Lamb kofta burgers and chocolate cake

Having not done any “proper” baking in a while, I was very excited to bake a birthday cake for one of my friends at the weekend. I may have got a bit over-excited and baked an uber-chocolated giant 3-layer cake, but I managed not to eat any of it (and especially pleased that I didn’t eat the leftover raw cake mix, which is possibly one of my favourite things).

What I was aiming for (the recipes in this book are awesome, by the way. Well, unless you’re low-carb, then probably not so good.):

My version (replacing the vanilla buttercream with white chocolate ganache, and grated white chocolate – not cheese – instead of honeycomb for the topping):
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I made sure I had a massive breakfast (two eggs and two bacons with leeks and tomatoes, yum) before I took it into the office so that I wouldn’t be tempted to have a slice. Although, having gone nearly two months without sugar, you can understand my trepidation at driving 50 miles after eating a slab of sugary chocolatey cake! It did make me a bit sad though, so I came home and made some lamb kofta burgers for dinner to cheer me up.

Lamb kofta burgers

Ingredients:
500 g lamb mince
1 large onion, very finely chopped (a deviation from proper koftas but I like onions)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Butter for frying
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mixed herbs (I didn’t have any fresh mint)
Olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, and line a tray with parchment paper.

Fry the onion and garlic in the butter until soft. Add to the lamb, along with the herbs and spices, and mix thoroughly with your hands, getting very messy in the process!

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Using some olive oil on your hands to stop the lamb from sticking to you, divide the mixture into 6 and shape into burgers; I made 6 big balls and then flattened them (they will look massive, but they do shrink when cooking). At this stage you can leave them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them, or freeze the burgers with sheets of parchment paper in between to stop them from sticking together.

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Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Serve with a feta cheese salad and homemade fat-ziki (equal measures of sour cream and yoghurt, mixed with diced cucumber and fresh mint, if you have it, but it’s still nice without!), not forgetting to use the lamb juices as a dressing.

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Garlic and chilli roast lamb

Garlic. Chilli. Lamb. ‘nough said.

Serves 2 hungry people.

Ingredients
1 small boneless leg of lamb joint (ours was about 400g)
3 large cloves of garlic
3 red chillies
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground peppers
1 red pepper, chunked
1 green pepper, chunked
100 ml red wine
2 medium leeks, sliced
2 tbsp creme fraiche
50 g butter

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Using a blender or food processor, blend together the garlic, chillies, rosemary, olive oil, salt & pepper into a paste. Using a sharp knife, butterfly the lamb joint and flatten it a bit by hitting it with a rolling pin or the like. Spread the paste over the lamb, and roll it up into a lamb sausage, securing with string. Spread any leftover paste on the outside of the lamb. Sear the lamb in an oven-proof pan, and place in the oven for 30 minutes per 500g (for slightly pink lamb).

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20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, put the peppers in with the lamb, along with 25g of butter.

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After 10 minutes, pour the red wine over the lamb and peppers.

When the lamb is ready, remove it from the pan and let it rest in foil whilst you prepare the creamed leeks.

Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and add the leeks (I had some chilli and garlic paste left-over so I added this as well). Season with salt and pepper. Sweat for a few minutes until the leeks are soft, then add the creme fraiche. Stir, and simmer for 2 minutes.

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Slice the lamb, and serve with the leeks, peppers and pan juices.

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Spiced slow roast lamb shoulder

Slow roast lamb
One of my favourites, and so easy! Make the spice paste, rub it on the meat and then shove it in the oven for a few hours and you end up with beautifully tender lamb that can be cut with a spoon. If you like something a little spicier just add a couple of fresh chilies to the spice paste.
Ingredients:
1 lamb shoulder, scored all over with a sharp knife
1/2 large or 1 medium onion, chunked
100g butter, cubed
For the curry paste:
1/2 large onion
1 medium tomato
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
2 black cardamom pods, seeds only
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp full fat Greek yoghurt
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 140°C fan.
Blend all of the paste ingredients to a paste and rub all over the lamb shoulder.
Place onions on the bottom of an oven-proof dish and place lamb on top.
Dot the cubes of butter all over the lamb and onions.
Roast  for 3 hours, uncovered, basting occasionally with meat juices.