An Orange Kitchen…? & first recipe post!

I’ve thought a lot about how to begin my blog – what I’d write about first, and how I’d go about it. I also thought a lot about what to call it – and finally I came up with An Orange Kitchen because, well, my kitchen here is orange, and that’s where my blog will be focused. If I’m being honest, I sort of hate the orange – I’m not a big fan of the colour in general, and I certainly wouldn’t paint my kitchen that, were the choice mine.

Unfortunately, the colour is not all that’s wrong with my kitchen – although it’s a massive room, probably nearly double the size of my kitchen back in London, it’s reeeeally impractical. It has basically no workspace at all – there are cupboards down one side, but what with the stove & sink, barely any counter space… Hopeless. We now have a new kitchen table (which I built!), which helps, but… hey ho, we’ll get there.

I also thought a lot about which recipe would be my first post – I wanted it to be something I love, but also something that fits with the time of year and what’s going on here in Boston. Because although it’s really cold here (and apparently I haven’t seen anything yet…), it’s also really bright and sunny, which means that the stews and other hearty fare I normally turn to don’t seem that appropriate. So, instead I went for a dish I cooked for my brother just before I left London, which is warming and wintry without being the type of dish to send you into a food-induced coma.

I spent my final few weeks in London staying at my brother’s, and to help ease the hassle for him and his flatmate, I cooked a lot for them while I was there. One of the meals I made was Nigel Slater’s Duck and crushed cannellini beans from his recent BBC show, which was a hit. However, duck is fairly expensive, and not always that easy to find – but I got to thinking that the dish might work well with lamb chops instead. So when I made it for Noel and I this week, I substituted lamb – happily, it worked really well… in fact, I think I even preferred the meatiness of the lamb to the rich duck. I also made some changes to the flavours – largely because of what I had in the house. I think it worked really well, but equally I think the flavours of the original recipe would also complement the lamb, if you’d rather give that a go.

Pan-fried lamb chops with crushed cannellini beans

Serves 2

  • 4 – 6 Lamb chops (depending on the size of the chops & how hungry you are…)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 400g/14oz tin cannellini beans, drained of some but not all of the soaking liquid
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme (or a sprig of fresh thyme, if you have some)
  • Squeeze of lemon, to taste
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Heat a good sized frying pan over a fairly high heat until hot, and add the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper on each side, and add to the pan – sear quickly until brown on each side but not cooked through. Make sure the meat is brown on both sides. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the garlic – allow to cook for a minute, stirring, until cooked but not brown.

Add the beans to the pan, around the lamb, and allow to cook until the lamb is cooked to your liking – depending on the size of your chops, this should take around 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove the chops from the pan and allow to rest somewhere warm.

Add the oregano, season with salt and pepper, and allow the beans to cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, then take off the heat. Crush the beans slightly with the back of a spoon – you are aiming for a mixture of textures, some beans completely crushed, some partially crushed, and some whole. Serve the beans with lamb chops on top.

Notes:

  • In the original recipe, Nigel uses a duck breast and a whole tin of beans to make a simple supper – we had ours with some roasted squash and steamed green veg, so therefore I used just one tin of beans between two.
  • As I mentioned, I didn’t have all the ingredients to hand, so I substituted dried oregano for the rosemary. I also added some garlic, and I used lemon juice for some acidity as I had no wine, Marsala or otherwise…