Another week, another food scandal and does it come as any great surprise that the lamb in your takeaway might not what it says on the label. I’d say not really, it’s another scandal in the country’s food industry that’s been plagued by fraud. 60 Samples of lamb dishes obtained from takeaways in London and Birmingham revealed 24 mixed with other meat, 7 of which contained only beef. And, the shocking thing is that the price for this cheap adulterated food is anything but cheap when passed on to the customer. Looking at the menu for a Glasgow takeaway restaurant, it can cost anything from £4 for a donner kebab, with customers paying up to more than £8 for a mixed kebab. Given this latest scandal, perhaps the label of mixed kebab is more appropriate and obviously you can charge more for that! Multiply that by two or three and it’s an expensive family meal.
Regardless of what action the Government’s Food Standards Agency plan, as they once again insist they are cracking down on food fraud, there is a more powerful solution. The consumer, the customer, the one who is paying for this seemingly growing fraudulent industry. Why we are prepared to pay for this, never mind eat it is beyond me, but what we can do is become part of a change. Last week I heard Philip Lymberry CEO of Compassion in World Farming comment during the ‘Politics in Food session in Glasgow, that ‘food chain is under constant attack and we need to meet it with resistance’. The more small changes we all make is what will help that change. He also said, ‘The revolution in food will come through evolutionery steps’.
If being part of that revolution appeals, there’s an easy place to start, cook your own food with fresh ingredients. Food that you can identify and know where it comes from. Not that difficult but everytime I champion this I receive numerous comments, not about being unable to cook but that people don’t have time to cook. Well, sticking my neck out again, that doesn’t wash with me. A healthy meal, especially a kebab can be cooked quicker than the time it will take to organise a takeaway. And on the cooking, believe me it’s not rocket science, if you can’t cook, it’s possible to learn, even on a very tight budget.
To help you out, I’m sharing the kebab recipe I started making when my sons left home for university and thought that happiness was a donner kebab. It’s quick and easy to make and if time is a problem the meat can be left marinating in the fridge overnight.
This version is much healthier than any takeaway and can be made with any meat although I usually use lamb leg steaks, and serve on a large round pitta with salad, red onion, tomatoes, raita and a chili sauce.
Lamb kebab. Approx 6 lamb leg steak, 4 tsp Harissa paste- I use Belazu Rose Harissa, 2 tbsp oil – I tend to use rapeseed although olive will be fine.
Place the lamb steaks in a plastic bag , mix the Harissa and oil together and add to the lamb, mix well and leave to marinade either overnight or for a few hours.
When ready to cook, heat a griddle or grill and cook steak for approx 4 minutes each side or to your liking. When cooked serve on pita bread with the accompaniments.
Pitta bread…the large round pitta bread from Warburtons are ideal as you can lay kebab on top and fold.
Sliced red onion
Chili sauce. 250ml Natural yogurt, 100 ml tomato ketchup, 1 tsp chili powder, 1tsp mint sauce. Add ingredients to bowl and mix together.
Raita. 250ml Natural yoghurt, half a cucumber-chopped, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint, half Tsp ground roasted cumin seeds, pinch of cayenne pepper, Salt and pepper. Add ingredients to a bowl and mix together.