If you are still with me (where else would you be in lock down?), I’m trying to take you to all the places we would/could be visiting if not stuck at home (nice as it is). At least the weather is being kind and if you can get out on a chair in the sunshine you could close your eyes and imagine . . .
The first proper holiday The Husband and I took together was to Crete – and it really did look like above. It was where I learnt to snorkel, first ate octopus (and loved it) and realised that trips on our own with a car are the way we like best. We hired an open top jeep and took off up into the mountains, had thick strong coffee with the locals and followed a track up and over where it finally morphed into a goat track to nothing. We climbed down to the beach, completely on our own, swam and sunbathed till the sun started to set before wending our way back. Those were the days, my friends, we thought they would never end . . . . .
I always think of Greek food as full of sunshine – all the wonderful colours of aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and courgettes. This recipe has it all – with little suns of apricots to follow.
GREEK LAMB CHOPS – serves 1 / 2 / 4 (if you are still feeding friends)
- 1/2 / 1 / 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 / 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 / 2 / 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 / 1 / 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 / 2 / 4/lean lamb chops or cutlets
- 1/2 / 1 aubergine, sliced (I love aubergines so have put 1/2 even if just for one!)
- 1 / 2 / 4 courgettes, sliced
- 1/2 / 1 / 2 red peppers, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 / 1 / 2 yellow peppers, cut into large chunks
- 30g/ 60g/ 90g feta cheese, crumbled
- 80g/ 160g/ 320g cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, blend together the mint, rosemary and the garlic, then add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Smear the herb mixture over the lamb chops. Place the aubergine, courgette and peppers on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and place the lamb chops on top. Place into the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and top the chops with the feta and add the cherry tomatoes to the tray. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until the cheese just starts to brown and the lamb chops are just cooked through. Serve the chops with the roasted vegetables and mixed leaf salad.
GREEK APRICOTS – serves 2 (or one for dinner and one for breakfast!)
- 250ml cold water
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- small pinch saffron strands (optional)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 12 apricots, halved ( you can use a drained can if no fresh)
- 150g/5¼oz tub Greek yoghurt
- 50g/1¾oz pistachios, crushed
Put the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, saffron and honey into a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer gently for five minutes before adding the apricots. Simmer for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve the apricots warm on a bed of yogurt, and drizzle over the syrup.