Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shakshouka - a kind of Egyptian omelette

Shakshouka is a dish found in several parts of the Middle East and Africa. I had thought of it as primarily Tunisian, but in my recent visit to Egypt found it popular there too. Previously, though, I have always seen it as a dish of eggs poached or baked in a spicy sauce of tomatoes or other vegetables (which is indeed delicious).

But in Egypt - specifically Luxor - the eggs were mixed in with the vegetables to give an effect which sometimes was more like a baked omelette or tortilla and other times more like spicy scrambled eggs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Healthier brownies with a secret ingredient

A good brownie is a wonderful thing, but they can so easily be as disappointing as a broken promise. A dry, crumbly texture or stinginess with the chocolate are the most common failings. A brownie needs to be rich, with a big 'hit' of chocolate, and soft - perhaps even verging on gooey - in the middle.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Salad of peaches and cheese

I've recently been on a trip to Egypt. The food was simple but good - things like smokey baba ghanoush (or baba ghanoug as the Egyptians have it), and falafel (spicy and bright green inside due to being made from broad beans, rather than chick peas as is more common in other countries).

Flat Egyptian breads, slightly similar to pitta but round and usually made with a mixture of white and wholemeal flour, are consumed at every opportunity and are bought by the carrier bag full.

I was struck by the fruit, piled up in abundance at roadside stalls, in shops, on donkey carts, even on pavements.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Leek, mushroom and blue cheese pie

This is one of those dishes that you throw together from what's in the fridge - a few leeks, half a packet of filo pastry, some blue cheese - and it turns out to be unexpectedly delicious.

Like my previous recipe, leeks are the star of the show. I think these two dishes show what a versatile vegetable leeks are - from a light and elegant salad to rich and hearty pie.

Filo pastry is much lower in fat than other types of  pastry, so you can enjoy this pie, perhaps with some more vegetables on the side, and feel relatively virtuous at the same time.