One of the first things people generally ask me once they find out that both Dear Husband and I did time as professional chefs is “Oh my, what do you eat at home?”
I wait one second and then watch as these dear folk visibly slip into a beautiful reverie of me serving up restaurant quality food from a gadget laden pristine kitchen every night at home. What follows then is the sound of my voice crashing through the “oh I wish I had married a chef who could cook me a stunning meal every night“ dream with this crushing and sad reality, often disappointingly received; “Oh, pretty normal food, just like you.”
Since we are dispensing truths today, let me add this, my kitchen is the most ungadgety kitchen on the planet. Being a trained chef working in the bush; in small kitchens with tight budgets; in training kitchens with destructive students and in kitchens hundreds of years old has taught me one simple thing: I can make do with pretty much anything. Yip anything. I would of course love all the beautiful equipment money can buy, but truthfully I can make pretty darn good food without it.Regarding the pristine part, because I live with Handsome, you can be pretty sure that cooking takes place between random pieces of Lego, hot wheels, bunny ears, sand, one or two sticks and the odd half eaten apple. All glamour around here.
Today’s recipe is something that we might have for dinner during the week. We actually ate this last week. I think I did some sweet carrots to go along with the lamb but I can’t really remember though. A simple garden salad would work great too.Pretty Girl is an enormous fan of Tzatziki and she pretty much likes to eat it straight from the bowl; so this dinner was really made with her in mind. She keeps asking me to make those ‘crunchy lamb chops’ again. Obviously it’s a winner.
Two quick things: firstly, I use fresh breadcrumbs that I buy from the bakery section of my local as it saves me time making them myself (ok I am too lazy to make my own breadcrumbs but that is almost the same thing isn’t it?). Secondly, I know my recipe for Tzatziki is not perfect. Truthfully I can’t be bothered to let yoghurt hang in a muslin cloth and I only wanted to use mint instead of dill or parsley as I was planning on serving it with this particular lamb dish. This is how I make stuff at home, just pretty much doing exactly what I like, and unlike all those crazy professional kitchen days, there is no one to correct argue with me!
- 1 cucumber, grated
- 500 ml (2 C) plain Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 15 ml (1 T) mint leaves, finely chopped
- 30 ml (2 T) fresh lemon juice
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 250 ml (1 C) breadcrumbs
- 5 ml (1 t) ground cumin
- 5 ml (1 t) ground coriander
- 5 ml (1 t) dried oreganum
- 30 ml (2 T) Italian Parsley, finely chopped
- 8 lamb rib cutlets
- 125 ml (½ C) cake flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- sunflower oil for frying
- to serve: lemon wedges
- To make the yoghurt dip place the grated cucumber on a clean tea towel. Place the tea towel into a colander and leave to stand for a few minutes. Squeeze the cucumber in the tea towel to remove all excess moisture. Place the cucumber into a bowl.
- Add the yoghurt, garlic, mint, and lemon juice and mix well.
- Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and add the cumin, coriander, and oreganum. Add the Italian parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Dust each lamb cutlets in the flour and shake off any excess. Dip the cutlets first into the beaten egg and then into the seasoned breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Heat a frying pan and fry the cutlets in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Place the lamb cutlets onto a baking tray and finish in the oven preheated to 180˚C for 5-8 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
- Serve the lamb cutlets immediately with the yoghurt dip and lemon wedges on the side.