Search This Blog

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Lunch

I had the honour of being invited today for an Easter Lunch with my dear lovely neighbour and her family.

Three generations gathered around this beautifully set table celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, enjoying the warmth of family and a deliciously perfectly prepared Indian feast.

The cutest were the name place holders - boiled eggs with each guest's name drawn on them. So sweet.

The lunch was a traditional South Indian chicken curry.

Spices were freshly ground this morning and the dish simmering aromatically.

Hot, but the kind that makes your stomach feel ecstatic.

And for the vegetarian among the family, a perfectly made South Indian style potatoes and cauliflower dish.

I could have eaten this all day along raita with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.
And as what Olly Jolly taught us, we all counted our blessings. 

The blessings of celebrating Easter together and remembering the families and loved ones who were not celebrating with us.

The blessings of having a roof over our heads and good food at every meal.

And the blessings of having such wonderful dear lovely neighbour to call a dear friend.

Wait, also the blessings of a favourite dessert - yellow and creamy mango pudding; yum.

Thank you dear lovely neighbour and your family for such a beautiful meal and company on this holy day.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Easter Eggs

I was inspired by my brother.

And no, those are not mine. He is way more of a perfectionist than I am.

Nonetheless, he was on to something - naturally edible egg dye for Easter Eggs. 

I liked the idea so much that I rummaged through my fridge and cupboards this morning and managed to find all I need.

It was an experiment, but one I liked. I think next year I will be more organized and mine will look like those of my brother's. 

The first natural dye is beets.

I added the beet, peeled and cut into four, to the water. Added the eggs and turned on the fire for a total of 20 minutes (which is how I boil eggs).

They did not turn out as pink as I would have liked.

The next natural dye is turmeric. 

The question was how much to add. I followed the same process - water, 1 Tbsp turmeric and the eggs. Off to cooking.

It worked much better than the beets for sure. How much did you use brother?

The last natural dye I used was frozen blueberries.

This was tricky. I mushed them, added the water, eggs and turned on the heat for 20 minutes. The eggs looked like they have not changed colour.

The outcome was not too bad though.

Lent was broken.

Jesus has risen.

Eggs were cracked.

And the week of holy foods (referred to by some as Jesus food) is over.

Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Holy Week Foods - Riz Bi Banadoura

The last of the Holy Week Foods series recipes is the simplest and most likely the strangest to be eaten as a stand alone meal - Riz Bi Banadoura (a.k.a. rice cooked in tomatoes).

So easy to make.

First chop one onion and four medium tomatoes into very small pieces.

Fry the onions in olive oil until they are well cooked.

Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer until cooked.

Now add 2.5 cups water, 1 cup rice (long grain - brown or white), bring to a boil and simmer until rice cooked.

Eaten at room temperature as a stand alone meal. Serve with yogurt, salad and/or black olives.



Thursday, 28 March 2013

Holy Week Foods - Fteereh

Fteereh in Arabic means a dish that is a version of a pie (mainly used for savoury pies). This one is from a recipe I picked up from my mother last week and put it to the test right away.

Chards' stems are the basis of this recipe. Rather than throw them away and waste all their nutritional value, this is an easy and tasty way to use them.

First, cut them into 2 to 3 cm pieces and boil them in salted water until they are soft. Rinse and let them completely dry.

Chop an onion and fry it in olive oil until it turns colour. Add to the chard stems and sprinkle with salt, pepper, juice of one lemon and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Mix well and use as pie filling.

I made a crumbly pie crust which hid the taste of the stems a bit. My mother recommends a thinner crust that can become crusty. Try it out.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Holy Week Foods - Mehshi Aatea

When I asked my mother for Holy Week foods, she suggested Mehshi Aatea (no-meat stuffed vegetables). I asked what should I stuff? Any vegetable - chard, peppers, zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, grape vine leaves; she answered. I opted for chard and green peppers tonight.

First, empty the insides of the vegetables you want to stuff and rinse them well.

If you are stuffing chard or grape vine leaves, blanch them for 2 seconds on each side.

Prepare the stuffing:

- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Few parsley stems, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato finely chopped
- 0.5 cup rice
- 0.25 cup cooked chick peas or pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
You can use regular or long grain, white or brown rice; but not Basmati.

Roll the leaves or stuff the vegetables, but don't over do it so the rice does not expand and puncture the vegetables when cooking.

(And I am sure I will hear a lecture from mom about how messy my stuffed peppers look)

Layer the bottom of a pot with peeled potato slices. Add the stuffed vegetables.

Cover with a mixture of 25% lemon juice to 75% water (make sure the liquid covers all). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and a Tbsp olive oil.

Add a plate to hold down the vegetables so they don't move in the boiling sauce, then cover the pot.

Bring to boil and simmer about 30 - 40 minutes (until rice is cooked).

Serve at room temperature.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Holy Week Foods - Moudardara

I posted the recipe for Moudardara two Easters ago (See Good Friday Moudardara). But for those of you who do not like clicking on links, here's the recipe again.

It all starts with onions. 

Peel and cut two onions into thin slices. 

Heat up, in a pot not a pan, 3 Tbsp olive oil and cook the onions.

As the onions start to cook, add lots of salt and keep on frying until they caramelize (almost burn).

Take out the onions and leave aside. Do NOT pour out the leftover oil or clean the pot.

To the same pot add: 2 cups lentils, 7 cups water, 2 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil.

Bring to boil and let simmer, uncovered, on medium-low heat.

As the lentils boil, measure and rinse 0.75 cup long grain rice - do NOT use Basmati rice for this.

Add the rice to the mix and keep simmering, stirring occasionally, until the water is all absorbed.

Taste it along the way. If the lentils or the rice are still not cooked, add more water and continue to simmer and stir.

If it tastes a bit bland to your palette, add some more salt and olive oil.

Once cooked, cool in a platter, top with the caramelized onions and serve.



Monday, 25 March 2013

Holy Week Foods - Loubieh Bi Zeit

I wanted to do a series on Holy Week Foods so I asked the Internet what did Jesus eat. The results were a bunch of 'Jesus diets' - think not. I asked my mother what do people eat on Holy Week and that got me somewhere. Here's the first of a five-day Holy Week Foods series and recipes - Loubieh Bi Zeit (Green Beans in Oil).

Simple, easy, healthy, vegan.

All you need are the beans and four ingredients: Onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.

The green beans typically used for this dish in Lebanon are wider and flatter than the green beans I am finding in Vancouver (imagine a longer snap pea but slightly thicker skin).

Anyways, green beans are green beans so I am making this with the green beans that I could find.

The other thing is the flatter beans are tougher to cook, so they are typically boiled first for this dish.

In today's case, I decided to experiment with adding the green beans raw and see what happens.

Okay, now for the recipe.

Slice the onions and the garlic into big slices.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil and fry the onions and garlic until start to change colour.

Now add the green beans (pre-cooked or raw), snapped in half.

Top with slices of tomatoes, sprinkle with more olive oil, a pinch of salt. Cover and let it simmer slowly on low heat.

In about 30 - 40 minutes (shorter if beans are precooked), you'd find the beans looking well cooked and the tomatoes wilted and mixing with the beans.

Pour into a serving plate and let cool.

Thoroughly enjoyed with huge loafs of Markouk bread baked in Lebanon only 3 days ago.