Lamb Kofta

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Saturday night is fakeaway night in my household. We either make homemade pizza or homemade lamb kebab. These lamb koftas are succulent and so full of flavour. They are inspired by the Turkish Adanas you can get in the kebab shop.


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Lamb Kofta Recipe

Serves: 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml lemon juice (the juice of approximately 1 lemon)
  • 500 g lean lamb mince
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp ground sumac
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp pepper

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the grill or pre-heat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °C conventional oven).
  2. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Pour the lemon juice over and mix well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and use your hands to mix it all together.
  4. Divide the meat into 12 pieces. Use your hands to shape and roll each piece into a sausage shape, roughly 12 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. Insert each kofta onto a 20 cm metal skewer. I use KitchenCraft Flat BBQ Kebab Skewers, which you can find here. Flatten the koftas slightly.
  5. Place a wire rack on a baking tray and spread the skewers our on the rack. Cook in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, turning halfway, until brown and cooked through (be careful not to over cook these as they will become dry). Or cook in the grill for around 7 minutes each side.

NOTES

  • For the fresh breadcrumbs, toast approximately 2 slices of medium sliced bread. Break into pieces and add to a chopper. Blitz until really fine.
  • Serve with pitta or naan breads and a salad of shredded red cabbage and sliced tomatoes.
  • These koftas are also ideal for cooking on the barbecue.

Rum Cake

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I’m obsessed with Tortuga Rum cakes. This Caribbean style sponge cake is made by the Tortuga Rum Company is commonly sold in cute hexagonal shaped boxes in many of the Caribbean Islands for tourists to buy as souvenirs. It’s ideal for slicing up and sharing with friends or office mates while you reminisce about your holiday 😁.

The white sponge is light and is soaked in rum syrup so it is super moist. It’s delicious with a scoop of ice cream. I recently found myself craving this cake so I decided to have a go at making my own version, here’s my recipe.


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Rum Cake Recipe

Serves: 6-8

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 160 g unsalted butter melted (cooled)
  • 60 ml dark rum
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 30 ml rum (additional for pouring)

For the syrup:

  • 100 g sugar
  • 60 ml water
  • 60 ml dark rum
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla essence

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 °C fan (190 °C conventional oven).
  2. Grease and line 18 cm round loose bottomed cake tin with baking paper. Brush the baking paper lightly with some additional melted butter. I love my MasterClass Non-Stick Loose Base Cake Tin. I got two of these earlier on in the year and they have served me really well so far. These high quality tins are deep with a thick heavy base. The non-stick coating means they wash really well and still look like new after over a dozen baking projects. Click here for more details on the tin.
  3. Mix the cooled melted butter and the rum together and set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar together with a hand mixer for around 7-10 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in size and it is stiff.
  6. Fold in the rum-butter mixture with a spatula.
  7. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt a quarter at a time and lightly fold into the batter after each addition.
  8. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake starts to come away from the sides and a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. In the meantime make the rum syrup by adding all the syrup ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer and stir until it has thickened.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the tin and peeling off the baking paper.
  11. Place on a baking rack and little by little pour the rum all over the top of the cake giving it time to sink in before each additional pour.
  12. Leave for 20-30 minutes then pour over half the rum syrup. After another 20-30 minutes of soaking time pour over the remaining syrup.

NOTES

  • Once the cake has cooled dust with sifted icing sugar and decorate with grated orange zest and orange slices. Orange works really well with the rum flavour.
  • This is delicious on it’s own, but I love to eat this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • I really hope you will give my recipe a try, but if you’re after the real Tortuga Rum Cake you can click here to order one.

Yorkshire Pudding

When it comes to British cuisine I always look forward to a roast dinner. As per tradition this was previously reserved to Sundays in our household. However, since covid-19 happened and we are now at home during the week, a mid-week roast is now our thing. And a traditional English roast would not be complete without Yorkshire puddings!

For my non-British readers, a Yorkshire Pudding is not actually a dessert, as the name suggests, but is traditionally a side dish originating in Yorkshire in the north of England. It is made from a batter of flour, eggs and milk, and is cooked in a muffin tin or ramekin with hot oil. As the batter cooks the sides rise and it becomes light, fluffy and slightly crisp on the outside. The higher the sides rise, the better. It can be served as a side dish for a roast dinner or it can be filled with a variety of fillings, a popular filling is sausages, mashed potato and gravy (yes, all three together).

This simple dish has 4 main ingredients, is so easy to make and is really delicious.

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Serves: 4-6 (makes 4 large puddings or 12 mini puddings)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-17 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 60 ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 110 g plain flour
  • 140 ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 °C fan (240 °C conventional).
  2. Add oil to your Yorkshire pudding tin or muffin tin as follows: 3tsp oil per hole for a 4 hole Yorkshire pudding tin, or 1 tsp per hole for a 12 hole muffin tin. Place the tin in the oven for 10 minutes to heat up the oil.
  3. In the meantime, add the flour, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
  4. Beat the egg then whisk in the milk.
  5. Slowly add the egg and milk mixture to the flour whilst whisking. Whisk until a smooth batter is formed. It should be around the consistency of pancake batter.
  6. Remove the Yorkshire pudding tin or muffin tin from the oven and pour the batter into the holes.
  7. Place the tin back into the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until the sides of the puddings have risen and the puddings are nice and brown.

NOTES

  • Serve as a side dish with roast beef or roast chicken.
  • Stuff with mashed potatoes, sausages and gravy for an indulgent main dish.

10 Essential Ingredients You Need In Your Kitchen

During lockdown so many of my habits changed, especially when it came to food and cooking. Like many, I found myself cooking more, but shopping for food less. We decided to do one food shop for the week and we had it delivered to our home to try to minimise our chances of getting Covid-19. This meant the items on our shopping list had to be carefully chosen to last a whole week.

I actually feel really guilty for admitting this, but after having grown up used to the freedom and convenience of being able to obtain food round the clock pre-lockdown, the thought that I was going to be even just the tiniest bit restricted really stressed me out. I know, this is such a first world issue, but it did make me feel really uneasy. I soon identified that there were a few versatile ingredients that my family and I started use more in our new cooking habits. Ingredients that we maybe would have only used occasionally in our pre-lockdown days. Making sure that these ingredients were always at hand somehow helped to ease my stress. It meant that if there was something we fancied during the week that we hadn’t planned for in the shopping then it was likely that we could make it from scratch.

Now that lockdown measures have eased I still find myself ensuring that a few choice items are always in stock in my kitchen. You might already keep these ingredients in stock but might not have thought about their multiple purposes. So, with that said, I hope this list gives you some inspiration and helps you feel less anxious, especially with the prospect of local lockdowns here in the UK during the winter season.

10 Essential Ingredients You Need In Your Kitchen

1. Lemon

Lemon is such a versatile fruit. I use it in marinades, sauces, salad dressings and I use the zest in cakes. Also, because I always struggle to drink my 2 litres of water a day I find that adding one or two slices of lemon to my water helps me to drink more.

2. Garlic

I’m a HUGE garlic lover – it’s my ultimate favourite cooking ingredient and I use it as a base in most of my savoury dishes. It adds such huge depth of flavour to many foods. I always make sure I have plenty of fresh garlic around which is great for sautéing with onions for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. I also have plenty of garlic powder around which I like to use in meat or fish marinades (I find that fresh garlic marinades can sometimes burn during the cooking process). I also have a garlic grinder which contains garlic flakes – this is great as a topping on salads. As well as being so tasty garlic has a wide array of health benefits including reducing high blood pressure, so it’s a double win (the only downside is garlic breath).

3. Yeast

This is a must for making an array of breads. I also use it for making pizza dough, naan and cinnamon rolls.

4. Unsalted Butter

I always have this in stock in case we fancy something sweet like cake or cookies 😊 It is also great for when you want to get a rich indulgent flavour from some savoury dishes that you just can’t get from cooking with olive or vegetable oil. Dishes such as scrambled egg, steak, sautéed leeks or mushrooms, and of course the mighty roast potato.

5. Cheese

My cheese of choice is cheddar. It’s great in sandwiches and scrambled eggs, omelets, as well as for topping baked potatoes, cottage/shepherds pies or pizza.

6. Ginger

I use ginger to add a zing to curries and other Asian inspired dishes. Also, as cold and flu season is upon us this is a crucial ingredient to have around for making a ginger, lemon and honey tea remedy to fight those nasty bugs.

7. Onion

Like garlic, this can be sautéed and used as a base for savoury dishes. You can use sliced onion as a pizza topping to amplify the flavours. There is also an array of fresh salads that can be made with finely chopped onion: add it to leafy green salads, you can mix it with mashed avocado to make home made guacamole, or you can add it to freshly chopped tomatoes to make your own salsa.

8. Plain Flour

If you enjoy baking then flour is a definite must-have for most cakes and breads. You can also use it to thicken sauces, and make Yorkshire puddings. If you’ve run out of bread and need to bake a loaf but don’t have strong bread flour in stock then plain flour can be used as a substitute. The loaf will rise well but it just won’t be quite as dense or as chewy as it would with the bread flour. You can also make your own self raising flour for cakes by adding half a teaspoon of baking powder for every 100 g of plain flour.

9. Vanilla Essence

This ingredient doesn’t just have to be used in cakes. You can use it to flavour tea, I love red bush tea with vanilla. I also make my own vanilla lattes, by adding a couple of drops of vanilla essence to my coffee.

10. Ground Cinnamon

This is great for adding flavour to porridge, and cakes. I also sprinkle it on coffee and use a little in my curry paste when I make Indian-style curries.

So there you have it, the top 10 versatile ingredients I always have in stock in my kitchen. Do they cover your cooking habits? Do leave a comment and share your key ingredients.

Mango Lassi

When I eat out at Indian restaurants a mango lassi is a must. This two step recipe produces a thick and creamy mango drink. It makes a great alternative to a smoothie. It’s so rich and filling that sometimes I even have it instead of dessert.

Mango Lassi Recipe

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • the flesh of 1 ripe mango
  • 50 ml milk
  • 125 g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • 20 g toasted crushed pistachios (as a topping when serving)

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients apart from the pistachios in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into two short glasses and top each glass with the pistachios.

NOTES

  • If you don’t have powdered cardamom then ground cinnamon is the best alternative.

Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream

This recipe came about after I had an excess of sour cream from baking cakes. I wanted to use the sour cream to make a savoury dish with chicken and after getting some inspiration online paprika chicken seemed like the ideal dish, and it was a hit with the family. Here’s my ad-hoc recipe.

Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 1 – 24 hours

Cooking Time: 25 – 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smokey paprika
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1.5 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika (additional to the above)
  • 236 ml chicken stock
  • 236 ml sour cream

METHOD

  1. Mix the chicken, garlic powder and the tablespoon of paprika and marinade for one hour (or overnight).
  2. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep frying pan and on a high heat brown off the chicken pieces in batches for around 2 minutes per side. Set aside
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan use a wooden spoon to scrape loose any brown bits from the bottom before adding in the onions. Sautee on a medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, around 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed garlic, the teaspoon of paprika and the chicken, and mix well before adding in the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and drizzle the sour cream on top.

NOTES

  • Garnish with chopped spring onions.
  • Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
  • For the chicken stock I use two chicken Oxo cubes dissolved in 236 ml of hot water.

Pistchoccio Fudge (Chocolate & Pistachio Fudge)

Pistchoccio fudge is one of my family’s favourite sweet treats. It is homemade chocolate fudge flecked with pieces of toasted crushed pistachio. The chocolate fudge is rich and smooth and the toasted pistachios add a slight crunch. It’s so more-ish and it’s really easy to make.

Pistchoccio Fudge Recipe

Makes: one tray of fudge (around 100 pieces of fudge)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 395 g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 300 g dark cooking chocolate
  • 0.5 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 60 g pistachios

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C fan (200 °F conventional).
  2. Line a 22 cm by 22 cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Place pistachios in a sandwich/food bag and bash with a rolling pin until the nuts are broken into small pieces. Spread on an oven tray and place into the oven for around 5 minutes until the nuts start to go brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Pour the condensed milk and chocolate into a saucepan. Place on a low heat and mix until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened. It should be smooth and glossy.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the salt, vanilla essence and toasted nuts.
  6. Stir vigorously for 3-5 minutes as the mixture cools.
  7. Pour into the baking tin and spread with the back of a wooden spoon.
  8. Place in the fridge to set for an hour before cutting into squares (roughly 2 cm by 2 cm).

Easy Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Bake

This recipe is inspired by the flavours of an amazing seafood boil I had when I visited Seattle. It was such a fun eating experience (you know it’s going to be fun when you’re offered a plastic bib before the food has come out). The table was covered in paper (to soak up the mess) and an array of deliciously spiced seafood was placed in the middle. Knives and forks and other table etiquette were out the window for this meal as we dug into the shelled crab, lobster and shrimps with our hands.

Seafood boil consists of an array of shelled fish (typically lobster, crab and prawns), andouille sausage, corn and potatoes boiled in a seasoned broth and further flavoured with butter. This is a simple three step recipe that produces the authentic flavour of a seafood boil using prawns.

Easy Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g raw king prawns shelled and deveined
  • 250 g smoked pork sausage
  • 500 g peeled potatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 cobs of corn (each one cut into eighths)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 0.5 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp mustard powder
  • 0.25 tsp oregano
  • 0.25 tsp crushed pepper flakes
  • a pinch ground allspice (pimento)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp butter melted

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C fan (220 °C conventional).
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a roasting tin and mix well.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes until the corn and potatoes are tender and the prawns are pink.

NOTES

  • For the sausage I used Matessons Original Smoked Pork sausage as I was unable to find andouille here in the UK.
  • To prepare the corn cut each cob into quarters and then cut each quarter in half along the cob.
  • Serve with salad and freshly baked baguette.

Crispy Garlic Prawns

This is a super simple recipe for Chinese style prawns in a sweet and tangy garlic sauce. It can be made in minutes – the prawns are first fried up in a light batter before being coated the garlic sauce. I normally make this with the intention of being main dish for dinner, but the prawns are so delicious that we keep dipping in for a taste and before we know it there’s not enough for a meal. So this may be better categorised as a starter.

Crispy Garlic Prawns Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g raw peeled king prawns
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp room temperature water
  • 2 tsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

for the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 5 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 0.5 tsp finely ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Prepare the prawns by scoring along the outside of each prawn. This will cause the prawns to splay out when cooked and adds to the crispness.
  2. Mix the batter ingredients (cornflour, water, soy sauce, egg yolk and sesame oil) together and stir in the prawns.
  3. Shallow fry the prawns in vegetable oil on a high heat in a deep frying pan until they are pink. Do this in three to four batches. It should take the prawns around 4 minutes on each side to cook.
  4. Drain the prawns on a plate lined with two sheets of kitchen roll. Remove excess oil from the frying pan and wipe down.
  5. Mix the sauce ingredients (honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper) together and add to the frying pan on a medium heat for around 2 minutes. Pour in the prawns and stir them through the sauce for a further 2 minutes.

NOTES

  • Serve with steamed basmati or jasmine rice, or over noodles.
  • If you’re a spice lover try adding a teaspoon of crushed dried chilli flakes to the sauce.
  • Toasted sesame seeds also make a perfect garnish for this dish.

Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo is a Filipino chicken and rice soup or rice porridge. In this dish the chicken is cooked with a sauteed onion, garlic and ginger base before adding in rice, fish sauce and chicken stock. When served the soup is garnished with a boiled egg, spring onion and crunchy toasted garlic. Additional fish sauce and calamansi (a type of citrus fruit that is a hybrid of a kumquat and an orange, native to the Philippines) are also normally at hand to bring the flavours out even more if desired.

In the Philippines this dish is typically eaten during the cooler rainy season days, sometimes as a breakfast dish. However, my mum makes this for my daughter and I when we’re feeling under the weather. It is the ultimate Filipino comfort food.

Some people make this with glutinous rice, but I use basmati rice. I’m not a huge fan of fish sauce so in my version I substitute this with oyster sauce. Calimansi is also difficult to find here in the UK, so I substitute this with lemon instead. For extra depth of flavour I marinade chicken thighs overnight in garlic powder and soy sauce, this gives the chicken a richer brown during the initial browning.

Arroz Caldo Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes – 12 hours
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1.5 l chicken stock
  • 200 g basmati rice
  • 1tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 stalks spring onion finely chopped for serving
  • lemon slices for serving
  • boiled eggs for serving
  • fish sauce or additional oyster sauce for serving

METHOD

  1. Marinade the chicken: Cut 2 slashes into each chicken thigh, add them all to a large bowl and combine with the garlic powder and soy sauce. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour or overnight.
  2. Toast the garlic: Add the oil and chopped garlic to a large saucepan. Put over a medium heat and stir as it all heats up. Cook garlic until golden brown. Pour into a metal sieve and place the sieve on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
  3. In the same pan brown the chicken thighs in batches on a high heat for around 5 minutes per side. Then set aside.
  4. In the same pan fry onions on medium heat until soft. Add in the crushed garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add in a little stock and stir well to de-glaze the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining stock, rice and the chicken and stir well. Simmer for 25 mins.
  6. Serve in bowls topped with a boiled egg, spring onion and toasted garlic garnish and a slice of lemon.

NOTES

  • Yes, the fried garlic garnish is a bit of a faff (peeling garlic is so tedious), but it definitely makes this dish pop – the effort is so worth it.
  • Tip: when peeling the garlic slice off the hard end of the clove (where the cloves join together in the bulb) then place the clove under the handle of your knife. Press down firmly on the handle to very slightly crush the clove. This will loosen the skin and make it easier to peel off.