Thursday, July 21, 2011

What to do with an oyster and a truffle?

Reflecting after a fantastic day out at Borough Market, showing around a group of boys and girls who for one sad reason after another heartbreaking one had never been in the fortunate position to have ever been around such a tantalising variety of terrific food stuffs, is just the thing to bring it all back home. This food obsession we all seem to have adopted of late - where almonds simply have to be from Marcona, and if I have to even smell another anchovy that isn't hand reared in the Cantabrian Sea I will simply die - is all well and good, but in the fear of sounding like a food wanker, it is only food after all.

What we did last Friday wasn't groundbreaking, but when we ordered up our variety of hot kebab filled baguettes, the thing that struck the hardest was that some of the crew were ordering some food items they'd never eaten before, ever. I am as guilty as the next person who counts working with food as their livelehood just an exercise of survival. When I take a piece of grilled meat in a lump of bread as a lunchtime filler for granted, this day out at the market was particularly momentous.

I always seem to throw in a recipe, and this one is no different. But this is what we're going to do when I get these guys back into the kitchen and actually handling food for themselves. Pay back, a chance to make a difference, call it what you will. But to do something striking with food for some less fortunate than some, I think there's a whole lot more we can all do.

Lamb brochettes

Serves 4-6
 This dish is really versatile, it can be served as bite-size snacks, as a filling for buttered baguette with chutney and some salady crunch or as a light meal with a lightly dressed salad. They really benefit from being marinated overnight but leave it for as long as possible. If you leave it overnight, leave it in the fridge, covered with cling film and take out at least 1 hour before you start to cook it. Serve with fresh green chutney or dip into cool cucumber and mint raita and serve with naan. Alternatively, serve with the spinach rice as a main course.

450g boned lamb, cut into 2cm cubes and pierced with a fork

For the marinade
150ml Greek style thick yoghurt
½ small onion, roughly chopped
15g garlic, peeled
8g ginger, peeled
2 tsp each garam masala and cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp fennel seeds, powdered
¼ tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tblsp coriander leaves
½ tsp red chilli powder or to taste
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt or to taste
1-2 tblsp melted butter

6 wooden skewers, soaked

Blend all the marinade ingredients in a food processor till smooth. Stir in the lamb pieces, mix well and leave to marinate for as long as possible, overnight in the fridge would be best. Bring back to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Discard the marinade.

Thread the cubes onto the skewers and place under a preheated grill. Cook until tender, around 5-6 minutes turning halfway through cooking. Alternatively cook in an oven preheated to 200°C for 10 minutes.

Baste with the butter and cook another minute or two for slightly pink meat.

Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side, or as we'd all prefer to be honest, crammed into a baguette with some salad on the run