Eastern people pleasers

These tasty koftes and falafel are sure to satisfy even the pickiest bunch of dinner guests

Tonight I’ll be cooking for a bunch of intolerants. Friends that all have some sort of intolerance to certain foods or cooking styles, and some folk who are just intolerant of anyone with intolerance. I’ve got two health nuts, one nutritionist, one vegetarian and a bunch of carnivores. Plus a couple of teenagers.

Initially, my brain fogged at what would work best, but gradually I found myself veering towards Middle Eastern cooking, so kofte and falafels it will be.

I’ll also toast up some wholewheat pita chips, by cutting pittas in half and then tearing or breaking into smaller pieces and sprinkling with a few drops of olive oil, some thyme, cumin, oregano and even some smoked sweet paprika and baking for about 10-20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

A big bowl of tzatziki is also a vital component: a tub of Greek yoghurt, a bunch of chopped mint, half a cucumber finely diced and a little garlic and salt and pepper. Some lemon juice can sharpen it up, and this is great dunking food.


The lamb and quinoa kofte are fabulous to eat and the accompanying olive and anchovy sauce is bursting with umami flavours and will also be tasty on the vegetarian falafels that I’ll be making in bulk.

I’m going to make the falafels with spelt flour, so that the coeliac health nut can also partake in them.

Additional salads can be things like that chickpea salad from a few weeks ago, which is rich and full of olive oil, feta and parsley. A tabouleh would also appeal, as long as it’s seasoned with oodles of lemon juice or even some orange juice – plus lots of chopped parsley and plenty of seasoning. Grated carrot salads, seasoned with ginger and cardamom, also work well with this type of food, and because I’m cooking some quinoa for the lamb, I might bulk it out and cook some extra to turn into another salad for the vegetarians.

Luckily, the nutritional cook is bringing dessert (thanks Susan-Jane) and after a feast of flavours, something like orange segments with a little dressing made from a squeeze of agave syrup and some more chopped mint, plus a little additional orange juice, may be all we’re up for.

Normally one to say yes to cheese at every opportunity, this kind of food just doesn’t go with it, so some orange segments it will be. Plus a square of dark chocolate.