Thursday, July 22, 2010

...A Little Lamb For My Mint Sauce

Every time I do a big grocery shop, I make sure to include some fresh herbs in my basket. Since there is only two of us eating here, I have to stop myself from buying too much for fear that they will wilt and go to waste. I've devised a system of alternating between various herbs and planning dishes around them, realizing that this allows me to push the envelope in terms of experimenting on dishes and cuisines I may not be accustomed to cooking. It also helps in changing up the flavours coming out of my kitchen, ensuring that Mr. P and I don't get stuck with the same types of dishes week in and week out.

This particular shop saw me buying a bunch of mint for a change. Trina's previous entry inspired me to try making my own mint sauce (yes, sauce, not jelly). Unlike her, I'm a huge fan of lamb and thankfully in this town, it's not too pricey. The butcher showed me a cut that he said would be great for simple pan grilling. A perfect vessel for the mint sauce I was so keen to make, I thought.

After looking up several recipes on Mint Sauce, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is oh, so simple.  I settled for my own rendition which consisted of stuff already in my cupboard:
-1 bunch of fresh mint
-3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon of honey
-salt and pepper

Chop up the mint finely and whisk all the rest of the ingredients together. Alternatively, you can dump all the ingredients into a mini food processor and blitz to emulsify. Amazing what the addition of an herb like fresh mint can do to alter the taste of your most basic vinaigrette. The combination of flavors definitely brought out the crisp minty taste that goes very well with lamb dishes. However, don't be stuck on lamb with this one. It makes a great dressing for mediterranean style salads, chicken, fish and a whole slew of other stuff.

For this evening, it was drizzled on pan grilled lamb that had been seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Alongside the meat was roasted potato and lemony-minty orzo. Clean crisp flavours cut through the lamb's slight gamey taste. All together, it was delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the star sauce so here is an image of dinner plated up instead.

Lately, I've been into making dressings, some sauces and preserves (like this one) from scratch. I find that some of them are really not that difficult to do. I say some because I have yet to (or may never) build up the courage to make things like X.O. Sauce, Sriracha, Oyster Sauce, curry pastes and the like from scratch. So I'm starting with things that are not too daunting to me. Sauces and such that we may have gotten so used to buying pre-made, off a shelf. As Trina pointed out, by sticking to what we know and what is natural, it is possible to get the same great flavours minus the unnecessary additives. My kitchen will definitely be on experimentation mode and I hope to start churning out more complex items sooner rather than later.


  1. Wow! Homemade mint sauce...bravo :) That is one delicious looking dinner plate! C and I love lamb and I wish it was less pricey here as it is there!

    Have you discovered the blog White on Rice Couple? They have a recipe for sriracha there. And you can find a recipe for XO Sauce on Market Manila. Enjoy! :)

  2. Thanks Joey! I'm really having fun playing with herbs and spices. I shall check out the recipes for those sauces and perhaps will find the courage to make some myself. Last night was an experiment on apricot chutney. : )