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Posts Tagged ‘Middle Eastern’

Spring Lamb Meatballs with Broad Beans & Courgettes

Totally different flavours going on in this meatball recipe from Honey & Co at Home,  but deliciously tasty. Such a good use for broad beans and anything full of dill is always a hit with us.

Wine Suggestion: try to find a fresh Mediterranean inspired white with a bit of zip. Tonight a Carricante from Gulfi on the southern slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily; a mineral undertone, hints of herbs, fresh grapefruit and almonds. We could almost taste the sunshine.

Spring lamb meatballs with broad beans and courgettes – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp of ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

FOR THE COOKING LIQUID:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek,  trimmed and roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 200g broad beans (we used frozen broad beans)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Hands are good for this but you might want to wear gloves to avoid yellow nails. Shape into ping-ball sized meatballs, you should get 12-14. Put the meatballs on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil for the cooking liquid in a large pot and sweat the leeks, garlic and courgettes for 5-6 minutes, then sprinkle with salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broad beans, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Tip in the seared meatballs with any juices from the tray. Add 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, add the chopped herbs and cover the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavillion, 2018.)

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Spiced Salmon Skewers with Parsley Oil

We started these kebabs from the Falastin cookbook on the barbecue and then finished in the oven. Oh my goodness, they’re delicious. This is the best cookbook we’ve bought in ages!! You can make the parsley oil and marinade the salmon well in advance.

Wine Suggestion: to avoid fighting the spices we opened a La Source de Chateau Vignelaure Blanc from Provence. A blend of Vermentino, Semillon and Sauvignon it was uncomplicated joy in a glass; pure freshness with light fruits and a textured core.

Spiced salmon skewers with parsley oil – serves 4

  • 800g salmon fillet (no skin & bones), cut into 4cm chunks
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 3½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved lengthways, then each half quartered into 4 chunks
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, quartered into wedges, to serve

PARSLEY OIL:

  • 40g parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut off the ends, then remove the skin and cut between the membranes to release the segments

Put the chunks of salmon into a large bowl with the cardamom, cumin, paprika, turmeric, sumac, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, ¾ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix to coat the fish, then leave in the fridge for at least an hour but it will be fine made earlier in the day and cooked when you need.

Put 1½ tbsp of olive oil into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured, they’ll fall apart and that’s fine. Scoop them out of the pan and set aside.

To make the parsley oil whizz the parsley, garlic, oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper in the small bowl of a food processor for about a minute, or until, smooth. Add the lemon segments and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 230ºC and get your barbecue going (if you don’t want to barbecue you can use a well-greased griddle pan).

Put a tomato onto 4 long metal skewers, then alternate chunks of salmon with pieces of onion. Finish with another tomato at the end.

When the barbecue (or griddle) is smoking hot, add the skewers and grill for 3-4 minutes, turning so they’re charred on all sides. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment and put into the preheated oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked.

Drizzle over the parsley oil and serve the lemon wedges on the side.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020)

 

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Lamb Siniya

This is a bit like a Middle-Eastern shepherd’s pie but lighter and spicier. It’s also very quick and easy to make. Serve with pickled chillies, a tomato salad and some flatbreads if you like (we had pickled chillies alone and it was perfect). We can’t recommend the books by Honey & Co highly enough, everything works.

Wine Suggestion: Another lockdown cellar raid unearthed our last bottle of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 from the famed La Crau vineyard. At a very good point in its develeopment with beautiful, pure red fruits and layers of subtle spicing. Lots of power still but with so much elegance and refinement.

If you don’t have this wine to hand we most successfully match middle eastern dishes containing warm spices with southern Rhône and other Grenache dominant Mediterranean reds.

Lamb siniya – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp baharat spice mix
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 200g tahini paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the cauliflower into a large saucepan, add about a litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until soft. Drain and spread over the base of a shallow casserole dish (about 22cm).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions with half a teaspoon of salt until starting to turn golden. Add the lamb mince, turn the heat up to hight and break it up with a wooden spoon. When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle over the ground fennel and baharat spice and continue to cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook, stirring, for another few minutes, then spread over the cauliflower. You can do up to this stage a day in advance if you like.

Mix all the ingredients together for the topping, except the pine nuts. If the mixture is very thick you can add a tablespoon or two of water to loosen it slightly – it should be like thick yoghurt. Spread the topping over the cauliflower and lamb, then sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until set and slightly golden. Sprinkle with the parsley to serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

 

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Fish in Tahini (Samak bi Tahina)

There is a recipe for fish in tahini sauce in almost every Middle Eastern cookbook, and for good reason. The caramelised onions really complement the slightly sour tahini sauce. Serve with rice and salad.

Wine Suggestion: Not having had tahini with fish before we weren’t sure what to open, so went with our classic standby for seafood – Muscadet. The Domaine de la Chauviniere worked a treat and we would highly recommend this as a match.

Fish in Tahini (Samak bi Tahina) – serves 2

For the fish:

  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground Aleppo pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 fillets of white fish

For the sauce:

  • 80ml tahini
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt, to taste
  • 80ml water

For the topping:

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts

Mix the spices and oil and rub over the fish, then leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Caramelise the onions by frying them over a very low heat until soft and browned – about half an hour.

Make the tahini sauce by mixing the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and water in a pan. Don’t worry if it curdles just keep stirring vigorously until it becomes smooth. Warm the sauce over a very low heat.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and fry the marinated fish for a few minutes on each side, then remove from the heat and place in a warm dish.

Fry the garlic and coriander in a pan with a little oil for a minute.

Pour the warm tahini sauce over the fish, then sprinkle over the onions, followed by the coriander, garlic and pine nuts. Serve with bulgar wheat or rice and a salad or vegetables if you like.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, Trapeze, 2017.)

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Shirazi salad

This Iranian salad works really well with rich, spicy stews and middle eastern dishes. Try and cut everything the same size so that you get a bit of everything in each bite.

Salad Shirazi – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 300g Middle Eastern or regular cucumber
  • 300g tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
  • ½ red onion
  • 4 radishes

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

If you are using small Middle Eastern (Lebanese) cucumbers, then half them lengthways. If using a regular cucumber, peel, half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.

Finely dice the cucumber and tomato into ½ cm cubes. Cut the red onion and radishes into similar sized pieces and tip everything into a large salad bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, then pour over the salad and mix well. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts

Another success from Sam & Sam Clark of Moro. Great textures and interesting flavours. Works as a starter or a side with grilled meat.

Feta salad with spinach, crispbread, sumac & pinenuts – serves 4

  • 500g young spinach, washed and dried (in a salad spinner ideally)
  • 200g good-quality feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 dessertspoon fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
  • 75g pinenuts, very lightly toasted
  • 25g butter
  • 2 pitta breads
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Melt the butter. Split the pitta in half lengthways and brush the melted butter on both sides. Put the pittas on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool.

Whisk the garlic, red wine vinegar, sumac, olive oil together to make a dressing. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Put the spinach, roughly broken crispbread, half the feta cheese, the oregano/marjoram and pinenuts into a large bowl. Pour over most of the dressing and toss together. Serve with the rest of the feta and dressing on top.

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

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Middle-eastern Veggie Pizza.jpg

These were so easy and would make a great weeknight supper or lunch at the weekend. A great way to use up Turkish red pepper paste!

Wine Suggestion: we’d suggest a light red wine or dry rosé to compliment these. For a splash out we drank the Felton Rd Vin Gris from Central Otago. This is made from Pinot Noir juice, only in selected vintages and is very dry and textural with summer fruit flavours and aromas with hints of chervil, fennel and an earthy spice we can’t put our finger on. Together with the pizza it all came together to make us feel like we were on holidays, even though we aren’t!

Middle Eastern Veggie Pizzas – makes 5

  • 5-10 tbsp Turkish red pepper paste (you could always use tomato paste)
  • pack of 5 large pitta breads or Middle Eastern flatbreads
  • ½ a bag of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 balls mozzarella, patted dry and torn
  • 5 eggs
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • small bunch basil
  • shaved Parmesan, to serve

Preheat your oven to the highest setting.

Put the  flatbreads onto baking trays and spread 1-2 tbsp red pepper paste over each one.

Squeeze the spinach with your hands to get as much water out as possible, then scatter on top, leaving a little space in the centre (to crack an egg into). Divide the garlic & mozzarella between the pizzas and season generously.

Carefully crack an egg into the middle of each pizza, into the space you made with the spinach, and season with nutmeg and some of the basil. Bake for 7 mins until the cheese has melted and the egg is cooked as you like it (you will probably have to cook them in batches).

Serve with a little more basil and some Parmesan shavings.

 

 

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Stuffed Courgettes with currants

Another delicious Middle-Eastern dish from Honey & Co. This is really unusual and tastes delicious. It serves 4 as a main course but you could also serve smaller portions as a side with lamb.

Wine suggestion: perfect with a lighter, fruity red from Spain or Italy. Our choice was the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which is a very youthful, easy-drinking Sangiovese with less extraction (tannins and colour) than a full-blown Chianti Classico or other Tuscan greats. By being lighter it was charming with the courgettes and the low tannins didn’t fight the spices. If you were having them as a side alongside lamb we would have stepped up to a richer Primitivo from Puglia, a Nero d’Avola from Sicily or maybe a good Lebanese red like Ch Musar or Massaya.

Medias – courgettes filled with lemon rice & currants – serves 4

  • 4 even-sized courgettes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 125g risotto rice
  • 40g dried currants
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 375ml water
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 15-20g parsley, picked and chopped
  • 1 tbsp dill

Halve the courgettes lengthways and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Lay the scooped out halves in a  baking tray with sides that come up a bit higher than the courgettes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then gently fry the onion, cinnamon stick and ½ tsp salt to soften the onion without colouring. Then mix in the turmeric, allspice and cayenne. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the risotto rice and stir to coat. Add another ½ tsp salt and the currants and pour over the lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 1 minute, then drain through a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid.

Cut the tomatoes into thin slices and stir into the rice along with the chopped parsley and dill (reserve a little parsley to garnish). Divide the rice mixture between the courgettes – don’t overfill as the rice will swell as it cooks. Pour the reserved liquid into the tray so the courgettes are half-submerged (top up with a bit of water if needed).

Put a sheet of greaseproof paper directly on top of the courgettes and cover the tin with tinfoil to entirely seal.

Cook in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, then open and baste the courgettes with the liquid. Recover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Pierce the courgettes with a small knife to check they are very soft.

Baste again and sprinkle with the reserved parsley and another pinch of cayenne pepper.

Serve with a green salad and some fresh goats’ yogurt if you like.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co.: Food from the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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