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The compensations of lockdown, including gratitude, and a homemade kebab

Of all the lessons Sophie White has learned so far in lockdown, the key to rustling up delicious home-made kebabs will be the one she takes into the post-coronavirus world


Delicious: a doner kebab(ish)

Delicious: a doner kebab(ish)

Delicious: a doner kebab(ish)

I think we can all agree that the recent months have taught us a lot about ourselves and about the kind of world we live in. Being restricted to our homes has been difficult for us, but I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling profoundly grateful every single day for having a home to be confined to. It's taught us just how much our children get out of spending time with us. It's taught us that none of us is immune to giving our children the finger when their backs are turned - wait, that's just me?

It's taught me that Himself and I can weather pretty much anything, even each other, all day, every day, 24-7. It's also taught me that the thing that will finally tip me over the edge with him will likely be his staunch, almost-impressive commitment to never, ever, ever, ever steeping anything. Pandemic lockdown has also, presumably much to our employers' chagrin, taught us that many, many jobs can be carried out in the cosy comfort of our own homes.

As a freelance writer, my employer is me, mostly, so obviously I've always supported a working-from-home situation, but for those who usually commute, the possibility of working from home has been a revelation. "How will they ever make us go back there?" Himself wondered as he signed off from a video-call meeting he had just attended in a button-down shirt and boxers, with a little woolly blanket draped over his knees.

Even as a barely professional myself, I too have attended meetings online where the attire became noticeably more casual as the weeks went on, until one day I spotted someone in a Zoom meeting who was fully in bed, while discussing marketing strategy.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support this work-from-bed vibe. I frequently write this column en bed - unlike Linda Evangelista, who famously wouldn't get out of bed for less than 10K, I'll stay in bed for any old paltry sum.

Now, I've heard some disturbing reports of workers taking the Zoom meetings from en bed to en suite; apparently running-water sounds have been a giveaway. While I do not condone this, I think the almost universal understanding with which these mishaps have been met, speaks to a disturbing truth about where lots of people had been conducting phonecalls prior to the pandemic.

Another more appetising lesson learned in lockdown was masterminding this brilliant home-made riff on a doner kebab. While we've been enthusiastic supporters of our local takeaway, the nearest decent kebab is over 2.5k away, so for the moment, I'm making my own and, frankly, I may never go back.


Doner Kebab (ish)

Serves 4

You will need:

600g beef mince or lamb mince

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground paprika

½ teaspoon chilli powder

2 carrots, grated

2 beetroots, grated

20 leaves of fresh mint

3 tablespoons yoghurt

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

4 large pittas or wraps

4 tablespoons harissa


1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, 395°F, Gas 6. In a food processor, blend the beef mince or the lamb mince, whichever you’re using, the garlic powder, the onion salt, the oregano, the cumin, the paprika and the chilli powder until smooth. Press the mixture into a loaf tin, cover it with foil and cook it in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. When it is cooked, reserve the meat juices. Allow the loaf to cool, then slice it thinly. Place the meat slices in a bowl and pour the reserved meat juices on top.

2 Next, prep the toppings. In a bowl, toss the grated carrots and the grated beetroots with the fresh mint leaves. In another bowl, combine the yoghurt, the garlic and the lemon juice. Toast the pittas or the wraps, whichever you’re using. When you’re ready to eat, fry the meat slices in a non-stick pan until they are hot and crispy. Spread the pittas or wraps, whichever you’re using, with the harissa, fill with the grated veg and mint, and the fried meat slices and drizzle over the lemon and garlic yoghurt.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine