by cookbookarabia

Archive for the ‘Za’atar’ Category

Souk el Tayeb meets Arabia

In Israelian kitchen, Lebanese kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen, Turkish kitchen, Za'atar on December 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Now here’s some pictures of our wonderful dinner at Proef! First let’s start with the menu, by Kamal Mouzawak and us.

Arabia’s Pistachiospread & Pumpkinhummous & cauliflower couscous (see previous post)

Hommos & labne

Tabbouleh – the parsley burghul salad with lots of lemon juice

Fattoush – the fresh salad with mint, parsley romaine lettuce, crispy golden flatbread and pomegranate molasses

Manaiish za’atar – little pizza (manoushe) with za’atar

Salatet el rahebb – Roasted aubergine  with tomato and spring onion

Frikeh with wild herbs – traditional soaked briefly cooked frikeh mixed with rosemary, tym and oregano: our version.

Arabia’s  yufka rolls with garlic yoghurt and hot paprika oil.

Arabia’s pistachio custard

Sfouf b debs – Lebanese cake with carob

Kamal arrived on sunday with Christine, his business partner in Souk el Tayeb and Magyu, who owns our favorite little fish restaurant on the rocks in Batroun on the seaside. A lovely brunch was waiting for them…of course this time with Dutch delicacies and some good friends who went with us to Lebanon, of course including Marije Vogelzang from Proef. We were very happy cause another good friend specially arrived for the occasion of the dinner; Shir from the Tel Aviv farmers market. After an afternoon filled with food, stories and laughter we were ready for the real work the next day.

But…not without starting the day with warm apple pie at one of the oldest café’s in Amsterdam Café Papeneiland. From eleven on it was cooking time at Proef! As we are now used to cooking together, we did so many times in Lebanon, it was a pleasant morning and afternoon, with a nice lunchbreak at The Bakkerswinkel, and everything done in time. Of course Magyu was in charge of the aubergine salad, but she took the advantage of doing the pomegranate dressing for the fattouche, which was basically the pomegranate molasses, some garlic, salt and olive oil mixed together. Lotte was back in the kitchen too, sometimes almost in funny despair cause Kamal was telling her to squeeze the lemons like this, and then Magyu said oh no, you have to do it like this…which was of course the complete other way round. That’s what we call the Lebanese way…your own way.  But we were all proud when everything was looking so fresh and appetizing all set and done on the tables. Waiting for hungry forks. And then the evening came, people sat at the tables, laughing, eating, drinking and enjoying every bite (so they told us all the time). And we were the happiest people on earth, sharing friendship and good food!

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Today’s Ras el Hanout

In Maghreb kitchen, Ras el Hanout, Spices, Syrian kitchen, Za'atar on November 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Oh boy, do we like spices! We just love them.The smell of the souk in Damascus we’ll never forget; the air pregnant with pungent sweet spicy almost musky aromas that make you dream. Once you put your nose in the typical za’atar from Syria it works as an instant time machine: back in the souk in a minute.

It’s because their za’atar is different from most za’atars you’ll find in the Middle East: not only is it a mix of the wild thyme, sumak and sesameseeds they put in a secret mix of cumin and other ‘warm’ spices: this perfume fills the little streets. Another favorite spiceblend is the Moroccan one: Ras el Hanout. You will find this blend in every Moroccan shop, but doing it yourself at home is ever so rewarding. The name says it all: the spiceblend of the shopowner is the translation of Ras el Hanout. So why not take all the freedom we want, in the end this is our shop: so this is how today’s ras el hanout tastes like. Good thing as well as with many things in life: today’s ras el hanout is never the same as tomorrow’s. This time we made a sweet and savory one. The sweet one is full of rose petals, staranise, anise, cinnamon, cardamon, jasmine flowers, fennelseeds. As for quantities, this is just something you need to feel…we are always careful with powerful pungent spices like cardamon or cumin, but it’s just a blend according to your personal private taste, so if you like a certain spice very much, be welcome to add more, just smell and taste with your fingertip if it’s right. The smell is very important. A good starting point is to start with little bits of everything and then add more as you go along. Oh and this time we didn’t have lavender, but that’s very nice to add too. We love to make the chicken stew with this one, and why not use it in spice cookies or even a cake?

The  savoury one we put in cumin (not too much!) grains of paradise, black cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, different kinds of black pepper, pink pepper, pul biber, long pepper and coriander seeds. Great in a lamb stew with fava beans and quinces!

So what do you need? All spices you can find in your larder, a coffee & spice grinder and your nose and tongue!