this fantastic cookbook arrived in the mail the other day. "Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume" by Silvena Rowe. I am completely enamoured with the food of the Mediterrannean - north African, Spanish, Turkish, etc. Most people in the world, having lacked supermarkets until recently, do remarkable things with a limited range of local ingredients. Not only do you come to understand something of other cultures through their cooking (and the narrative of the writer), you also discover simple and not so simple ways to cook different kinds of foods with readily available ingredients. While some foods which are cheap elsewhere are expensive here, it is surprising how much 'street food' from other parts of the world is simple, healthy and tasty. Yes, there's dinner party food, but a lot of these kinds of books have everyday, inexpensive food too.
This fabulous book has all kinds of eastern Mediterranean recipes. Lost of grains, nuts, fruit, spices, lamb, yoghurt. And you should see the desserts!
Tonight it's Lamb and Pistachio Kofte. The half-price lamb mince made up for the cost of the pistachios... (I've just decided to buy a pistachio tree...)
Mix together the following:
400g lamb mince
1 grated onion
3 crushed garlic cloves
50g chopped pistachios
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
handful of chopped fresh mint
handful of chopped fresh parsley
Mix together and make into 'golf-szed meatballs'. in the book they look like small rissoles, so that's what i did.
Toast 200g unsalted pistaschios (that's a LOT) in a dry frypan. i did half and they were salted. Cool and grind in a food processor, retaining some nuts for garnish.
Mix together 150g tahini, 3 cruched garlic cloves, juice of 2 lemons, 3-4 tbsp water. Then mix in the ground nuts. The book said to put it into the fridge but it went weird, so leave it at room temp!
That's it. Fry the kofte. and serve with sauce on top.
We're having it with beetroot baked with balsamic vinegar and garlic, sweet potato mashed with ginger and honey, and some sauted zucchini.
You haven't heard the last of this book! Looking forward to the salads that will have nasturtiums, zucchini flowers and rose petals from our garden.
After 3 days of leftovers, the family are hanging out for a fresh meal!
PS. The verdict was that the Kofte needed more pistachios (I made double the amount but only 50g nuts) and more mint and parsley (the recipe said 1/2 a bunch of each???) The tahine sauce went all stiff in the fridge and is still stiff a couple of hours later.) Beetroot was probably a bit strong for this dish. Next time I'd make 1/2 the sauce and put more nuts in the mince.