So once again this blog has suffered from a long absence. I've been doing a lot of writing over at my sports blog, Sports After Dark
, and a little bit at My First Mac
but haven't had a lot to say about what's going on with me.
Last night we had our friend Felicia over for dinner and had a very pleasant evening. I had asked Jess earlier in the day if I could get creative with dinner and she agreed, then suggested we have Felicia over to join us.
So for our culinary trip around the world I prepared the following dishes. I do not claim any of these recipes are my own, just thought I'd share them with the world.
Chelo is a Persian style rice. As Jess pointed out to me, rice is rice really, but this produces a nice fluffy rice which is quite tasty. Be careful not to over-do the oil.
* 3 cups basmati or long grain rice
* 8 cups water
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 2
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash rice in cold water, Drain and place in large bowl. Add about 8 cups of warm water. Allow to sit for 2-3 hours covered.
After rice has soaked, drain and save 6 cups of the water.
Pour rice water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice and salt. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Remove rice from heat and drain.
Pour vegetable oil in bottom of saucepan, add rice, then 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on top. Simmer on low for 20 minutes or until rice is done.
As Jess and I are both vegetarians, putting a kebab and traditional Persian meat stew on top was out of the question, instead I adapted my recipe for Israeli Couscous.
ISRAELI COUSCOUS (TOPPING ONLY)
1 can tomatoes (whole peeled are best)
1 clove of garlic
2-3 spring onions
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
pine nuts (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and sauté garlic and spring onions until soft. In a saucepan heat tomatoes and crush to a semi liquid consistency. Add garlic, spring onions, basil and thyme to mixture and simmer on low heat until thick.
I also prepared some roasties, this time using some different spices to give them a Middle Eastern flavour.
Vegetables of your choice, I like to use potatoes, parsnip, carrots, pumpkin and kumara (a type of native sweet potato)
Chop vegetables into 2cm cubes and place in oven tray. Add oil and spices to taste, then shake to distribute evenly. Bake at 200ºC (400ºF) for 30-40 minutes until crunchy. Shake occasionally.
For dessert I baked Umm Ali, an Egyptian bread based pudding. The name literally translates to "Ali's mother" but it is very tasty.
* 1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
* 5 cups milk
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup slivered almonds
* 1/4 cup pine nuts
* 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
* 1/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 200º C (400º F). Unroll the puff pastry sheets, and place flat on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until puffed and golden brown.
2. Break the puff pastry into pieces, and place in a large bowl. Add the raisins, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, and coconut, and toss to distribute. Pour into a baking dish, and spread evenly.
3. Pour the milk into a saucepan, and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Heat until hot but not quite boiling. Pour over the mixture in the baking dish.
4. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn the oven to broil, and broil for 2 minutes to brown the top. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
This produces a nice, sweet dessert that goes well with ice cream, whipped cream or on its own.