Moroccan Kebabs, Green Cous Cous and Tzatziki

This recipe for lamb kebabs is adapted from an Elizabeth David essay in the Fresh Meat: Kebab Cookery section of Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen.Originally published in 1970, at a time when spices like cumin and caraway had to be searched out, it shows how diverse we’ve become with our cooking. I love her description of eating the sizzling, spicy brochettes in a bread flap similar to pitta. She concludes by suggesting a fish or chicken based and lemon soup (avgolemono) to start the meal, finishing with baked apricots or a cream cheese and honey pie. Yum yum.

Serves 4

Prep: 40 min

Cook: 20 min

600g lamb neck fillet or boned leg

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp ground black peppercorns

1 small shallot

1 small garlic clove

1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

for the cous cous:

150g cous cous

pinch saffron strands

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

200g drained tinned chickpeas

75g fine beans

3 small courgettes

for the tzatziki:

300ml Greek-style yoghurt, I like Woodlands sheep yoghurt

½ (half) cucumber

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped mint

2 lemons

First prepare the lamb. Cut into kebab-size dice, place in a mixing bowl with 1 tbsp oil and use your hands to smear all the pieces. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a frying pan, stirring constantly over a low heat until they pop and turn aromatic. Tip into a mortar and add turmeric, ginger and peppercorns. Grind together with the pestle to make a bumpy almost paste. Finely chop the shallot and garlic and stir both with the parsley into the paste. Smear this as best you can over the meat. Transfer to a plastic bag if liked – I do, it saves fridge space. Chill for a couple of hours before threading onto kebab sticks and cooking over coals at the white ash stage; you want crusty on the outside, pink in the middle. Well I do; you may prefer it cooked longer. While the meat marinates, make the tzatziki and cous cous. Tomake the tzatziki, peel the cucumber, split lengthways, use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds, cut into chunky half moons and then chop into dice. Chop and crush the garlic with a pinch of salt. Whip garlic, lemon juice and olive oil into the yoghurt. Stir in cucumber and mint. Chill, covered, until required. To make the cous cous, begin by boiling the kettle while you trim the beans and cut into 2cm lengths. Cut the courgette into 2cm dice. Drop both into boiling water from the kettle in a pan. Add salt and boil for 1 minute. Measure off 225ml of the boiling bean water into a mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice, stir in the chickpeas and then the cous cous. Cover and leave for at least 10 minutes. Fork up the cous cous and fold in the cooling veg. Serve kebabs, cous cous, tzatziki and a lemon wedge together.