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Today wasn’t a usual Sunday. Apart from being a Bank Holiday, the kids are away for a few days and we had a skim full with good friends last night, and boy was I suffering for it earlier on (we don’t get out much these days). Naturally, the only way to get through was to cook up a feast. You can always rely on glorious food to perk you up – along with another cheeky hair of the dog…

I found Dan flicking through one of our favourite cook books at lunch time to my delight, Steven Raichlen’s ‘The Barbeque! Bible’. We agreed that kebabs were the way forward in this state…mightily meaty and full of flavour. The actual recipe we picked out originates from Iraq, interestingly. ‘Kafta’ is made up of minced chicken, combined with four types of pepper (black pepper, hot paprika, fresh green bell pepper and fresh red bell pepper), herbs and spice. To accompany this, we made ‘Shopska Salata’, which is a tomato salad with feta cheese. This one is Bulgarian. The full ingredients list and cooking methods for both can be found in Steven’s fantastic book.

To make the Kafta kebabs (serves two generously) you will need:
– 600g of chicken breast (cut into chunks)
– One garlic clove (finely chopped)
– One teaspoon of salt
– Half a teaspoon of black pepper
– Half a teaspoon of hot, sweet paprika
– Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
– Three tablespoons of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
– One green bell pepper (finely chopped)
– One red bell pepper (finely chopped)
– One tablespoon of olive oil (for brushing)

Method:
– Place the chicken, garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika and cumin in a food processor and blend until combined into a coarse paste.
– Drop in the parsley and bell peppers slowly being careful not to over blend.

20140525-193158.jpg– To test for seasoning, cook a small amount on a griddle pan to sample. Season the mixture well to taste, also adding more cumin and paprika as required.
– Divide into four equal portions. Wet your hands with cold water and mould each one around a skewer to form a flat sausage shape (approx ten to twelve inches long and three quarters of an inch thick).
– Refrigerate on a lined baking tray or plate (covered in cling film) until you are ready to cook.
– Heat a griddle pan to a medium-high temperature. Gently brush one side of the kebabs with olive oil and place on the pan, oil side down. Grill until lightly browned (approx two to four minutes).
– Using tongs, oil the other side of the kebabs and repeat the process until both sides are nicely coloured.
– Serve immediately.

To make the tomato and feta salad (serves two generously) you will need:
– Two large ripe tomatoes
– Three ounces of feta cheese (drained)
– One green bell pepper (cored/seeded)
– Two spring onions
– Quarter of a cup of flat leaf parsley (coarsely chopped)
– Quarter of a cup of EV olive oil
– One tablespoon of red wine vinegar
– Salt and black pepper (to taste)

Method:
– Core the tomatoes and cut into one inch cubes. Dice the onions (both white and green parts) and bell pepper into quarter of an inch chunks.
– Combine all of the above in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, parsley and wine vinegar. Toss together gently and season to taste, adding more vinegar if required.
– Coarsely grate the feta on top and serve immediately.

It was a welcome change to try these minced style chicken kebabs, as opposed to our usual marinated chunks served in a pitta bread. I find that there is something highly pleasing about eating well seasoned, fine tasting meat from a skewer! The simple salad was a great, refreshing touch on the side, and perfectly complimented the flavoursome kebabs…along with a helping of Tzatziki to boot. Wonderful (and the hangover has since dispersed).

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