Tag Archives: appetizers

Feta Cheese with Preserved Lemon and Vanilla Infused Olive Oil and A Photography Challenge

One of the food blogs that I follow, Jennifer from Delicieux  had recently taken part in a food photography challenge, set by another food blogger Simone from Jungle Frog Cooking! Hopping over to Simone’s blog I noticed another photography challenge for September… a dominant  white theme a little colour allowed, but only to highlight the white! With everything around me that I needed… why not give it a try!

I have purposely posted other photographs to show how the lighting and camera settings posed a challenge and affected how some of the images looked. The first and last photographs are the images I am happiest with and I was very undecided which one to put at the top of this post!

With some vanilla olive oil, preserved lemons, feta cheese and props, I set about creating a photograph and recipe around the theme. I used props with different tones of white, some with texture and composed them in a way that appealed to me for this photo shoot… also paying attention to the available natural light and camera settings as I took the photographs!

Placed a fresh white frangipani flower from the garden into the small vase brought in another element of colour, with its yellow center!

Placed the prepared recipe of feta cheese, preserved lemons (adding more colour) coated with a little vanilla infused olive oil into the dishes and again some exposure compensations needed adjusting, as I was using aperture setting on the camera!

I stayed away from manual setting on the camera this time and as it was already late in the afternoon, daylight in Bahrain disappears right before your eyes! Trying (which I would have been) to use manual setting and a race against the setting sun would have probably left me in the dark!

You know when you say to yourself “let me try just one more photograph,” stuck a yellow cocktail stick into the feta cheese, removed some props… and it’s a wrap!

A very simple and delicious appetizer that is very easy to prepare! Although I recommend the preserved lemons for their salty lemony flavour and vanilla infused olive oil for its subtle sweetness, fresh lemon zest and a walnut infused olive oil is another alternative! I used a creamy feta cheese which was not so salty, bearing in mind the saltiness of preserved lemons!

Feta Cheese with Preserved Lemon and Vanilla Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients:

How to make: Pace the feta cheese and preserved lemon into a bowl, drizzle over some vanilla olive oil, you just want the oil to coat the feta cheese. Gently mix together, cover with some cling film and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to mingle. Place the feta cheese into small bowls and stick some cocktail sticks into cubes of feta cheese for easy serving!

Would like to know your views and tips when shooting white?

Bahraini Kebab

When served Bahraini kebab, you will not find yourself eating… a dish consisting of small pieces of meat, tomato, onions, etc., threaded onto skewers and grilled, generally over charcoal, which is the dictionary definition. Instead you will be served a vegetarian snack made from a thick batter, which has been shallow-fried, making this kebab resemble a pakora or a pakoda… in my opinion!

The batter for the Bahraini kebab is made using chickpea flour, known locally as kebab flourbesan and gram flour are also other names for chickpea flour. Tomato, onion and other spices are some of the ingredients incorporated into the batter, however ingredients may differ from household to household. Adding kurrat (so does my sister in-law) which is locally known as “bughel” adds a nice onion flavour to the kebab. Kurrat is also known as Egyptian leek and looks like long flat blades of grass which are widely grown in the Middle East.

The Bahraini kebab is very popular during Ramadan and usually served during Iftar. But also eaten and enjoyed as a snack with a cup of sweet tea (chai) anytime of day. Having had my fair share over the years… it’s a bit like throwing buns to an elephant, these kebabs are so delicious and I can never stop at just one!  Crisp on the outside with a soft interior, the Bahraini kebab makes a great little spicy vegetarian appetizer for passing around when entertaining. Also, delicious when served with a cool refreshing (will post recipe) yoghurt and coriander dipping sauce.

Bahraini Kebab

Bahraini Kebab

Bahraini Kebab

Ingredients:

  • 150g chickpea flour or kebab flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • pinch of garam masala spice mix
  • 1 egg
  • 140ml water
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
  • 3 blades kurrat, finely chopped
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed

You will also need some sunflower oil for shallow-frying.

How to make: Sieve the chickpea flour, baking powder, salt, chilli powder and garam masala into a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the chickpea flour, add the egg and pour in the water, whisking all the ingredients together until the batter is smooth. Add in the tomato, onion, kurrat, chilli and garlic, mix all the ingredients together and leave the batter (covered) to rest in the fridge for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Shallow fry: Pour sunflower oil ( approximately 1/2 inch deep) into a frying pan and heat until the oil becomes hot. Place tablespoons of batter carefully into the hot oil and fry until deep golden, flipping the kebab over, cooking the other side. When cooked remove the kebab from the oil with the help of a slotted spoon and transfer onto a plate covered with some paper kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm.

Note: Recipe can easily be doubled which will make approximately 30 pieces!

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