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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookbook Challenge: Week 5, Greek

Recipe: Greek shortbread
From: The Australian Women's Weekly - The Complete Book of Modern Entertaining

Second recipe: Lamb skewers with tzatziki
From: Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course

Greek shortbread

This weekend, Rilsta from My Food Trail invited me, Kat from Spatula, Spoon & Saturday, and Arale79 from Meals on Budget over to do some baking. The idea was to bring a recipe, ingredients, do the baking, and then eat our creations!

I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and do Greek Shortbread so I could tick off my Cookbook Challenge recipe.

After a delicious lunch of Rilsta's moussaka, and Arale's watermelon and feta salad, Kat and I headed into the kitchen to make some baked goods. Let me tell you, Rilsta's kitchen is the cleanest, most organised kitchen I have ever been in. Since I'm a rather messy cook/baker, I had to try my best not to get flour, butter or sugar everywhere!

Fortunately, the shortbread were easy to make, so there wasn't much of an opportunity to make a mess. However, I over softened the butter, so the shortbread dough was EXTREMELY soft, and very difficult to shape. I mostly plopped bits of dough on to the tray and poked them into rough crescent shapes!

When the biscuits were ready, they were meltingly soft and crumbly. I think that may have been because the butter was so soft. I didn't do very well coating them in icing sugar though - whoops!

We finished off the afternoon with Kat's delicious semolina and yoghurt syrup cake and some home made ice cream from Rilsta. It was a fun day, thanks gals!

Lamb skewers with tzatziki

When I got home, I managed to do another recipe for the Challenge - lamb skewers with tzatziki. I thought the lamb was tasty, but I do wish I had tasted the marinade before adding lemon juice. I thought it was a touch on the sour side. But apart from that, the lamb was nice and tender and I would try the marinade again.

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Update: Head to My Food Trail to see the round up of other people's posts this week.

Greek shortbread

Greek Shortbread
From The Australian Women's Weekly - The Complete Book of Modern Entertaining

250g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 cup (70g) finely chopped toasted flaked almomnds
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
pure icing sugar to coat

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract and sugar in an electric mixer until it is pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolk and the brandy.

Stir in the almonds and the sifted flours.

Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a sausage shape, tapering slightly at the ends. Bend it into a crescent. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Place the shortbread on a lightly greased oven tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned. Leave on the trays for 5 minutes to cool.

Dust the shortbreads heavily with sifted icing sugar and cool on a rack.

Lamb skewers with tzatziki

Lamb skewers with tzatziki

Adapted from Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course

Serves 8

900g lean shoulder or leg of lamb

For the marinade:
300ml natural yoghurt
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ground corinader
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon (I recommend tasting your marinade to see how sour it is before adding this)

Cut the lamb meat into 2.5cm cubes and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together the marinade, and put the meat into it for at least an hour (I left mine overnight).

Drain the meat and thread the pieces on to skewers.

Grill for 7-10 minutes on a barbecue until cooked, and serve with the tzatziki.


1 cucumber, peeled and diced into 3-5mm cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
425ml greek or natural yoghurt
1 heaped tablespoon mint, freshly chopped
salt and papper

Put the diced cucumber into a sieve and sprinkle with salt. Leave it to drain for 30 minutes.

Dry the cucumber on kitchen paper and then place into a bowl with the garlic, yoghurt and mint. Stir well to combine and season with salt and pepper.

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