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Posts Tagged ‘Lebanese’

Cod in a tahini sauce

Our menus have featured a lot of meat recently so we’ve focused and had a few fishy weekends to redress the balance. This is another great recipe from Moro, really delicate and delicious. We followed their suggestion and served with a chickpea salad and saffron rice. A rare Saturday night treat for just the two of us; we made the full sauce but only used two cod fillets.

Get started early as the rice needs to soak for a few hours.

Wine Suggestion: a light, dry white wine with good flavour and texture is what we think goes best. We had a good Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere which has a good depth of flavour despite it’s light body. Alternately a good Alvarinho/Albariño would be a good match too.

Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce & Saffron Rice – serves 4

  • 4 thick cod fillets with skin, about 200g each
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Tahini Sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp water

Saffron Rice

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 200g basmati rice, washed and soaked in salted water for 3 hours
  • a good pinch of saffron threads infused in 4 tbsp boiling water

To Serve: 

  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Start by making the tahini sauce and the rice as the fish won’t take long at the end.

For the Tahini Sauce:

Crush the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Add the water until you get a sauce the consistency of double cream. Taste and season.

For the Saffron Rice:

Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and black peppercorns and fry gently for about 4 minute or until aromatic.

Drain the rice and add to the butter, stirring to coat in the butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and pour over enough water to cover by about 1cm, season with salt.

Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the surface of the water, then cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and paper and drizzle the saffron water evenly over the rice. Cover again with the paper and the lid, turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

For the Cod: 

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

You need to cook the cod on the hob first ideally in an ovenproof frying pan or failing that a roasting tray that can go on the hob.

Add the olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Season the cod generously with salt and pepper, then place in the pan with the skin side up, keep shaking the pan all the time to prevent sticking. Cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Turn the fish over carefully and put the pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. The fish is cooked when it is easy to flake and looks completely white inside.

Pour the tahini sauce into the pan with the fish to warm for 30 seconds, then transfer to hot plates. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with the parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Serve with the chickpea salad, saffron rice & lemon.

(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Yet another Lebanese dish, we’ll have to move onto another theme soon! This is delicious and quite rich so probably best served as a mezze dish or shared starter, though it will feed 2 people as a main dish.

Sea Bass with Tahini and Curry Sauce – to serve 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 4 sea bass fillets
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • squeeze of lemon juice, to serve

FOR THE SAUCE 

  • 6 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 120ml water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Fan 160ºC/Gas 4.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the sauce into an ovenproof dish and put in the oven to warm.

Cut each fillet in half, score the skin with 2 slashes, and season well.

Heat a frying pan, add the butter, and when melted, add the fish, skin side down. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the skin is crispy and golden. Turn the fillets over and cook for another minute or two until the flesh flakes easily.

Take the dish out of the oven, add the fish to the sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Put the dish back into the oven for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lemon before serving.

Wine Suggestion: A full-bodied textural white, like an oaked Vermentino.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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One of those dishes that was even better than expected.We served this with lamb chops with seven spices but it would make a nice mezze dish or a side for any grilled fish or meat.

Giant Couscous & Chickpea Salad – to serve between 4 & 6

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 120g giant couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the oven to 200ºC/Fan 180ºC/Gas 6.

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft.

Pour the vegetable stock into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the couscous and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender (check it as it may not take the full 10 minutes). Strain, tip into a bowl and add the chickpeas.

Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir the spiced onion into the couscous and chickpea mixture.

Add the coriander, parsley, and roasted tomatoes, and season well with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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A Lebanese twist to tomato sauce with gentle spices and almonds; a lovely variation on a theme. The proportion of sauce to spaghetti is also very different to how the Italian’s make pasta so there is a lot of sauce for this dish. This worked for us but you could use the same amount of sauce for a greater quantity of pasta and therefore serve more people if you’d like.

The spices are subtle and warming and the pinches can be generous if you like.

Spaghetti with a Rich Tomato Sauce & Toasted Almonds – serves 2 generously

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic and sugar into a pan and simmer over a low heat. Stir frequently and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions (usually between 10-12 minutes). Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking water and then drain the cooked spaghetti.

Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot with the reserved cooking water and the tomato sauce.

Toss well and then serve sprinkled with the almonds and parsley.

Wine Suggestion: we drank a Valpolicella Ripasso with this dish and the ripe, juicy spices went well with the warming spices of the sauce.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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Another success from “The Lebanese Kitchen”. First you have to make a Lebanese Seven Spices mix which you can use to add flavour to loads of dishes.

Lebanese Seven Spices Mix – makes 175g

  • 5 tbsp ground allspice
  • 3½ tbsp pepper
  • 3½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp ground cloves
  • 4 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp ground fenugreek
  • 4 tbsp ground ginger

Mix the spices together and store in an airtight jar in a dark cupboard until needed.

Lamb Chops with Seven Spices – to serve 4

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp seven spices mix
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 lamb chops
  • natural yogurt and lemon wedges to serve

Mix the garlic, seven spices mix, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl, add the lamb chops, and rub mixture into the meat. Leave to marinade for about 1½ hours.

Barbecue for 4-6 minutes on each side, then serve with the lemon wedges and yogurt.

Wine Suggestion: We had a really nice Spanish red, Pago de los Capellanes, from Ribero del Duero (thanks Alicia). 100% Tempranillo with a lovely juicy depth and loads of flavour. Alternately you could try a wine from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon which also makes juicy, heady, red wines.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon Press Ltd, 2012.)

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Such a good recipe for hummus we couldn’t stop eating it and had to make another batch! Once you’ve bought the tahini you may as well use it up.

  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • best extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted

Drain the chickpeas, keeping 50ml of the juices from the tin, and rinse.

Put the chickpeas into a food processor, add the garlic cloves and tahini, and process for a few minutes.

Add the reserved can juices, then half the lemon juice and the sea salt, and process until smooth.

Taste and add some more lemon juice, if you like.

Scrape the hummus into a dish, drizzle generously with your best olive oil, sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, and serve as a starter, with  breadsticks and crudités for pack lunch, or with a selection of other mezze dishes.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon 2012.)

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