Sunday, 25 January 2009

Food to spoil father with, like a child.

Made a meze plate for the café, a tear 'n share dish. I like that sort of food. In fact being able to eat with someone is a deal-breaker for any kind of relationship with me. I can't stand people who don't eat, who pick, who toy, who don't dive in with gusto. Weight watchers are such a bore. 
I'm not a meat eater myself but my male role model is my dad, half-Italian, half-Irish, who not only eats ALL his own food, leaving not a scrap, even sucking the marrow out of the bones, but will be dipping his bread into your food as well.
Eating and drinking should be communal and sensual.
For this plate, given the limited ingredients available to me plus the fact that the café is vegan, I made baba ganous, falafel, hummus and tzatziki with pitta and salad. Baba ganous means 'food that mother spoils father with, like a child'. Don't you just love Arabic names for food? Like ras-el-hanout ...'everything good from the top of the shop'.
It's difficult to make a decent baba ganous without a wood burner. That smokey taste doesn't emerge from aubergines roasted in a gas oven in quite the same way. I also think the trick with baba ganous and hummus is not to put in too much tahini.

Baba ganous.
Take your aubergines, whole, sling 'em in the oven, forget about them for about an hour. After an hour, pull them out and peel the skins off. The skins come off easily.
Whizz up the aubergines with garlic, ground cumin, olive oil, lots of lemon juice, salt, and a small amount of tahini. Top with flat leaf parsley.

Now I know everybody knows how to make hummus. In my experiments, I've found the best hummus comes from using tinned not dried chick peas. And if possible those tins should be from India. I don't know why, but Indian/Asian chick peas taste the best in hummus.

Whizz up your strained chickpeas, add olive oil, lots of lemon juice, garlic, ground cumin, salt, small amount of tahini. You can add yoghurt, dairy or soy if you want it to be fluffier. Top with paprika.

I'm still working on the perfect fart-free recipe. I like Tamsin Day-Lewis' recipe with chopped up chilli's.

Raitha and tzatziki are similar dishes. I put dried mint in both, I find it works better than fresh mint. Tzatziki: yoghurt, salt, dried mint, fine strips of cucumber, lemon juice. You can use greek yoghurt or if you are vegan, soy.

Warm broad beans with feta cheese (fresh/dried mint with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing) or warm broad beans and artichoke hearts are good meze style dishes, sort of like Greek tapas.

I also made a raw courgette and fennel salad which I liked. The trick is to finely slice both the fennel and courgettes so that they absorb the flavours of the dressing. My dressing this time contained ginger, lemon, vegetable oil, salt. I would have added some orange but didn't have any. 


  1. Great post and nice recipes. Agree with the hummus idea, and am definitely going to try using Indian chick peas. As for the tzatzki, I use mint sauce (the concentrated sort people lather over lamb in pubs) I know it sounds cheap, but it really works somehow. Also much using it to fresh mint etc in raithas.

    keep up the good blogging!

  2. Thanks Lennie,
    Will try the mint sauce idea.
    Have put a link to your excellent blog but the RSS feedburner seems to need updating/fixing.

  3. just made a batch of hummus last night, love the stuff!

  4. Me too Curious, could actually live on it!


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