I am just back from Doha where I had a few days of intensive eating, although not camel this time! However, because I was in the region and because my hotel was packed with Saudi families, having crossed the border to celebrate Eid in Qatar, I thought I would post a Saudi recipe for camel kabab which is actually the best way to eat camel unless you are having the hump. The good news is that you can now get camel meat in the UK from either Exotic Meats or Kezie Foods. You can of course skip the camel meat and make the kabab with lamb or beef but you won’t have a fun talking point over your meal. The traditional recipe calls for millet flakes but I use millet grains because it makes for a prettier presentation as you can see in the picture above. The grains also give the meatballs a nicer texture. So there you go, a recipe for meatballs with a difference. Hope you enjoy them!
Anissa: Two days ago, it was time for my belly dancer of the month and now it is time for anther brilliant guest post by Charles Perry. It all came about because of this year’s Oxford symposium‘s theme, Wrapped and Stuffed, and when Charles sent me the pictures of the Uzbek mantis you see in this post, not only did I want to have some immediately but I thought the subject would make a great post, so, I asked Charles to send me something about them together with a recipe and here is what he has to say about this delicious looking and sounding breakfast pasta.
Charles: About 15 years ago, I spent a morning in the Nu’mankhojaev household (OK, no more Uzbek surnames from now on) eating mass quantities of potato and pumpkin manti while drinking Georgian and Armenian brandy and watching Caspar, the Friendly Ghost cartoons dubbed in Russian. That’s the sort of breakfast you don’t forget.
Next month, I will start my stint as chef-in-residence at Leighton House as part of their Nour Festival. My first session will be about essential Middle Eastern ingredients and I can’t think of one that has gone more global than za’tar. Some of you may say pomegranate syrup, others labneh and others tahini. You may all be right up to a certain extent but I still think that za’tar is the one that is the best known and the most used by western chefs and foodies.
I have this theory that however cosmopolitan and well-travelled you are, you always go first to the dishes you liked as a child. At least this is my case and even now, nearly 40 years after I left the home country, I always want to eat one of my favourite Lebanese dishes, mehshi silq bil-zeyt (stuffed Swiss chard in olive oil in Arabic), as soon as I see Swiss chard in the shops. I normally get my mother to prepare it for me because it is very time-consuming but she is in Beirut. So, I decided to take the plunge and make myself some when I saw fabulously fresh Swiss chard at Zeina in Moscow Road where I shop for my Lebanese ingredients.