SUMMER BBQ - Barbecued Lamb Cutlets / Warm Potato Salad / Aubergine Stacks with Goats Cheese / Garlic

Summer BBQ - Lamb CutletsEven if you aren’t actually on holiday there’s something about August that gives it has a unique holiday atmosphere – and, although there will be plenty of lovely days to look forward to in September, the end of the month officially marks the close of summer. So, before getting into the back-to-work mood, why not get out the barbie again this weekend and give it a serious lash.

Barbecued Lamb Cutlets

Cooked in minutes either on the barbecue or under the grill, this is one of a range of barbecue recipes from Bord Bia – if you’re looking for ideas, you’ll find recipe leaflets in the shops, or you can visit their website for the full collection.

Serves 4:

8 lamb cutlets, well trimmed
1 tablesp. balsamic vinegar
1 tablesp. olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Mix the vinegar and oil together in bowl. Dip the cutlets into the mixture, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a pre-heated barbecue or grill for three minutes on each side.

Serving Suggestions:

• Serve with steamed potatoes with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves and a little rock salt
• Try a spoonful of your favourite salsa or relish
• Mix together some chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber and fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime juice, olive oil and seasoning

• Or serve with this Warm Potato Salad:

1 kg(2lb) small new season potatoes, cooked but still warm
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves new season (‘wet’) garlic, chopped
2 tbsp mixed chopped parsley & chives
1 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Place the warm cooked potatoes in a salad bowl. Cook the onion gently in the olive oil until soft, then add all the other ingredients. Pour this dressing mixture over the potatoes and serve warm.

SHORT RECIPE: Aubergine Stacks with Goats Cheese

Aubergine Stack with Goats CheeseWith such a wide range of high quality Irish farmhouse cheeses available now, it’s easy to forget that the choice from France remains exceptional – and a mixed selection is usually more interesting. This summery starter light vegetarian main course is one of a selection of appealing recipes using French cheeses, from the Dublin Cookery School, Cooks Academy Go easy on the basil, unless you like it especially, as it has a very dominant flavour.

Serves 4

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
14 oz/400g skinned tomatoes with their juice OR 1 tin tomatoes
Salt pepper and sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil
1 bunch basil (see above)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 large aubergines
10oz / 300g French goats cheese, crumbled

First make the sauce: saut the onions until cooked then add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and the balsamic and allow to simmer until reduced. Stir through some chopped basil and parsley.
Thinly slice the aubergine and brush with oil; put into the oven preheated at 190°C/375°F /Gas 5 and cook until lightly coloured and a little soft.
When both the sauce and aubergines are ready, layer them up - first a slice of aubergine, then a little sauce, next some basil and/or parsley, next crumbled goats cheese - and repeat the layers.
These can be done up in advance and quickly warmed through in the oven before serving with a rocket salad garnish and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or some pesto dressing.

Ingredient of the Week: GARLIC

GarlicWhat Is It?
Allium sativum is a hardy perennial herb of the onion family, a compound mass of bulblets (’cloves’) which are used for flavouring in cuisines all over the world, and also have antiseptic and disinfectant qualities. (And, of course, garlic is reputed to ward off vampires…)

Where does it come from?
Originally from Central Asia, it is now widely grown, and is very popular in mainland Europe; it is believed the Romans brought it to these islands.

Where Can I Get It?
Incredible as it would have seemed even a couple of decades ago, when it was regarded (especially in rural areas) as an exotic Continental ingredient, garlic is now easily available in any supermarket, greengrocers or corner shop in Ireland. It is also easy to grow (light oil, sunny but moist position), although the bulbs may be smaller than commercial ones; they are harvested in late summer and the young fresh ‘wet’ garlic is soft and milder in flavour than the usual dried garlic.

What Can I Do With It?
It is incredibly versatile, and many savoury dishes benefit from a bit of garlic. The smaller you chop it, the stronger the flavour will be, so cloves cooked whole can be surprisingly mild, while finely chopped or crushed cloves (most easily crushed in a little salt) will be more pungent. A raw garlic clove, sliced and rubbed around a salad bowl does give a subtle flavour, and raw fresh (‘wet’) garlic can be used in marinades and dressings, eg the classic mayonnaise style garlic dip aioli. When using older garlic, halve it and remove the green root/growing shoot that goes through the middle, as it will have a bitter flavour. Never allow garlic to burn, as it will spoil the dish; be especially careful when stir-frying – add towards the end of the cooking time so it is not in contact with the hot oil. Peeled cloves, or whole unpeeled bulbs can be roasted (with chicken, for example, at moderate heat) and will caramelise to make a sweetly-flavoured accompaniment. To remove the aroma of garlic from hands or chopping board, wash in cold (not hot) water.

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