Cooking Kibbeh

Ah, a full house! It’s been an awfully quiet two weeks, since you two sisters headed back to Melbourne. I’m so glad family friends are in town to stay for the week-end.

I got out ‘Jerusalem’, Ottolenghi’s cook book on Friday afternoon. I have a couple of semolina, coconut and orange loaves baking in the oven right now, the orangey fragrances curling around the house.

Orange and coconut loaves

Orange and coconut loaves

And who but Yotam would have a recipe for ‘Open Kibbeh’? A deconstructed version of your favourite food. It looks pretty straightforward to make and if it works, I’ll post the recipe which you can try! I can see you both cooking this up at Grouse one of these week-ends…

Cooking up the lamb mixture

Cooking up the lamb mixture

even yummy cold

even yummy cold


The weather has been wet and hot and muggy. The garden is bursting with growth, that bourganvillea is CRAZY out the front.

The Afghan exhibition opened over the last couple of days and it is breathtaking. It is an amazing story of their treasures re-discovered after the war. Downstairs from this unforgettable exhibition is a small show by contemporary Afghan artist Khadim Ali. Wow, such fantastic talent, with a heart wrenching back story.

Khadim Ali's exhibition, 'Haunted Lotus'

Khadim Ali’s exhibition, ‘Haunted Lotus’

Little C Biscuit, I hope that nasty cold is soon banished with all the Vicks and sips of hot tea you are consuming. How wonderful to have Izzy drop by with essentials, and some encouragement. I might have been on the next plane had I not heard that big sis had been over to visit you. Dad and I have been enjoying using the lovely tea pot made by Betty. I do think of you girls as I pour a cup of tea….

Betty's teapot: ready to pour

Betty’s teapot: ready to pour

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Open Kibbeh

  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 350g minced lamb
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50g tahini paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sumac

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper. Put the bulgur in a bowl, add 200ml of tap water and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat four tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the garlic, onion and chilli on medium-high heat until soft, remove from the pan, return it to high heat and add the lamb. Cook for five minutes, stirring, until brown. Return the onion mix to the pan, along with the spices, coriander leaves, salt, pepper and most of the pine nuts and parsley (save some for the end). Cook for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Check the bulgur to see if all the water has been absorbed (strain if not). Add the flour, a tablespoon of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper and, with your hands, work into a pliable mixture that just holds together. Push firmly into the base of the tin so that it is compacted and level. Spread the lamb mix evenly on top and press down. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meat browns further and is very hot.

Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt – you’re after a very thick, yet pourable sauce. Remove the kibbeh from the oven, spread the sauce on top, sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley, and return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, until the tahini is just set and the pine nuts are golden. Remove and leave to cool down. Before serving, sprinkle with the sumac and a drizzle of olive oil. Remove the sides of the tin and carefully cut the kibbeh into slices.

Serve with a fatoush salad or chopped cucumber salad.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

2 thoughts on “Cooking Kibbeh

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