Freaky Freekeh & A Dessert Invention

This week saw the arrival of some new cookery books, Pitt Cue Co, based on an up and coming restaurant in Soho, London, and focussing on barbecue, My Vietnamese Kitchen by Uyen Luu and Dos Caminos, Mexican Street Food by Ivy Stark and Joanna Pruess. Flicking through the pages has whet the appetite even more to experiment with different textures and flavours.

So into the kitchen and this week we are going to be trying some new grains, Freekeh (or farik)  and Mograbieh. Freekeh is a green wheat that is roasted and Mograbieh, a giant cous cous that has a soft chewy texture.

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Both are available in the UK from Ottolenghi’s online store and are being served as an accompaniment to Lamb Shanks, slowed cooked in Vegetable stock with Shallots, Aleppo Pepper,  Allspice, Bay Leaves, Coriander Seeds, Garlic, Ginger, Almonds, pine nuts, Coriander, Pomegranate Molasses and Barberries.

The recipe is a subtle variation on Bethany Kehdy’s Freekeh with Lamb & Rhubarb, in her fantastic book ‘The Jewelled Kitchen’. I could not get any fresh Rhubarb so substituted dried Barberries which I had in the store cupboard.

Lamb Shanks

The process is quite straight forward, rub Lamb with Aleppo Pepper, Allspice, Salt & Pepper, brown some button onions or shallots, remove from pan, add lamb, brown all over, remove from pan, add spices and cook till the aroma fills the room, add the lamb and onions back and Vegetable stock, cover and cook long and slow.

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I cooked mine at 130 degrees for 4 1/2 hours.  The Freekeh is boiled in stock for about 45 minutes, it has a delicious nutty texture when cooked and is completely different from any other grain I have tasted. The Mograbhieh is steamed initially for about 30 minutes and then simmered in stock and a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. The Mograbhieh and Barberries were to provide the sour note that the rhubarb would have provided, along with some different textures.

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The dish is finished with some toasted Pine Nuts, Almonds and fresh Coriander, it was awesome, the boss loved it a lot as it tasted so different from anything either of us has eaten before.  Its not a difficult dish to prepare, the ingredients are available from Ottolenghi’s and Steenbergs, go buy Bethany’s book and create some masterpieces to set your taste buds on fire..

Christmas Dessert No.1

Dessert No

I have been set a challenge by the boss, create some desserts of your own for Christmas! Not one to turn such challenges down here is my 1st attempt, Its Mango with Lime, Cardamom Panna Cotta, Pistachio Dust and Super Short Shortbread!

Its relatively easy to make and I can honestly say, its original as anything can be these days. A couple of you that know me have asked why I don’t publish prescriptive detailed ingredient lists, this is mostly due to copyright infringement, and the fact I am trying to encourage people to have a go, like many other food bloggers.  As this is my invention, I will list the Ingredients and process.

You will need.

  • 1 Can Mango (I could not get fresh at the time, the supermarket had sold out)
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachios, ground in a blender
  • 330 ml Double Cream
  • 2 Sheets Gelatine
  • 200 grm Plain Flour
  • 170 grm unsalted butter
  • 140 grm Castor Sugar (Mine is infused with Vanilla pods and a Jar is always in the cupboard)
  • 1 Lime
  • Maldon Sea Salt
  • 12 cardamom pods

To make the Mango base

1. Put 4 Martini Glasses in the fridge to cool down

2. Put the Mango in  a saucepan with Half a Squeezed Lime and the Zest.

3.  Add a couple of good tablespoons of water and bring to a gentle heat.

4. After approximately 15 minutes, using a hand blender puree till smooth.

5. Add 1/2 sheet of Gelatine, soaked in cold water and squeesed.

6. Split the puree across the 4 Martini glasses, put a 5 mm layer of Pistachio dust in each glass and put back in the fridge. It should look something like this.

stage 1

To make the Panna Cotta

1. Pound the Cardamom in a pestle & mortar and add to the Cream to infuse for at least an hour.

2. Put 1 1/2 sheets of Gelatine in cold water.

3. Strain the cream after an hour and put into a saucepan with 55 grm of castor sugar and bring to the boil, remove from heat.

4. Squeeze the Gelatine, add to Cream and stir.

5. Put the saucepan in a larger pan with some cold water and continue to stir to cool the cream, about 5 minutes and then transfer the cream to a pouring jug.

6. Take each glass and VERY slowly pour in the cream mixture, taking care not to dislodge the Pistachio too much, and then return to the fridge for at least two hours.

To make the Super Short Shortbread

1. Stick a block of butter in the freezer for about an hour to harden.

2. Sift Flour, grate in Zest of 1/2 Lime 75 grm Sugar and mix, put in fridge.

3. After an hour, grate the Butter into the Flour mixing gentle as you go, the gentle squeeze the butter and flour bringing it together into a dough, press gentle into a baking tray, it should look like this after 40 minutes at 140 deg (fan), and a dusting of castor sugar.

short bread

Leave the short bread to cool for a couple of minutes, then take a sharp knife and cut into pieces whilst in the tin, and leave to cool for a couple of hours before carefully removing. Don’t be tempted to try some at this stage, honestly it will all be gone before you can serve with the rest of the dish its so tasty. I made a variation of this the other day, with Pistachio Nuts and Lime Zest, slightly less butter and cut into biscuit rounds, also worth a go.

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So here is dessert No.1 Mango, Lime, Pistachio with Cardamom Panna Cotta and Super Short Shortbread, what’s really strange and unusual when you combine the layers, is that there is a distinct taste of Mint, quite unusual and I guess a combination of the different ingredients.

Till next time, happy cooking.

Huevos Rancheros meets Shakshuka, Wookey Hole & Cheddar Gorge

This weekend I am having a couple of days extra off to spend time with the family,  spend time in the kitchen cooking, enjoy some good food and update the blog. 1st stop was Wookey Hole to go ‘Witch Hunting’.

Wookey Hole cave was formed through erosion of the limestone hills by the River Axe. Before emerging at Wookey Hole the water enters underground streams and passes through other caves such as Swildon’s Hole and St Cuthbert’s Swallet. After resurging, the waters of the River Axe are used in a handmade paper mill, the oldest extant in Britain, which began operations circa 1610, although a corn grinding mill operated there as early as 1086.

wookey hole

Having finished the guided tour, had some food in ‘Captain Jack’s Restaurant’ and played ‘Pirate Island Adventure Golf’,  number one son let off some steam in the ‘Pirate of the River Axe’ whilst we decided what to do next!

The village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge is about 8 miles from Wookey Hole, and the region is famous for Cheese, one of my favourite artisan products. Both the ‘boss’ and I adore cheese with a passion, and are very lucky to have a fantastic cheese specialist nearby who supplies some amazing product, not available in the usual retail ‘chains’. If you have never tried cheese from an artisan supplier please do, you will be amazed at the difference in taste, texture and longevity if looked after carefully.

The land around the village of Cheddar has been at the centre of England’s dairy industry since at least the 15th Century with the earliest references to Cheddar Cheese dating from 1170.

Next stop was the ‘Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company’, the only producer of Cheddar Cheese in the village of Cheddar!

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If you arrive before 15:30 you can see see the cheese being made, unfortunately we arrived after this time so could not spend time in the viewing gallery watching the process.  I was lucky enough to visit an Italian Cheese Factory in May this year as part of a cooking holiday and its more interesting than you might think.

In the shop you can taste sample’s of their products, and they even have mini cool boxes with ice bags, so you can buy the cheese with confidence if you have a long distance to travel home.

I ended up buying several different cheese’s, some artisan biscuits, chutney and their own special cheese straws, the two pictured above were completely different, the ‘Cave Aged’ having more texture and being quite crumbly, whilst the ‘Vintage’ was strong in flavour, but more creamy and close textured.

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Huevos Rancheros meets Shakshuka!

Saturday was chill out day, reading cookery books, watching cooking programmes and not thinking about work. Lunchtime was fast approaching and an excuse to spend time in the kitchen. Thomasina Miers had appeared on ‘Saturday Cookbook’ on ITV in the morning and my mind drifted to Mexico, Tommi is famous for winning MasterChef in 2005 and subsequently opening her chain of Mexican Restaurants called ‘Wahaca‘.

I fancied a bit of experimenting, so turned to the Middle East for my spice inspiration, but basing the dish on Mexican influences.

Starting off with some new potatoes of the ‘Agata’ variety, they were quartered and put into a frying pan with some Olive Oil and butter, cooking slowly for around 10-15 minutes. Then, finely chopped onion was then added with a good sprinkle of dried Thyme,  an Orange Pepper, pith removed and cut into small dice, a teaspoon of Aleppo Chilli Flakes from Ottolenghi’s, which I find has some citrus notes and decent heat,  some Ras el Hanout spice mix, mine is from Steenbergs.

Cook for a further 10- 15 minutes to soften, then add a couple of fresh chopped tomato’s and season with sea salt and pepper, mine looked like this;

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The next stage was to take a couple of Tortillas, on one drizzle some olive oil, place the other on top and move round to ‘spread’ the oil on both Tortillas. Then, place the Tortillas oil up and sprinkle with Dukkah, the oil helps the spice mix stick. I then put the spiced faces together and fried the Tortillas in a mix of oil and butter until they puffed up.

These can then go on a plate in a warm oven whilst you finish the dish, which just needs a fried egg and some chopped parsley to finish.

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The fried Tortilla base with the Dukkah adds some crunchy texture to the final dish, the Aleppo Chilli and Ras Al Hanout a Middle Eastern theme, and it was really delicious.

The ‘boss’ was out when I cooked this, but I reserved some of the vegetable mixture and folded the Tortilla into a quarter, and it was devoured when she came home!

Thanks must go to Thomasina Miers, Yotam Ottenlenghi and Bethany Kehdy for the inspiration for this dish.

Enjoy………….

الفارسي الأرز جولد Persian Jewelled Rice (with an AMAZING Aubergine Veal & Yoghurt Crumble)

Continued inspiration from the Middle East this week, it amazing how many new flavours and techniques I am discovering as I work through the various cook books on my shelf.

This weeks organic veg box, courtesy of Riverford contained some ‘Graffiti Aubergines’, an amazing looking variety that was going to be the star performer in another Bethany Kehdy recipe that was going to accompany the Jewelled Rice.

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There are quite a few ingredients in this particular feast, and some interesting cooking processes. Both recipes are contained in one of my fave new books The Jewelled Kitchen, don’t take my word for it, the food blogging world is awash with praise for Bethany’s new book and clicking on the title above, will take you one such blogger.

The Rice (Basmati), is washed several times until the water runs clear, this removes surface starch, and helps make the final dish light and fluffy. You then soak the rice in warm salty water for a maximum of 30 minutes, and wash again removing more starch. You then add to boiling water, bring back to boil and cook for 3 minutes over a HIGH heat, and DON’T STIR, it will break the grains up.  Then you gentle cool down using tepid water and thats the 1st stage complete !!!

The 1st stage of preparing the rice can be done a day in advance, and the rice can be put in the fridge, covered, until ready to finish.

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The picture above is the rice at the 30 minutes resting stage, with the Graffiti Aubergines waiting patiently for their makeover!

Adwiya (Persian: ادویه‎), or Advieh is a mix of spice typically used in Persian cuisine, you can read more about it HERE. Mine was the number 2 variety in the back of the book and contained Pistachios, Edible Rose Petals, Saffron, Cardamon and Cinnamon. When ground and mixed, the smell and flavour is amazing. If you need a source of specialist ingredients I use Ottolenghi, Steenbergs, and have just subscribed to a new supplier ‘The Kitchen Nomad’, that provides a monthly service based on a particular country, which is well worth a look.

As well as the Advieh other ingredients include Barberries, (never used those before), flaked Almonds, Pistachios, Seville Orange rind (blanched 2-3 times), fresh Mint and Currants. The final cooking process involves steaming in water, with a cloth covered tight fitting lid to prevent the rice going soggy, before this is started, some oil is heated in the pan and a layer of rice is placed in the bottom of the pan and then sprinkled with some of the fruit, then Advieh, then another layer of rice, fruit, then Advieh etc. with the final layer plain rice.

Jewelled Rice

The cooking process produces a Tahdeeg, a crispy base which has to be tried, it’s delicious. If you click on the picture above it will enlarge, and you can just see the light brown Tahdeeg on my rice, which I placed on top after breaking up into smaller pieces.

If you like what you see go buy The Jewelled Kitchen, its a beautiful inspiring book, and the recipes are just stunning.

The Aubergine, Veal and Yoghurt Crumble accompanied the Jewelled Rice, and introduced some more new ingredients not used before.

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You can see the vibrant Pomegranate Seeds, and flecks of fresh Mint, Barberries are also used along with Aleppo pepper and Pomegranate Molasses.  The dressing is a mix of Yoghurt, Tahini and Lemon Juice.  The two dishes looked resplendent on the Moroccan table in the lounge and tasted just absolutely stunning.  It did take some time to prepare both dishes but the results were well worth the effort, the ‘boss’ being very pleased with this weeks efforts.

I have just placed my advanced order for Rachel Khoo’s new book due for release in October, and also ordered a Vietnamese cookery book which I am looking forward to trying.

The final finished meal, Jewelled Rice with Aubergine, Veal and Yoghurt Crumble.    Enjoy…

Middle Eastern Chicken on Flatbread with Fattoush

Another busy week this week  included William Curleys‘ Patissiere, awesome Massamam Curry at Chaophraya in Manchester, amazing Arnavut Cigeri (Albanian Style Lambs Liver) & Kaniyarik (Aubergine stuffed with mince meat, onions, peppers, tomatoes cooked in the oven and served with rice), at Meze in Darlington. Oh, and a couple of full english breakfasts!!

It’s me and the ‘Bosses’ 25th wedding anniversary this year, and to do something a bit different we are planning a trip to Padstow, to attend a two-day Indian course at Rick Stein’s Cookery School, watch this space for a review if we manage to make it.

Back to the kitchen and more middle eastern inspired food, this time chicken….

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WARNING, ITS GOING TO GET GORY AND MESSY, SPATCHCOCKING A CHICKEN IS NOT PRETTY

Every time I am in the kitchen I try to do something new or different (or both!), this time was the art of spatchcocking. Before dealing with the Chicken, I prepared a marinade.  A pot of Yeo organic Yogurt is put into a bowl with a good generous handful of chopped fresh Thyme, the same of coriander, 4 tablespoons of Harissa paste, a teaspoon of Sumac, a teaspoon of Coriander powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of Cumin. Add the grated zest of a Lemon, and its juice and mix together well. Set aside whilst we prepare the chicken.

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Take your chicken and turn it over so that its Breast side is facing away from you and the open cavity is on the top. Take a sharp knife (Or kitchen scissors if you have them), and cut close to the bone that runs down the centre of the chicken. You should end up with a cut like above. Turn the Chicken over so you can finish the cut safely.

Next, place the Chicken with the open flesh face down on the chopping board with the breast side up. Put your hands on the body, pushing down to flatten and ‘break’ the spine firmly.

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It should look like the picture above, I was a bit nervous about this process but its actually quite easy to do if you take it steady and be careful with the knife!

So that’s the Chicken and marinade sorted, you now need to cut through and ‘slash’ the Chicken in several places to let the marinade penetrate and impart its flavour.  Mine looked like this after the next element of butchery!!

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The next stage is to place the Chicken on a roasting tray and smother it in the marinade, a lovely messy job but very satisfying. Make sure you massage the marinade into the cuts to make sure the flavours penetrate right into the meat.  I put mine in the fridge after this stage and left to rest for about 7 hours….

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Next step is to prepare the Fattoush, a Middle Eastern Salad of toasted Bread, Tomatoes, Onions, Radishes, Dill, Parsley, Sumac, in fact loads of delicious flavours.  There are many different variations on this dish and the one I chose was a variation on the lovely Bethany Kehdy, and her new book ‘The Jewelled Kitchen’, its beautiful and one of my favourites at the moment.

It’s an exercise in ‘Mis en place’, a phrase used in professional kitchens meaning put in place or preparing everything ready for cooking or construction, in the ways of salads.

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As an experiment, I changed some of the ingredients slightly, adding about 150 grams of mixed Red Quinoa, White Quinoa and Bulgur Wheat that had been boiled for 10 minutes and left to cool.  I made a dressing from thinly sliced Red Onion, 60ml of Rapeseed Oil, 4 table spoons of Sherry Vinegar, some Salt and Pepper and massaged it all together leaving it to marinade for 10-15 minutes.

My Fattoush looked like this when completed.

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Prior to starting cooking, I had popped into Waitrose to pick up some bits and pieces (read wine!), and was considering what and how to serve the Chicken. Not being inclined to spend too much time on making bread I found some interesting looking Italian Flatbreads that were thicker than a Tortilla, and had some body and texture to them.  These were going to be the ‘blanket’ for the dish.

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I came up with an idea to make them even more interesting, and it involved a 1/2 inch paint brush!!

I had some Ghee in the cupboard so took my trusty brush (that is really handy in the kitchen), and brushed each Bread with the Ghee all over.  I then sprinkled Dukkah and Za’atar over both, giving them a good covering as evenly as possible.

Prior to serving, the bread’s were put together with the clean side on the outside, and heated through in a frying pan for a couple of minutes before turning over and repeating on the other side.

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The Chicken needs about 1 1/2 hours in the oven, I used a temperature of 170 degrees in our fan assisted beast. The smells coming from the kitchen invoked memories of wandering around  Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh, Morroco. The market square is famous for the food stalls that start cooking late afternoon and swamp the area with amazing aromas and exotic spices.

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The Chicken was roughly divided and placed onto the warm Flatbread and served with the Salad. It was absolutely delicious and actually really simple to make. You can prep the Chicken in the Morning and leave to marinade. The Salad is mostly a construction exercise, the results will delight the palate.

Have a go yourself, I am pleased I did.

L8ers, till next time.

Jules

بلاد الشام / Bilad al-Sham / The cuisine of Levantine

When the weather is hot my cooking turns to the middle east, as you will have noticed in recent posts. I find that I cannot manage to eat large meals, and whilst salads can be exciting, a Meze type meal is healthy, easy to digest and great fun to create.

Shawarma is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit, and comes from the turkish word ‘çevirme’ which means turning. One of my food heroes Yotam Ottolenghi has his version of the dish in the book ‘Jerusalem’ which was also a TV series shown on BBC 4.

Spices for Shawarma

 Lamb & MarinadeAs you can see, quite a lot goes into this dish apart from a leg of Lamb, that has been ‘punctured’ with a long thin knife to let the marinade penetrate over a 24 hour period.

If you want to have a go, you will need Peppercorns, Clove, Cardamom pods, Fenugreek seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise, Cinnamon sticks, Nutmeg, Ground Ginger, Sweet Paprika, Sumac, Sea Salt, Fresh Ginger, Garlic Cloves, chopped fresh Coriander, Lemon juice and……………………..Groundnut Oil………..!

Pop all the ‘seedy’ spices into a pan and dry roast them, the kitchen will be filled with exotic aroma’s n no time at all. Grind the spices once heated through and add to a bowl with everything else and you have you marinade. Once done, take you leg of lamb and puncture the meat in several places and then put into a dish, smother with the marinade and rub well in. Cover and stick in the fridge for 24 hours, taking out from time to time to turn over and make sure the leg is really well coated.

Soused Onion

Completed OnionI was planning to serve the Lamb with various salads, a simple Red Onion piquant one was created by combining Sherry Vinegar with Rape Seed Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice and Zest, and some fresh Coriander and finely chopped Mint.

The second Salad was some Baby Gems leafs, Tomato, Cucumber, Coriander (lots), and a dressing of Sherry Vinegar, Rape Seed Oil and Za’atar.

The lamb goes into a low oven (150 deg Fan, 170 deg Convection), for 4.5 hours. You need to add some water from time to time and cover the meat for the last 3.5 hours so the spices do not burn.

Cacik I made some Cacik to go with the Lamb, Yoghurt, grated Cucumber, Garlic, some Lemon Juice and drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkled Sumac on the top too. I do like this particular dish, its adds a freshness and tartness which goes well with the Lamb, especially when served in grilled Pitta Breads, used a pockets to hold the various tasty fillings.

As you can see from the heading photograph, this meal is pleasing on the eye as well as giving the tastebuds a real treat. As the Lamb is cooked gently, it is meltingly tender and when stuffed into a ‘Pitta Pocket’ with the various salad’s and Caciik, you end up with the most delightful fresh taste, that will take you to the Casbah’s of distant lands.

Sahtain..

A Mixture – شكشوكة‎ or שקשוקה (Shakshouka)

I was not expecting to cook over the weekend, but the heat of Sunday evening and the lure of the kitchen got the better of me.

We have been having a clear out and re stock in the kitchen, herbs and spices from Steenbergs recently purchased have included Sumac, Za’atar, Dukkah, Turkish Oregano, Spearmint from Egypt so opening the herb and spice cupboard is like an unknown journey across the seven seas!

The boss had taken our son out on sunday, leaving me to relax in the quiet and finger through some recipe books whilst listening to some hedonistic holiday anthems. Titanium, Bom Bom and Loca People hit the walls and ceilings with vigour, whilst in my head I was in far off places, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.
It was soon evening and what to eat….Shakshouka was the answer.
The word means mixture if you believe wikipedia, and mine was going to be a blend of a couple of recipes from two of my favourite chefs, you know who I am talking about.
We had some Toulouse sausages in the fridge, these were de-skinned and put into a bowl with copious quantities of Sumac, Oregano, Chilli flakes, Habanero sauce (just a few drops, hot hot hot!) mixed with a fork, and left to marinate for an hour or so.
After an hour, the meat mixture was rolled into small balls, dusted with flour and fried in olive oil for a couple of minutes to brown, then set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
          
Next, an onion was chopped and added to a frying pan with some olive oil and butter, cooking slowly for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I added some Salt and Pepper, Za’atar, a pinch of Sumac, chopped Garlic, fresh Coriander seeds and Cumin seeds. Quantities are according to your taste, as sometimes I find recipes need more than stated but its your chance to experiment. Remember you cannot take out but you can always add more, so taste as you go if unsure…..
I thought we did not have any peppers in the house, but remembered that I had been given a jar of roasted peppers as part of a christmas present, they came to the rescue and having been roasted and de-skinned already were absolutely perfect. Chopped into approx. 1cm pieces they were added to the pan and cooked for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
          
Next I added a tin of chopped tomatoes to the mixture, and a sprinkling of sugar to bring out the tomatoes sweetness and counteract the acidity. The mixture was left to simmer for about 30 minutes on a low heat, enabling the flavours to develop.
Next step was to added the pre-fried meat balls, and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes on a low heat, this ensure the meat was cooked through.
At this stage, put on the oven, and set to 160 deg (Fan oven), or 180 deg (Convection/Gas) and set aside to dishes big enough for one serving, or whatever takes your fancy.
Transfer the mixture to the two bowls, ensuring the meat balls are around the outside enabling an egg to be broken into the centre, and shrouded by the piquant tomato sauce. Then put into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the eggs are set, but yoke still runny.
My version of the Shakshuka was served with some nutty bread and tasted delicious. Small balls of meat that were full of garlic and punchy spices, mellowed by a slightly sweet but flavourful sauce with the egg adding both texture and richness.  To finish I sprinkled some Parsley and Sumac over the top which you can see in the picture at the top of the page.
So there we go, another trip to the Middle East and a journey well worth taking. I am not travelling so much this week so hoping to get back in the kitchen and experiment some more.
il-hanā’ wa ash-shifā (May you have your meal with gladness and health)

Kofta b’siniyah & طحينة (Tahini) – An evening in Jerusalem without the flight!

This week I am in Darlington again and have a place booked at my favourite new Bistro, Meze which I am really looking forward too.

Inspired by warmer weather and the thought of past holidays in exotic locations this weekends kitchen efforts have been focussed on Turkey, Egypt and Jerusalem.  I have two of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books and looking through ‘Jerusalem” my eyes were drawn to Kofta b’siniyah, a delicious looking dish of mince shaped into sausages,  full of exotic spices and herbs, and served on a sauce of Tahini, and dressed with toasted Pine nuts, Parsley and Sweet Paprika.

To accompany the kofta I spent some time on the internet searching for a dish similar to the one I had recently at Meze. It was a Patates Salatasi or Potato Salad but without the mayonnaise, and I eventually found an original recipe by Ayla Algar a Turkish cook and writer here, from another food blogger!

To prepare the salad, I had some Organic Colleen potatoes supplied by Riverford. These are a waxy variety and seemed ideal for this particular dish. I steamed them for about 35 minutes and then removed the skins whilst still hot. I recall a TV programme many years ago saying most of the flavour is just under the skin, I think they were right as they were amazing. The dressing is made from Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Mustard Powder, Salt, Pepper, Dill & Flat Leaf Parsley. The dressing is added to the potatoes while still hot, that have been cut into smaller pieces, this allows the flavours to penetrate better. I ended up using the spring onion (chopped finely) in the potato salad and the red onion went in the tomato and pepper salad.

Other dishes to complete the meal were ‘Cacik’ a dish of Yoghurt, Cucumber, Garlic, Salt and in my case some Sumac, a salad of Tomato, Red Onion, Orange Pepper, Coriander, dressed with Sherry Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and toasted Pitta with some Olive Oil, sprinkled with Dukkah, an Egyptian spice mix.

The meal was delicious and was full and flavour, it took some time to prepare but was well worth the effort. Some genuine food from the kitchens of the Middle East.

The table, if you are wondering, is a slice of ‘rock’ from Erfoud in Morocco, about 3/4 inch thick and polished. Its full of Fossils and in the centre an Ammonite. It was purchased from HERE when we were on a tour a few years ago and shipped over within a week. It weighs 175Kg’s and always reminds us of our holidays in the sun.

Enjoy……