Recently I had house guests from South Africa staying in my home. This sent me into a whirl of inexplicable domestic goddessness. I spent a great deal of tidying and cleaning but oddly I had forgotten I was going to have to cook for these people.
The weather was quite pleasant and I felt salad would be perfect. We have a lovely bay window that the dining table sits in with a lovely view on mild British summer evenings. Considering there was a lack of vegetarians at home I decided on lamb. I was looking forward to the challenge, producing a tasty meal for these two self-confessed foodies.
Lamb is on of my favourite meats and after living in Australia I am always surprised at the low amount that is consumed in England as well as the reaction to this slightly gamey meat by Americans. To complement the strong flavour of lamb we have the creamy saltiness of feta cheese, one of my favourite salad cheeses. I can not stress enough that top quality cheese is important, if you can not get 'real' feta, then a cows' milk variety may suffice. I hope this Australian Greek British meal inspires you to try some lamb and explore you local deli for cheese.
This is quite a light meal, fairly healthy with the trim lamb and lots of salad, it may be not suitable for the very hungry but adding extra lean lamb would help. The meal is very pleasant without the lamb but I have included a veggie option. I have included measurements where appropriate but with salad you know the people you are feeding better than I.
- 100 grams of lamb fillets per person. I used a rump fillet, lean and tasty
- (Vegetarian option of a large field mushroom)
- Juice of half a lemon (you may need more for four and less for two)
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (you can use fresh, a sprig or two)
- Olive oil
- Salad leaves, I used baby spinach three good handfuls per person
- Cucumber (sliced or diced)
- Tomatoes. I used cherry tomatoes
- 70 grams of feta cheese per person (crumbled in big crumbs)
- Sprinkle of pine nuts
- Black olives (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 100ml of olive oil (for four)
- A generous handful of fresh mint, dried will not work.
Cube or slice your lamb.
Place a fry pan on a moderate heat. Cooking the lamb a little slower helps bring out that delightful flavour. Add a small amount of olive oil and when it is hot, add your lamb and lemon juice and sprinkle the rosemary. Let it cook slowly.
If you are cooking mushrooms, treat the same way as the lamb with lemon and rosemary although you will need more oil, depending on time you can cook it whole, then slice.
Whilst the lamb is cooking, chop up the mint and pop it into a clean jar, add the juice of one lemon and olive oil. Give this a good shake and set aside for the favours to meld.
Prepare your salad.
Once the lamb is cooked (I think lamb is best a little pink in the middle) let it rest for at least five in minutes. Check the salad dressing for taste, salt and pepper if needed and adjust the lemon juice or mint to taste.
I served this on individual plates layering the leaves, cucumber and tomatoes, topping it with the feta, olives and lamb (or mushrooms) then a sprinkle of pine nuts and a drizzle of the dressing.
*The salad dressing is DEB’s recipe that I have lovingly misappropriated.