Fortunately its not been all bad in February, I was sent a box full of fabulous lamb from Farmison which helped to soften the blow:
When I was initially approached about trying out Farmison, it was an easy decision of yes - whilst I hadn't been all that familiar with them as a brand, I have become increasingly wary of buying meat at supermarkets with everything that has been in the press and even more importantly for me - the taste.
After a peruse through their website I liked what I saw. The products looked good quality, the website was easy to use, and I really liked the fact that all their meat comes from higher welfare farms and is mostly free range or organic. Going back to the subject of taste, whilst I try to go to the butchers, I don't unfortunately have one very close to me and I have to go out of my way to go to my favoured one, so being able to purchase online, choosing the exact cuts and products I want delivered to my doorstep is far more ideal.
Then came the choice of what to choose.....I never buy lamb at the supermarket as find the taste frequently off putting, it also isn't the cheapest of meats so its something I only buy as a rare treat from my butchers, and so I decided to test out their lamb as for me it would be a good test of the quality, and I was not disappointed at all. I had a small selection of cuts, and they were all quite perfect. My lamb arrived perfectly packaged, when expected and was a very smooth transaction - always admirable! We all have our share of horror deliveries I am sure and fortunately this was not one of them!
Out of the four dishes I made, this recipe was my favourite and wanted to blog about it first but I daresay the other three recipes will follow in due course! This made a really quite wonderful lunch, and for something so simple it really was quite divine.
One of the ingredients I used was a bit of a cheat - I buy from Lidl jars of pre-marinated cheese cubes and olives which come in a herby oil - great for throwing into salads too. If you are unable to source, it would be easy enough to combine something like feta or salad cheese cubes with a few olives and some dried herbs, with a little oil. In fact I could make my own easily enough but as I said above - they are my cheat ingredient!! The jar is 300g, and I used roughly half of it.
Spiced Lamb chops with Chickpea, Cheese and Spinach Bake
2 large lamb chops
200g frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 tin kala chana (brown chickpeas)
1 red romana pepper, sliced
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
150g jar of cheese cubes & olives in herb oil
Squeeze of lemon juice
S&P to taste
Start by toasting the spices and then grinding them finely, either in a mill or using a pestle and mortar. Please don't be tempted to buy them ready ground! It really doesn't take more than 5 minutes whilst you get on with other things, like making a nice cup of tea and it makes so much difference!
Combine the ground spices with the oil, rub all over the chops thoroughly and leave somewhere cool for a good hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 200o
Heat a heavy based frying pan big enough to fit the chops, add the chops when hot and fry for 3 minutes each side. Meanwhile, when the chops start releasing some oil, throw in the peppers and stir well - you want to get a little colour on them.
Toss together the kala chana, spinach, cheese cubes with 2 tbsp of the oil from the cheese jar and spread out into a small roasting tin.
Many thanks to Farmison and and Laura at Riva PR