Lamb and Date Koftas

lamb koftas

I wanted to set myself a challenge to shoot something that is difficult to make look appetizing. It’s fair to say, these lamb koftas didn’t lend themselves as well to being photographed as, say, the cupcakes in the previous post. Generally, I find savoury food more difficult to make visually appealing than sweet. Maybe because sweet things tend to be ‘prettier’, so what makes them delicious is more easily communicated visually.  Meat, especially, always presents a challenge, as the line between it looking amazing -making you want to dive right in – and disgusting –making you want to be sick- is a fine one.

coriander and dates

I found that photographing the meat straight after it had been cooked meant that it retained some of the glistening grease from the cooking oil, rather then becoming dull if it was left for too long. Also, adding lots of greenery in the form of spinach and herbs helped to increase the visual appeal of the dish. Going for a rustic feel, I assembled the meat in its pitta on a wooden board. Using Camera Raw, I changed the white balance to ‘Cloudy’ (shooting in RAW lets you do this), to give a warmer cast to the image. Then in Photoshop I heightened the contrast using ‘Levels’ and boosted the saturation.

lamb in pan

Koftas (or maybe kofte?) are Turkish kebabs made from minced lamb, served in pittas. This recipe is from a recently acquired cookbook gem ‘Kitchen & Co’ by Rosie French and Ellie Grace – the duo behind the blog Salad Club and the restaurant French & Grace in Brixton, London. It’s one of those rare books that is written in a lovely relaxed voice, is visually stunning, and also has easy, delicious recipes that have to be made again and again (just try making these and see for yourself!).

lamb in pitta

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Lamb, Chestnut Mushroom and Rosemary Pie

Pie

I love autumn. The first evening snuggling up in front of a roaring fire, the wood still hissing with damp. The trees slowly turning, the tips of their leaves tinged with amber. The earthy smells of rotting leaves, woodsmoke and misty air. The return to substantial, comforting food, rather than flighty summer salads.

montage

This pie epitomises the kind of food that I look forward to as the summer draws to a close. The kind of food I crave on a cold night, that provides solace and reassurance. There’s something about a rich, meaty filling topped with buttery pastry that sometimes just hits the spot, when nothing else will do.

pie and candle

This pastry recipe is a Delia (bless her) revelation. The butter is frozen, then grated into the flour, making a very quick flaky pastry that dispenses with all of the folding, rolling and resting that making puff pastry requires. The result is a pleasing mid-point between shortcrust and puff pastry.

Pie and Wine

I love the combination of lamb and chestnut mushrooms, and I added rosemary to the pastry as well as the filling. The red wine gives the filling an intensity and depth of flavour. I don’t usually drink red wine, as it seems to give me the mother of all hangovers, but I felt it was necessary to have a glass (which magically kept refilling itself) to accompany this meal.

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