Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tasting The Middle East With Tang and Glenisk

Tasting The Middle East
With Tang and Glenisk
Carrot, Parsnip, and brilliant Beetroot! All ready for roasting.
Back in the 90s, on a holiday in the South West of France, we came across a brilliant traiteur but he wouldn't let us have the harissa for his couscous until he was sure we understood it was “très fort” and he got his embarrassed teenage son out-front to reinforce the point with his school English. Very strong or not, there was no bother getting it last Saturday or indeed any day in Cork. Just call into Mr Bells (as we did on return from that holiday) and pick up a tube of the spice.

We needed it for a recipe in Taste the Middle East, a recipe booklet produced by Glenisk Yogurt and the Tang Restaurant in Dawson Street, Dublin. We picked out two of the recipes as the basis for a Saturday night dinner: the Baba Ganoush and a Roasted Vegetable Salad with Spicy Yogurt dressing. The Harissa was required for both. You can access the cookbook, including recipe details and method, online here.  

As most of you know Baba Ganoush is based on aubergine and the less usual ingredients are curry powder, the harissa and hazelnut oil (we used Ballyhoura mushroom oil). And the secret ingredient was some Glenisk Organic Greek Style Natural Yogurt which, added to the mixture when cool, gave it a creamy texture. No flatbreads handy but we spread it on toasted Arbutus Sourdough from Bradley’s and, with a bowl of salad, it was perfect. Probably the hardest part was all the maths, cutting down the ingredient quantity from 6-8 to just two!

So on to the main course. The vegetables to be roasted were carrots, parsnips and one of the last beetroots from the garden. Coriander seeds (blitzed) and cumin seeds were added before roasting. The spicy yogurt dressing consisted of the same yogurt as previously, harissa paste, lemon and sea salt. And, to make it a main dish,  we added chicken breasts (with bone and skin) from the Chicken Inn. 

Again, it all worked out very well indeed. Without the chicken, it is a lovely salad for these winter days and the dressing can also be used as a dip. The booklet may be slim but it is packed with recipes, close to twenty in all. Our next target will be the Moussaka.

A couple of possible desserts are included but we gave the cook a break and bought a selection of Turkish Delight from The Sultan in McCurtain Street. Could also had purchased some of his baklava.

Tang opened earlier this year in Dublin and has been very successful indeed. They combined with Glenisk last Friday for a fund-raiser for Syria. Owner Stephen Dwyer says they are regularly asked for recipes (by head chef Jess Gavin). And this book contains some of the favourites and features the Glenisk range of yogurts. Enjoy! We did and we will!

Other recipes in the book:
Shakshuka & Tzatziki;
New Potato Salad;
Tang Raw Slaw;
Roasted butternut squash spread/dip;
Roasted sweet potato & Labneh salad;
Beetroot and Labneh Salad with black olive and lemon chicken;
Middle Eastern Chicken wrap;
Smashed Abocado;
Blueberry Citrus Muffin;
Peanut Butter Brownie;
Yogurt Panna Cotta;
Buckwheat Pancakes;
and Berry Cheesecake.
Some of the ingredients, including beetroot from the garden and wine from Morocco.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Power With Love. A Persian Dinner. Gorgeous. Generous

From Power With Love

A Persian Dinner. Gorgeous. Generous
Chicken Pastilla

From Persia With Love was the title for a magnificent dinner by local internationally known chef Eunice Power in the Tennis Club (Dungarvan) at the weekend and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the West Waterford Festival of Food.

The Saturday event was sold out very quickly and luckily I had booked my two tickets early on. Tables were communal. We didn't know anyone of the other eight at our table but, by the end, we knew them all and indeed found a relationship with one of families!

But back to the food, all from the Middle East. How would this pan out? Which starter to pick? Which mains to choose? That was no problem - you got them all! All the plates were for sharing and Eunice erred on the side of generosity so there was plenty to go around. Just as well, as every little bit was delicious! Besides, some well priced wine, by the local Wine Buff, helped the food go down and inhibitions go away.
Lavash Bread at the bottom and, on top, Lebanese Sausages (left) and Turkish Cheese Cake.
Let us start at the start, the Spring Mezze in three variations. Firstly, crispy Lavash Bread served with Tabbouleh, Hummus, and Moutabel. We were up and running. Then came the Turkish Cheese Cake, one of the highlights of this stage. This was made with goat and sheep cheese with tomatoes and pine nuts.

And another highlight soon joined the table: the slightly spicy rustic Lebanese Sausages, with pomegranate molasses and sesame seeds. Time now for a break and Eunice had wisely allowed for a good one.
Courgette, mint, and crumbled feta salad
The mains were all outstanding, all arriving more or less together, just like the starters. My early favourite was the Monkfish with Saffron Rice. But another soon emerged as I tucked into the Lamb Sinah, spiced lamb and cauliflower baked in tahini and yogurt crust.

And then I got around to another delicious offering: Chicken Pastilla, chicken in filo pastry. And alongside all three there were bowls of Fattoush with spring tomatoes, crispy pita, and also courgette, mint, crumbled feta salad. So much, so very very good.

Another sos (break) followed. There was no humming and hawing about dessert on this occasion. We all wanted it! And what we got was Pistachio Ice cream and Date Cake, each a treat in its own right but put the two together in your mouth and you had palate paradiso!

Monkfish with saffron rice
Lamb Sinah

 Finished off with an impressive Cardamom Coffee; always a little wary of coffees and teas from the Maghreb and Levant (not that I have that much experience) but this was excellent. Time then to say goodbye to our new found friends, all of us still talking about the fabulous feast we had just enjoyed together. Think we’ll be talking about it for some time to come!