Lamb Kofta with Cacik (Tzatziki)


When I lived in London, I used to get the most incredible pre-mixed lamb kofta from a slightly run down Persian grocery store in Kensington. I’ve attempted to recreate it with a mix of spices myself but it was never quite as good. A few weeks ago, a package arrived with an array of different spice blends along with recipe cards from Spice Tree Organics. There was no question as to which I would try first. The Istanbuli kofta was exactly as I remembered – thank you Doaa and Freda for your meticulously toasted, ground and blended spice mixes!


Lamb Kofta
Serves 4

1 lb ground lamb

2 tbsp + 2 ½ tsp Istanbuli Kofta spice

1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated (juices drained)

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)



1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Thoroughly mix all the spices, onion, and parsley into the meat.

2. Chill meat mixture for one hour. In the meantime, preheat broiler or grill and make your tzatziki (recipe below).

3. Depending on the size of kofta you prefer, divide the meat mixture into 6 or 8 portions. Using a skewer or butter knife, mold the kofta around the skewer into a long sausage shape. If butter knife was used, carefully pull the kofta off of the knife without ruining the shape.

4. Place the koftas onto a hot broiler pan or grill. Cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes until browned on the surface.

5. Turn kofta and cook an additional 4 minutes until cooked through. Serve with tzatziki.


Cacik (Tzatziki)

Serves 4


2 cups of plain greek yogurt

1 hothouse cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste



1. Grate the cucumber and mix with 1 tablespoon of salt. Place it in a sieve over a bowl. Fill a zip lock bag with water and use as a weight over the cucumbers to help speed up the draining process. Leave for an hour then squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumbers with paper towels.

2. In another bowl, mix the yoghurt, sour cream, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and dill. Next add the cucumbers, stir well and add salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Kielbasa with Shoestring Onion Rings


I was introduced to the mighty Kielbasa Dog by my godmother in Cape Cod and haven’t had a regular hot dog since. So much juicier and packed with flavor, the Kielbasa is an often overlooked sausage. Here, we’ve made it extra decadent with the addition of shoestring onion rings and smoky BBQ ketchup. The onion rings are addictive so be sure to fry up extra for snacking. They also make a wonderful burger topping if you are doing a mixed grill of dogs and burgers. We hope you enjoy!


Grilled Kielbasa with Shoestring Onion Rings 

Makes 4 large Hot Dogs


Canola/vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

6 oz. of beer

1 vidalia onion

Sea salt

1 Polish Kielbasa Ring

4 brioche style hot dog buns

Smokey BBQ Ketchup

Smoky BBQ Mustard



1. Fill a medium sized stock pot or Dutch oven a few inches high with oil and heat on high until the oil reaches 365F.

2. Meanwhile, whisk flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Then whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth.

3. Line a baking tray with paper towels and set to the side of the frying oil.

4. Discard the ends and outer peel of your onion and then, using a guard, slice on a mandoline slicer to about 1/8″. Pull your rings apart and once oil is heated, begin dipping them in the batter and dropping them gently in the oil. Work in batches to prevent overcrowding. If rings stick together, use tongs to pull them apart. Fry until golden, turning over rings as needed, about 1-2 minutes total per batch. They fry quickly since they are thinly sliced.

5. When rings are golden brown, remove with thongs or a spider to the paper towel-lined tray and repeat with the next batch. Season finished onion rings with sea salt. As you are frying your rings, heat your grill or grill pan for the Kielbasa.

6. Slice the Kielbasa Ring in half. Slice each half again in half lengthwise to form 4 Kielbasa dogs.

7. Grill Kielbasa dogs 3-4 minutes per side until fully cooked and nice grill marks appear.

8. After Kielbasa have grilled, grill your buns, open face for 1-2 minutes until just toasted.

9. To assemble Kielbasa dogs, top each bun with a grilled Kielbasa and dress with shoestring onion rings. Finish with BBQ Ketchup and BBQ Mustard to taste. Enjoy.


Mary’s Tomato Tart


Trying to recreate a recipe from your childhood is challenging. It’s at least 20 years since I’ve had this tart but it’s one of those dishes that I’ve never forgotten. Made regularly for us on weekends in Suffolk by our friend Mary Miller, it has a legendary status and indeed is always referred to as Mary’s Tomato Tart. A couple of failed efforts almost got the better of me. Even after Mary kindly dug out the original recipe, I started to believe that only Mary could make Mary’s Tomato Tart and the memory of it was too entwined with flavors of English summers that I would never be able to recreate it. Now, I’m glad I persisted and the third time was the charm! This recipe now transports me back to a time filled with afternoons of blackberry picking and elderflower cordial.


Mary’s Tomato Tart

Serves 6

Shortcrust pastry ingredients (fills a 9″ tart pan):

7 ounces flour

3.5 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cold water


Filling Ingredients:

4 ounces fresh breadcrumbs from brown bread

8 tomatoes approximately

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 cup heavy cream

6 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

1 tablespoon fresh thyme



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add all the ingredients for the pastry into a food processor and pulse until it forms a ball of dough.

2. Lightly flour your hands then mold the dough into a flat disc. Cover the disc of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes by bringing a pot of water to the boil. Score a cross on the bottom of each tomato and then blanche for 45 seconds. Once tomatoes have cooked, drain and allow to cool.

4. Once cooled, peel them and cut each in half. Remove all stalks and seeds. Sprinkle the halved tomatoes with salt and leave in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Discard any remaining liquid and be sure to dry well.

5. Spread the fresh breadcrumbs out on a cookie tray. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crispy.

6. In a small bowl (it helps to pour if it has a spout) mix the anchovy paste well with the cream and then mix in the Gruyere and thyme.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled shortcrust pastry. Lay the pastry over a 9 inch tart pan and press the pastry flush with the tin, cutting off any overhanging pastry.

8. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork, line with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. If you don’t have old beans to blind bake with, you can use rice or even coins.

9. Once the pastry has baked for 10 minutes, scatter the browned breadcrumbs over the base of the pastry then arrange the tomato halves (rounded side up) to fill the base of the tart. Next add the cheese and cream mixture. You will have to press it in between the tomatoes. Don’t worry if it gets all over the tomatoes, you want to ensure that all the filling is coated with cream.

10. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to make sure the filling is set. Check that it’s not browning too quickly and reduce heat for the last 10 minutes if it is. Serve warm.