Raymond Smith - Shetland Food Fair 2015

by Elizabeth Atia -

For 18 years Raymond Smith owned and worked as a chef at Monty's Bistro in Lerwick, well known for its high-quality meals made with local ingredients. He demonstrated at the cookery theatre at the Shetland Food Fair 2015 with a delicious and warming Shetland lamb dish with Moroccan spices.

Raymond's Cooking Tips:

  • red onions, cooked slowly, become sweet
  • look for round onions and give them a firm squeeze. If it's a bit soft it's going off.
  • if you can get cooking with onions right everything else will follow.
  • work with garlic that still has juice in it. If it's soft and brown throw it out.
  • did you know the garlic green stem is triangular, unlike the circular stem of it's cousin the chive?
  • we're a bit limited with ingredients we can grow in Shetland, but you can work with what we've got. Take your favourite dish and put a local twist on it like smoked haddock carbonara or Crofter's bolognese with Shetland lamb.
  • Use reestit mutton as a seasoning like you would feta cheese!
  • the best way to use cumin is to temper the seed first - toast it in a dry pan.
  • as soon as you grind pepper it begins to lose its power - always use freshly ground pepper.
  • use your local butchers!

Q. How long have you been cooking?

A. 30 years.

Q. What are your inspirations when it comes to cooking?

A. The time of year, the location & my feeling.

Q. What's your favourite Shetland-produced ingredient and why?

A. King Scallops, fresh from the shell. Pan fried, they taste of natural caramel sweetness with almost a hint of seaweed salt freshness . The texture of the white meat against the smooth roe silkier in the mouth. Bursting with flavour. Brown Crab comes a close second.

Rhubarb from Mums croft in Braewick, Aith. The astringently bitter, tart, taste which has been so versatile & was ever present on the old Monty's menu, whether as a sweet with crumble, Rhubarb cheesecake with Shetland honeycomb or rhubarb tarte tatin to the savoury chutney made for winter game terrines.

Q. What recipe will you be demonstrating at the Shetland Food Fair?

A. Shetland lamb mince with Moroccan spices in pitta bread, roast beetroot, yoghurt with fresh coriander & mint. Not so simple but great dish for Autumn made up in Monty's on a very dreich windy damp morning in late October.

We enjoyed the warming spices as the Autumn chill comes in and the air outside changes leaving us with the thoughts of a warm glowing fire or some warming foods.

Shetland lamb with Moroccan spices in pitta bread with roast beetroot and yoghurt with fresh coriander & mint

Course: Main

Servings: 5 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • red onion - 300 grams (diced)
  • garlic - 20 grams
  • sunflower oil - 150 ml
  • black pepper - 5 grams (freshly ground)
  • smoked paprika - 10 grams
  • paprika - 10 grams
  • coriander seed - 10 grams (ground)
  • chilli powder - 2 grams
  • nutmeg - 1 gram (freshly ground)
  • cumin seed - 20 grams (ground)
  • dried rosemary and thyme - pinch
  • Shetland lamb shoulder - 1 kg (minced)
  • salt - 5 grams
  • lemon juice - 25 ml
  • raw beetroot - 750 grams (par boiled then slow roasted)
  • thick yogurt - 250 grams
  • fresh mint -
  • fresh coriander -
  1. Gently fry the onions & garlic in the sunflower oil until lightly caramelised.
  2. Then add all the spices to the pan and gently fry together for 2 minutes.
  3. Cool the fried mixture then add to the lamb with salt, herbs & lemon juice. Combine all in a bowl.
  4. Fry off a little minced 'patty' just to check seasoning & flavour (as different spice brands vary in depth of flavour).
  5. Divide the mixture into approx 5 x 200g burgers, then press out between cling film to the shape of the pitta bread.
  6. You then pan fry the lamb 'patties' for 2 minutes on each side in a pan with med /high heat. No oil required.
  7. Open the pitta bread and then transfer the lamb making a sandwich. Place on baking tray and finish in hot oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking & bake the bread surface more crispy.
  8. While the pitta is in the oven, cut the beetroot into small chunks, add the yoghurt & chopped fresh herbs, mix in.
  9. Serve as the accompaniment to the warm lamb fresh from the oven. The beetroot dish helps with the richness & spice of the lamb.
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