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#cookfromthebooks Week 5

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One of my all time favourite chef and cook book writers this week, all hail the Great ‘Yotam Ottolenghi‘ and recipes chosen from his beautiful book written with Sami Tamimi, ‘JERUSALEM’ sharing recipes from their children memories, family occasions and homelands.  Yotam’s books that he has created are stories and works of art, shared through food and delicious food photography – Definitley books to have on show, even with well worn, spiced stained page corners.Jerusalem

I was introduced to Middle Eastern cooking and flavours many years ago, through a Palestinian friend, who was eager to share his love of warm, aromatic spices and regional cuisine with us.  For a long time, I left the cooking to him, sitting back and relaxing and soaking up the flavours and heady scents with the dishes he created.  On moving to Spain some 9 years ago, I started looking back into the history of Moorish spices and their influence in many Andalucian dishes, and then took inspiration from many new recipe books and ancient flavours that were being highlighted from these Eastern climes.

Most recipes focusing on locally produced, home grown ingredients, abundantly using fresh vegetables, healthy pulses and heady fresh herbs and spices.  Dishes to share with friends and family.

My recipe this week for my #cookfromthebooks challenge was MEJADRA, descibed as an ancient dish, popular throughout the Arab world, many families taking a huge pot of Mejadra with them to share on a picnic, with a spoonful of fresh yoghurt.   It is a sweetly spiced, comforting and warming dish of rice and lentils, laddened with sticky caramelised onions.

I added, as I do 😉 a handful of dried cranberries, and fresh mint and coriander chopped and stirred through the dish at the end, to add a lightness to this rich dish.  This dish although simple in ingredients and economical too, was easy to prepare but not quick, I found it  stir, relax and sip cooking, perfect for a weekend evening when there is no rush.

Mejadra Recipe

MEJADRA

250g green lentils ( I used Pardina in Spain)

4 Medium Onions sliced

3 tbsp plain flour

250 ml sunflower oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

200g basmati rice

1/2 ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsp grounds allspice

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

350 ml water

S & P

  • In a small saucepan place the lentils with plenty of water to cover, bring to the boil and then simmer for 12-15 mins until slightly soften but still with bite ( I added a bay leaf with my water), then drain.
  • Place the onions in large plate or bowl and sprinkle on the flour & salt, mix thoroughly.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot. Divide the onion into small batches and fry until golden and brown and some crispy.  Don’t crowd your pan at this stage as it will create steam and the onions will just soften.
  • As the onions are cooked transfer to a colander lined with kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle with a little more salt.
  • Wipe the saucepan clean, then toss in the coriander and cumin seeds to toast for a minute or two, until their aromas are reale4ased.
  • Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar and salt & pepper.
  • Stir to coat the rice in the oil and spices, then add the lentils and water ( here I added a handful of dried cranberries) .
  • Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and then simmer on a a very low heat for 15 mins.
  • Take off the heat, remove the lid quickly and place a clean tea towel over it the pan and replace the lid, to allow it to rest and steam for 10 mins.
  • To serve, layer the dish with rice, lentils and half the onions, ( I stirred fresh herbs in here) more rice and lentils and top the final dish with the crispy caramelized onions.

COOKING : Easy but not quick.

FAMILY RATING : Adults 9/10 Children 7/10 (Think it will grow on them, it’s a lentils thing 😉

Mejadra recipe review

On friday night we also had ‘Ottolenghi’s’ Turkey & Courgette burgers with spring onion and cumin, these were a winner all round.

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

 

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#Cookfromthebooks Week 1

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Saturday night arrived and the familiar, family questions of ‘What’s for supper Mum’ were being heard…’Something new’ I replied.

So I begin my personal challenge for the year #cookfromthebooks.

This weeks recipe book picked, was the delightful, artistic and beautifully written Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.

Apples for jam by Tessa Kiros

I actually picked 2 recipes this week, to make a complete family supper.  All the ingredients I had in the cupboards or fridge and both dishes could be prepared simply, which was a bonus after a hard but satisfying day, building new fencing on the mountain for our ponies new paddock.

I adapted the recipes, as I do 😉 just to add other dimensions and what I had in stock.

The first Pumpkin Pizza.

pizza

Not an ordinary pizza, by using pumpkin as the base instead of dough, you get a sweet and unctuous taste.

INGREDIENTS

1 small pumpkin – I used a butternut squash very thinly sliced lengthways. (some care needed here, use a very sharp knife)

1 onion, finely sliced.

1 jar of passata – I used ‘frito’

1 ball of buffalo mozzarella

handful of grated strong cheddar

oregano

olive oil.

Here’s how …

  • drizzle OO in base of oven proof baking dish, layer the pumpkin, seasoning as you go.
  • spread the passata over pumpkin, and bake in oven for 40 mins.
  • tear up mozzarella and sprinkle on-top of dish with cheddar
  • sprinkle over oregano and bake for 10 more mins until bubbling.

FAMILY RATING 8/10

EASY

Recipe 2, Chicken escalopes with tomatoes and capers.

Chicken escalopes with toms and capers recipe.

Fresh and vibrant tasting, with piquancy from the capers.

Ingredients

4 chicken fillets

plain flour for dusting

handful of cherry toms

glug of white wine

3 cloves of garlic peeled and bashed but left whole

tbs of capers drained & rinsed.

tbs of chopped fresh parsley

olive oil

Here’s how….

  • dust the chicken fillets with flour
  • heat a little OO in large frying pan
  • add garlic and tomatoes, saute until tomatoes start to pucker
  • remove toms to a warm plate
  • add chicken to pan and fry until golden on both sides, watch the garlic so it doesn’t burn
  • add the wine to the pan let bubble, put toms back in
  • sprinkle with parsley season and add capers
  • put a lid on and take pan off heat and let stand for a few mins, before serving.

FAMILY RATING 8/10

EASY

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted 🙂 Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014