The next post will be on or before Monday 19th June
GOURMET RECIPES YOU MAY NOT KNOW
Everyone knows about stuffed peppers, courgettes, aubergines and mushrooms, but in the Middle East they also stuff potatoes, quince and apples, all of which taste delicious
LEBANESE STUFFED POTATOES WITH SAFFRON
Allow one large potato half, or two smaller halves per person.
-Peel potatoes and divide longways. Scoop out the flesh and reserve for making soup another time.
-Fry the potato halves in olive oil on both sides till brown
-Meanwhile saute finely chopped mushrooms and garlic, add mint or thyme and mix well, then set aside
-Saute onions and garlic until soft. Add 1 teaspoon of tomato puree, one grated carrot, and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Then mix in cumin and salt, and a few strands of saffron that you have soaked in a little warm milk
-Fill each potato half with the mushroom mixture, put them in a large casserole, cover with the tomato sauce, put on the casserole lid, and bake in oven until the potatoes are completely soft
-Serve alongside a bulgur salad flavoured with mint and cumin and with diced fried peppers and aubergines, fried sultanas and fried cashews. Also provide a dish of yoghurt flavoured with a tiny amount of allspice and crushed walnuts, and with olive oil containing a little paprika dribbled over it
PASTA WITH FENNEL AND PISTACHIOS
-Take fresh fennel vegetable and make a v-shaped cut to remove the fibrous stuff at the base. Discard the celery style projections at the top. Reserve any feathery fennel fronds at the top.
-Grate the fennel that is left and fry in olive oil until soft
-Add single cream and lemon juice, lemon rind and sugar. The cream will not curdle I promise you though pessimists say it will. Saute gently and don’t let it boil.
-Tip over cooked pasta which you have mixed with a little olive oil, and add pistachios fried in olive oil (i.e. do not be a philistine and add cheese) Garnish with the chopped fennel fronds
-Serve with a nice green salad with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, sugar
WHOLE LEEKS WITH RED WINE AND CORIANDER
This is a standard a la Grecque way with certain vegetables, and the same is done with mushrooms where white wine and thyme are used instead of red wine and coriander seeds. That said, I have only ever seen these recipes described in Greek cookbooks, never once have I come across any of them in Greece itself in 45 years.
Allow one entire leek per person, about six inches long. If you have enormous leeks cut into six inch lengths
-Pare leeks at either end and then make a shallow slit the whole length of each. Submerge in cold water and search out any hidden dirt and rub it off. Dry the leeks
-Line them up side by side in a big frying pan. Add olive oil and a tablespoon of crushed coriander seeds. Fry at half the max heat
-When they start to brown add say a quarter of a cup of cheap red wine. Cover with lid and lower the heat
-Stew away for an eternity and keep checking to see the wine hasn’t evaporated, or if there is too much liquid only partially cover the pan till most of it has gone
-After a while the leeks turn a beautiful pink and black and cease to look like leeks. And when you taste them you feel like you are in paradise, in a paradisaical Greek island like Kythnos in fact
-Serve with Greek style roast potatoes, flavoured with lemon juice and oregano. Also perhaps a Middle Eastern egg cake known as an eggah or in Iran as a kookoo. In a big frying pan fry a few mushrooms, sultanas and almonds. Beat up 6 eggs and add to pan along with lots of fresh or dried herbs and seasoning. Cover and leave on low heat till cooked. Put under grill to crisp, just before serving. Decorate with pomegranate seeds so that it looks like a bejewelled mystery.