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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Supporting local farmers….Greek Lasagne made with lamb mince

byzantine sheep

January has been declared a month for mince recipes on ‘Aweepinchofsugar’ and I’ve been cooking dishes using different types of mince. This recipe for Greek Lasagne, made with lamb mince is a welcome change of flavour from the Italian version I regularly make.

As a supporter of local farmers and food producers it is always Scottish lamb for me and my butcher was happy to mince some lamb shoulder for this recipe. However you may live elsewhere but wherever that is please support your local farmers, particularly at a time where supermarkets are stocking foreign lamb over home reared produce.

 

Greek salad and a glass of red wine....all you need for a  delicous relaxing meal

Greek salad and a glass of red wine….all you need for a delicious relaxing meal

750g Minced lamb

1.5 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 medium red onion finely chopped

4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped

I finely grated carrot

6cm piece of Cinnamon stick

3 tsp dried oregano

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

4 tbsp tomato purée

2tsp tapenade

Large glass of white wine.

14oz Macaroni pasta

Topping

200ml Natural yoghurt

75g Mature Cheddar grated

75g Feta Cheese crumbled

1 large egg

Pre heat oven to 190c/170c fan

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large sauté pan, add the onion and cook for approx 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute.

Increase the heat, add the lamb and cook until browned. I like to drain off the fat at this stage as it makes the finished dish less greasy.

Add the tomato purée, stir to mix well with the lamb and continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the tapenade and oregano, season and mix well.

Add the tinned tomatoes and half fill the can with the white wine and add to the pan, stir well and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Add the grated carrot and cook for a further 10-15 minutes.

During the last 15 minutes of the lamb cooking, cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet.

Topping

Beat the egg and add to the yoghurt along with half of the cheese.

Layer half of the macaroni into a deep oven proof dish, followed by a layer of lamb mince.Repeat with a second layer of each and spread with the yoghurt topping and scatter with the remainder of the cheeses .

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until bubbling and lightly browned.

Greek Lasagne

 

Blackface Sheep with Ben Cruachan in the background

Blackface Sheep with Ben Cruachan in the background

 

Salad and bread are all you need to make this a delicious meal.

 

 

My thanks once again to Alice Strange at Potiki.com  for permission to reproduce her artwork in this post.

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Spicy Turkey Mince

We’ve left the festive period behind for another year and 3rd week of January is already upon us. For most it’s a month for tightening the purse strings and loosening belts after the excesses of Christmas and New Year but regardless we still need to eat. There’s the resolutions of losing weight, eating healthier, cutting out alcohol and no cakes or biscuits. I often wonder if anyone succeeds as January for me is still a month where the right kind of comfort food feels like  a big cosy blanket wrapping itself around me.

In addition to the festive excesses inflicted on our digestion there’s possibly a groaning freezer of food that was bought just in case we needed it. This is my starting point, using up any chicken, meat and fish that wasn’t used for meals during Christmas. I’ll be using store cupboard ingredients like pasta, rice, and tinned tomatoes along with herbs and spices meaning no big shopping for a week or two.

There’s always mince in my freezer, beef, lamb, pork and turkey and it usually features a couple of time is weekly meals. It’s economical and I’ve noticed both my local butcher and butchers at Farmers markets selling two for the price of one. Having boys with big appetites means  I usually use 2lb of mince for many of my recipes and then freeze any leftovers in single portions for my mother.

Mince is so versatile and works so well with other ingredients like rice or pasta and it’s easily stretched by adding lentils and extra veg.  This months posts will therefore be about mince, with recipes for a few healthy and economical meals to feed the family. Given the news about horse meat in Supermarket burgers I’ll also be including some homemade burger recipes.

Turkey makes a really healthy meal and the mince and can be cooked in a number of ways including meatballs, meatloaf, Koftas and burgers. It is widely available at farmers markets, supermarkets and if your local butcher has turkey in stock he will be more than happy to mince for you. I prefer to use the thigh mince as breast mince can be quite dry but the recipe works well with both.

This first recipe is a reminder that turkey is not just for Christmas and is a good to eat all year round

Free Range Turkeys at St Brides on the outskirts of Strathaven in Lanarkshire

Free Range Turkeys at St Brides on the outskirts of Strathaven in Lanarkshire

Minced turkey can be quite bland and it works well with stronger flavours such as chilli, ginger and garlic, really warming ingredients for this cold winter weather.This recipe is really quick to make and you can reduce the load at the end of a busy day by preparing the fresh ingredients earlier.

Spicy Turkey Mince served with brown and wild rice

Spicy Turkey Mince served with brown and wild rice

Shortcuts are okay, and it may suit to replace  the chilli, garlic and ginger with a ready mixed spice blend such as Thai 7 spice or even a good quality Thai curry paste such as Barts.

Spicy Turkey Mince.

Ingredients

500g Turkey Mince

1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 Red chilli, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1inch piece of ginger finely chopped.

Lemon grass….or 1 teaspoon from a jar of ready prepared…Barts is good.

1 Red pepper, roughly chopped

500ml chicken stock

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

2 Tbsp nam Plaa – fish sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil over a medium heat, add onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the ginger, red chilli and continue cooking for 1 minute.

Add the minced turkey, stirring until well browned.

turkey 1

Add the red pepper, stir in approx 250ml stock along with the soy and fish sauce. Season with black pepper and continue cooking for 10 minutes adding additional stock if needed.

turkey 2

ready to serve...colourful and healthy

Ready to serve…colourful and healthy

To serve

4 Chopped spring onions

Handful of torn basil leaves or freshly chopped corriander.

Serve with rice such as brown basmati and wild rice or Thai rice and some broccoli.

NOTES

Use Chicken or Pork Mince as an alternative if you can’t get Turkey Mince.

Thank you to Robert at St Brides Poultry for the picture of the Free Range Turkeys. You can find out more about them at http://www.stbridespoultry.co.uk or keep up to date with what’s happening at the farm by following on Twitter @StBridesPoultry