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.

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.

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.

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.

Saltfish Fritters

Saltfish fritters are a popular snack across the Caribbean, but growing up in the UK I’ve been more accustomed to having them at West Indian parties. They consist of dried salted white fish (usually cod) mixed up in a batter with onion and spices. They are normally shallow fried until brown and crispy on the outside and slightly soft in the centre. The salted fish gives it a unique flavour and texture. Although they are common to many of the Caribbean islands they go by different names. In Jamaica they are known colloquially as “stamp and go”, and in Barbados they take the moniker “Bajan bakes“, whereas in Dominica they are called “accra”. It is thought that they originate as an adaptation of the Ghanaian black eyed peas fritters known as akara or accara. Whatever you call them I’m sure you’ll agree on how deliciously more-ish they are.

Salfish Fritters Recipe

Makes: Around 20 fritters

Preparation Time: 12 hours

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 360 g dried saltfish
  • 130 g plain flour
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce
  • 0.5 tsp all purpose seasoning
  • 0.5 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion stalk finely chopped
  • 120 ml water
  • 60 ml vegetable oil for shallow frying

METHOD

  1. Rinse the dried saltfish under the cold water tap and place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl to the top with cold water. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain water then place the fish in a pan, fill with cold water. On a high heat bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the water and when cool break the fish into small chunks.
  4. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients apart from the oil (saltfish, flour, thyme, pepper sauce, all purpose seasoning, onion, spring onion and water) to form a thick batter.
  5. Put the oil in a deep frying pan and heat over a medium heat.
  6. Use one tablespoon to scoop the batter from the bowl and another tablespoon to push the batter gently into the hot oil. Fry the fish fritters for around 5 minutes each side until golden brown.
  7. Drain well on kitchen roll before serving.

NOTES

  • Serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Easy Tandoori Chicken

One of my favourite Indian dishes is tandoori chicken. In this dish tender chicken pieces are marinaded in yoghurt and flavoursome spices, and cooked to a slight char. This is a great dish to include if you are having a barbecue and want an alternative to the usual sweet barbecue marinades. However, with a little advanced preparation, this also makes an easy mid-week meal.

Easy Tandoori Chicken Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets chopped into bite size pieces
  • 300 g natural yoghurt
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic crushed
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 °C fan (or 220 °C conventional). Prepare two baking trays by adding a rack to each one.
  3. Skewer the chicken – distribute the chicken pieces over 12 metal skewers.
  4. Spread the skewers evenly over the racks on the baking trays. Cook for 25 minutes turning after 15 minutes. Alternatively, the skewers can be cooked on a barbecue.

NOTES

Vietnamese Turkey Meatballs with a Sweet Soy Glaze

I’ve never been to Vietnam, but based on the Vietnamese cuisine I’ve tried here in the UK and in the US it’s definitely on my bucket list. I especially love the aromatic mix of lemongrass grass, mint and coriander with the warmth of chilli that is signature to many Vietnamese dishes. So with that said, this recipe is inspired by my favourite dish on the menu at Pho, the Nem Nuong Pork Balls. Instead of minced pork I use turkey mince, just because I happened to have some in my fridge one day and was up for an experiment. I found that turkey mince works so well with the chilli and the herbs. The glaze adds a slight sweetness that pulls all the flavours together. As a bonus turkey mince is also lower in saturated fat than pork mince.

Vietnamese Turkey Meatballs with a Sweet Soy Glaze Recipe

Serves: 5
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs:

  • 1 kg turkey mince
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed or grated
  • 2 tsp lemon grass paste
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried coriander
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the glaze:

(this makes enough for the meatballs plus extra to use as a dressing on your side dish)

  • 90 ml soy sauce
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • juice of one and a half limes

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 200 °C fan (or 220 °C conventional oven). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the meatballs and form into golf ball sized meatballs. I made around 30 balls.
  3. Spread the meatballs out on the baking trays and bake for 25 mins turning once after 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime combine all the ingredients for the glaze and stir well.
  5. When the meatballs are cooked drizzle half the glaze over them and toss them to give them a good coating. Use the rest of the glaze as a dressing for your side dish.

NOTES

  • When turning the meatballs you may find that they have lost some water which fills the baking tray. Don’t worry about this as it will evaporate, and the baking paper will make it easier to clean the trays afterwards.
  • Serve with whole wheat noodles and a salad of lettuce, shredded carrots, fresh coriander and fresh mint leaves.

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings

This is my slightly healthier version of fried chicken wings, ideal for when you fancy fried chicken but don’t want to go through the faff and mess that comes with frying (using and then having to find a way of discarding lots of oil, and oil splatters on your hob and splash back etc). These seasoned chicken wings are tender and juicy on the inside, but nice and crisp on the outside.


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Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Baking Time: 50 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg chicken wings cut at joints
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 °C fan (or 220 °C conventional).
  2. Use kitchen roll to pat the chicken wings dry and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour and all the dry seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, paprika, mustard powder, salt and pepper).
  4. Add the chicken wings to the seasoning and mix well.
  5. Add the butter to a roasting tin and put into the oven until the butter has melted (approximately 2-3 minutes).
  6. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and use tongs to carefully add the wings to the hot butter. Turn each wing in the butter to ensure it is coated well.
  7. Ensure the wings are evenly spread on the baking tray and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 mins.
  8. Turn the wings and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

NOTES

  • These wings are great as a starter and perfect as a finger food for parties.
  • Serve with barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce or sweet chilli dip.