I have two very tasty midweek dinners this week. We are lucky to have quality grass-fed beef and the key to these seared steak tacos is the best of Irish beef. You could use rump steak. Dry ageing gives a rich deep flavour. In this recipe, you have a little bit of spice, lots of fresh veggies, and the lime gives the whole thing a nice, fresh flavour. The salsa has a bit of a kick from the chilli and is a juicy, sweet tangy complement to the tacos.

For the meatballs, turkey mince is very versatile. It is lean, good value and delicious. Cumin is an interesting spice, but you could use cajun or harissa if you like it a bit hotter. Garam masala is milder, but still offers a bit of a kick. Remember, with spices the key is to buy often and in small quantities. Make a double batch of these meatballs - half for dinner and half to be frozen.

Happy Cooking,


Seared steak tacos

Serves four

Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges to garnish

3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for cooking

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 x 225g sirloin steaks (dry-aged if possible)

2 red onions, cut into wedges

1 red pepper, cut into 1cm slices

1 orange pepper, cut into 1cm slices

8–12 tortillas, preferably corn

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

2 ripe avocados stoned, peeled and sliced

For the crema and salsa:

Finely grated rind and juice of one lime

200ml sour cream

1 x 200g jar of pickled jalapeños, drained

20g fresh coriander, leaves stripped and stalks finely chopped

200g mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, diced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Put the lime juice in a shallow non-metallic dish and add the oil, cumin, smoked paprika and garlic. Add the steaks and turn to coat, then add the onion wedges and peppers, tossing to take up the rest of the marinade. Cover with cling film and marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in the fridge.

2 To make the crema, put half of both the lime rind and juice in a mini blender. Add two tablespoons of the sour cream, a couple slices of jalapeño peppers and the coriander stalks. Blitz to a purée, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the rest of the sour cream and season to taste. Cover with cling film and chill for up to 24 hours in advance.

3 To make the salsa, finely chop a couple more jalapeño slices and mix with the tomatoes and the rest of the lime rind and juice. Season to taste. Cover with cling film and chill for up to 24 hours in advance. Tear in the coriander leaves just before serving.

4 Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and warm the tortillas until lightly marked on one side only. Then wrap them in a clean tea towel to keep warm.

5 Brush the griddle pan with a little oil and cook the steaks for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with tin foil. Leave to rest while you cook the vegetables.

6 Toss the onions and peppers well in the remaining marinade. Then chargrill in batches for 2–3 minutes on each side, piling them up on a serving platter or board as you go.

7 Add the bowls of crema, salsa and the rest of the jalapeños to the platter or board along with the lettuce and avocados. Thinly slice the steaks and garnish with the lime wedges and reserved coriander leaves. Unwrap the tortillas and serve everything family-style at the table.

Turkey meatballs with grilled mixed pepper sauce

Serves 4–6

100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)

2 tbsp milk

100g fresh white breadcrumbs

4 spring onions, very finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 egg, beaten

500g turkey mince

Rapeseed oil, for frying

For the sauce:

1 x 400g jar or tin of grilled mixed peppers

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

Steamed couscous

1 To make the meatballs, heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and sauté the sweetcorn for 2–3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Tip into a bowl and leave for a few minutes to cool down.

2 Sprinkle the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow to soften, then add the charred sweetcorn along with the spring onions, garlic, parsley, cumin, garam masala and egg.

3 Season generously and mix well, then gently mix in the turkey mince and shape into 20 walnut-sized meatballs. Keep extra portions in the fridge or freeze at this stage.

4 To make the grilled mixed pepper sauce, drain the peppers and rinse well under the tap, then quickly dry on kitchen paper. Put into a food processor with the oil, coriander, garlic, vinegar and sweet chilli sauce. Season generously with salt and blitz until smooth, then season again to taste.

5 Transfer to a suitable container and set aside until needed. Keep extra portions in the fridge or freeze at this stage.

6 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).

7 Heat a layer of rapeseed oil in the frying pan and sauté the meatballs in batches for about five minutes, turning them regularly with tongs, until golden brown all over. Transfer to a baking tin. Finish cooking the meatballs in the oven for an additional five minutes, until cooked through and golden brown.

8 To serve, arrange on plates with couscous and drizzle over the grilled mixed pepper sauce, then garnish with the extra parsley.

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