Barefoot in London

Month: June, 2014

Lemon and Oregano Lamb Kebabs

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This was a Greek inspired dinner; I have to admit – despite having some the very best food I’ve ever tasted in a wee family-run restaurant at the top of Olympia (honestly, also one of my favourite memories I think I have too) – that Greek food is not a staple at my table. I’m not sure I could really say why it hasn’t been previously but I think I’m going to try and include it a little more often.

It has been an age since I went to Greece. As a twelve year old I spent a month out there whilst my Dad was working and then a few years ago, after interailling through Eastern Europe, I spent a couple of weeks wandering around the Peloponnese. The history, the scenery and the people are just all so fantastic. I wasn’t wild about Athens but I loved meandering around fishing villages, travelling up through the mountains, camping in olive groves and spending many a day on the beach. Food and family and spending long, lethargic evenings around the dinner table are values so engrained into the Greek lifestyle that I couldn’t really help but fall in love with the place.

What’s more, I was cooking for friends when I made the kebabs and, as Greek is one of Lorna’s favourite cuisines and as I was taking over her kitchen for the evening, it seemed polite to make something I knew – hoped! – she’d enjoy!

This dish is full of light, summery flavours and these kebabs would be perfect for shoving on the BBQ. They’re bright and colourful (seriously, look at those photos, gorgeous colours) and really rather tasty if I do say so myself!



500g Lamb rump

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

3 cloves of garlic

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

A handful of chopped, fresh oregano

1 red onion

3 peppers (I tend to go for any colours except green)

1 courgette

A punnet of cherry tomatoes



  1. Pop your olive oil, lemon juice and rind, crush garlic, oregano, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Chop your meat into nice cubes, leaving the fat on, and place into the marinade. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Chop up your peppers, courgette and red onion nice and chunkily; doesn’t have to be particularly fancy, or perfect, just nice big bite-sized pieces.
  4. Take your skewers and layer with the meat and veg. Try and make sure the fat on the lamb is all facing the same way.
  5. Make a slit into the tomatoes and place in the bottom of a baking tray; sprinkle with salt, chopped oregano and drizzle with a little oil. Place your kebabs over the tomatoes and empty the remaining marinade out over the kebabs.
  6. Pop under the grill, with the fat on the lamb facing upwards. Grill for 10-15 minutes before covering with foil (you don’t want to dry the meat out!) and putting in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
  7. Take out the oven and enjoy!

We served with pitta bread, humus, tzatziki and olives


Cheeky Wee Coconut Macaroons






Would you believe I’d never even tried a coconut macaroon until a couple of months ago? My lovely cousin brought some for me to taste and from that moment on, I’ve been pretty hooked. I think it’s the texture; the gooey, mushy mouthful of sugary coconutty goodness cannot be beaten.

I think I’m having a bit of a love affair with coconut as of late. A fruit that barely – hang on, is it a fruit? Or, as its name so openly suggests…a nut? – made a blip on my radar until recently has suddenly taken over my kitchen life. My mama even called to tell me she had picked up some desiccated coconut so that when I go back to visit, in a couple of weeks time, I can make yet more of these cakes. Addicts, the lot of us.

This was my first attempt at trying out this recipe and I have to admit, I’m a wee bit proud. I seemed to get them down straight away and family and co-workers have confirmed there tastiness.

PS. These are also great for folks who don’t do flour because, well…if I’m honest, there’s none in them. Makes sense, hey!



600g desiccated coconut

600g caster sugar

3 egg whites

75g ground almonds

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate

This makes about 12 good-sized macaroons.

  1. Preheat oven to 140.
  2. Whisk egg whites until they’re nice, firm peaks.
  3. Stir coconut, sugar, vanilla and almonds into the egg whites until it’s all lovely and combined. It should be sticky and almost dough like.
  4. Get your hands in there – you don’t have to but why miss an opportunity to?! – and take chunks, roll together so it’s nice and tightly combined, then pop on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. You don’t have to do balls like I did, you could make them any shape you darn well like, I shan’t judge! 😉
  5. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they have a slight golden, toasted edge.
  6. Once your macaroons are cooled, melt your chocolate; I tend to melt three quarters of the chocolate, take it off the heat then stir in the final quarter. This helps to bring down the temperature of the chocolate, leaving it shiny and glossy – a cheat’s way of tempering chocolate!
  7. Dip the base of the macaroons into the chocolate, allow to cool and enjoy!

Hear, hear, Julia Childs.

Now, as with most things I stumble across on the internet, I’m going to take this with – excuse the pun – a pinch of salt. I don’t know if she actually said this, but it certainly seems like something she would say from what I’ve read of her, and it reminded me so much of my own thoughts on plates of food that look far too fancy for their own good that I had to share.


“It’s [Food] so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”

– Julia Childs

I cannot stand the thought of food being touched too much. Of it going through ten thousand processes before it finds it’s self on my plate. I like things to look a little rustic, a little down home, a little less than perfect. I like my cooking wholesome and from scratch. Jamie Oliver’s bish bash bosh approach is more my style than Heston’s scientifically-crafted art. And whilst I have a respect for the other, I can’t seem to quite embrace it. Restaurants that serve it make me feel alittle uncomfortable, a little out of place and, Kitchen Gods preserve me if I ever attempt it!

What about you? Are you a fan of fancy dining?

julia childs

Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich





I don’t know about you guys but, for me, sometimes recipes are just kind of guidelines. Especially when it comes to flavour combinations. Obviously baking requires a little precision, a little science, but I think you should definitely take a wee bit of artistic license once in a while. Recipes are what I tend to use for inspiration, rather than instruction; I browse through blogs and books and wait for a little light bulb to ping above my head. I take a little of this, a little of that and throw in my own tastes – et voilà! Dinner/dessert/lunch/unnecessary but tasty indulgence is served.

With regards to this particular recipe – because I’m not the biggest fan of overtly sweet foods – I’d probably use a really nice dark chocolate next time instead of the white. Whilst I love white chocolate and raspberry together, I think the tartness and sweetness of the raspberry/lemon filling requires the bitterness of dark chocolate. But, you know, guidelines. Personal preference. All that jazz. Smother this wee treat in any kind of chocolate you prefer.


4 egg yolks

400g sugar

300g plain flour

300g self raising flour

1 tsp salt

450g butter

300g raspberries

3 tbsp sugar

Juice and rind of a lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 180.

  2. Pop your raspberries, sugar and lemon juice/rind in a saucepan over a low heat. Just let the raspberries fall apart and turn syrupy, then take off the heat and pop to one side to cool.

  3. Shortbread; cream the butter until it’s soft and fluffy then stir in the egg yolks.

  4. Stir in the flours, sugar and salt to the egg and butter mixture. Get your hands in there and knead for a little – don’t overwork the dough though.

  5. Take half the dough and flatten it into a tray then slather on the raspberry mixture.

  6. With the other half of the dough create an almost breadcrumb-like consistency and sprinkle on top of the raspberry.

  7. Pop in the oven for thirty minutes until it’s nice and golden then leave to cool.

  8. Melt your chocolate, drizzle on top of your shortbread and enjoy!


Rough Puff Pastry



Because, well, normal puff pastry? To quote that famous internet meme – ain’t nobody got time for that. Well I’m sure some of you do and, furthermore, I’m sure it’s flipping tasty but I struggle to spend time with pastry. Yes, the hard work is rewarding and, yes, it generally is incredibally tasty when you’ve slaved over it for an afternoon or so but…I’ll take a short cut where I can – and it’s not too often you’ll hear me say that in the kitchen!

This makes a gloriously crisp, flaky and buttery pastry that can be used for a multitude of things and can be whipped up in an hour or so if you’re really pushed for time. So. You know. No excuses!


500g plain flour

1 tsp salt

500g unsalted butter

250ml cold water

Tip; maybe keep your water in the fridge if you know you’re going to be making this. Really, really cold water works a treat.

  1. Allow your butter to come to room temperature – not super warm and squishy but malleable – and pop in a bowl with the flour and salt. Rub all ingredients together until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs.

  2. Slowly add the water and mix together with your hands until it’s all combined. You don’t really have to knead at this stage – seeing flecks of butter is totally normal. Good, in fact. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for twenty minutes.

  3. Take your pastry out of the fridge and roll out into a rectangle. Fold a third of the pastry into the middle and then fold the remaining third over the top of that. Roll the whole lot out into a rectangle again and fold once more. Pop in the fridge again for 10/20 minutes and repeat the folding and rolling process again. Try as hard as you can not to over-work the pastry.

  4. Let the pastry rest in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

  5. Use an egg wash (one beaten egg, mixed with two tablespoons of water) to glaze the pastry before popping into a preheated oven (190) for thirty minutes and enjoy!


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