Category Archives: Lamb

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.

Barbecued Lemon Myrtle Lamb Skewers

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It’s almost considered criminal to live in Australia and not cook regularly on a barbecue. It’s part of our heritage; part of our life style. When the weather warms up, we get out side and cook. It’s a fabulous thing.

Any occasion can warrant the excuse for a barbecue. Kids birthday – yep barbecue…Get together with friends, time for a barbecue…It’s too hot to cook in the house, crank up the barbecue…

There were a number of years there were I didn’t own a barbecue (shock horror). I had to get my fix of barbecued foods at other peoples houses. This was so un Australian of me. Then, I was given a barbecue as a gift. It was no Kmart job either. It was one of those small yet stylish type barbecues that runs on charcoal, or gas, or both. The gas element is great for when you’re in a hurry, and the slower method of cooking with the charcoal delivers a flavour that just can’t be matched on any indoor stove. I feel complete.

But let me tell you about these tasty lamb skewers. They have become my favourite.

You’ll need some preserved lemons.

Preserved lemon and lamb go together like presents and Christmas. The other special ingredient I’ve used in the marinade is Lemon Myrtle. Have you heard of it? It’s a native Australian bush herb. It’s fairly pungent, yet delicate in it’s lemon scented flavouring, which also highlights hints of lime.

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Truth be known, this lamb was only marinated for 3 hours. It most certainly can be marinated over night, and if I wasn’t trying to feed my husband’s work friends, who conveniently popped in that day, as well as get a shot of the lamb while the light was still good, I would of left the lamb to marinate longer.

I often serve lamb skewers with yoghurt sauce. On this occasion I snipped fresh mint from the garden, roughly chopped it, grated a cucumber and squeezed the excess water from it,  and added it to the yoghurt with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and sea salt.

 

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Lemon myrtle lamb skewers

Ingredients  

800g free range lamb shoulder (ask your butcher for a lean piece)

1 preserved lemon

2 tsp ground lemon myrtle

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup fresh oregano

1 tbsp rice bran or olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

12 bamboo skewers

 

Dice the lamb into 3cm pieces. Remove the pith of the preserved lemon and discard the pulp, keeping only the rind. Roughly dice the rind and place in a food processor with lemon myrtle, garlic, oregano and oil, blitz till well combined. Pour over the lamb, gently massage it into the meat, and set aside to marinate in the fridge for 4 – 24 hours.

Soak 12 skewers in cold water for 15 minutes (this helps stop the wood from burning).

Pre heat a charcoal barbecue. Skewer the lamb evenly between the bamboo skewers. Season both sides with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Cook the lamb over a medium heat, for 8-10 minutes, turn regularly.

Set the lamb aside to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve lamb skewers with minted yoghurt and your favourite salads.

 

 

Lamb And Spinach Gozleme – The Cheats Way

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The Turkish gozleme stall at the Addison road markets in Marrickville churns out perfectly cooked gozleme grilled to an exact goldenness with crisp dough and deliciously salty cheese filling. On lazy sundays, when I can’t be bothered cooking, I go there for lunch.

I admire the women who run the stall (not sure why it’s only women, but it is). They gather around large tables with their white bakers caps and roll the dough hour after hour until finally, early in the afternoon, they run empty of dough and late comers miss out. The line for their stall is always long, and offers plenty of opportunity for crowd gazing, dog spotting, and child dodging fun.

But this is not a post about their gozleme. This is a post on how to cheat when making your own gozleme; it’s a ‘I can’t be bothered going to the markets and lining up and fighting the crowds’ kind of recipe, and ‘I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all afternoon’ kind of recipe.

Some times short cuts are necessary, right? Some times there’s not enough hours in the day to get every thing done. Some times you have to cheat!

You will need to buy a good Pita bread. I get a Greek one that I’m fond of. It fries well and has a nice taste. Next, you need some free range lamb mince (if you’re going to cheat, you might as well cheat in style). I go to my local butcher and buy it from there because they ground the mince while I wait, that to me is worth the extra dollars. A few simple spices, cinnamon, cumin, and a pinch of chilli, (my kids don’t even notice the chilli), onion and garlic, that’s it. Then you need a tasty, salty feta, and some washed, picked and sliced English spinach. Oh, don’t forget the lemon. This is for squeezing over the gozleme at the end, and lots of it.

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Unlike the talented Turkish women at the markets, who use a large barbecue style grill, you can take another short cut and fry it in a pan. This does require a lowish heat so as to not burn the pita bread before the spinach has a chance to wilt. And oil. You must use oil (I go for Rice bran or Grape seed). This will need to be brushed onto the pita bread before cooking, and again on the other side before flipping. A gentle hand is required so the filling doesn’t tumble out of the (cheats) gozleme as there’s no sides to fold over and hold the filling in.

I won’t pretend that this is as good as a gozleme made from scratch, but for a cheats version, it comes pretty close!

Cheats gozleme – lamb, spinach and feta

Makes 4 gozleme

Ingredients 

1 brown onion

1 clove garlic

300g free range lamb mince

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Salt

Cracked black pepper

4 Greek pita breads

1 bunch English spinach, washed and picked

150g feta cheese

1 lemon cut into wedges

Rice bran or Grape seed oil for frying

Dice the onion and chop the garlic.

Heat a frypan with 1 tbsp oil, add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook gently for several minutes.

Add the lamb mince and fry till cooked through.

Add the spices and stir till fragrant. Remove from heat, set aside to cool.

Lay out one Greek pita bread on a clean bench, place a quarter of the lamb mince on one half of the bread, sprinkle with 1 quarter of the washed, picked and sliced spinach, then crumble over the feta. Heat a non stick fry pan. Brush one side of the pita bread with oil, place the oiled side down into the warm pan, fry gently till golden. Before turning, brush the remaining side with oil and cook till golden, flip another time on each side. When the spinach is wilted and the feta melted, place gozleme on a board, and cut into 5 pieces. Sprinkle with sea salt, cracked pepper and squeeze a wedge of lemon over the gozleme; eat whilst hot and fresh.