After several failed attempts and a fair bit of tweaking, I’m very pleased to finally bring you this recipe for baked KFC-style chicken. For ages my family and I have been talking about coming up with our own homemade alternative to KFC, as the kids have had it drummed eating them that the real thing from the fast food chain simply isn’t allowed. There are a number of reasons for this, namely that it’s not the healthiest of foods and they have KFC has a terrible track record when it comes to animal welfare. Continue reading “Homemade KFC”
Over the last few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed developing recipes for the Devon-based Well Hung Meat Company, making the most of their delicious organic lamb. The last in this series is this recipe for summery Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps.
Featuring little gem lettuce stuffed with lightly spiced minced lamb, this is a beautifully versatile dish to evoke warm sunshine on the dreariest of days. Serve alone as a starter, as part of a mezze, or with a simple cous cous salad for a light lunch, it’s fun finger food that goes down well with children as much as adults.
It’s a feast of textures and flavours: the crisp lettuce, the crunchy carrot, and the juicy, nutty pomegranate through to the succulent, soft, spicy lamb; the sharp olives, capers and preserved lemon paired with the bitter tang of the tahini dressing; all perfectly balanced by the soothing, syrupy sweet pomegranate molasses and creamy crème fraiche.
For a dish that boasts so much, it’s also ridiculously easy to pull together. So, a winner on all fronts.
Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps
Serves 6 as a starter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
400g Well Hung Meat Company lamb mince
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
50g pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 heads little gem lettuce, leaves washed and separated
100 pomegranate seeds
For the dressing
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 tsp water
200g Holy Cow crème fraiche
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently sweat the onion until translucent.
Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced lamb, ginger and cinnamon. Mix together and continue cooking for around 7 minutes until the lamb begins to brown.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the green olives, capers and pomegranate molasses.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
To make the dressing, pour the olive oil and tahini into a jug with the chopped preserved lemon and water, and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses. If it feels too thick, mix in a little more water.
Just before serving, stir the grated carrot into the warm lamb mixture. Spoon the lamb into the separated lettuce leaves and arrange on plates. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and scatter with pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
Disclosure: I was supplied with a complimentary samples of lamb from the Well Hung Meat Company and crème fraiche from Holy Cow in order to develop this recipe. As ever, all views expressed are mine and only products I genuinely like make it onto my blog.
Generally when we think of roast lamb for a special meal, we picture a succulent slow-roast shoulder or leg; always delicious and a real crowd-pleaser too. But if you’re after something a little quicker but with equal pizzazz, then a rack of lamb is the way to go, with guaranteed oohs and aahs when you carve it into cutlets at the table.
This moussaka is one of my family’s favourite dishes. While it should serve six average people or provide tasty leftovers for lunch next day, it never does with my brood, who without fail return for seconds to polish it all off in one sitting. Continue reading “Easy lamb moussaka”
It’s British Pie Week and Brits up and down the land are apparently celebrating by indulging in their favourite pies, whether homemade or shop-bought, sweet or savoury.
And as a fan of just about anything that comes wrapped in pastry, I felt compelled to offer you one of my own latest pie experiments.
As I’m sure you know by know, baking isn’t really my forte, so a free-form pie crust is right up my street as it’s meant to look ‘rustic’ or, in other words, a bit of a state.
This pie is so quick and easy to pull together, and the spelt wholemeal pastry is surprisingly light and crisp and very tasty. Filled with savoury mince, roast butternut squash and tangy feta cheese, lightly spiced with sumac and cumin, it’s an ideal light lunch or supper dish.
The children loved it and the husband too – although he reckons it would be better served with gravy. I was happy with a yoghurty dressing, but I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that.
Free-form spelt pie with spicy beef, butternut squash and feta
Half a medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
4 tbsp Pomora rosemary oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500g beef mince
large pinch of sumac
100g feta cheese, cubed
For the pastry
200g wholemeal spelt flour
large pinch of salt
100g butter, diced
4 tbsp cold water
For the dressing
6 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 egg, beaten
steamed green beans to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Place the butternut squash in a roasting tin and toss in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes until tender.
To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture forms a consistency like breadcrumbs. Gradually mix in the water until you a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the cumin seeds, garlic sumac and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced beef. Cook for around five minutes until the mince is browned. Stir in the roasted butternut squash and cubes of feta.
Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Flour your surface, and carefully roll out the pastry into a large circle. Pile the beef filling into the middle of the pastry and gently fold up the sides towards the middle, leaving a small opening.
Brush the pastry with egg was and sprinkle with a little more sumac. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
To make the dressing, simply place the yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and mustard in a bowl and whisk together. Pour over green beans to serve.
With Pancake Day on Tuesday, magazines and the internet are awash with pancake recipes, so do forgive me for jumping on the bandwagon and sharing yet another one. But this one is a keeper and makes an ideal brunch, light lunch or supper dish at anytime of year.
So no pressure. Stick to your favourite pancake recipe on Shrove Tuesday (hopefully liberally doused with lots of lemon and sugar), but maybe give this a go some other time you’re in a pancakey kind of mood? Continue reading “Chickpea pancakes with spicy egg, ham and chard”
Today has been quite possibly one of the coldest days of the winter so far; a cold-to-the-bone kind of cold when it takes an hour in a hot bath to thaw out. In the depths of winter, I can’t help but dream about summer holidays in warmer climes…
When Monarch Holidays invited me to recreate some traditional Spanish recipes for their new online Island Cookbook, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to feed my craving for sunshine food and cheer up these dark, dank days. I took my inspiration from the third largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria, where I have fond memories of holidaying with my family as a teenager Continue reading “Ropa Vieja and Bienmesabe”
I know I do harp on a bit about cutting down the amount of meat we eat. And yet, while I love vegetarian food, I could never give up meat completely. My blog is called Bangers & Mash for a reason. Plus, it would mean giving up dishes like this. And that’s simply not happening.
This is one of my favourite recipes from one of my favourite cookery writers, Claudia Roden. I met her briefly following a talk she gave at the Bath Literary Festival a few years back when she signed my copy of Arabesque, from which this recipe comes. I talked to her briefly about my blog and she wished me lots of luck with it, although it was clear the concept of blogging was a bit of a mystery to her. And I successfully managed to refrain from telling her how beautiful I think she is. Because she is. But that might have come across just a little too creepy. Continue reading “Claudia Roden’s kofte kebabs”
Over the past few years I’ve been making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of meat my family and I eat. While I could never contemplate being vegetarian, it’s very important to me that I don’t bring up my children to consider meat as a basic, ‘everyday’ kind of ingredient, but much rather a luxury ‘treat’ food. This is for a variety of reasons: to avoid unnecessary cruelty to animals through intensive farming methods; to reduce our impact on our environment; and to improve our overall health.
It hasn’t always been easy. At first it was my husband who showed the most resistance – his attitude was that a meal wasn’t a proper meal unless there was a meat component. Then there were complaints from the children when I refused to take them to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. “It’s not fair,” they’d whine. “Our friends at school get to go with their parents!”
But recently I think we may have turned a corner with both our girls. Our oldest,who started secondary school in September, has started talking about wanting to be pescatarian – inspired by her new (vegetarian) school friends – and is keen to learn to cook her own meals. And our youngest, now eight, who has always been a somewhat stubborn carnivore, actually asked for a second helping of tarka dal. Yes, you read that right. My daughter asked for more lentils. Lentils! Admittedly, she asked for “more of that meaty thing” but once I explained all the dishes on the table were vegetarian it then became clear that by ‘meaty’ she meant ‘tasty’.
My work here, people, is done.
The season of home entertaining and dinner parties is nearly upon us and cheese straws really have to be one of the loveliest homemade nibbles you can serve to your guests when they first arrive. They’re oh so easy to make (because I cheat and use shop-bought puff pastry) and if you’ve got kids you can probably get them in on the act too.
As with all simple foods, success is down to the quality of the ingredients. To make good cheese straws, you must start with really good cheese. Continue reading “Grana Padano cheese straws with Prosciutto di San Daniele”