Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Middle Eastern Inspired Meal

Kitchen Play List:  Christina Aguilera ~ Dirty
                                      Shakira ~ Eyes Like Yours
                                      Bowes & Morley ~ Better Times
                                      Nicola Benedetti ~ Zigeunerweisen Op.20
                                      Shakira ~ Did It Again
                                      Newton Faulkner ~ Ageing Superhero
                                      Melissa Etheridge ~ An Unusual Kiss
                                      Tina Turner ~ Nut Bush City Limits

I had some Spicy Roasted Baby Aubergines in my fridge waiting to be eaten and felt like it needed more than rice to accompany it. Then my mind took off on its travels and before I knew it we had enquired if our friends D & B would be free that evening to join us for dinner. They were! Fantastic...always a pleasure to cook and spend time with them. So I raided my fridge and set about cooking a meal for us all. As the baby aubergines were, to me, middle eastern inspired...I turned to A Vegan Taste of the Middle Eastby Linda Majzilk as I had a number of recipes in that cookbook that I had wanted to try...and then to The Joy of Vegan Bakingby Colleen Patrick-Goudreau for dessert. So with my menu set...I got 

I had some avocados that I needed to use so as a starter I made the Avocado Dip and served it with wholemeal pitta strips and carrot sticks. (recipe will follow in a blog tomorrow) 

Yep...forgot to take off the cling film for the photo! lol 
I had the Spicy Roasted Baby Aubergines (recipe can be found under blog of the same name) as the main part of the meal and they would just need covering in foil and putting in the oven to warm through. I chose the Brown Rice with Lentils recipe as it had spices that complemented the spices used in the Aubergines. And I wanted a side dish other than the usual steamed veggies. So I chose Cabbage with Garlic and Thyme Dressing...technically steamed shredded cabbage but the dressing was different! lol I wanted to have a sauce/dressing on the table too so for that I chose the Tahini & Yoghurt Dressing.

Yep I forgot to take a photo as I dished them up so this was a quick shot of the table; from the top...Cabbage with Garlic & Thyme Dressing, Spicy Roasted Baby Aubergines and Brown Rice with lenils. 
The result was a pleasure to eat. We all enjoyed it very much and the recipes all went well togther..Phew! lol. The rice was flavoursome and the lentils made it a comforting dish.  The cabbage with the dressing was delicious and worked really well with the 'spicy' dishes. The aubergines were soft and tender but not as spicy hot as I had expected them to be. You really didn't need to use a knife with them as the skins were tender and a fork cut them easily. The Tahini & Yoghurt Dressing (recipe to follow in a blog tomorrow) wasn't needed but was a bonus in giving the meal another level of flavour. 
We all cleared our plates and the serving I'm taking that as a hit! lol. 

Brown Rice with Lentils
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of the Middle East)

4oz/100g long grain brown rice
4oz/100g brown lentils
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2oz/50g sultanas (we didn't use these as B & I aren't big fans of fruit in savoury dishes)
1 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 dessertspoon of oil
black pepper
18fl oz/550ml veggie stock or water
chopped walnuts (opitional)

Soak the lentils in water for 1 hour, drain and rinse and bring to the boil in fresh water. Cover and simmer briskly for 30 minutes, then drain. 

Heat the oil and soften the onion. Add the rice and the spices and stir for around 1 minute. Now add the lentils, sultanas and stock and combine well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and scatter with chopped walnuts is using.

Cabbage with Garlic and Thyme Dressing
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of the Middle East)

12oz/350g green cabbage leaves (I used white cabbage)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
black pepper

Cut the thick stems from the cabbage leaves, finely shred them and then steam them until tender. 

Mix the dressing and add to the cooked cabbage and toss well. Serve 

For dessert I wanted something sweet but not heavy so I looked up various recipes and finally decided on Date Slices. I know you are probably thinking..."..and they aren't heavy?" lol. But trust me they weren't. The recipe was from Joy Of Vegan Baking and the recipe will follow in a future blog.  I served them with soya cream and we all agreed they had the perfect sweetness and worked really well with the cream and surprising...they were light! 

Date Slices - surprisingly light and perfectly sweet!

Not bad for a meal thrown together at the last minute, eh? And all I had to 'buy in' was the pittas..everything else I had in the fridge and my