Rare Roast Lamb and Lebanese Cucumber Delights
I used to live in Fulham for many years and North End Road was my local foodie heaven. The attraction for me was the different cultures and influences.
I moved to the country but still pay a regular visit to the Al Baydar Mediterranean Delicatessen. I love the outrageously big bunches of mint and the boxes of limes that can be bought for a couple of pounds. Money seems to go a very long way when I’m shopping on North End road, especially at Al Baydar.
I walk away with a guaranteed smile every time, but the smiles are for many reasons . Friendly staff, competitive prices but most importantly I find something interesting every time! That is priceless for a full-blooded foodie like me. On my last visit I found Lebanese cucumbers and a jar of sumac along with a box of limes and a enormous bunch of mint. I was inspired and could not wait to get home to start cooking. This delicious rare roasted lamb neck fillets, home made pitta breads and freshly made Lebanese cucumber raita is a wonderful taste of the Mediterranean.
I made a few bite size morsels with the left over’s, perfect with drinks in the garden on a lazy afternoon.
You might find lamb neck fillets a strange choice for a quick cook recipe. As we are still in the beginning of the British new lamb season the lamb neck fillets are a perfect choice. They are still tender early in the season but from July onwards the British lamb matures. Substitute the lamb neck fillets for pencil fillets. Ask your local butcher for these, they could be pricey and are fairly small.
Home Made Pitta Breads
- 50g fresh yeast
- 300ml water
- 500g strong flour bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2tbs extra virgin olive oil
Weigh the flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub the fresh yeast into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the salt, olive oil and water. Gradually work the liquids into the flour by using a flexible plastic scraper.
Work the dough for about 5 minutes until a smooth and silky texture.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and let the dough prove until double in size.
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 even size balls.
Use your finger tips to stretch the dough into oval pitta shaped breads. Lift the dough from the work surface and gently stretch the dough to a even thickness, it does not matter if you, by accident, make a few holes as it adds to the character of the pitta breads.
Place the dough shapes on a lightly floured baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel and let the pitta prove until double in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Heat a griddle pan till smoking hot, gently lift the pittas and bar mark them on both sides. Place the pittas on the baking tray into the preheated oven for 5 - 7 minutes to ensure the dough cooks through.
Remove the pittas from the oven, brush each with extra virgin olive oil and let them cool on a cooling rack until needed.
Rare Roast Lamb Neck Fillets
- 480g lamb neck fillets, about four with the average of 120g each
- 1tbs extra virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of one lemon
- Pinch of sumac
- Freshly ground black peppercorns and course sea salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Remove the excess fat.
Pour the olive oil, a few drops of the lemon juice, lemon zest, sumac and seasoning over the lamb neck fillets, rub the marinade into the lamb.
Let the lamb marinade for 20 minutes before cooking.
Heat a non-stick frying pan, seal the lamb neck fillets on all sides until golden brown about 6 -7 minutes. Place the fillets on a roasting tray into the preheated oven for 5 - 8 minutes. Let the lamb rest for 3 minutes.
Lebanese Cucumber Raita
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 spring onions
- Large hand full of fresh mint
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 1tsp pickled preserved lemon, chopped
- 150g natural or Greek yoghurt
- Freshly cracked black pepper and course sea salt
Wash and drain the vegetables. Cut the Lebanese cucumber in half, use a teaspoon to remove the seeds.
Slice the cucumber, chop the spring onions and shred the fresh mint.
Add all the ingredients together and season to taste.
Let the raita sit for 20 minutes before serving.
Assembly of the dish
Cut the pitta in half, arrange fresh salad leaves on top. Slice the lamb fillets into slices and place on top of the salad, garnish with extra sliced Lebanese cucumbers and spring onions and a inch of sumac. Spoon the raita into a small bowl and serve alongside the lamb and pita breads.
For the bite size pieces:
Slice a small Lebanese cucumber in half, remove the seeds and cut into 2cm long pieces. Spoon a small teaspoon of the raita into each piece of cucumber, place a slice of the lamb on top, garnish with sliced spring onions, shredded mint and a sprinkling of sumac.