I resisted instagram for years but finally gave in last week and since then, I have been having fun taking pictures and trying out the different filters. They must have improved them from when they launched as I remember not liking the effects then whereas I do now although not all. In any case, today I thought I would post a recipe in pictures and as I was looking back at the pictures, I thought why not post the recipe here. So here it is together with the instagrammed pictures. When I bought the baby carrots, I had intended to cook them like I often do new potatoes in olive oil with saffron and parsley but as I was looking through my Moroccan recipes, I came across one for sweet potatoes with cumin, ginger and paprika and coriander and I decided to go with that substituting my baby carrots for the sweet potatoes.
It was lucky I rented my little Sicilian casetta during orange blossom season. I had included a recipe for the jam in the book I am working on right now and was wondering how I was going to test it. Well, I didn’t have to wonder too long as I walked with Mary through her citrus grove and found the trees bursting with blossom. All I had to do was decide which of the blossom were the right ones for the jam — some were small and others large and fleshy. Thinking back to the orange blossom jam of the Lebanese sweet-makers, I decided to go for the fleshier kind and the next day, Amy and I went down early in the morning to pick 1 kilogram of blossom, which was the quantity I needed for the recipe. We quickly realised that if we were to pick so much, we would be spending the rest of our week making the jam. Not only would it have taken forever to pick the blossom — the flowers are surprisingly light — but we would have had to spend hours picking the petals off them. So, I decided to cut down the recipe to a quarter of the quantities and after a good half hour at least, we had picked what we needed.
I may have inadvertently started a trend. I was doing a radio interview the other day about Modern Mezze ahead of my participation in the Emirates Literary Festival and as I was flicking through my book, I remembered that I had included roasting chickpeas as a way to supplement a home-prepared mezze and I wondered if the roasted chickpeas that I have been seeing on menus in the last couple of years or more did not have their inspiration in the photo and quick recipe below. It sounds presumptuous I know and I am sure there are people who wrote about roasting chickpeas before I did — must check in Rayess’ book, also Ibrahim Mouzannar‘s. Also it may well be that the trend for roasted chickpeas came from somewhere else because they are a heatlhy snack and chefs are more and more concerned about offering healthier choices.
I may not have been to an olive harvest before but I have been to an olive press, including the ancient ones in Volubilis near Meknes, Morocco. However, the one Tonino and Mary use near their farm has nothing ancient about it. In fact, it is very modern with the process completely automated from when the olives are poured into an underground chamber (through a grill to catch the last of the branches) to when they are sucked onto a conveyor belt ferrying them to a washing chamber then onto another conveyor belt which carries them to the press. The process is fascinating to watch even if not very aesthetic, at least not at Sole che Sorge whose lovely owner in the picture below doesn’t seem to have much concern for a photographer’s worry about nice backgrounds to her pictures!