Cook Book Challenge: Week 22

Unlike last week, I was really looking forward to delving into this week's cook book. Second on the list is Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion".

This is a really neat book. The book deviates from the usual entrée/main/dessert structure of cookbooks. Instead, it works its way alphabetically through a list of garden ingredients: herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. The header of each recipe features the name of the ingredient that starts in the dish. Not only is it unique, but I find it really handy for when you have something you need to use up, but can't think of a good use for it.

I had so much fun flipping through the book that I became spoilt for choice…

I couldn't settle on any one recipe. So I didn't. I settled on three of them.

The first was the coriander recipe: lamb koftas. 

It looked delicious, and it also gave me the excuse to pick up something I've wanted to for a while: a mortar and pestle. However, herein lies the one disadvantage of her recipes: they assume you own a lot of kitchen equipment and don't offer alternative options. This recipe alone asked for a food processor, mortar and pestle, a stand mixer and a simmer mat. The sorbet required an ice cream machine. The mortar and pestle was the only one I owned, and that was after a shopping trip.

The kofta recipe included a recipe for curry powder. I always love recipes that result in a surplus of an element you can use in other dishes.

I love lamb, but it's an expensive meat here, particularly for a uni student on a budget, so we only have it on special occasions. I also love koftas and curries, so no surprise that I loved this. I also love coriander, and the coriander sauce was to die for. After adding it to the pan with tomatoes, the smell filling the kitchen was so lovely I spent the half an hour waiting for the koftas to cook bouncing around the house telling everyone how excited I was about dinner.

I served this with lightly grilled turkish bread and rice. It would go really well with veggies, too, but I knew between the three of us this would be heaps without adding more. Indeed, we were so stuffed after this, but we still cleaned our plates of it. Admittedly, I had to enlist some help from the boyfriend to finish my plate. This is definitely a recipe I will revisit.

This dessert was planned for after koftas, but we were so explodey full it had to wait until the following night. This one came under raspberries: berry crumble. 

I filled these three quarters with raspberries, and topped the last quarter with blue berries. The recipe says to use a gratin dish, but I didn't have one and couldn't find any pretty ones in store, so I used ramekin. They bake perfectly in ramekin, you just get less crumble-to-berry ratio. 

Initially, I was going to serve it with the next item, but decided vanilla ice cream would be better. So I would have to find another use for the next one.

This one was obviously under the kiwifruit section: kiwifruit sorbet

I love me some kiwi fruit. I don;t have an ice cream machine, so this didn't turn out as perfect as it otherwise could have. I stuck this in a tray in the freezer and kept stirring it every so often to stop it from freezing into separate layers.

We loved this even by itself. It's different to most sorbets I've made before in that it's not overly sweet. The bitterness from the kiwi and the citrus juices really offsets the sweetness of the sugar syrup. My puppy loves anything that is frozen, so after much begging on his part, I gave him the frozen skins and he loved it. Such a weird puppy. 

Here are all three recipes if you'd like to make theme yourself:

Kofta Curry with Coriander Sauce


Simple Flatbread

20g coriander leaves and stems (about 1/2 bunch), well washed
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 x 1.5 cm long piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
500g minced lamb
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 free-range egg

Coriander Sauce
1 fresh long green chilli, seeded and sliced
50g coriander leaves and stems, well washed and dried
1 x 2cm long piece of ginger, peeled an roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised with the back of a knife
2 tablespoons Tony Tan's Simple Curry Powder*
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup water
sea salt
1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt


  1. To make kofta, put the coriander leaves and stems, onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor and whiz to form a smooth paste. 
  2. Separately dry-roast cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat until they smell fragrant. Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle to form a fine powder.
  3. Put minced lamb, coriander/onion mixture, roasted spices, salt, chilli powder and egg into an electric mixer fitted with a paddle beater attachment. Beat mixture on medium-high speed for 5 minutes until it looks very smooth and pasty [I used a wooden spoon and some elbow grease instead]. With wet hands, shape the mixture into 4cm balls; you should have 16-20 kofta. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate.
  4. To make the coriander sauce, put chilli, coriander, coriander leaves and stems, ginger and garlic into a food processor and whiz to form a smooth paste. Heat oil in a large heavy-based non-stick frying pan or sauté pan over medium heat and sauté for 30 seconds. Add curry powder and cook for another 30 seconds. Add onions, stir well and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add chilli/coriander paste and cook for two minutes, then add tomato, water and a good pinch of salt. Stir well and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until well-thickened
  5. Stir yoghurt into sauce a spoonful at a time. You may need to add a little water if the sauce seems to thick. Slip in kofta. Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes, using a simmer mat so the sauce doesn't stick. Give the pan a gentle shake every 10 minutes but don't stir as yoghurt may split. Serve with a fresh chutney, your choice of vegetable and flatbread or steamed rice
*Tony Tan's Simple Curry Powder

Makes 1/3 cup. Grind 5cm cinnamon stick to a fine powder. Dry-roast 1 tbsp cumin seeds and 2 tbsp coriander seeds separately in a small frying pan ver medium heat until fragrant. Grind cumin, corriander, 3 cloves and at least 1 tsp chilli flakes to a fine powder and add to the cinnamon, then stir in 1tsp ground turmeric. Store in an air tight container and use within a month.

Berry Crumbles


50g unsalted butter
400g raspberries (or mulberries or blackberries, or a mixture)
1/3 cup caster sugar
double or clotted cream, to serve

Crumble Topping
1/3 cup solf brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
40g unsalted butter, chopped
2/3 cup plain flour


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. To make the crumble topping, mix sugar, baking powder and ginger in a bowl. In another bowl, crumble butter into flour with your fingertips to make pea-sized pieces, then toss flour mixture with sugar mixture. Set aside. 
  3. Use some of the butter to grease four 125ml gratin dishes. Divide berries among dishes. Press them down lightly with the back of a spoon. Scatter over sugar. Spoon over crumble topping; it should be no more than 1cm deep (extra topping can be stored in a container, frozen and used another time). 
  4. Divide remaning butter into small pieces and dot over the tops of crimbles. Set dishes on a baking tray with a lip to catch any overflowing juices.
  5. Bake crumbles for 15 minutes, or until topping is golden and berry juices and bubbling through. Leave crumbles to cool for several minutes before serving with spoonfuls of double or clotted cream. 

Kiwifruit Sorbet


500g kiwifruit (about 5-6 large), halved lengthways
juice of one orange, strained (optional)

250g caster sugar
200ml hot water
juice of one lemon, strained


  1. To make syrup, dissolve sugar in hot water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a metal spoon until sugar crystals have disappeared. Increase heat to high and bring syrup to the boil. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour into  measuring jug to cool. Add lemon juice to cooled syrup.
  2. With a sharp teaspoon, dig out flesh, leaving the thin brown shells. Pack shells into egg carton or put on a small tray and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. Purée kiwifruit flesh in a food processor. If you wish to extract seeds, press purée through a coarse-meshed sieve. Measure flesh; you need 2 cups. if you don't have two cups, add enough orange juice to make up the balance.
  4. Combine purée with cold syrup and churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. When firm, scoop purée into rigid kiwifruit shells, either piled up rough or levelled off, or smoothed into a rounded dome shape. Cover ith plastic film and return to freezer until needed. Scoop any leftovers into an air tight container.
Allow sorbet to soften a little at room temperature before serving.

5 thoughts on “Cook Book Challenge: Week 22

  1. I never mind helping you finish your yummy meals! All 3 courses were great. I’m a sucker for desserts though, and the crumble was delicious and had a great balance of the nice crumble and the juicy fruit. The sorbet was probably one of the freshest tasting I’ve heard had.

    • I realised when writing out the recipe I forgot to add the sugar to the fruit. It didn’t miss it too much in the end, though might have balanced the bitterness a bit better.

  2. Here via the community. That lamb curry looks absolutely delicious. I’ll have to wait until I have a little extra spending money before splurging on the recipe, but I’m definitely bookmarking this page because of it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for dropping by. 🙂 It’s definitely one of those for-special-occasion meats. My parents always tell me about how lamb was the cheap meat when they were growing up. I wish that were still the case! It’s my favourite meat.

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