November 11, 2010
Spring lamb for dinner
I was walking through the fruit and veg shop the other day and put a container of marjoram in my trolley instead of oregano. They do look very similar at a glance and I have to confess I never buy marjoram. I have a problem with the after taste and the bitterness that creeps up on you. Anyway, once I was home it was to late to exchange so I decided to give it one last go.
I love fresh oregano with lamb; a little part of me wishes I grew up on a Greek Island helping Nonna in the kitchen.
In my twenties I toured around Turkey and then Island hopped over to Crete with my last 50 pounds in my pocket. My friend Sophie was a dreamer and insisted we would have a fabulous summer in Greece instead of flying back to wet old London. It was kinda hard to argue the point with the sun shining, a cool drink in my hand and over looking the blue stretch of ocean with Greece just over the horizon.
Once caution was thrown to the wind and we boarded the ferry, it would be 3 glorious months of summer for the two of us. I have to say, that 50 pounds went a long way, however, my days spent walking along the beaches, scooting up to remote bakery's because we were told they make unbelievable spanakopita, and watching old fisherman smash freshly caught octopus on the jetty 100 times to tenderise it, were coming to an end.
For us to stay and eat our weight in Greek salads, gyros, lamb and anything else we could afford Soph and I needed a job. My first thought was to scout around the kitchens, but I soon got told women don't work in the kitchens (young women that is) and that we should go and see the man up the street. Well the man (and yes his name was George) owned a club and needed English speaking servers so thus began our life as a server/bar attendant in a club called the Cinema club. I can tell you one thing, I would of preferred the kitchens any old day, however, Sophie was made of the job!
Right, bit if a side track but right back to our spring lamb.......My favourite way to eat lamb is as a chop. They are tender, juicy and succulent. I always do a very basic marinade of smashed garlic, lemon rind, black pepper and fresh oregano with a good drizzle of olive oil. Left to infuse, I find these flavours really compliment the lamb and allow me to make a yummy side dish bursting with flavour. If we had managed to buy a grill yet, then I would of been in complete lamb heaven, however that is a Christmas gift Nic and I are giving each other this year so I need to be patient for a few more months...or should I say weeks!
I served our lamb chops with wholemeal couscous flavoured with orange and lemon rind then complimented it with brocollini and asparagus, steamed and lightly tossed in aioli. For us, a perfect way to welcome spring into our home.
You might be wondering about all the garlic? we have been all suffering the dreaded colds and fevers here so I thought we needed a good dose of natural love.
I didn't really set out to write about 90% of what I have down, but that's OK. I will tell you however that the marjoram wasn't so bad after all and that I could very well finish the remaining leaves off in another dish during the week, so here's to revisiting old dislikes and having a pleasant surprise.