Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Shakshuka with Eggplants & Baked Beans

This original Shakshuka dish has eggplants and tomatoes but I prefer to add a can of "Heinz" baked beans to the gravy to achieve that extra kick!  I was introduced to this simple dish during our Israel trip last year.  Tastes great when served with home-made Pita Bread.

Ingredients (to serve 2-3 persons):
2 eggplants or brinjals
6 eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
2 green chillies, to be sliced
4 cloves garlic, to be peeled & sliced
2 large tomatoes, to be diced
a handful cherry tomatoes, to be quartered
1 can 'Heinz' baked beans - normal or chilli flavour
some chopped parsley or cilantro
sea salt to taste

Place eggplants onto a baking tray & grill until evenly charred.  You may also grill them over an open fire.  Once done, cut a slit at the bottom of each eggplant and leave to drain in a sieve over a bowl. Once they are cool enough to be handled, remove the skin & seeds.  Then, chop roughly.

Prepare the other ingredients.

Heat olive oil in a large pan & stir-fry the sliced green chillies until light brown in colour.  Add sliced garlic, eggplant, both tomatoes and sea salt to taste.  Simmer over high heat until the sauce thickens. Then, add baked beans & simmer for 5 minutes.

By using a small bowl, gently add egg one at a time to pan.  Repeat until all eggs are used up.

Put the lid on & cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are soft.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro before serving.  Serve with home-made Pita Bread.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Cabbage Salad

A simple salad which can be eaten on its own or use it to stuff your Pita Bread. Tastes excellent both ways.  Easy and quick to prepare.  A must salad if you prepare your own Falafel & Pita Bread.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1/4 cabbage (small), to be finely shredded (note:  I cut them coarsely this time)
1 tbsp salt

2 medium-sized tomatoes, to be washed & cut into cubes
1 cucumber, to be washed & cut into cubes
chopped mint leaves

Dressing Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
a pinch of Sumac (optional)
a pinch of cumin powder (optional)

In a bowl, combine shredded cabbage and salt together.  Leave aside until cabbage has softened.

Then, add cubed tomatoes, cucumber and chopped mint leaves.  Mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, Sumac & cumin powder (if using). Adjust seasoning.  Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Bon Appetit!


We had our first taste of Falafel at the Abdul Syukur Imbiss in Old Jerusalem.  The taste was awesome!  Since then, our younger son has been pestering me to make them for him.  Falafel is a mixture of chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic & herbs.  Use a meat grinder to grind the chickpeas, otherwise a food processor will also do the job.  Usually sold at imbiss stands stuffed in Pita Bread along with Cabbage Salad and tahini sauce.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 cups (500 g) dried chickpeas, to be soaked in water and left overnight
a handful cilantro, leaves to be plucked
a handful parsley, leaves to be plucked
1 medium-sized onion, to be roughly chopped
5 pips garlic

2 tsp paprika powder (sweet)
3 tsp cumin powder
2 - 3 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda or Natron)

vegetable oil for deep frying

In a large bowl, soak dried chickpeas in water and leave overnight.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.

By using a meat grinder, grind chickpeas a little at a time.  Then, grind the onion, garlic, cilantro and parsley.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and add paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and baking soda.  Knead mixture well.  If mixture is too dry, add 1 or 2 tbsp water (note:  I didn't add any water at all).  Cover with cling wrap and leave in fridge for half an hour.

By using a falafel portioner or ice cream portioner, scoop portions and arrange them on a small tray as shown.

In a wok, heat vegetable oil until hot.  Fry Falafel in small batches i.e. 4 or 5 at a time. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy.  Transfer to sieve over a bowl to drain.

Serve on their own or in a pita bread along with cabbage salad and tahini sauce or humus.

Bon Appetit!

Pita Bread

The popular saying "once you taste your own home-made pita bread, you will not go back to store-bought ones" is very true!  This is the third time I baked my own pita bread and I must say that it is not difficult to make at all.  You can either grill or bake them in the oven.  My preference is to grill them!  Tastes great when served with Humus or Falafel!

Ingredients (yields 10 pcs):
500 g flour
20 fresh yeast or 10 g dried yeast (I prefer to use fresh yeast)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
350 ml water (from the tap will do)

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together.  Sprinkle brown sugar & yeast over flour mixture.  Then, add olive oil.  By using the dough hook, knead dough and gradually add water until the mixture looks sticky.  Continue to knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Cover bowl with a cloth and leave aside to rise for about an hour.

Punch dough down and transfer to a well-floured worktop.  Divide dough to 10 portions.  Cover and let rise for another 10 minutes.

Flatten each ball to a diameter of 10 cm.

Grill on a hot grill for about 10 minutes.  The pita bread is ready when they puff up slightkly. Alternatively, preheat oven with a baking tray in it to a temperature of about 220° C.  Remove hot baking tray & arrange pita bread on it.  Then, bake for about 10 minutes.

Serve warm with Humus or Falafel!

Bon Appetit!


We were in Israel for a short holiday early August.  The excellent food there encouraged me to prepare several oriental dishes i.e. Humus, Falafel, Pita Bread and Cabbage Salad for our lunch last Sunday.  Humus is an oriental speciality which contains chickpeas and tahini (sesame paste) topped with olive oil, paprika powder and chopped parsley.  The dried chickpeas need to be soaked in water overnight, then slowly simmered for about two or three hours before being blended with tahini. It will be easier and faster if you have a blender.  Sounds like a lot of work but it is worth all the effort because the taste is awesome!  Tastes excellent when eaten with home-made pita bread.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup (250 g) dried chickpeas, to be soaked with water and left overnight
4 - 5 pips of garlic, to be peeled and left whole
1 medium-sized onion, to be peeled and cut into wedges
1 tsp cumin powder (optional)
a few stalks of parsley (optional)

5 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
juice from one lemon
some reserved cooked chickpeas liquid
salt to taste

For garnishing:
olive oil
paprika powder
coarsely chopped parsley

In a large bowl, soak dried chickpeas in water and leave overnight.  If possible, change the water once.

Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Transfer to a large pot and add cold tap water.  Add onion wedges, garlic, cumin powder & parsley and bring to a light boil.

Cover pot and reduce heat to a light simmer.  Cook for about two or three hours. Once done, pass through a sieve, at the same reserve some liquid for later use. Remove parsley.

Set aside a small  bowl of chickpeas for garnishing.  In a blender, blend the remaining chickpeas together with cooked onion and garlic.  Gradually add tahini, lemon juice and salt to taste.  Blend to a smooth paste.  Gradually, add the reserved chickpea liquid to reach the desired consistency.

Adjust seasoning.  Transfer to a bowl and serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, reserved chickpeas, paprika powder and chopped parsley.  Serve with pita bread.

Bon Appetit!