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It’s interesting how an idea for a dish can morph into something else. I’ve long been obsessed with the slow-cooked cumin and Sichuan peppercorn-spiked Xi’an-style lamb ‘burgers’ and wanted to try and make a quick version full of spice and flavour. I was thinking of stuffing the meat into bought pita bread which closely resemble the traditional buns.

It got Cuisine editor Kelli Brett thinking of the small cocktail-sized bites of pita that she always had to hand while living in Dubai. These were topped rather than stuffed which made for easy-to-put-together grazing. So, of course, we decided that pita bread would be a brilliant weekend project. It’s simple enough to do by hand and particularly easy if cooked on a pizza stone – but they could just as well be made on the flat plate of a barbecue or in a frying pan.

Try making the sesame-crusted feta – I think it would be especially good served with drinks (and some cocktail-sized pita for spreading it on wouldn’t go amiss either).

A friend blames me for her current addiction to Alderson’s spicy nut pesto – she’s churning through the jars. Its nutty spiciness makes it a super base tossed through pasta or slathered onto crackers with a goat’s cheese.

Walnut tarator seemed the thing to make when I finally got around to cracking the kilos of whole walnuts that had been sitting on the kitchen bench for months (the rest are in the freezer ready for next time). I think tarator has a particular affinity with fish and seafood, but it’s also good with vegetable fritters and chicken.

CHOP CHOP RECIPES

Preparation: 10 mins plus marinating overnight
Serves: 4 - 6
Cook: 15 mins
Beef Tataki
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Preparation: 3 hours incl proofing
Serves: 12 large pita
Cooking: 10 min
Pita Bread
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Preparation: 10 min plus 50 minutes chilling time time
Serves: Makes enough to line a 28cm round tart tin
Cook: 30 - 40 min
BASIC SHORTCRUST PASTRY
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