Monday, November 30, 2009

Lamb Kabobs with Warm Chickpea Salad

I made this one a few months ago, but am thinking about trying it again as it would be good during this cold weather. This recipe came from one of my cookbooks, Easy Summer Food:

Lamb kabobs with warm chickpea salad (serves 4)
1 1/2 lb. (750g) lamb tenderloin
1 recipe Minted Yogurt Marinade (see below)

Warm chickpea salad

1 c. dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in cold water, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
handful fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
a pinch of paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 metal skewers

Using a sharp knife, cut the lamb into bite-size pieces and put into a shallow dish. Add the marinade and stir well to coat the lamb. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. Thread onto the skewers.

Prepare the chickpea salad about 1 hour before cooking the lamb. Put the soaked chickpeas, bay leaf and onion in a heavy saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender, skimming off the foam from time to time.

Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a bowl. Remove and discard the onion and bay leaf. Mash coarsely with a fork. Stir in the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill, then cook the kabobs over hot coals (or a hot grill) for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through, until tender. Serve the kabobs on a bed of chickpea salad, sprinkled with a little extra olive oil. Excellent served with warm pita or flatbreads.

Minted Yogurt

2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp heavy cream (double cream in UK)
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp e.v.o.o. (extra virgin olive oil)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp ground chili flakes

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden and aromatic, then let cool. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar bowl (or clean coffee grinder) and crush to a coarse powder. Put the spices in a bowl, add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Set aside to steep until ready to use.

Crab Mold with Chili Sauce

Our family has been making this dish for Thanksgiving since I was a child, but I have never seen it served anywhere else. I believe the recipe originally came from my paternal grandmother. We traditionally served it as a side dish along with all the turkey trimmings, but now we usually have it as an appetizer before the main meal, served with crackers. Tip: Leftover chili sauce is also great on an iceberg salad with green onions, hardboiled egg and a white vinaigrette dressing. Note: Requires overnight refrigeration so make ahead!

Chilled Crab Mold with Chili Sauce
1/2 lb. (250g) white crab, chopped
6oz (185g) cream cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. celery chopped fine
1 T. gelatin (gelatine)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, warmed
Salt to taste

Sauce: Mix Heinz chili sauce*, mayonnaise and horseradish to your taste. Sauce should be deep pink and tangy. *In UK, you can try to substitute Hot Tomato Ketchup or regular Ketchup with a small spoonful of Easy Chili. Heinz Chili Sauce is available at Partridge's in London.

Instructions: Dissolve gelatin in 3 Tbsp cold water. Add to warm soup. Beat cream cheese and mayo together and combine with soup mix. Fold in crab and celery. Pour into a mold (or small glass bowl) sprayed with Pam or other butter spray. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, submerge mold in warm water for 1-2 minutes to loosed, being careful not to let the water seep into the crab, then turn out onto a serving platter. Serve chilled with chili sauce and crackers.

Strawberry Streusel Muffins

This recipe came to me from my grandmother, Helen, who runs the Highland Inn on San Juan Island in Washington State. They were a big hit with D!

Strawberry Streusel Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 c. plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
1 c. sliced fresh strawberries

Streusel topping:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1/4 c. flour
2 T (30g) melted butter
1/8 tsp almond extract

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl, make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine egg, milk, butter and almond extract; add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened. Fold in strawberries.

Combine streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Spoon batter into paper lined or greased muffin pans, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Treats! - Pumpkin Chiffon Pie & Cranberry Rasberry Relish

I made a full Thanksgiving dinner for 6 English friends on Friday night (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, glazed onions, honey cooked carrots, salad and croissants), but the dessert was everyone's favorite. This recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie comes from my mom:

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

3 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/4c. canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree)
1/2 c. warm semi-skim milk
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. each salt, ground ginger, nutmeg and all-spice (mixed spice in UK)
1 T gelatin powder
1/4 c. water

Pie Crust
30 gingersnap cookies (20 ginger biscuits in UK)
4 T. melted butter (about 60g)
4 T. white sugar

Crust : Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Mix gingersnaps in food processor. Pour into pie pan and add sugar and butter. Mix together and press into pie pan. Bake for 6 minutes and cool.

Filling: Beat egg yolks with white sugar in top of a double boiler. Add pumpkin, milk, and seasonings. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add gelatin, which has been soaked for 5 min in 3 T of warm water, and stir until gelatin is dissolved into mixture. Cool mixture in refrigerator until pie filling begins to thicken. Add brown sugar and stir to mix. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into pumpkin mix. Pour into cooled pie shell and chill 4 hours or overnight for best results. Serve with whipped cream.

This cranberry relish is a sweet and refreshing addition to any roast meal, and also makes a great fruit filling for trifles!

Cranberry Raspberry Relish

16 oz./500g fresh cranberries, finely chopped in food processor
2 green apples, peeled, cored & finely diced in food processor
10 oz./310g frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. orange marmalade
1 tsp. lemon juice, or to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate up to 1 month. Serves 12.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homemade Chili Con Carne

Tonight's dinner was fish & chips from the Fairfax Fish Shop in Kings's Norton, but while D was out I made Chili Con Carne to have for dinner tomorrow night--it taste's great! I got the recipe from the BBC Food website:

Chilli con carne


2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg/2¼lb lean minced beef
250ml/9fl oz red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 red chillies, thinly sliced, or 3-4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 stick cinnamon
good shake of Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock cube
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch coriander leaves, roughly chopped
wedges of lime, to serve


1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan with a lid and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking quickly until browned and breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon.
2. Pour in the red wine and boil for 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, fresh chilli or chilli flakes, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and Worcestershire sauce and crumble in the stock cube. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook over a gentle heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the mixture is rich and thickened.
4. Add the kidney beans and fresh coriander. Cook for a further ten minutes, uncovered, before removing from the heat, adding any extra seasoning if necessary. Serve with rice (or in a baked potato), sour cream and a big green salad.

The chilli is much tastier a day or two after it's cooked because the flavours develop and the texture becomes richer. Simply leave to cool, stick in the fridge and gently heat before serving. If you're eating the chilli on the day you prepared it, any leftovers can be frozen in individual portions in well-sealed sandwich bags, then reheated by boiling from frozen in a saucepan of water for about 15-20 minutes until steaming hot.