A few years ago I was given a cookbook called Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf. it describes itself as A chef’s journey through Lebanon and Syria. We had a friend staying last night and I decided to cook from it.
I worried briefly if I would be able to get hold of any Pomegranate Molasses. I thought we had some in the basement but that could not be found. But ten minutes scouring the shelves in The International store yesterday morning turned up their last bottle.
So what did we eat. We started with three plates of mezze type dips.
– Beetroot and yogurt. Two beetroot globes from the garden boiled until soft and left to cool. Then skinned and finely sliced and arrange in a shallow bowl. A clove of garlic was then squashed in sea salt with a heavy knife and stirred into Greek yogurt. That was then spooned over the beetroot. Glorious red fingers.
– balia Hummus with crushed chickpeas, pine nuts and cumin. I reserved some of the chickpeas from the hummus and just before we ate I heated some olive oil in a small pan and lightly browned a good handful of pine nuts, a finely sliced clove of garlic and some cumin seeds. I scattered the chickpeas over the hummus and then poured over the pine nuts etc.
muhammara Red pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip. Popular in Aleppo. Four red peppers skins scorched on charcoal allowed to cool and then peel the skins off and de-seed trying to retain as much of their intense juices as possible. They went into the magimix together with some chilli, garlic, peeled walnuts, lemon juice, sugar and the pomegranate molasses. Roughly chop and then add olive oil until you are left with a thick and creamy dip.
We are the mezze with flat bread cooked quickly in the oven.
That was almost enough but I had picked up a couple of sea bass from Wards. We had those on the barbeque and ate them with rice and am sweet sour aubergine salad.
For the salad I peeled a couple of aubergines and chopped them up into even chunks before salting them for half an hour. I rinsed them and gave them a good squeeze. I find squeezing out the moisture works better than trying to dry them. I heated olive oil in a pan and cooked the aubergine chunks quickly. As they started to take on some colour I added a finely chopped red onion. That all cooked for a few minutes and then I added more pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, honey and water. That was left to cook down until soft.
We finished ourselves off with an Eton Mess made with meringue, double cream, strawberries and blueberries.
Then time for bed but not before listening again to Tricky’s Maxinquaye reminding ourselves what a brilliant record it is.