Alfresco Lamb Balls with Cucumber Dip & Onion Salad

And so, 10 weeks seem to have passed by in the blink of an eye. School finished and is about to start again and our delightful trip to the beach in the south of England is nothing but a distant memory. But the nights are beginning draw in, even before the month of August is over. There is a nip in the air and the garden loses its light earlier and earlier each week.


The garden has really come on in the last few weeks. It is hard to believe that only three months ago it was an eye sore, now it is a joy to behold. The nights, however are beginning to draw in, there is a nip in the air and the garden seems to lose its light earlier each week. Tonight, the boy and I put on our jumpers and socks and enjoyed an alfresco meal underneath the falling leaves of the every growing tree at the end of the garden. Lamb meat balls, cucumber dip and bulgur wheat graced our table, with just enough left to provide a tasty lunch for one of us tomorrow.

Lamb Meat Balls with Cucumber Dip

  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon
  • A few mint leaves
  • Half a cucumber
  • 150g plain Greek yogurt
  • Sea Salt

Put the mince in a large bowl.

Cut the onion in half, finely slice half and set aside. Finely mince the other half and add to the minced lamb.

Mince the garlic and pare the zest from the lemon. Add to the minced lamb.

Season with sea salt and mix together with your hands. Divide into 10 – 12 balls and refrigerate.

Make the onion salad.

In a small bowl, add the remaining onion, the juice of half the lemon, a spoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. The lemon, sugar and salt will “cook” the onion, leaving it sweet and tender.

Make the cucumber dip.

Grate the cucumber and squeeze the water out with your hands.

Put the cucumber in a bowl and add the juice of half the lemon, a sprinkle of salt and the plain yogurt. Set to one side.

In a frying pan, heat a little oil over a medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook gently until the are cooked through, turning regularly.

Serve with the dip and some warm bulgar wheat, cous-cous or warmed pitta bread and the onion salad.

Dressed Crab on Rye with Asparagus

I would like to say “now that summer has arrived” but, this being the UK and the unpredictable weather makes it very hard to claim summer has ever arrived, I will just leave it as “it has felt like summer had arrived today”.

As summer feels to arrive, so does the expectation of an alfresco lunch. If I lived in a more Mediterranean climate I probably wouldn’t rush down the garden, plate and cutlery in hand as quick as a flash as I would be confident in the weather being the same day after day for months and missing a day would not matter. But not here. This is Yorkshire and when the sun shines, we get outside.

Each Thursday I have an organic vegetable box delivery and in today’s box of delight was, amongst other things, a bundle of fresh asparagus. I love asparagus simply cooked for a few moments in boiling water and dressed with salt and lemon or a light garlic butter and todays bundle was just calling out to be cooked and served alfresco with one of the other delights that I had purchased this morning. A fresh, dressed crab.

Dressed Crab

Dressed Crab

I adore crab, it is absolutely my favourite shell fish. I never buy just the white meat, as I think that the soft brown meat when dressed properly is just as tasty, if not more so. It spreads like pate on bread and is delicious stirred over steaming hot pasta and dressed with some fresh basil and parmesan. This dish is so simple, so quick and so tasty. Serves two.

  • One dressed crab
  • Two slices of rye bread
  • A bundle of asparagus
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon

Bring a small pan of water to the boil, cut the woody ends off the asparagus and drop in to the water. Cook for two minutes. Drain the water away.

Mix the white and brown meat of the crab together and spread generously onto the rye bread.

Along side the crab and rye, arrange the asparagus. Squeeze over a little lemon and sprinkle with salt.

Tuck in.

Crab on Rye with Asparagus

Crab on Rye with Asparagus