7
Jun

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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.

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19
Feb

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As you may know from my previous post, I have a piece on Iranian food in Saveur and I thought I would continue with the Iranian theme with a post about a very typical Iranian breakfast I had in a modest cafe in Tehran which was just perfect. The barbari, the bread that is normally served for breakfast, had just been baked in the bakery next door — often the bakery and cafe belong to the same owner. The tea was local, from Lahijan, and my Iranian friend showed me how to sip it through a sugar cube the way they all do. Later, at the sumptuous Shah Abbas hotel in Isfahan, I sipped my tea through very elegant wafer-thin saffron-flavoured caramel brittles. The super fresh eggs were half-fried, half-scrambled with tomatoes and the curd cheese had been made by a neighbour. And it all came on a large, rather beautiful metal tray. If my bed had been nearby, I could have carried the tray back to have breakfast in bed!

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3
Feb

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Breakfast is my favourite meal and I love eating it out when I am travelling, even when I am in London. When I lived in Paris, near the Trocadéro, I walked every morning to the place to have a grand crème and a croissant or tartine, normally at one of the cafés lining the place unless I wanted a little elegance, in which case I would go to Carette. When I am in Beirut, I go to el-Soussi for fatteh at least once and I alternate between different bakeries for manaqish. And of course, I go to Amal Bohsali for k’nafeh. And when I am in America (which was the case until yesterday) I make sure to try different places for pancakes, and I always go to Brown Sugar Kitchen for waffles. Theirs are the best. Really!

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24
Nov

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It has been an exceptionally busy month: my residency at Leighton House, the offal and baby goat dinner, a huge dinner for thirty Italian art collectors and cookery demonstrations at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Busy but fun, especially my spectacular breakfast with the lovely ladies at the craft centre in Sharjah. A lavish spread made up of various dishes the ladies had prepared at home except for Moza, the lady in pink, who baked khameer (a saffron-flavoured brioche-like flat bread) in front of us in an ingenious electric portable oven that doubles up as a hot plate. She first placed the flattened disks of dough on the hot top, brushed them with beaten eggs then after a couple of minutes, she lifted them off, opened the hot top to slide the breads inside the ‘oven’ where they puffed up and browned. Then another lady spread the breads with butter before giving them to us to eat with freshly made cheese (shami), date syrup or honey. Totally fabulous. Here are a few pictures to make you jealous!

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