Cheoff

A site about food, drink and other random stuff!

On trend... Turkey trot - with a Persian lamb accent

I’ve decided that there’s far too much quality culinary ‘opposition’ out there with which to compete. There will be times when I offer my very own ideas and recipes but, for the most part, these pages will reflect what happens in my kitchen thanks to the inspiration of wonderful writers and photographers and the publishers who make them available to us.

Of course, if I ever encourage a single one of you to take up the baton/spoon/whisk (choose your metaphor) and get more active with home cooking, I shall swell with disgusting pride!

I might well be the only person in Amazon.co.uk Land without a copy of Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond  #NumberOne or thereabouts on all of 2014's reviews (I promise it’s on order, Sabrina!) However, reluctant to be venturing too far from the flavours of the moment, I did seek out these two readily available recipes from others on the internet before the ‘real thing’ arrives.

Persian lamb tagine

I’d intended to make some lamb tandoori ‘bites’ over Christmas but never got round to it - so chunks of lamb shoulder in the freezer went into this dish instead of neck fillets.

Onions, lamb and spices

All went according to instructions but I gave an extra thirty minutes for meat tenderness before adding the apricots, pistachios, etc. When they have cooked in, you will have something glistening, sweet and slightly fatty but, above all, very deep and desirable!

I almost ate a portion just checking for seasoning!

To my shame, I have never bothered (bother… what bother?!) to make flatbreads. Soda, focaccia, spicy cardamom buns and the perfecting of our staple of sandwiches and toast, wholemeal loaves, are just a few who have distracted me from that simplest of delights… breads which are flat!

I am even more ashamed of myself for having neglected this fundamental variety of cooking as I remember one particular pleasure which was part of holidays to Turkey a few years back.

Morning walks to explore the rocky coastline were a regular feature. We returned from the sun’s heat to seek the shelter of parasols and the comfort of a gin sling. One day a week, while we were walking, Aynur and Gülsüm began the making of flatbreads using the shade of gardener, Bayram’s, vine-laden pergola. They would go to the communal garden fire-pit and mix a simple dough, kneading it for smooth consistency with slow pummelling. On our return they were ready to divide, roll and cook their mix on the domed iron griddle in my picture.

No offence was taken from the heat of the fire as we fell in with its honest purpose of turning wet dough into the staff of life. The relaxed, practised efficiency of the process had an even more calming effect than the cocktails which we were now gratefully cradling.

So, earlier this week I finally set to in my own kitchen to produce an accompaniment to the lamb tagine.

Mr. J. Oliver's Easy Flatbreads

Nothing complicated here, unless you are going to fret about getting sticky dough all over your hands! My small griddle pan took the place of that big iron disc. No wood fire - but the gas heat was enough to send wisps of smoky, toasted goodness to the nostrils. The dough takes longer to cook than I expected but it was a bit of a learning experience with rare, medium and well done all making appearances until I judged the best time to flip and finish.

Smokin'! Watch out for 'false' detector alarms!

This was a nice change from a Sunday roast. As well as presenting lovely flavours of an iconic far-flung cuisine this conjured up memories of a glorious holiday and fine Turkish hospitality... I washed it all down with thoughts of future delights when Sabrina Ghayour arrives, clad in her Amazonian wrapping.

Just in case you are late to the party, why not head over here for a quick introduction...

Sabrina Ghayour

And do let me know when something here makes you think, "Yeah, I'd like to have a go at that!"

All images and content are the property of Geoff Griffiths. Copyright Geoff Griffiths 2014 ©