Put the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber in a salad bowl. Scatter over the cheese. Just before serving whisk the dressing, pour over the salad leaves and toss together. Scatter over the olives and chopped herbs and the mint!

The mint really makes it! Don’t skimp on it!

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Lamb in red wine and mint…

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Lamb in red wine and mint...Today’s Sunday lunch. This is a dish I have fiddled about with quite a bit over the years. I have made it with neck of lamb fillet, but today I used a kilo of marvellous diced lamb from Parsonage Farm in Upton, Hampshire where I like to buy a lot of my meat. Check them out on Twitter.Dust the diced lamb in flour, salt and black pepper, Pan fry in olive oil til coloured. Remove to a large casserole. Then deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine. Add juices to the casserole. Then pan fry for about 5 minutes 10 or 12 shallots. Add to casserole. Then pan fry about 10 or 12 cherry tomatoes for 5 minutes and add the to the pot too. Then put the casserole on a low heat, add a good bottle of red wine, two bay leaves and a squirt of tomato sauce or puree. Chop a big handful of fresh mint and add that to the pot as well. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave for half an hour with the lid on. Remove lid and continue to simmer for another hour.

I served it on a bed of mashed and buttered potatoes through which I stirred 100 grams of spinach. The look and taste is gorgeously warming and richly fulfilling!