Monday, 5 July 2010

The realm of the Kebab

Here’s a question, what’s the best way to enjoy a summers day? For me it’s spending time with loved ones in the great outdoors, the greener the better, these are places of sanctuary and stillness. Eating al fresco is one of the loveliest parts of summer mealtimes, picnics and barbeque's embrace the joy of summer in a unique way, just as candlelit dinners brighten cold winters evenings. If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, well the tastiest barbecued mackerel is soon to land in your net, right now these healthy rainbow striped wonders are abundant and will only cost you a bob or two.

On the subject of barbeque's, the Kebab remains King of the charcoal realm. Many moons ago horseman rode west from the plains of central Asia and when the sunset they would set up camp for the night, light large fires and skewer meat onto the end of their swords and cook. The tastiest kebab I've tried is "Pinchitos muronos". In Seville last year we enjoyed this Andalusian tapas on more than one occasion, "mi casa es su casa," hums warmly from welcoming restaurateurs, a gentle clue to the roots of Southern Spanish cuisine, their Muslim ancestors said, “Al-bayt baytak” (this home is your home). Today, all over the world, the heart of any home is the Kitchen, I’d like to share with you this lovely Lamb kebabs recipe, I'm sure you'll be transported to an Aladdin's cave of mouthwatering gastronomy, these treasures may be grilled, oven baked, or best of all, cooked outside on the BBQ. You'll need metal skewers for this recipe, I've tried wooden ones and they're not as good. Remember, if lamb isn't for you, chicken breasts work really well too.
Here’s the twist, and it works surprisingly well, they're best served with freshly cooked wholewheat spaghetti, with a spoon of harissa stirred in and a few roasted peppers and courgettes. Belazu make a scrumptious rose scented version, that's delicious. Maybe, had the Moors got as far as Italy, Harissa pasta, would be a classic by now.  Buon appetito!

Lamb, Loin or rib chops 500g (most succulent meat) cut into mouth sized pieces
sea salt and pepper, a generous scratch
onion 1 chopped
garlic cloves 3 bashed and finely chopped
smoked paprika 2 tsp
ground cumin 1 tsp
ground coriander 1 tsp
ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
thyme dried 1 tsp
bay leaf 1 crumbled
saffron strands 1 tsp, infused in 1 tbsp of water
red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil 2 tbsp
red onion 1 quartered
red peppers 2 cut into large cubes
courgettes 2 cut into chunks
garlic oil 1 tbsp
wholewheat spaghetti 400g
rose harissa (Belazu brand) 1 tbsp

COMBINE all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
ADD the meat and stir well, until all the meat is coated in marinade.
COVER and leave in the fridge to marinate for two hours, or time permitting, overnight. 
FIRE up BBQ, or grill until hot.
HEAT oven to gas 6, 200', and cook vegetables on a roasting tray, toss them with garlic oil.
SLIDE meat onto skewers and cook for 5 minutes, turning regularly. 
POUR 1 litre of boiling water into a pot and cook pasta according to instructions.
DRAIN when ready and spoon in the harissa, give it a good stir.
SERVE the spaghetti in large bowls, scatter with vegetables and place the meat on top. 
DELIGHT in beautiful tradition, not a sword in sight, you'll all be too busy enjoying the deliciousness.


  1. I've made these a few times now for friends, and everyone - even my husband, agree these are v tasty. Full of flavour - they are a good way to lift a bbq from ordinary to culinary!

  2. Hi Fiona, tomorrow is going to be a scorcher, so maybe a farewell bbq! I'm glad you like the recipe. These are a firm favourite of mine! xx


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