31 January 2016

Recipe: Scotch lamb koftas with tomato and red pepper cous cous and mint raita

THE BEAUTY OF this lamb kofta recipe is that it can be adapted to use in many different dishes. From lamb burgers to a tagine with pomegranate seeds and sweet potato, or a meatball curry, this versatile mix is delicious in whatever guise you feel like making on the day. This particular recipe is straightforward to cook and doesn't take much time whatsoever. The koftas can be made well ahead, ready to seal and finish in the oven while you cook the cous cous and chop up a salad. Plus, it celebrates Scotch lamb! What's not to love!?

Ingredients (serves 2)

400g lamb mince
1 small tin, harissa paste
2 cloves garlic, grated
Tsp ground cumin seeds
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
150g cous cous
1/2 red pepper, cut into small dice
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and cut into small dice or concasse
Bunch spring onions, sliced
Chicken stock to cover
1 block of feta cheese
1 red onion, rouchly chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Lemon juice
Olive oil
1 packet of mint, chopped
1 small tub of organic natural yogurt
Packet of flatbreads or pittas
Sea salt


1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the harissa paste in with the lamb, garlic, cumin, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Give it a good mix and pounding down with your fist until slightly mushier in texture.

2) Take a good pinch of the meat and roll into the size of a golf ball. Repeat and place onto a tray, cover and pop in the fridge for 20 mins to firm up slightly.

3) Meanwhile, prep the salad and cous cous, leaving out the lemon juice and olive oil from the salad until serving.  Place in a bowl and reserve in the fridge.

4) Place a frying pan on a moderate heat.  Add oil then gently colour the meatballs on all sides.  Be careful not to have the pan too hot, or they may burn or break apart. This should take 5-6 mins per batch. Once coloured, place into the oven on a grill tray (so they cook evenly) for 8-10 mins.

5) Chop the mint and add to the yogurt with a good squeeze of lemon and some sea salt.  Mix thoroughly.

6) Halfway through this process, boil the kettle.  Warm the chicken stock (or 200mls of boiling water with a stock cube).  Put the cous cous into a bowl and add the stock, covering with cling film.  Leave for 5-6 mins. When done, whisk with a fork and add the tomatoes, pepper and spring onions.  Check the seasoning and stir the ingredients to mix.

7) Spoon the cous cous into the centre of a bowl or plate.  Place the desired amount of meatballs on top.  Serve with flatbreads, raita and salad on the side.

Happy cooking!


3 January 2016

Recipe: Fennel seed, tomato and chilli sausage rolls

HAVING ANTICIPATED SPENDING the first day of the New Year with a hangover I knew that some comforting snacks would be needed to raise spirits, well at least until the cava was cracked open. Having developed a slight obsession for fennel and chilli sausages it seemed the natural choice of filling for this easy-to-make treat.

My mother will probably tell you my love of cooking started because I like making a mess and there is plenty to guddle with in this recipe, my favourite part  being mixing the ingredients for the sausage meat filling. Just chuck it all in and get squishing... It's terribly therapeutic!


500g sausage meat 
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp dried chilli seeds (you could chop a fresh one up, I prefer dried)
2 garlic cloves, grated 
375g ready rolled puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten


1) Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Make the filling by placing all ingredients bar the pastry and egg into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  I like to punch the meat to make it smoother in texture. 

2) Cut out three even sheets of cling film, overlapping each layer by about an inch.  Roughly roll the sausage meat about two inches in from the body.  Pull over the excess closest to you and tightly roll into an even-sized sausage shape.  Tie at the ends and place in the fridge for twenty minutes.

3) On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry.  Beat two eggs in a bowl with a splash of water.  Remove the sausage meat from the fridge and place on the pastry as you did with the cling film previously.  Brush the egg mix around the edges and fold over.  Tuck in the pastry at the sides and lay on a baking tray.

4) With a sharp knife, make slits at one-inch intervals to allow the steam to escape. Brush the egg wash all over and place in the top shelf of the oven for around 45 mins.

5) Serve hot or cold. Great with a cold beer and I recommend Adnan's Broadside for its caramely fruitiness that I think is sublime with my tasty sausage rolls. Happy cooking!