A lovely warming and delicious lamb tray bake

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

I found myself with two lamb steaks yesterday and, given that Brenda had gone on another date with someone unsuitable, I had the place mercifully to myself, although I did miss her potato peeling skills……

We’d also defrosted the freezer earlier in the day so I was keen to use up any veggies which seemed to be getting past their youthful prime (I’m not saying a word here!). The bottom tray in the fridge gave me some olives, some parsley, the aubergine was too far gone so that didn’t make it (highly unusual for us that) and in fairness, the courgette was picked straight from the plant in the garden. The tomatoes were quite recent purchases (Vine tomatoes so they taste of something) – and obviously your store-cupboard standbys of onion and garlic last for weeks no problem.

To just bring it altogether, I was lucky find also some quite fresh fresh rosemary and about a third of a bottle of dry white wine

Here’s what happened

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Ingredients

2 lamb leg steaks (about 140g each)
1 medium red onion, cut into 6 wedges
2 cloves garlic, medium chopped – no big lumps but doesn’t need to be finely minced
1 tsp dried oregano/ 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary – actually I used both, just adjust the quantities of each down a bit
150ml white wine
200g medium or small tomatoes – i had a mixture of both and just sliced the bigger ones in half, leaving the small ones whole
1 medium courgette – sliced into about 8 pieces – i did them diagonally for a change.
2 medium sized potatoes
50g black olives – pitted if not already
handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Method

Switch on the oven to 180°C and boil a kettle.

Peel and cut potatoes into wedges – about 6 from each spud and then transfer to smallish pan and cover with boiling water – bring back up to the simmer along with a good pinch of salt and carry on with peeling/slicing your onions, courgette, garlic and tomatoes (and pit the olives and/or chop your rosemary if necessary )

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a medium size roasting dish on the hob over a high heat. Drain the potatoes - which should have simmered for no more than 7-8 mins (which is how long the rest of the veg prep takes at the maximum), leave to steam dry for a minute during which time, give the lamb steaks a thin coat of oil and season both sides. Now gently place the par-boiled potato wedges in the hot oil, along with the onion wedges and fry on a high heat for 4-5 mins until picking up a nice golden brown colour.

Now place in the seasoned lamb (which should easily fit into an area unoccupied by veg) and fry for a minute or so on each side, along with the courgette slices.

Finally, tumble in the tomatoes, olives, garlic and chopped fresh rosemary(and/or oregano) and pour over the wine. Season but don’t over-do it as the sauce will evaporate during the cooking time and will thus concentrate the salt.

Place the dish in the oven for 15-20 mins, depending on how thick the cutlets are until the lamb is cooked. Don’t worry about keeping a perfect pink middle, but thicker cut lamb will obviously tend to stay juicier. In any case, the vegetables release water and combined with the wine should make a nice amount of sauce – not flooded, but very moistened. The potatoes, which will have only been half submerged, will be soft and fluffy underneath with a nice golden crust on top.

Scatter with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

fanny and brendas delicious lamb tray bake

Spanish Omelette

fanny and brendas gorgeous spanish omelette

A couple of Sundays ago  Brenda was sitting there rather bombed out  and, although this may be her usual state when seen through the eyes of a casual onlooker, to those of us who have the misfortune of observing her at close quarters, I could tell she was in a state. Was it the vapid, slack-jawed expression? Or the slumped posture? No, these are quite usual for her.

It was the fact that, with the changing of the clocks, we were now officially into autumn. I hear the cries of “Well that’s her favourite time of year! …and that therefore this ought to have improved her mood – the opportunity to wear even more padding than normal, thereby avoiding the necessity for depilation and plucking; and not bothering with her maquillage because it’s darker, so she doesn’t frighten so many people without it.

In fact the new season meant she had to do some work! One of Brenda’s very few talents is pie-making and it dawned on her that, with Britain’s bounteous harvest of autumn fruits, she had to make one. I thought it was quite normal that she filled herself with her favourite fruits all year round, but she doesn’t like discussing her private life. However you will find details of her gorgeous Blackberry, Blueberry and Apple pie here.

That set me to thinking what equally ordinary ingredients I could transform into a midweek supper. Having initially despaired at a bowl of cold, boiled potatoes, leftover from one of Brenda’s earlier meals (I go on strike a few times a week, forcing her to attempt something, which I nearly always regret). It occurred to me that with a few eggs and some fried onion, this could be transformed into something really delicious, and yet simple and quite quick. Traditionally, Spanish omelette is just five ingredients (potato, egg, onion, olive oil and parsley) but I’ve added a few extra ingredients which I happened to have and which fitted well with the basic recipe.

fanny and brendas gorgeous spanish omelette

Ingredients

about 500g cooked potatoes - sliced about 1cm thick
1 large onion - medium sliced
1 clove garlic – roughly chopped
1 red chilli – finely sliced
sprig of fresh rosemary – leaves stripped and roughly chopped
about 100g chorizo, sliced into rounds about 1/2cm thick
2 medium tomatoes – halved
about 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
small bunch flatleaf parsley - roughly chopped
6 eggs - loosely beaten
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Method

Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium low heat, add the onion and garlic and fry gently with a lid left open a fraction, stirring occasionally. You want them translucent and turning golden but you don’t really want too much colour, so half an hour should be more then enough.

When ready, take out the onions, add the rest of the olive oil and fry the chorizo “coins” and tomato halves for a few minutes each side. The oil will turn fragrant and red from the paprika-spiked chorizo. Remove them and set aside with your onions – and now add the potato slices and rosemary to the same paprika-fragranced oil, turn up the heat to medium high and fry for about 5 mins. After this time, turn them and add the onion, chorizo and tomato – plus the chopped chilli – back to the pan while the other side fries.

Meanwhile, switch on the grill to high and beat the eggs in a bowl to which you add the chopped parsley and a few good pinches of salt and pepper.

Turn the heat on the hob back to low, pour the seasoned egg/parsley evenly into the potato mix and let sit, cooking very gently, for about 10 mins.

Then transfer to the grill for 5 mins max to finish. Put a plate on the top of the omelette and invert, so what was on the bottom, is now on top! Give it ten minutes or so to cool a bit (it’s nicer warm than straight from the heat – and can be eaten cold), sprinkle with some more chopped parsley and serve tasty slices to your eager guests…..

fanny and brendas gorgeous spanish omelette