Today was all about the reindeer hut. Or rather my wonderful neighbours who were coming over to spend the evening in it and they would need feeding. I have been looking forward to cooking some different foods and my inspiration was the Middle East. I have recently enjoyed food from Arabica and thought some BBQd meat with a creamy dip, hummus, pitta and tabouleh would be the way to go.
BBQs always need meat so we had chicken and pepper kebabs which I brushed with a shop bought BBQ sauce,
and lamb kebabs. This recipe was from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s wonderful Family Cookbook
Ingredients (makes about 12 kebabs)
- 1 leg of lamb, boned and cut in to cubes
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, with the little leaves pulled off the stem
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
- A small bunch of fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Place the lemon juice, herbs, garlic and oil in a large bowl.
- Add the lamb and mix well so the meat is covered in the herbs, oil and lemon juice.
- Leave in a cool place to marinate for at least an hour. We left it all afternoon.
- Thread on to kebab sticks and BBQ or grill until cooked.
This is a great recipe but these will only be as good as your lamb is. We bought this lamb from Wilkes in Cranbrook where they took it off the bone and chopped it up and it was lovely. Tender and not too fatty.
To go with the meat I made a Tabouleh with couscous to which I added olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, flat leaf parsley, cucumbers and very juicy tomatoes.
We had pitta breads with the hummus I made the other day and this delicious feta and herb dip which is very easy to make and so yummy I will make this again. The saltiness of the feta, creaminess of the yogurt and freshness of the herbs goes superbly with BBQd meat.
This recipe and the 2 which follow came from a fantastic blog called Gourmande In The Kitchen. I have not made any of her recipes before. I read the blog regularly to admire her wonderful photography but now I have made 3 of her recipes I will make some more. I simplified the feta and herb dip from the original and I am giving you my recipe. For the original click here.
Whipped Feta and Herb Dip
- 250 g Sheep’s Milk Greek feta
- The juice of one fresh lemon, divided in 2
- 2 Tablespoons thick Greek yogurt
- 1 small garlic clove
- ¼ cup (one handful) fresh mint
- ½ cup (2 handfuls) fresh flat leaf parsley, divided (1/2 finely chopped for cucumber salad)
- ¼ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or as needed, divided
- finely ground black pepper, or more or less to taste
- Rinse and gently pat dry the feta and place it in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse together with half of the lemon juice and the Greek yogurt until smooth and creamy.
- Remove and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Clean out your food processor bowl and place the other half lemon juice, garlic, mint, parsley, oil and pepper inside. Pulse until finely chopped.
- Mix to combine and place in serving bowl.
Gourmand drizzles the herby mix on top but I stirred mine in.
This was delicious.
For dessert we had macaroons with a chocolate and coconut dipping sauce, fresh strawberries, orange, pistachio and cranberry truffles and some Konditor & Cook chocolate brownies which I forgot to serve so they are sitting on top of the fridge 😦 .
This recipe I have copied exactly from Gourmand in The Kitchen.
Macaroons and Coconut Chocolate Sauce
- For the Cocoa Chocolate Sauce:
- ¼ cup/ 60g unrefined sweetener – I used honey
- ½ cups/ 120g coconut milk
- 1/3 cup/ 40g natural cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- fine sea salt
- For the Macaroons:
- 2 large egg whites
- ¼ cup/ 60g full flavored honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups/ 180g unsweetened shredded coconut
- fine sea salt
- Make the Chocolate Sauce:
- Heat the coconut cream in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until just simmering.
- Meanwhile stir the sweetener, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Gradually stir in the hot coconut cream, stirring constantly until the mixture is shiny and smooth. Stir in the butter one Tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Sauce may be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to a week.
- Make the Macaroons:
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir together egg whites, honey, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until combined. Stir in coconut until completely moistened.
- Roll coconut mixture into small balls between your hands, then place about 2 inches apart onto baking sheet.
- Bake until pale golden in spots, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
I didn’t have any shredded coconut as I buy coconut chips so I just cut them up with a mezzaluna.
The little macaroons were lovely.
Toasted and chewy on the outside and moist and sweet on the inside. The chocolate sauce was fantastic, especially when it was warm.
To use up the egg yolks I added another egg and made scrambled eggs with chard from the garden. A simple and yummy breakfast.
I also made some truffles, again from Gourmande.
Orange, Pistachio and Cranberry Truffles
- ½ cup / 60g raw pistachios
- ¾ / 90g cup raw almonds
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 6 large, soft pitted medjool dates
- Zest of half an organic orange
- 1-2 tsps Cointreau or Grand Marnier (for an alcohol-free version substitute same amount of orange juice)
- ¼ cup / 30g dried cranberries
- Place a ¼ cup of the pistachios in a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside in a small shallow bowl.
- Put the almonds and remaining ¼ of pistachios in the food processor with the salt and process until finely chopped.
- Add the dates, orange zest and Cointreau and process again until the mixture begins to clump together. Add the dried cranberries and pulse briefly until just mixed. Small chunks of cranberries should still be visible.
- Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture into the palm of your hand and squeeze and roll into a ball. Repeat until all the mixture has been formed into “truffles.”
- Roll each ball in the ground pistachios and chill for at least 1 hour before serving to firm.
- Store in a sealed container for up to one month in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
Mine didn’t combine very well so I had to press them firmly in to an ice-cream scoop and then tip them in to mini muffin cases.
The flavour was lovely but they crumbled when you bite in to them. I have some left over so will use these in smoothies or add to yogurt for breakfast.
So what is a reindeer hut? It looks like a summer house from the outside.
The antlers are a bit of a clue.
Inside you could be transported to Scandinavia – I believe these come from Finland.
In the middle of the hut is a fire pit and there are benches around the outside which can seat 14 and are lined with reindeer fur. Hence the name of the hut which was coined by Sarah.
We used to call it the BBQ House but I prefer ‘The reindeer Hut’. This was a spur of the moment decision and we love it.
I couldn’t wait for everyone to arrive. Ben came along to keep Harvey company and they enjoyed catching up on world affairs while the adults behaved badly in the garden.
It is so much fun and so sociable to sit round in a circle
eating and drinking
chatting and laughing.
Cooking food together with no one left standing alone to man the BBQ.
I enjoyed preparing all the food (James did the lamb kebabs) and enjoyed even more another fun night inside the reindeer hut. Thank you all for coming 🙂