Papa G: George Psarias cooking at home.
Photo by Kirsty Mattsson Photography.
If you didn’t already know, my whole family are a little bit food-obsessed!
My parents own award winning restaurants The Olive Tree Greek Restaurants in Leeds, my brother a fabulous Italian, Giorgios, and my husband is a spectacular cook, creating masterpieces in everything he makes from sushi to chocolate souffle.
Plus, I came 4th in the North on Junior Masterchef as a kid too so am not too shoddy myself but that’s a whole other post)….food is a huge part of our lives and especially our family life.
Here Dad aka Papa G shares some top kitchen tips and also his famous recipe for lamb kebabs!
1. Having space in a kitchen is always handy and a cooker in the island of the kitchen is of course preferable so you can work around it and it makes cleaning easier. I also like to cook on gas because it’s quicker and more controllable.
2. Always use a board to chop on, not the kitchen surfaces. Wooden board for bread and I have three plastic boards, one for vegetables, one for fish and the other for meat.
3. Drawers and cupboards should be fitted in accessible places to make it easier to cook. Fitted or integrated appliances keep the kitchen compact.
4. Use only 3 kitchen knives, you don’t need 50, whatever the sales person tries to tell you. One is a Chef’s knife, which has a wide blade between six and ten inches long, perfect for chopping. A French chef’s would curve upwards.
A paring knife is a smaller chef’s knife, with a blade ranging from two to four inches long. These are ideal for chopping and peeling vegetables. The third is a serrated knife, perfect for bread, tomatoes and meat. Buy a good sharpening rod to sharpen your knifes.
5. If you have space for 2 fridges, keep 1 for the cooked meat, the other for the raw meat and fish. If you don’t have that facility, store the fish and raw meat on the bottom and the cooked produce, always covered and in containers to avoid cross contamination.
LAMB KEBAB RECIPE:
Here is Dad’s famous recipe. He knows his kebabs and once broke the Guinness World Record for the Longest Kebab in the World (again, a whole other post). Enjoy:
The usual meat to make kebabs is lamb or pork. You can also use beef, offal, poultry, fish as well as shellfish too. Here is my recipe for lovely lamb kebabs, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and herbs to bring out the mediterranean flavours. Perfect with rice and a crispy Greek salad.
You will need 8 long bamboo sticks or metal skewers.
1 large leg of lamb (about 2.25kg/5lb), boned, trimmed of fat and chopped into 3cm cubes
For the Marinade:
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon, plus skins thrown in
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
For the Vegetables on the Skewers:
2 medium onions quartered and cut into 2 cm pieces
1 small courgette, thickly sliced
1 red and one green pepper, deseeded, devained and cut into 2cm pieces
4 bay leaves
Cut the lamb (or ask your butcher) into 3 cm cubes. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and skins, crushed garlic, onion, bay leaves, herbs and 4 pinches of black pepper together to make a marinade. Put the lamb cubes in a large shallow dish, cover them with the marinade, then cover the dish with cling film. Leave the marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight (or up to a couple of days).
Let the meat come to room temperature and soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for about half an hour. Alternatively you can use metal skewers. Thread four cubes of lamb cubes alternating with the slices of onion, pepper and courgette pieces.
On a very hot ridged griddle pan, barbecue or under a hot grill, at a distance of 10cm, cook the lamb kebabs until golden brown and ensure they are thoroughly cooked, 3 minutes on each side or for 6 minutes on the charcoal.
Put the kebabs onto eight plates, two skewers on every plate, spoon over the dressing and serve. They are wonderful with rice and a crispy Greek salad.
Recipe © George Psarias.
Food photograph ©Peter Broadbent.