Sunday, November 28, 2010

Middle Eastern Rice & Lentils

After pledging my love for Lebanese food, I realised I haven't posted about it once! So, following from Wednesdays felafel, I bring you another middle eastern speciality; rice and lentils, also known as mujadara (or some variation of). This recipe cam from the Good Living, although it has been ok-ed by FMIL as an authentic take on the traditional version.

Middle Eastern Rice & Lentils with Blackened Onions
from SMH Good Living, June 2 2009
serves 4
  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • 6 onions, halved and finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2x 400g cans lentils, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup long grain rice, rinsed
  • Yoghurt, to serve

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, and add one of the onions, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and all spice. Sauté for four-ish minutes until onion is soft and starting to colour.

Add rice, and stir to coat. Stir in stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

the onions - yes I used a red one, but we only had 5 brown onions...

all cooked down, and nicely black

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large pan and add the remaining 5 onions. Cook until soft and blackened, about 20-30 minutes.

Serve rice scattered with onions, with yoghurt on the side.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Broad Bean Felafel

One of the things I miss most about Sydney, is a decent daily broadsheet. The Sydney Morning Herald is a great newspaper, and my favourite section is Tuesday's Good Living. FH Alphie has been religiously collecting them since I moved to Perth, and each time I return home, a pile of Good Livings awaits me.

I found this recipe in the last pile FH Alphie handed over - 28 September, to be exact. And the timing couldn't have been more perfect, as FSIL had just received a shiny new KitchenAid food processor as a gift (from a long-term bludging house guest...)

Mine looked nothing like those in the recipe, but they were still really tasty, very filling, and iridescent green. I think this had to do with the order I put things in the food processor, so I've modified the recipe below, and I hope it works better for you than it did for me!

Broad bean felafel fritters
from SMH Good Living, September 28 2010
(makes 10-12)
  • 1kg fresh broad beans
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • 1/2 lemon, zest & juice
  • plain flour for dusting
  • vegetable oil for dusting

Remove broad beans from their pods. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add broad beans and simmer for a few minutes.

The ever shrinking broad beans...!

Drain, rinse to cool slightly, and peel off the outer skins - I find that the easiest way to do this is to pierce the skin along one edge, and gently squeeze it out.

My unfortunately green, smooth as silk mix.

This is where I deviate from the recipe. I would suggest you put the herbs in the food processor first, and lightly chop them up. Then add the remaining ingredients; broad beans, chickpeas, garlic, coriander, cumin, chilli and lemon, and pulse until roughly chopped and combined.

Then shape into patties, and lightly coat in flour. Heat oil in a large frypan, and cook for a few minutes on each side until lightly brown.

Serve with yoghurt, flat bread and salad.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blackwater, Sans Souci

This one is a bit late, but better late than never, right?

About three weeks ago, when I was last in Sydney, FH Alphie took me out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. My flight in landed at 8.20 so we were aiming for a late dinner somewhere between Sydney airport and home. Blackwater in Sans Souci fit the bill perfectly. They were more than happy to take a late (9pm) booking, although warned us that they take last orders at 9.30.

We arrived right on the dot of 9, and the place was bustling. After being shown to our table, the menus arrived, and a waitress turned up the dimmer on the egg shaped lamp on the table. Knowing that we had to order early, we got straight into reading the menus and made quick decisions. Unfortunately the waiter was not in such a rush, and after asking us if we were ready to order, promptly wandered off once we said we were ready to go!

After that little bit of confusion, he returned to take our orders, a waitress dropped by to turn down the dimmer on the egg, and quickly after some warm bread and olive oil was brought to the table (apologies for the super-blurry photo, I'm blaming it on the egg).

Neonata (grilled white bait fritters with celeriac aioli)

We decided to share the starters, as neither of us could decide on just one thing! White bait is always FH Alphie's favourite, so that was a definite, and the house cured Atlantic salmon sounded too good to pass up.

Carpaccio (lemon cured atlantic salmon with lilliput capers, chives)

As to be expected FH Alphie's favourite was the white bait, which I found a bit bland and needing just a touch of salt, while I preferred the salmon, and could have easily eaten the whole plate myself. The lemon curing resulted in velvety smooth salmon, and the saltiness of the capers balanced well with the lemon.

Conchiglioni (baked shell pasta filled with veal bolognese and buffalo mozzarella)

We went in very separate directions for the main. Being an Italian restaurant, and me living with a veggo and being deprived of red meat, I opted for the veal ragu stuffed shells. The ragu was fabulously rich, and the veal soft and fall apart-y (is that a word? I don't think so...), but the real star was the soft and creamy buffalo mozzarella.

Scampi (grilled NZ scampi with leek and pine nuts)

FH Alphie stuck to the seafood theme, and tried the scampi. Essentially large salt water yabbies, these lived up to the scampi hype. FH Alphie found them a bit fiddly, but then again, what shellfish isn't?, these were well cooked, fully opaque, but not dry, and very tasty.

Sauteed brussels sprouts with speck, onion & chestnuts

Just to make sure we got our greens for the day, we also ordered a side of brussels sprouts. I usually love the combination of brussels sprouts with some form of cured pork product, and I looove chestnuts, so I thought this would be a winner. Unfortunately, these were a bit of a miss. I'm not sure how, but somehow these just didn't match up to the rest of the meal - maybe brussels sprouts weren't a good match?

Apart from the sprouts, this was really a great meal, and given that Blackwater is on our side of the city, I imagine we'll be back soon.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A slight deviation...

Firstly, apologies for the interruption to scheduled programming. But I'm just so excited and I had to share!

Ms Red left me her car while she's in Melbourne for a few weeks, so I decided to make use of my freedom and do some exploring of some of the parts of Perth I haven't seen much of. A quick google search for 'perth markets sunday' brought up two markets in Subiaco, about 3-4 blocks from each other, so I hopped in the car, and made my way over. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a red herring, the first, Subiaco Pavillion Markets, looked like it had been closed for a couple of years, and the other, Station St Markets, was mostly a fruit & veg market (with some great food stalls!).

So, I decided to take a wander around Subiaco, and one of the few places open was Good Sammys (translation for the non-WA readers: an op shop). It was one of the strangest op-shops I have been to. There was a pretty poor selection of 'normal clothes', but a massive selection of wedding and formal gowns! Inspired by Ms Reds fabulous op shopping abilities, I thought I'd have a decent look around, and see what I could uncover. In amongst a lot of stock standard year 10 formal dresses, I stumbled upon...

This fabulous Laura Ashley frock; black velvet bodice, with a full, two layer skirt. Unfortunately I popped a button while bending down to put my shoes on... oops! so a little bit of mending to do, but all up, a great find for $15.

And this 'Exclusives by Antulov Raphal' red number. I can describe it in no other way than Joan Holloway-esque. It's fab (and for $12.5o no less)! and I can't wait for an opportunity to wear it.

Lastly, I picked up a pair of khaki pants, as they seem to be in every magazine lately, and try as I might, I just don't fit into any I've seen on sale anywhere. I'm debating whether to turn these into shorts of some kind, but Ms Red thinks I should leave them as is...

Apologies again, and I promise a return to normal programming soon.


Viet Hoa, Northbridge

Last Friday Ms Red and Ms Red's friend E flew back into Perth after a week of 'cadet camp' for cadet journalists in Adelaide. They were both looking a bit worse for wear when they arrived at our place, but were keen for something to eat before they had to face the 2 hour drive back to Bunbury.

Ms Red requested something light with an option for lots of vegetables, preferably Thai or Vietnamese, as they had had a week of overindulgence and very low on vegetables, as hotel food often is. I narrowed this down to a couple of Vietnamese places in Northbridge, that had been recommended by my work colleagues and would be quick, cheap and tasty.

After finding a park (no mean feat in Northbridge!), we wandered along William Street, passing a couple of the places recommended to me. We kept walking, unable to make a decision, until we made it to Viet Hoa, and as soon as we were out the front, Ms Red deemed it to be 'the one'.

E was feeling to seedy to order anything, so Ms Red and I made the selections for the table. We started with the Goi Cuon (Vietnamese rice paper rolls - pork & prawn) and the Nem Nuon Cuon (Vietnamese rice paper rolls - grilled pork balls).

Goi Cuon

Nem Nuon Cuon

Ms Red then ordered a wanton soup (unfortunately, I can't remember which one!) and I went with my satandard, Pho Tai (raw beef hofun soup). And although she didn't order anything, E helped both Ms Red & I out with our enormous bowls of soup!

Ms Reds wanton soup

Pho Tai

Ms Red & E then stocked up on Red Bull, and started the trip south...