This week I have been mostly continuing in the same vein as last, namely finding short-cuts and simple one pan and one pot recipes for stress free suppers and lighter, healthier more salad based meals. I've been trying to keep prep to the bare minimum at around 20 minutes or under, likewise the cooking as I find that when the sun shines time seems to slip through my fingers and it can be 7.00 pm before I realise it's time for supper!
Nobody, least of all me, wants to spend time in a hot kitchen so, with that in mind, I have been playing a game where I dare myself to use less and less equipment which then decreases the amount of clearing up necessary. For example, yesterday's lamb koftes, salad and rice required one bowl, one knife, a grater, one chopping board (one side for the raw meat and then flipped over on a piece of kitchen towel for the vegetables) a griddle and a saucepan!
I have managed one knife, one board and one griddle pan twice but that was just Louis Mann steak burgers one night and lamb chops the next with some salad.
Last time I promised you the grilled lamb kebab with artichoke and orzo and roasted vegetable salad which I hope you will enjoy as much as we do as well as last night's koftes and a bonus Afghani chapli kebab for those of you who fancy something a bit more zingy than plain beef mince.
LAMB & ARTICHOKE KEBAB
1KG cubed lamb
2 tablespoons olive oil or the oil from the artichokes.
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley chopped
16 marinated artichoke hearts
2 bunches spring onions
Mix the oil, coriander, oregano, garlic, zest of two lemons, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste and then toss in the lamb to combine. Allow the lamb to marinate for at least two hours and better overnight. Meanwhile soak the kebab sticks for 30 minutes so they do not char.
Cut all the lemons in half (including the zested ones) and halve the artichokes too. Cut the spring onions in half lengthwise and then into short lengths.
Thread the meat, artichokes and spring onions onto the skewers and cook on a medium heat griddle or barbecue until they are as done as you like. We like medium so I do them about 4-5 minutes each side. Char the cut side of the lemons for a couple of minutes and then squeeze them over the grilled kebabs.
ORZO AND ROASTED VEGETABLES
Here's yet another of my suggest-ipes as it really is a catch-all recipe and just as delicious cold as a salad as a warm or hot dish. I am giving you my version but add and subtract vegetables according to what odds and ends are in your fridge, as it is a great user upper of whatever might be a bit too wrinkly to go in a fresh salad. Sometimes I add some sun-dried tomato paste to the finished dish and occasionally a splash of balsamic vinegar if it is to be served cold.
Orzo is a small pasta shape resembling a large grain of rice, it cooks quickly and can be used in place of rice in many dishes or added to soups and casseroles.
1 aubergine cubed
1-2 courgettes cubed
2 peppers cut into cubes
1-2 red onions in large dice
Large handful of cherry or baby plum tomatoes halved
2-3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
Handful of fresh bay leaves
Handful of fresh parsley
Line your grill pan with a layer of thick foil and add the vegetables and sliced garlic. Drizzle with the olive oil season with salt and pepper and give everything a gentle mix to coat.
Grill or roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes if grilling or 40 if roasting and give them a shake or stir half way through. You want them cooked but not mushy.
When the vegetables are cooked take them out of the oven and then cook the orzo in plenty of boiling salted water until tender, usually about 8-10 minutes.
Drain the orzo and mix with the roasted vegetables, squeeze over some lemon juice (I usually use about 1/2 a lemon) and stir through the shredded basil and chopped parsley.
Check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper if necessary and pile into a serving dish. This will keep warm in a medium oven or can be left to cool completely. I add more olive oil if serving cold as the orzo tends to suck it up while it cools.