Monthly Archives: March 2013

Khoubz – Arabic Flatbread

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Bahraini and expats love Khoubz and you only need stand outside one of the many Al Khabbaz on the island to see how popular this type of flatbread is. Khoubz literally flies of the shelves or should I say, out of the tabour. Enjoyed throughout the day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Khobuz is eaten with eggs, chickpeas, cheese and meat dishes (like Thareed) or grills.

Simone from JungleFrog Cooking’s photo challenge is, “to go on location” and try get out of your comfort zone! Most of my photography is usually standing still so I did find this months challenge… well, a bit of a challenge! These bakers work so fast, the bread cooks in seconds and it was hard keeping up with the constant movement when taking photographs and neither of us spoke each others language.

arabic bread-0076No fancy kitchen tools used here… but the job gets done. Kneading the dough with a large industrial mixer which looks like it has had plenty of use.
arabic bread-0039Shaping the cut pieces of bread dough into even sized portions… these bakers work so fast!
arabic bread-0081Arabic BreadGiving the Khoubz dough a workout… rolling, flipping, stretching and shaping.arabic bread-0089The Khoubz dough is slapped onto the side of a very hot tanour while another baker stands by with a long hook, ready to hook out the baked Khoubz moments later.
arabic bread-0083arabic bread-0066arabic bread-0074Fresh baked Khobzu from the tanour…. when you take Khobzu home, a wonderful aroma of baked bread is left in you car!
arabic bread-0014A well deserved cup of chai after all his hard work… then it’s back to work!

Some Irish Favourites

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Nothing has been turned a ghastly green colour in this post for St. Patrick Day. Mr. Google already has endless lists of green recipes which I am sure will have covered Ireland’s forty shades of green… which by the way, was a famous song dedicated to the Emerald Isle by singer Johnny Cash… that’s going back a few years! So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day… a few things Irish!

Carved with celtic symbols from the Wild Goose Studios in Ireland this piece is a favourite of mine and represents life’s journeys and meetings!   A note on the back makes reference to Emerson’s Law of Spiritual Gravitation!

“People destined to meet will do so apparently by chance at precisely the right moment!”

Carl Jung called this synchronicity! A wonderful thought!

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An avid fan of Nicholas Mosse, many pieces of this handmade pottery have journeyed across the waters to Bahrain inside a suitcase, thankfully arriving in one piece! To this day my kids will never let me forget the 3 hour car journey (just to get there) I inflicted on them, traveling to the place in Kilkenny where Nicholas Mosse makes his pottery! “Mum… “you made us travel all this way… just to see this”! All for the love of Irish pottery!

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Ireland is famous for its traditional Aran sweaters and they say that each stitch has a story and in every line there is a legend. My Mother original from Donegal, famous for its traditional Aran sweaters, hand knit this very special Aran cardigan. As far as I know no legends or stories were ever associated with this cardigan…  sure it all might be a wee bit of the old blarney!irish-irish-2

Nothing beats the Irish countryside (when it’s not raining) and coupled with a cheese-making day at a farmhouse in Coreleggy…  a wonderful Irish out-door experience!

More Irish recipes will be posted on this blog at different stages and I have previously posted my Dad’s traditional Irish potato bread recipe and a chocolate and blackcurrant cupcake recipe made with the famous Irish black stuff… Guinness! Keep and eye out for more!

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂 🙂

Olives, Walnuts and Pomegranate – Zeytoon Parvaradeh

olives, walnuts, pomegranate and mintWhen I get my hands on a new cookbook I cant wait to flick and read through the book, picking up information about ingredients and recipes, reading stories about the author and learning bits of history related to the cuisine! Also, feasting my eyes on the mouth-watering photographs before heading into the kitchen to try out some new recipes… the tasty part!

Some months ago the cosy Words Bookstore and Café hosted a book signing by the lovely Ariana Bundy, promoting her new cookbook Pomegranates and Roses! I am not familiar with Persian cooking so it was a wonderful opportunity to meet Ariana herself and get a signed copy of her cookbook, to learn more about this very colourful cuisine! In fact it was only a couple of months earlier that Suzanne Husseini  visited Words Bookstore and Café for her cookbook signing … another lovely cookbook!

pomegranate paste and seeds, garlic, mint, basil, walnuts, olives and vanilla olive oil

To whet the appetite, Ariana demonstrated two delicious recipes from her Pomegranates and Roses cookbook, Zeytoon Parvaradeh, an olive, walnut and pomegranate appetizer and Mast O Khaiar, a cold yoghurt soup garnished with dried rose petals … both mouth-watering recipes, full of flavour and easy to prepare! Since then, I have made Zeytoon Parvaradeh on a few occasions, nibbled on some sweet Goosheh Feel and used some of the Ekhlas dates from the freezer for Omeletteh Khorma for breakfast and made Joojeh Kabab for a barbecue! There are many recipes that I want to try from this cookbook and I am sure there will be no complaints from the family!

While demonstrating Zeytoon Parvaradeh Ariana did mention that Persian pomegranate molasses/paste is the preferred brand with her recipes! The pomegranate molasses that I use is much thicker and has a more tart taste, so I guess it is finding a brand that has a good balance between sweet and sour! Maybe adding a little honey or lemon juice to a recipe, to balance the sweet and sour where needed! Thank you Ariana for letting me take the rest of pomegranate paste home and as promised I have prepared your recipe! olives, walnuts and pomegranates served in small dishes

The recipe for Zeytoon Parvaradeh has been adapted, with the addition of garlic and a drizzle of vanilla olive oil on top before serving!  I used the Spanish Manazilla olives as suggested but used a sweet Basil (had some in the garden) instead of Asian Basil! Used a mini food processor to blend all the ingredients together, rather than a pestle and mortar to crush the olives! I came across some lovely lemon mint at a farmers market recently, which I will try when I next make this recipe!

As an appetizer for a dinner party, serve Zeytoon Parvaradeh in individual dishes, alongside thin slices of lightly toasted French bread or water crackers! Or, place everything in a serving bowl and let everyone tuck in!

Zeytoon Parvaradeh

Recipe adapted from the  Pomegranates and Roses cookbook by Ariana Bundy.

Ingredients:

  • 125g stoned Manzanilla olives
  • 25g shelled walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed (optional)

for garnish

How to make: Reserve 4 olives for the garnish, then add the remaining olives, walnuts, extra-virgin olive oil, pomegranate molasses, mint, basil and garlic to a small processor and blitz for a few seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz again until mixture is very finely chopped. Place the olive mixture into a bowl and leave the flavour to develop for a couple of hours or overnight before serving. Place the olive mixture into individual serving dishes and garnish with whole olives, pomegranate seeds, mint leaf and a drizzle of vanilla olive oil on top, if using. Serves 4.

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