Every Easter supper I try and go for something different, something I've never tried before. This is usually the time for first: the first roast chicken, the first leg of lamb, the first prime rib (etc). This year I was truly at a loss as to what I could do. No, I'm nowhere close to have cooked everything at least once, but I was looking for something a bit more fun than normal.
Then I remembered Meeta's Monthly Mingle theme: Arabian Nights. Apart from the "usual suspects" -- hummus, tabouli, baba ganouj--I've not really done a lot with Arabic-inspired foods. Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up with a hodgepodge of dishes from--or at least inspired from--various areas of the Mediterranean. These ideas and recipes were gleaned from a number of sources--Nigella Lawson, Claudia Roden, Nigel Slater, Delia Smith and a number of web searches:
My version of Jazar Bil Camoun Wal Toum (Carrot salad with Cumin and Garlic) used parsnips and carrots. Given my recent Savour the Season post on parsnips and the surprising lack of carrots in my fridge, I decided to make this Moroccan dish using the two veg. Simply blanch 600g of julienned veg, then saute in olive oil, garlic and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze some lemon over top. Serve cold.
This Lebanese spinach with chickpeas and onions (Sabanekh Bi Loubia) dish is normally made with either black-eyed or haricot beans (and caramelized onions), but I had a tin of chickpeas on hand. Soften an onion in olive oil, then saute garlic in olive oil and add a thawed packet of chopped spinach. Tip in the onions, season with salt and pepper, add the beans and squeeze some lemon over top. Serve cold.
I suppose the lamb is what started things off for this meal. I didn't want to do the standard rosemary-garlic version, but I saw a recipe for a date and mustard-glazed rack of lamb in The Toronto Star. The rub is made with rosemary, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander seed. The glaze used honey-dijon mustard, mashed dates, rosemary, cumin and garlic.
This aubergine and tomato curry is a cross between the most delicious dish my mummy makes and Lebanese aubergines with tomatoes and chickpeas (Mussaka'A Menazzaleh). Toast some black mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, tumeric, chilli pepper and garlic in olive oil and then tip in an onion sliced in half-lunettes and three chopped Chinese eggplants. Saute until soft. Add three or four chopped, very ripe tomatoes and add some water, a pinch of curry leaves, and salt and pepper. Stir in a tablespoon each of red current jelly and rice wine vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally until it's all soft and oozy. Serve hot.
Possibly one of my favourite potato concoctions. I originally thought of it as Greek, but I found a Lebanese version of Roasted potatoes with lemon and coriander (Batata Bel Lamou Wal Cosbara). Boil a kilo of potatoes, chop into a very large dice, toss in olive oil, salt pepper and garlic. Roast at high heat (240C/475F) for about half an hour, or until crispy brown. Squeeze a couple of lemons over top and serve immediately.
I used this meal as the excuse to try Nigella's Turkish Delight Syllabub. I tried it before TFE and the exbf showed up and decided it was too rich for us...so what did I do (after I took this photograph)? I dumped everything into the ice cream maker and turned it into ice cream. Still too rich, but at least it's now frozen and buys me some time to figure out what I can do with it...right now I'm thinking of turning it into a frosting for a sponge cake.
And yes, here is the 2007 Easter Beanie picture. He wasn't pleased, but he forgave us...and no...he's not usually wall-eyed...I have no idea where that came from.
tags: Nigella Lawson Claudia Roden Nigel Slater Delia Smith Monthly Mingle
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