Sunday, December 27, 2009
You have always been the kind of person I aspired to be- a true artist. You write, you paint, you’re outstanding in your chosen field (contract law... but I’ll forgive.) and you’re the only person I can safely say could equal my mother in the kitchen... and being Jewish, that’s blasphemy.) You’re like another mother to me (and anyone who knows me knows that my parents picked pretty amazing ‘extra’ parents for me... I get my good taste in friends from them.)
I first tasted this traditional Lebanese dish at your home, where many of my best childhood memories came from- your gorgeous art-crammed apartment overlooking the Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens, the smell of Oil paints wafting from your studio, the ferns that filled your home exuding green loveliness, Vivaldi tinkling quietly in the background, and the sounds, smells, and colours of amazing cooking invading every corner of the house. I’ve been doing my bit to replicate it ever since- be it helping to squeeze the lemons when I was too young to be allowed near knives, and more recently, not only making it from scratch, but slowly adapting the recipe with all sorts of tricks.
1 large bunch parsley
1 spring onion
2 med. Tomatoes
1/3 cup burghul (cracked wheat, available in most health food sections of the supermarket.)
1 lemon (or more- I’m a sour junkie, so it’s more like 2, but 1 is safe to begin with.)
2 tbsp olive oil (do not skimp! Dry Tabbouli is asking for a hacking cough.)
Salt to taste
Bharat to taste (Bharat, meaning ‘India’ – like the Mahabharata, the ‘story of India’ is a mix spice- there are a billion varieties, and it’s best to experiment with all the different types until you find one you like, I’m a fan of half Iraqi Bharat and half Lebanese... but where I’m staying they had no Bharat, so we made some from all that was available:
¼ tsp ground pimento/all spice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground black pepper
(I’d have liked to add ¼ tsp ground cardamom and ¼ tsp ground
coriander seeds... but they were old and manky, and it’s fresh spices or
1. Wash the parsley roughly
2. Pick the leaves off the stalks- if you are impatient like me you can hold the parsley upside-down and pinch the stalk and pull down- it takes practice, but it means you're pulling the leaves off the stalk instead of cutting them off individually.
3. Wash the parsley more carefully (or better yet, with one of these washy-spinny-things.)
4. Chop the parsley- the finer the better. My trick is to take a small handful of parsley at a time, and fold it- packing the parsley as tightly as possible, and then cut the messy end of the bundle off, and chop the rest of the bundle finely, then re-fold the chopped parsley and repeat until it’s as finely chopped as you can muster. It's time consuming, but it's totally worth it.
5. Boil water, and pour 1/3 a cup over the 1/3 cup of burghul- let sit, until the burghul has soaked up all the water, then wash the burghul (so it’s cold) and pour the lemon juice over it. DO NOT put the lemon juice straight on the burghul before washing... If the burghul is hot then all the vitamins and most of the taste of the lemon juice is wasted. A tea strainer/ fine sieve is generally best to wash the burghul.
6. Chop the spring onions and tomatoes as finely as possible
7. Mix the parsley, tomato and spring onions- add olive oil, salt and Bharat.
8. Nom Nom Nom. (translation: enjoy.)
Tabbouli is Full of Iron, and vitamin C. Ladies; you know what I’m talking about: this is the ultimate Aunt Irma Iron-Loss cure. (And if you don’t know who Aunt Irma, you need to watch the IT Crowd- specifically Season 1 Episode 6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w9eoZtnJSA i’d embed it, but it’s been ‘removed by request’)
Thankyou so much Eve, For Everything.
All my love,
Friday, December 25, 2009
I think this'd be lovely for a real Australian (bloody hot) Christmas lunch.
Dearest Jennifer (Paterson),
Being a child of parents of a; how shall we put it; slightly hippie-ish nature, and therefore Televisionless for the extent of my childhood and into the forseeable future, I was not a child brought up on the vast slew of cooking shows available on Australian television. The only shows that were on at my Fairy-Godfather's (close friend of the family) house at the times we visited were those things used to fill late-evening slots on SBS. It was then that my family was introduced to you, and Clarissa, and the darling English countryside; and many a happy evening was spent following you as you traipsed around the isles and made deliciousness occur.
My aunt first made a version of this for us at a dinner where we produced your Broad beans in Dill (Season 3, Episode 1: Benedictine Nuns). The link may seem weak- but that dish alone is one of the first reasons i ever started cooking... and this is something i've been experimenting with all week, so stiff biscuits.
Serves 2 (multiply as req.)
1 Large/ 2 small Manderin Oranges
1 handful bocconcini/mini mozarella
3 tablespoons slivered almonds (originally Macadamias- but when I added the Bocconcini to the recipe I felt a less fatty nut was required. Substitute the almonds and the Bocconcini with Macadamias to make this a Vegan-friendly option.)
4 large lettuce leaves
1 handful baby lettuce leaf mix
1 handful baby spinach
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ Teaspoon best mustard
Black Pepper (freshly ground)
1. Peel the Manderin Orange(s) of both pith and the white casing of each segment-
a. With your thumb nail tear the join along the ridge of the segment
b. Peel down both sides and use them to tear away the middle face of the segment
2. Tear each segment into two or three pieces- you want the pieces to be big enough to pack a punch of juice, but not so big that that’s all you are fitting on your fork
3. Cut/Tear the Bocconcini until no piece is bigger than the surface of your thumb-nail
4. Chop the slivered almonds roughly
5. Chop the lettuce and spinach finely- you want to create a lot of fine threads that clump together and bring dressing with them.
6. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper- can be done in a glass with a fork, or best in a small bottle to really distribute the mustard evenly (otherwise it gets clumpy and doesn’t look the best; although the taste is the same)
7. In a bowl, layer the lettuce, spinach and baby leaves first, then the mandarin pieces, the bocconcini, the almonds and finally the dressing.
8. Nom. Nom Nom Nom.
(as you can see; I only had Iceberg lettuce and no Bocconcini... but this recipe is most tweakable.)
All my love,
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It's always been a dream of mine, to collect all the things that I find beautiful, and innovative, and inspiring. You were all three- and so; in dedicating my first post to you, I wish to begin on the purest note.
My plan for this adventure is to develop the conceptual basis of the blog as I design the page- amongst the things I intend to do (and; as my tweed-and-bow-tie mathematics teacher used to say: show all my workings.) are
-Artwork for the header (A fawn; probably mechanical pencil, fineliner and watercolour) involving the process of choosing a font for the title and the photoshop process of placement and enhancement. (Will have to wait until I am home in Melbourne with my Windsor and Newtons and my darling Photoshop.)
-Design of a signature- something I find charmingly pretty in any blog.
-Paring down my morbidly obese 'favourite blogs' tab until I can choose only those I find truly well-rounded or of exceptional quality.
-probably many other things. I have forgotten all the things that sprang to mind but an hour ago. Bother.
And along the way
*favourite fashion pieces
* '' films
* " books
*outfits (only when particularly meticulously planned/photographed... Shoddy camera work, or uninspiring outfits simply serve to irritate me in the genre of daily-outfit-blogging. Better to not post than post something mundane?- although if you disagree, please let me know: I'm curious.)
*and most probably (although avoided when at all possible) rambling and ranting on the topic of my whimsical choice.
If you should happen to stumble onto this- please tell me what you think. If I'm doing this for other people (as well as myself) I want to know what you enjoy- and what you'd prefer I pared down.
All my love,