Spiced lamb kofta with quick pickles and yogurt dressing

When the sun starts coming out, minds start turning to BBQ weather and when the first opportunity will be to eat al fresco. Well fingers crossed this will happen very soon but in the meantime there is no reason you can’t enjoy these lamb kofta indoors. Kofta are easy to make and children can also help out! I served the lamb kofta layered on warmed flatbread along with pickled cabbage, carrot and chillies drizzled with a cool, refreshing yogurt dressing. I will admit that I did use shop bought flatbreads on this occasion to save time but feel free to make your own if time allows.

I have separated the recipe into its constituent parts so you can plan ahead. the dressing and pickles can be made ahead of time. The dressing can sit in the fridge overnight but I would tend to make the pickled carrot and cabbage on the day so they retain some crunch.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the kofta
400g lamb mince- I used 20% fat mince
1 small red onion
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp chilli powder (optional)
Large handful of fresh mint leaves- finely chopped
Salt and pepper to season

For the pickles
1 small red cabbage- shredded
1 large carrot- grated
3 tbsp.white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
Jarred mild to medium green chillies

For the yogurt dressing
100ml plain Greek style yogurt
Handful of fresh mint leaves- finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1/2 tsp salt

1. Get started by making the dressing. All you need to do is combine all the ingredients, cover and leave in the fridge  until you need it. Simple!

2. Again, the kofta recipe itself is also straightforward. Take a pan and a very small amount of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Remove from the heat and cool. Take the mince and add the spices. mint and seasoning to it. Chilli can be added if you like a bit more heat but it is delicious without so you can taste each spice. When the onion and garlic mixture is cool, add this to the mince and use your hands (clean of course!) to squidge and squish it until firm. Cover and place in the fridge for half an hour whilst you do the pickled veg.

3. I pickled each vegetable separately so each retained its colour. Take two bowls and add the cabbage to one and the carrot to the other. Add 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar to the cabbage and 1 tbsp vinegar and 1/2 tbsp to the carrot. Mix well to combine and set aside for at least half an hour; stir from time to time.

4. When you are ready to get cooking simply shape the kofta into small balls or sausage shapes; make sure they are as unform in shape and size as you can so they cook evenly. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the kofta and cook for around 10 minutes until golden on the outside and cooked through. Sometime I like to start them off on the hob and then finish them in the oven which also frees a bit of hob space up if you need it. For this heat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan and cook to finish them off.

5. Now for the assembly! Take 4 flatbreads and reheat either in a dry, hot pan or griddle. Place one on each person’s plate and layer with the pickled vegetables, kofta and yogurt dressing. This is perfect for feeding a crowd as everyone can load up their own flatbread as they like. A little crumbled feta is also a delicious addition!

Flatbreads loaded with spiced kofta- roll on BBQ season!

 

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Sri Lankan style cauliflower, potato and pea curry

Sri Lanka has an abundance of ingredients and spices that lend themselves to a flavourful experience. With its historical links with trade you can imagine the range of influences that it brings to the cuisine. I have kept this curry recipe simple, using limited spices to ensure that each of the flavours speak for themselves so read on and get cooking!

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Ingredients- serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side 
1 medium cauliflower
200g potato
100g fresh or frozen shelled peas
300ml coconut milk
Fresh curry leaves
1 large white onion- chopped
1-2 garlic cloves- finely chopped or crushed
1 green chilli- left whole and pricked with a knife
Strands of angel hair chilli to finish (optional)

For the paste
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp black onion seeds
1 green chilli- finely chopped
1 garlic clove

1. Get going by separating the cauliflower into small florets and cutting the potatoes into bite size chunks. At this stage you can steam or boil the cauliflower and potatoes until part cooked and set aside. In the meantime make the paste by adding all the ingredients together and giving it a quick whizz in a processor or using a pestle and mortar which I prefer so you have greater control over how coarse or how smooth the paste is.

2. Take a large frying pan and heat a glug of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until softening. Throw in a few curry leaves and the whole green chilli; cook for a further couple of minutes.

3. Add the curry paste to the pan and fry off for a further minute until is begins to release its flavour. Next up the cauliflower and potato needs to go in and cook for another couple of minutes; toss the vegetables in the spice mix and try and get a bit of colour on the potatoes as they cook. Add in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender and the coconut has reduced down; this should take around half an hour.

Just a couple of minutes before the vegetables are ready you need to add the peas and cook these in; if using fresh you may like to quickly blanch before adding. If you prefer a more moist curry then either add a little more coconut milk and simmer it for a while longer but make sure that the vegetables don’t go soggy and overcooked. You could always lightly steam them before they get to the parboiled stage to enable this. I added a few strands of angel hair chilli which looks like saffron and gives another hit of colour to a dish rather than bringing heat so time to pretty it up!
Serve in deep bowls with flatbread on the side if you like.

Cauliflower, potato and pea curry laced with spice and the sweetness of coconut- the perfect balance!

Super quick chicken fajitas with homemade guacamole and salsa

There really is no excuse not to whip up a quick dinner with this fajita recipe. Long gone are the days of using a jar of stir in sauce- this takes no time at all without compromising on flavour. I serve fajitas with guacamole and salsa as well as a liberal helping of soured cream so I have also given you recipes for this. Enjoy!

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Ingredients- serves 4
4 chicken breasts- cut into chunks
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chilli powder
1 lime
1 red onion- finely sliced
1 red and 1 yellow pepper- finely sliced
Handful (generous!) of jalapeno chillies
Splash of vegetable oil

1. Start by marinating the chicken chunks. The marinade works just as well if you only leave it for a few minutes or if you leave it for longer. Put the chicken in a large bowl and add the paprika, cumin, oregano and chilli powder along with the juice of a lime and you can also add a little zest if you like. Set aside until you’re ready to use it.

2. Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken for a couple of minutes just to get a bit of colour before adding the onion and peppers. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are softening. If you like your peppers a bit crunchier in your fajitas then simply add them in towards the end of cooking. When the fajita mix is nearly ready, throw in the jalapenos and cook for a further minute or so.

Serve the mix in a large bowl so everyone can dig in and help themselves. I serve with options of guacamole, soured cream, salsa, lettuce and some cheese. Actually talking of guacamole and salsa…

Guacamole
3 medium tomatoes
3 ripe avocados
Juice of a lime
1/2 a small onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- grated
Fresh coriander- chopped
2 red chillies finely chopped
Salt

1. Start off by preparing the tomatoes by making a small cross on the end of each and blanching them in hot water for 30 seconds. Remove and then peel the skin off. Of course you can leave the skin on too if you like a bit more texture. Scoop out the seeds and chop finely.

2. Next up sort out the avocados by halving, removing the stone and scooping out the flesh. Use the back of a fork and mash until it reaches a smooth consistency before adding in the lime juice.

3. Take the onion, garlic, coriander and chilli and stir through the avocado to combine before adding the tomato. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.

Salsa
6 tomatoes- finely chopped
1 onion- finely chopped
1 garlic clove- crushed
4 green chillies- finely chopped
Juice of half a lime
Fresh coriander- chopped
Pinch of sugar and salt

1. Step one: combine all the ingredients and serve! It could not be easier!