Sunday 23 March 2014

Goodbye winter, hello spring!

Spring is finally here! Our garden is full of beautiful daffodils that N planted at the end of last year. Every time I look out of the window they make me smile and remind me that although a quarter of the year has passed in the blink of an eye, the best is definitely yet to come. But before I start to really celebrate the change in season I felt I needed to say a goodbye to winter. Because apart from the fact I leave home for work when it's still pitch black and it's so cold N forces me to wear a hat (which I hate), I actually quite like winter. Dark cosy evenings, roaring log fires and best of all guilt-free comfort food. As the weather improves I feel obliged to eat more salads or fish and vegetable dishes but the fact remains, I am a glutton for stodge! 

So as a farewell to the winter season I allowed my baked lamb chops with tomato and aubergine to have one last appearance on our dining table. This recipe is inspired by none other than my food writing guru, Nigel Slater. I stumbled across the recipe one evening whilst reading his Kitchen Diaries. He describes it as 'a loud-flavoured plate of (hearty) restore your faith in the pleasures of plain, simple eating'. I think that really says it all. 

Baked Lamb Chops with Tomato and Aubergine
(Serves 2 generous portions | total prep and cooking time 1 hour 20 mins)

4 lamb chops
6-8 new potatoes -halved
6-8 cherry tomatoes - halved
1 medium aubergine - cut into thick chunks 
6 mushrooms - thickly sliced
6 garlic cloves - peeled but left whole
1 medium onion - cut into wedges
1/2 butternut squash (optional) - cut into thick chunks 
2-3 sprigs rosemary 
Approximately 5 tablespoons olive oil

- heat the oven to 200 degrees fan
- place the potato halves, tomato halves, aubergine chunks, butternut squash chunks, mushrooms, onion wedges and garlic to a large shallow oven proof dish
- poor over the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper
- toss everything together so the vegetables are covered with the oil and seasoning
- tuck in the rosemary sprigs and bake uncovered for 20 mins
- rub the lamb chops with olive oil and season
- after the 20 mins remove the vegetables and place the lamb chops on top 
- return the dish to the oven for approximately 40 mins (or slightly less if you like your lamb pink inside)
- serve as it is or with gravy