Not as any sort of political gesture particularly, although there may be some empathy with people driven from their homes or killed. Meanwhile, earlier this year, McK bought an absolutely brilliant cookery book by claudia Rosen called "Arabesque" by a woman called Claudia Roden. It's been sitting on our kitchen bookshelf ever since, in the usual way.
In perusing it vaguely the other day, I saw a lovely Lebanese omelette recipe, and I'd been thinking about doing a spinach with blackeye beans and caramelised onions recipe for a while, so I thought - just do the bloody thing. Andthen one thing led to another. These are the Lebanese recipes I've attempted so far:
Spinach with beans and caramelised onions: really nice but I did too many beans. Will do again some time.
Cheesy omelette/s: This you do either as one big omelette (spanish style) or as small individual omelettes. My lovely friends Yoz and Bob were coming over with wee Dexter so for that reason, as well as thinking that maybe Nora might have some, I did them as individual omelettes.
Absolutely *delicious*. Basically, you mash feta, and do your omelette er, batter, I guess, with fresh mint, fresh flat leaf parsley, spring onions and white pepper. Mix it all up together, and splat half ladel-fuls in to the omelette pan. Out came these fantastic, sun shaped, crispy little chesy delights, bursting with fresh,crunchy onion flavour, and the aromatic mint and parsley - wow. Wow. What's truly marvellous about this food is that whilst in the UK we have come to understand that"the meditteranean diet" is very healthy, we tend to put the blinkers on once we've got to Spain. Here is more Med food which is closely linked to Greek, for example and is positively humming with fresh healthiness.
Then today I went a bit bonkers and made green lentils with caramelised onions and pasta (nice and earthy but I made too much really) and much more impressively, an astonishingly delicious lentil soup with rice. So incredibly simple. Stock, lentils, rice, coriander, pepper. 45 minutes of cooking and yet more caramelised onions plus some ground cumin (my favourite spice) placed on top. The real clincher though is a quarter of a lemon, drizzled in to the soup when you have yours placed in front of you. Mysterious, new but there again, comfortingly familiar.
There are many more recipes I want to do from the Lebanese section - the idea is to "do" one culinary adventure at a time. The Moroccan section has some delicious looking vegetarian dishes too. Meanwhile, there's still one portion of the soup left (but not for long). I don't think I'd be sticking my neck out if I said that I may well be cooking that for myself for lunches fairly regularly when I go back to work.
You know what else? Much vegetarian food that you find in UK based recipe books is dull as ditchwater, tasting of nothing. The ubiquitous tomato is dragged in at any opportunity as if to say "Look! It's Meditteranean, it must be good!". But here in the space of a few days, I've discovered really new, and exciting tastes - very different from anything I've had in restaurants, using completely fresh and easily get-able ingredients. The food is for the most part extremely simple to make and yet is fantastic. That book was an excellent investment.