Ah, relief~! Meteorologists say “The worst is over”. 27°C to Low 30°Cs coming up the next couple of days, and evidently we’re done with the almost-40°Cs for this year. “Around 30°C” means it’s finally time for some outdoorsy… actually any sort of activity again. A hike perhaps and a picknick somewhere in the woods, feet hanging into a bubbly stream, birdsong filling the fir-scented air… Oh yes, I can’t wait for the weekend to swing by!
My favorite types of Hike Provisions are Wraps in one form or another – quick to make, easy to transport and easy to eat without the need for any tools other than a paper towel… plus, there’s endless variations of them, so they never get boring! Oh and… from a cooks’ perspective, they’re also the perfect way to test new dips/sauces/chutneys or flavor combinations in general on a small scale without anyone noticing – many a delicious main dish has its roots in one of those edible trials~ Aaanyways, here’s the star of this year’s first hike after the Summer Break! These amounts will net you 6-8 wraps.
The Ras El Hanout Hummus
1 400g Chickpea Tin – 230-240g once drained
2 Tbsp Water
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon, Juice and Zest
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Ras el Hanout – clicky here for my version of it if you want to try making the blend yourself~
1 Red Onion
Hot Chilli Flakes
1) Heat the olive oil in a wide pot or pan set onto medium-high heat.
2) Add the onions and garlic and sauté them until the cubelets are tender.
3) Fold in the chickpeas, lemon zest, ras el hanout, a generous pinch each of salt and chilli flakes and the water, give the lot a good stir until everything is well combined, then pop on the lid and turn the heat off.
4) After the contents of your pot have stewed in their own juices for roundabout 10 mins, stir in the tahini and lemon juice.
5) Allow the mixture to cool down to just above room temperature.
6) Move the contents of your pot into a blender jug or stick-blender friendly container and whizz them into a smooth and creamy paste.
7) Have a taste and adjust first the creaminess with lemon juice, water and oil – in equal amounts to maintain the balance – and the seasoning second, if necessary.
The Minted Yoghurt
5 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt
4 Sprigs of Mint, finely sliced
1 Lemon, Zest only
Chillies, Salt and a few drops of lemon juice to taste
Opt: 2-3 Tsp very finely chopped, deseeded and peeled cucumber – leave these out if you’re in for a longer hike, no matter how “dry” the cucumber appears to be while you cut it, it will squeeze out a ton of excess moisture while you’re not looking and turn your wraps soggy over the course of a couple of hours.
Let’s hear it for 30-second recipes~!
1) Place all of the above in a small bowl and stir the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.
2) Cover the bowl with a sheet of clingfilm and place it in the fridge.
3) Allow the mix to work up some oomph for at least 30 mins.
The Grilled Zucchinis
2 small Zucchinis
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Lemon, Juice and Zest
Like the Yoghurt, this is more or less a 30-second-blink recipe, but in case you’re in a real hurry, you could simply buy a couple of grilled zucchini ribbons wherever you usually hunt for High-Quality antipasti or mediterranean goodies like that.
1) Slice the zucchinis – lengthwise – into thin ribbons of about 3-4mm thickness.
2) Fire up a griddle on high heat.
3) Brush the ribbons with a hint of olive oil and, once the pan is piping hot, stretch the ribbons out over the bottom of the griddle in one layer – work in batches in case you’ve got more veggies than space in the griddle.
4) Have a peek after about 1 min. If the side facing down is nicely marked already, flip the veg over for another minute on the second side. If not, wait for a couple of blinks and try again.
5) In the meantime, pour about 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a mixing bowl and whisk in a very generous pinch each of salt and freshly cracked pepper along with the lemon juice and zest.
6) Once the veggies are nicely grilled, transfer them into the bowl holding your “marinade”.
7) Gently turn the zucchinis over until the ribbons are evenly glossed over with the olive oil.
8) Set the bowl aside until you’re ready to put the wraps together. Don’t, however, hide them “somewhere safe” and forget all about them while you’re packing your bags or digging out your hiking boots… Been there, done that. More times than I care to admit.
The Lamb & Fig Filling
300g Lamb Mince
1 Tsp Dried Rosemary Needles
6 Dried Figs, finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, very finely chopped
Salt. Pepper, Chilli Flakes to taste
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1) Set a large, heavy-based pan onto medium-high heat, pop on the lid and give it 4-5 mins to work up a temperature.
2) Add the ghee and oil, and, once the ghee has melted, pop in the garlic.
3) Sauté the garlic for 2-3 mins, then crumble in the minced meat.
4) Separate the mince into fine grains with the help of a rubber spatula and spread out the grains in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.
5) Dust the lot with the rosemary and a generous helping of salt and pepper.
6) Turn the heat up to high and hang back for 2-3 mins. In case you start hearing faint bubbling noises instead of a sizzle, tilt the pan and scoop out/discard the excess moisture.
7) Once the sizzling starts, wait for another minute, then add the chillies and figs before giving the lot a proper stir-though.
8) As soon as the figs are evenly distributed throughout the mixture, spread the mince out into an even blanket again and allow it to work up a sizzle again.
9) Since you’ve separated the mince into grains, it won’t take longer than a second round of 2 mins at the sizzling stage to be “done”. You could go through a taste-test and adjustment phase and leave it at that.
10) In case you want some crisp to your mince, keep stirring through the mix, flattening it down and waiting for a sizzle-and-pop until the grains turn golden-brown and crispy and start to jump around in the pan. I’m not kidding about the jumps. This takes about 10-15 mins but, unless you’re suffering from ungodly temperatures outside, it’s well worth the effort. Crispy lamb… mmmh! Anyways, once you’re satisfied with the color of the meat, have a taste along with a piece of zucchini and a drop of hummus and, if really necessary (the hummus develops quite the oomph over time) adjust the seasoning of the meat.
Assembling the Dish
4-6 Large Wrap Tortillas
Opt: 4-6 Tbsp Pitted Black Olives
4-6 Handfuls of Greens – Lamb’s lettuce works deliciously well
4-6 Tbsp of Pomegranate Seeds – if they’re on the unripe side of things, pop them into the pan with the lamb as it’s cooling down
1) Smooth the tortillas out in front of you and cover the central third of them with a vertical rectangle of hummus – a smooth and even layer of 2-3mm thickness will do – leaving a rim about 2cm on the top and bottom hummus-free.
2) Arrange half of the lettuce leaves on top. Feel free to push them into the hummus a bit. Hold on to the remaining leaves for now, you’ll need them in a couple of blinks.
3) Hold the leaves down with the help of a zucchini-ribbon blanket – tuck the cheeky ones trying to escape beneath the ribbons.
4) Divide the lamb & fig mixture on top, sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds and try to wriggle and shimmy the lot into a neat rectangular stack down the center of a wrap tortilla – as neat as it’s possible with leaves and minced meat grains.
5) Fill any holes in the meaty cover with olives if necessary.
6) Drizzle the stacks with the yoghurt sauce, then give each tortilla a ¼ turn to make rolling them up – away from you – easier.
7) Hide the meat and sauce beneath the other half of the lettuce leaves.
8) Slide your thumbs beneath the tortilla, hold the fillings down and in place with your fingers and tightly roll them up into the wrap tortilla. Once the “bottom flap” of the tortilla reaches the “inside” of the wrap, around the fillings, use it to gently but firmly push the fillings into a firm’ish log inside the dough-cover by pulling the wrap-wing towards you again just enough to shape the inside without squeezing the fillings out again on the open sides of the wrap.
9) After this first turn-over and shaping exercise, fold the tips of the tortilla inwards to seal the filling into the roll. Keep tucking them in as you finish rolling up the wrap.
10) If you’re taking them out to some sort of outdoor shindig, tightly wrap them up in grease-proof paper or a double-layer of paper towels and, just to be safe, into an outer layer of aluminum foil.
11) Pack them into a squish-proof corner of your bag, find a beautiful place for a picknick (or simply pop them onto plates, find a comfy spot to sit down for a meal) and…