First – before I get into the recipe/cooking thing properly, one thing I want to bring up quickly is the usual internet food blogger way of having beautiful, perfectly manicured and manufactured photo’s adorning every post. You know, perfect lighting, cooking utensils arranged just so, possibly with some flowers or some carefully positioned extra ingredients offset around the main subject. Everything is neat and tidy and orderly, exactly like you would expect things to be when you are dishing up something to eat.
Precisely what you are not going to be seeing here, as I for one just dont have time for that.
We have real lives, with real jobs, and yes – real children. I am not hiding behind that at all though – kids are the greatest thing that can ever happen and I would never even joke otherwise. However, the reality is that almost 8 & 5 year olds take up a lot of time. When you are making food to have together, they dont care one bit about whether the lighting is better here or there, how the cutlery should be arranged or indeed when they should begin eating. They are hungry. They are either excited by what they are about to have or are looking at what you have plated up with intense and palpable skepticism, and surely you have taken enough photo’s of food already?!?!
Simple time aside, trying to find that perfect place to take the photo is also just not on – as there is stuff all around that ideally wouldn’t be in your showcase photo’s. I mean, just as a quick example, we have a pet daddy long legs (parents of boys will be nodding knowingly here).
Tim is his name.
Tim is currently residing in one of our better large clip lock containers, taking up an awful lot of real estate on our kitchen bench servery. Tim has been there for a few weeks. Tim requires that I catch flies and moths for him and then release into the container so he can catch and eat them. Tim has grown quite a bit since he has been in there so we must be doing something right. Tim also has an egg sack in his mouth at the moment and has temporarily given up on the flies that I catch for him (its a daddy long legs thing – apparently they sit with the eggs basically non stop for about a month until they all hatch out).
And yes, I realise I have said ‘he’ and ‘him’ through all that, but he has the name Tim, so Tim he is. Or she is. Tim she is, but we call her he.
So anyhow, spider digression aside, you see how it is that my photo’s are very much snap and go affairs. Its keepin it real I say. Real simple.
Anyhow, lets get back on topic.
Specialty Foods is a butcher based in Thebarton. Apart from their range of ‘normal’ meats, they have extended this to include a range of ‘Street Eats’ products which are par-cooked products designed to be quick to prepare in your home. These bring the classic flavours of greek lamb and chicken, as well as Mexican chicken and beef to you with a minimum of effort.
They were kind enough to supply me with a number of ingredients, including a extremely generous 4kg’s of their marinated chicken, lamb and beef product, for the purpose of putting them through their paces and telling you all about it. Given their focus is on Greek and Mexican food, it seemed that it would be an excellent idea to start with the Yiros, which we can all agree is one of the greatest late night culinary contributions in all of human existence. If you are being honest, looking back at the best examples of these you have ever had, and I guarantee that most if not all were consumed after midnight. Or is that just me….
To take things up a notch and to do the gifted SA produce justice, I decided to go the extra mile of making my own pita. I have made many breads and love working with dough, but I had never made Greek flatbread before, so I did some quick internet searching and came across one that looked like it would fulfill my requirements. Dough underway and under control, I also had to work out what else to include in my epic home made yiros.
Hummus is a obvious inclusion, and if you are going to do this, you may as well do it properly! Sure, you can buy hummus from any given supermarket, but once you have made it yourself – from a few simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry already – you will not go back. I am not even going to attempt to claim any ownership for the recipe either, simply look at Jamie Olivers Basic Hummus recipe and your world will be forever improved. Trust me. The only thing I would recommend is always using fresh lemon rather than from a bottle, and I also like to use smoked paprika in the hummus itself (as well as sprinkled lightly on top). Good olive oil to glug over the top is also mandatory.
Next up – quick pickled onions. I had previously included this as a recipe (back in the Burger Me days) and you can find that here – complete with broken image link and everything. Sorry about that, but really there isn’t a great deal to see. It ends up being pink, lightly picked onions slices, perfect for using on burgers, yiros, taco’s, salads and sandwiches. It really is a great recipe to have around as its super easy, quickly prepared and uses very simple ingredients.
To finish things off, we also included the Specialty Foods tzatziki, light cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced tomato, red capsicum and cucumber. Chuck it all together with the freshly cooked Street Eats Greek marinated chicken, give it a little squirt of bbq sauce if you desire, wrap it up, stick it in the sandwich grill for a minute or two and viola! You have the yiros of kings!
The meat was deliciously marinated and authentically flavoured, and also maintained a much better consistency of quality to what you can find from many yiros establishments. The freshly cooked wrap was beautifully chewy and pliable, but also light and airy, and more than up to the task of holding it all together.
Again I have to say sorry for the poor photo’s – but this really is something that doesn’t transfer brilliantly to images! Its not pretty, but its definitely pretty darn delicious.
Any improvements? When I do it next time – and there will DEFINITELY be a next time – I would pair this with some home made tabbouleh, as the freshness and zestiness of this would take it to the next level. Then you could skip the cucumber and capsicum – arguably – so it would simplify the construction a little. I also found that the dough was even better to work with and came out with better results the next day (there was plenty left over!) so you could do this step a day or so in advance. Oh, and I would wrap it in foil too, just for that true tear if open and consume experience.
And if you wanted to take it to the ultimate – wait until about 1am before you make it, then go and stand outside on the street and marvel at your creation.
The Street Eats range of meats are available throughout SA via selected IGA and Foodland stores.