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.