Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Cook your own takeaways.

You won't starve on the five-kilometre walk along Sydney Road from Glenlyon Road to Bell Street - one I have completed many times, both ways - especially if you like Turkish food. It's grilled meat lover's heaven and the quality is generally high, especially after the temporary closure of Alasya some years ago.

A favourite of mine is adana - kebabs of minced lamb generously spiced with chilli and wrapped in bread. But now I like to make my own and avoid the queues. Anyway, I prefer adana in Lebanese flat bread - available fresh every day for $1 a pack at every second ethnic grocery shop along the strip (the supermarkets charge $2.20 and the bread is usually a day older).

To make your own adana, simply combine minced lamb - or a combination of veal and lamb - with chilli powder or hot or sweet red pepper flakes and salt to taste: this is sheer trial and error. (Some recipes variously use cummin and other spices.) I used a ground pepper from a sampler pack of chilli peppers grown in North Fitzroy by my green-thumbed friend Hamish. The only problem was I had forgotten which pepper was which. It was, however, hot; but one man's hot is another man's mild so that is no clue.

After adding pepper flakes and salt, form the meat into cylinders, flatten slightly and grill. When done, throw a round of bread over the meat for a few seconds to warm it and to take up some of the smoky flavour; then wrap your kebabs in the bread along with some sliced onion, grilled or fresh tomato wedges and lettuce if you wish, or grilled red pepper strips. Or the lot.

Add yogurt, and chilli sauce to crank up the heat even further if you dare. It was a cold night, winter's coldest yet. I added more chilli sauce.

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