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minty lamb burgers with tzatziki and spicy cous cous.

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for the minty lamb burgers

500g minced lamb
2 tsps dried mint
half a red onion, chopped
half a beaten egg

for the cous cous
200g cous cous
350ml chicken
two teaspoons ground coriander
one teaspoon of crushed chillies

for the tzatziki
200g natural greek style yoghurt
half a cucumber
a dash of extra virgin olive oil
two teaspoons lemon juice
two cloves of finely chopped or crushed garlic
a sprinkle of paprika

these measurements make around twelve small patties, eight larger ones and a bowl of cous cous and dip to serve four. perfect for this (if not rather early) barbecue season.

for the burgers
begin by throwing the minced lamb, mint and chopped onions into a bowl like so.
use your hands to squidge the mixture into a ball, using the beaten egg to help keep it together. this stage is done when you are happy that the onions and mint have been evenly mixed throughout. don't be a afraid to add a little more mint if desired.

next, portion the mixture into patties. roll into balls
and then press gently to make sure the burger isn't
too thick to cook evenly. sprinkle a little more mint if you like. for a burger size i would say this makes around eight. for an alternative, make twenty really small balls and serve in a pitta with the tzatziki as a lamb kofta.

pan fry for around ten minutes, grill for fifteen or
barbecue for, well, however long it takes. delicately turn them half way through and for best results only move or turn a couple of times. and you're done. now onto the other part of the meal, which of course, blue peter style, you would've made earlier.

for the cous cous
the cous cous is probably the most simple part to make.
plain cous cous is a really versatile for being able to add your own seasoning or spice to compliment your tastes or main dish. for mine i mixed the cous cous, butter, crushed chillies and coriander like so. then carefully pour over the hot chicken stock and cover. then, just leave it to do its magic and absorb the stock. leave on the side for a little while before keeping cool in the fridge.

for the tzatzikipeel the cucumber, de-seed and chop into chunks. i personally prefer a more chunky dip but the cucumber can be more traditionally grated into the yoghurt. next, add the lemon juice and other components to the yoghurt, sprinkle with paprika and you're done.

the tzatziki is especially yummy if you've made your

cous cous super spicy. serve around the table for a fun and sociable meal or barbecue. kalí óreksi!

ras malai.

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200g paneer cheese
one pint of full fat milk
200ml of double cream
150g caster sugar
a quarter of a teaspoon ground cardamom
one teaspoon flaked or chopped almonds
a pinch of paprika
two teaspoons chopped pistachios, around fifteen nuts.

this is a traditional indian dessert which is totally easy to make and sure to wow.

interestingly, the original recipe which worked for me suggested using ricotta, which i tweaked myself and used a pre-made block of paneer cheese.

i then realised the reason that many opt for soft ricotta or making their own fresh - the cheese really is in a block, almost with a blue tack haloumi consistency. i overcame this by simply boiling the block of cheese in water for a few minutes to soften it up. a tip which i would recommend for anyone, especially due to the next element of the recipe. unless of course, you are popeye himself.

preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180 degrees.

next, use a blender, i used handheld, to get the paneer into a cottage cheese like form, adding 50g of the sugar as you go. this actually makes a gorgeous smelling sweet mixture which with only two components is hard to believe that they make a biscuit when cooked.

scoop the mixture into a cake tray and bake for around thirty minutes. it should make roughly twelve. i insist you check these regularly as when they reach a golden brown it only takes seconds for them to unknowingly burn underneath.

while the cheese biscuits bake, pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat; simmer ten minutes. stir the remaining 100g sugar, cardamom, and paprika into the milk mixture and simmer another couple of minutes.

remove from heat and allow to the sauce to cool completely. similarly, allow the biscuits to cool for around ten minutes before getting them out of the tray.

drizzle the cooled mixture over the cheese dumplings and sprinkle the almonds and pistachios to serve.

or if you want to try this indian delight without having to do the washing up, try it here at one of my favourite indian restaurants, tamatanga.