25 July 2012

A Little Lebanese...

My hubby's background is Lebanese/Belgian-French and we travel to Lebanon at least once a year. As a family, we all LOVE Lebanese cuisine and, as it is generally healthy, colourful kid-friendly food, I thought I would share a few easy recipes here...
Please bare in mind that I am not a chef, merely a food-loving Mom, so my measurements are more to taste than an exact science! 

Tabouleh Salad 

Traditionally, Tabouleh salad calls for bulgar wheat, I however replace this with quinoa as it is considered a whole protein and contains all 7 essential amino acids...I also love the nutty flavour of quinoa.
Tabouleh is a lovely, fresh salad that can be served with any meal, as a starter or on its own.

2 handfuls fresh parsley (chopped)
1 handful fresh mint (chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped finely)
6 ripe tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup quinoa (cooked and cooled)
juice of 1 lemon
generous amount of extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the lemon and olive oil
Dress with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
Serve in a salad  bowl lined with Romaine lettuce leaves or serve individual portions in Romaine lettuce leaves
For children, serve in small portions in an endive (also known as chicory) leaf, the kids love using the endive leaf as a spoon! 

Babba ghanoush  

This recipe came to me from my Belle Mére (or mother-in-law) who taught me and my brother's wife, Cheryl, how to make this delicious Lebanese Brinjal Paté or 'Babba Ghanoush' last Summer on a visit to Ibiza...

The secret is  to chargrill the aubergines on a barbecue until they are blackened!

4 large Aubergines
1 clove garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
4 Table spoons Tahini (sesame paste)
Salt and pepper

Prick the aubergines with a fork and bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees C) until they are soft.
Place aubergines on a grill above a hot barbecue (wood or coal is best but gas also works)
Cook the aubergines on the grill until they are deflated and blackened but not burnt!

In the meantime, in a large bowl add together the garlic, lemon juice, tahini and seasoning and stir together.
When the aubergines are done on the fire, cut them in half and scoop out the lovely flesh. Add this to the tahini mixture and blitz it with a hand blender. The consistency should be smooth but not runny.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Serve this with toasted pita bread, crudité or in a wrap or sandwich...  or with some Lebanese flat bread if you can get your hands on it!

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