Still hot here in the UK – too hot to cook really, but it is possible to get a little tired of BBQ every night (never thought that was true, but…), so I’ve been trying to think of slightly different ways to make salads with a meat accompaniment (because the boys don’t consider it a meal unless there is meat, contrary to my naturally vegetarian tendencies when fending for myself!).
It’s even too hot for my beloved coffee, so I have been experimenting with home-brewed cold coffee. Instead of making coffee as you would normally do and cooling it down, you infuse the coffee into cold water, which gives it an intense coffee hit without so much bitterness. It is brilliant – I can quite happily drink it black and without sweetening it at the moment, but then again, I do have some particularly lovely coffee on the go! I am so pleased with this discovery, because I was definitely missing my caffeine hit.
Anyway, back to the food! This week I had some lovely fresh mint to use up, so hit upon a north african inspired lamb meatball recipe. I have eaten some delicious dishes in Morocco which combine lamb and mint beautifully, so I decided to see if I could come up with a dish which replicated that, but was also paired with a nice cooling salad. My experiment turned out rather splendidly, though sadly my photography not so much, because I had to be quick before it all got eaten (I was home late from work and the gannets were hungry). It was so easy to make, I even had time to fix myself a gin and tonic and enjoy it in the garden while it cooked, which is my kind of recipe! You could also thread the meatballs onto skewers and cook them on the barbeque, kofte-style. You could also cook the bulgur wheat in advance and chill it to make it a truly cold salad, but mine cooled down quite quickly once out of the pan so it works quite well timed like this as well.
Midweek Meals: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Tabbouleh Salad and Raita
- 400g lamb mince
- 1 small red onion
- 4 large cloves of garlic, grated/pureed
- 2tsps ground cumin
- 2tsps ground paprika (not smoked)
- 1 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 cucumber
- 400g bulgur wheat
- 1 tsp good vegetable stock
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 lime
- 200g yoghurt (low fat if you wish)
- 1 tsp oregano
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Add the lamb mince, pureed garlic, chopped mint, paprika and cumin to a bowl. Finely dice half of the red onion and add that. Then thoroughly mix the ingredients (using your hands or a food processor) and using your hands shape into small balls. I made approximately 20, but you can tailor it to the number of servings required.
- Spray a roasting tray with low fat cooking spray (or use oil if you prefer), and add the meatballs. Put them into the oven and cook until browned on the edges, as in the photo (approx 30 minutes). Shake a couple of times to ensure they cook evenly.
- Then add your bulgur wheat and vegetable stock to a pan, and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer until the wheat is cooked through (20 mins approx). Check occasionally to see if more water needs to be added, but be careful not to add too much, it is tricky to strain!
- Whilst the wheat and meatballs are cooking, slice the other half of the onion very thinly, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and finely dice/thinly slice half of the cucumber.
- Chop the other half of the cucumber finely, then add to the yoghurt and mix in the oregano. Refrigerate until ready.
- When the bulgur wheat is cooked, transfer it to a bowl to cool down for a few minutes, before stirring in the chopped onion, tomatoes and cucumber. Squeeze over a drizzle of lime, and serve.
I’m bringing this simple recipe to this week’s Fiesta Friday over at Angies, co-hosted by Prudy and Jess this week, thanks for the invite ladies! I hope you enjoy the little nod to north african cuisine that I’m serving up! I am going to start posting easy midweek suppers every week, because I cook every night and my recipes are usually quick, simple and not too expensive, and whilst not the most impressive or creative of dishes, they usually taste good, and I figure these are the kind of recipes most of us really need in our repertoire. Please keep an eye on my blog midweek and let me know what you think.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whatever you have planned. I am off home to my parents’ house in Somerset for a big family party to bid farewell to my intrepid little sister Tasha who is off round the world with her boyfriend Chris for a year! Hoping she can be persuaded to write some guest posts about her travels for you all to read.