Lamb and Chickpea Kofta with Kale and Tahini Salad

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As a rule of thumb I will only make kofta with freshly ground lamb mince. For this you will need to visit a respected butcher. The spices to flavour the meat are important. I use Middle Eastern flavours – cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg. To heighten these spices I add smoked paprika and lemon zest.

Now, not traditional to a kofta mix, but something I think works a treat, are chickpeas. These need to be blended to a rough crumb and combined with chopped parsley and onion to the free-range lamb mince.

Kofta can be cooked in a fry pan, but for a taste that is hard to beat I cook them on the barbecue – rather slowly in fact. This gives them a chance to cook through properly without getting too dark in colour on the outside. This batch took 20 odd minutes to cook. That leaves plenty of time for laying the table, which if at all possible, setting a table in the garden and eating them out side only adds to the experience of this satisfying meal.

 

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A subtly spiced lamb kofta (not the prettiest of foods) needs two things. A good salad; enter kale. And a good sauce; enter tahini.

When crisp sprightly leaves of kale are shredded and steamed they soften and relax and suddenly the kale is vibrant and green with a milder flavour than when served raw. It’s delicious alongside these homemade kofta. Although the salad and kofta are good companions there is no reason why either one couldn’t be made as a dish on it’s own.

Tahini offers it’s versatility in this recipe as both a sauce and a salad dressing. It might be known that tahini – ground sesame seed paste – loves lemon juice, and garlic for that matter, and when combined with the simple pairings of salt and pepper makes a flavour worthy of both these dishes.

And then thee’s the grilled bread, it is optional, yet I find it hard to resist.

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Kale and tahini salad with Lamb and chickpea kofta

Ingredients 

For the kofta

500g lamb freshly ground free-range lamb mince

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed (use a 400g can of chickpeas and reserve the remaining chickpeas for the salad)

1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

For the salad

4 cups firmly packed shredded kale

Remaining chickpeas (use what’s left of the can from the kofta)

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

2-3 small avocados (or 1 large)

For the dressing and sauce

3 tbsp tahini paste

1 large lemon, juiced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp chopped parsley

Large pinch salt and cracked black pepper

To serve

Grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes

For the kofta, place the lamb mince, spices, seasoning and lemon zest in a large bowl.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blitz to a small crumb, add to the mince. Put the onion, garlic and parsley in the food processor and chop finely, add to the mince. Use your hands to mix the kofta till well combined. Take small handfuls of kofta mince and shape using the palm of your hand into small sausage like cylinders. Place on a tray and set aside out of the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the shredded kale for 2 minutes, rinse briefly under cold water to cool then squeeze the excess water from the kale, place in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining drained and rinsed chickpeas, sliced avocado and toasted sunflower seeds (make sure they’re cold).

For the tahini dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Check the seasoning and consistency, if the tahini dressing is too thick add a dash of hot water or a little extra lemon juice.

Pre heat a barbecue or a frypan (use a little oil if using a fry pan). Cook the kofta on a medium to low heat so the meat cooks slowly and cooks all the way through, turn regularly to ensure even cooking.  This can take 20 odd minutes on a low barbecue or if using a fry pan maybe 12 – 15 minutes.

Just before serving, take a few tbsp of tahini sauce and dress the salad, toss to combine. Serve the kofta with the remaining tahini sauce. To accompany the meal you might add some grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes – this is optional.

Coconut Pepita and Chia Biscuits with Dark Chocolate

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I have to admit, I’m more of a cake-kind-of-girl then a biscuit one. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good biscuit. I do. Actually, I’m sharing this recipe with you now because this IS a good biscuit. It’s a great biscuit. It’s crunchy…not too sweet…and can actually be debated that’s it’s kind of healthy.

And what makes it so? Wholemeal flour is a good start – sure beats processed white.

Then there’s the pepita seeds – the pretty green seed taken from inside a pumpkin seed – which by the way are full of iron, magnesium and zinc.

LSA mix – ground linseed, sunflower, almond meal – is in here too. That adds some healthy omega-3 fats.

Chia seeds are full of calcium and high in antioxidants – apparently they have higher levels than blueberries! – and they replace the need for egg – remember this recipe?.

And coconut, well, I just love coconut…

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These biscuits have a similar method to an Anzac biscuit, only they’re healthier.  The melted chocolate on top is totally optional and not altogether necessary. If I’m short on time I skip the melted chocolate part and leave them as is.

My kids love it when I bake these biscuits. Actually, my husband probably loves it just as much they do, maybe more. He’s a biscuit-kind-of-guy. He’s been known in the past to buy horrible supermarket biscuits. He practically has to sneak them in the door so I don’t give him a lecture on how foul they are, how full of processed rubbish they are, and how overly sugared they are – poor guy, must be tough being married to me.

He does love these though and if I’m trying to get him on board for some favour I need doing then a batch of these oh-so-good-biscuits are a great place to start.

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If you want to make these for the kids to take to school, yet your having to follow strict school guidelines about no food with nuts (this is seriously out of control this whole allergy thing) then leave out the LSA mix and add an extra 2 tbsp wholemeal self raising flour. That keeps them nut free and school lunch-box-friendly.

Coconut pepita and chia seed biscuits with dark chocolate

Ingredients

100g butter

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2tbsp hot water

160g wholemeal self raising flour

2 tbsp LSA mix (ground linseed, sunflower and almonds)

80g brown sugar

60g shredded coconut

70g pepita seeds

80g dark chocolate bits, plus extra for melting if desired

Pre heat oven to 175C OR 155C fan forced. Place the butter, honey, chia seeds, bi carb and hot water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat till butter melts. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place the wholemeal flour, LSA mix, brown sugar, shredded coconut, pepita seeds and chocolate bits in a medium size bowl, stir till well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour.  When the butter mixture has cooled add to the flour mixture and stir till dough comes together.

Line two trays with baking paper. Take a spoon of biscuit mix and roll it into a ball, place it on the lined tray then use your finger tips and palm of hand to flatten to a circular shape. Continue with remaining mix till all biscuits are rolled and flattened.

Bake in the oven for 18 – 20 minutes, or till golden and cooked through. Cool biscuits on a wire rack. If you are drizzling with the extra chocolate – this is optional and feel free to skip this step – place melted chocolate in a snap lock bag, snip off the end, and drizzle biscuits in a zig zag manner. Allow chocolate to set. Store the cold biscuits in an airtight container for 5-6 days.