Friday, July 11, 2008

Lebanese dinner courtesy of Nigella

Thanks to the lovely Claudia, I have recently watched many episodes of Nigella's food shows, including Forever Summer. In a time when I find it hard to plan ahead my meals, ie looking at my cookbooks for inspiration, writing down grocery shopping lists and going to the supermarket, I was surprised to be inspired by so much DVD watching of La Nige. The last program I watched was Forever Summer, and therefore it had the most vivid impact on my memory.

The other day, we hopped over the border intending to gather strawberries in a special field where you pay for the amount of fruit you've collected (and stuff your face in the process). It was to have a little fun and show Maya where strawberries come from (she loves them). Alas, what disappointment when we found out they had cleared the field to sell the produce in a stall by the side of the road, having a strawberry fest that weekend -probably the end of the season (?)

Anyway, we consoled ourselves by spending time in Trier, and I knew of a Middle-Eastern shop there, so picked up, among other goodies, some Lebanese-style bread. It's a type of very thin and soft pita. It's exactly what Nigella uses for her flatbread pizzas and fattoush in the show.

I used to have a Lebanese friend when I was at school. I remember tasting what seemed highly exotic and nevertheless delicious foods at her house after school. The door was always open for her friends (and her brothers'). She rarely came to my place, but I spent many many hours at hers, a whirlwind of people, food and languages (they spoke perfect French, Arabic, English with the Filipino maid). Sadly we lost touch when we were at university. Drifted apart.

Anyhow, that was just meant to say that I knew those flatbreads well, we even had Nutella on them for snacks sometimes, and while the Auchan supermarket has them (€ 3 a measly industrial pack!!!) the shop in Trier sells them fresh for 50 cents.

So it was ideal to make both the "pizzas" for which I have no photo to show (they were too quick to wolf down) and the fattoush.

Fattoush is a bread salad composed of cucumber, tomato, spring onion, mint and parsley. The dressing is made of lemon juice, olive oil and grated garlic. You toss everything together and add some splinters of flatbread (which you have toasted to crisp in the oven beforehand). You leave it for the flavours to mingle then just before serving, add some more bread chips for contrast of textures. It was really delicious, even though W. said : "Brotsalat?" with a suspicious arched eyebrow.

For the za'tar chicken, you just rub olive oil all over chicken pieces then sprinkle and massage a lavish quantity of za'tar spice mix (which is just pulverized oregano, sumac and whole sesame seeds) into them before grilling or baking.

Add to that some potato wedges rubbed with oregano and olive oil, and dinner's ready. Flavoursome, healthsome, summersome, quicksome (ha!)


Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog a couple of months ago when I knew we were moving to Luxembourg - what a find! Bit of a cookbook addict myself and definitely a food-lover, was wondering whether you could give me the address of the middle-eastern shop in Trier. Actually my family are Greek-Cypriot although I grew up in England and I know that I would find lots of familiar products there. I was also pleased to read on your French blog that Delhaize stocks Haloumi cheese - fab on the bbq amongst other things! Only been here 3 weeks and am still finding out where to locate things...any tips much appreciated! All the best. Chrissie

iamyuva said...

being food lover myself.. trying cooking difference recipes. i find blog to be interesting.

me too relocated recently to luxembourg from athens/greece (iam originally from india)

julie said...

Thank you both for your comments

Chrissie, I think the street the shop is in is Neustrasse, coming from the city centre you'd have to keep walking quite a bit to find the shop, it is situated near two shoe shops, I hope that helps, I don't know the name precisely (but think there's a cedar/Lebanon flag above the entrance). I promise that the next time I go, I'll give better directions.
You might be interested in Little Britain in Capellen, they sell British foods, papers and gifts.

Also, if you have more questions, leave another comment, or an email address :-)

Christina said...

Thank you, Julie! My mouth is watering already at the thought of felafel, tabouleh and fattoush! My (English) husband always describes Lebanese food as more sophisticated Cypriot food! Actually, today I have been making keftedes (Tessa Kiros recipe), tzaziki and cheese pies with my 2 daughters.
I've heard of Little Britain but haven't been there yet and am still on the look-out for a really good kitchen equipment shop in Luxembourg.
I didn't want to send this as 'anonymous' (hence the inclusion of my name at end) but I've forgotten my password to send as google/blogger and it seemed the only way to post it. Many thanks for your interest. Chrissie

julie said...

Christina, I know how it is to be new in a city, I've been here for a year so I sympathize.

Your menu sounds delicious!

As for a kitchen shop, I have yet to see a proper one, but there's a Habitat in Strassen (in the Belle Etoile shopping center) and an Ikea in Arlon, just across the Belgian border.

Sandy said...

I haven't made this in ages, but it would be the perfect sumemr meal. mmmm.

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

This is one of my favourite things from Forever Summer and yours looks delightful Julie.

Anna said...

This is such a straightforward, tasty Summer meal - I love it!