Vol.39 Meals

Oh hi!

Finally, I’m sort of, almost, nearly back into my regular menu sending routine. I’ve had two very low order weeks and one of the possible reasons could be because I keep sending the menu out later and later. So, here we are. Thursday night, with a brand new menu featuring THREE new dishes. Reason for the new dishes is entirely down to me having time to browse through Falastin. So we’ve got a really Palestinian menu on our hands this week.

Let’s get to it – Vol.39:

The first two frozen dishes are all new. As are basically the same thing just with different toppings.

Sfiha (“Open” pies) – It’s a ridiculously little thing but it does bother me when I have to use an English word to describe what is clearly not an English dish. Same goes for having to call balls of fried ricotta “meatballs” – they’re not meatballs – they’re merely shaped like balls but calling them ricotta balls just doesn’t sound right, does it? In any case – these Sfiha are nothing like a pie really. They have a wheat element and a filling element (which isn’t a filling but actually a topping) so I guess that makes them sort of pie-like. I guess that’s the beauty of making dishes from cuisines all over the world – you just have to come up with a way to describe it that doesn’t put people off from ordering it. Ok, enough about food language Jess, you’re getting terribly side-tracked. Sfiha are made of two elements. A soft bread-y base (it’s leavened with yeast which makes it bread in my mind but also enriched with olive oil and milk) and a topping. The meaty version is made of lamb mince, onion, tomato and flavoured with the wonderful spices of that region – tahini, allspice, cinnamon, Aleppo chilli flakes and of course parsley too. The pies are then topped with pine. At this point I will freeze them – ready for you to bake (from frozen) in a 220°C oven. They’ll be lovely as a light supper (3 pies per serving) and make sure to have them with a squirt of lemon juice and fresh salad. The vegetarian version is a wonderful mixture of roasted cauliflower, red pepper and onion – again seasoned with a blend of spices. This one too should be served with lemon wedges.

Mansoor dal with spinach and roti – This dish you all know by now. I just realised that I haven’t put it on the menu for a while and that just didn’t seem right. Following description from Vol.27 (which is the last time this was one the menu 😱) – Mansoor dal are the orange lentils – they cook quite quickly compared to the other types and really do go creamy. In any case, for this dish they are boiled with some salt and turmeric. Once cooked, baby spinach goes in. Then I give you the tarka – ghee, garlic, chilli and cumin seeds. All you have to do is heat that in a pan until the garlic becomes slightly golden – pour the whole lots into the dal and bam you’ve got yourself a bowl of comfort.

And on to the fresh stuff! 🌷

Lime tofu with spinach and pickled red onion with basmati rice – This dish has been really popular every time it’s made an appearance and with the re-emergence of limes it deserves another feature. The following description from Vol.25 – It’s a fairly simple dish. The crispy fried tofu cubes are mixed into a thick sauce flavoured with lime, cumin, tomato paste and parsley. The baby spinach is stirred through until just wilted. This is another Ottolenghi creation which means there has to be something with a little bite on top – and that’s the pickled red onions for this dish. Yum yum yum!

Bulgar, tomato and aubergine pilaf with avocado and whipped feta – This is the second dish that caught my eye in Falastin (in all honesty every dish in that book catches my eye) – mostly because BULGUR WHEAT! That stuff is amazing – like little bit of gold or something. In any case – this is another one of those “salad” type dishes (for lack of a better word 😒). Once again, it’s fairly simple cooking but results in deeply layered flavours. The aubergine is roasted until soft and golden brown (and is there any way other than that to eat aubergine? I think not! – also please watch Schitt’s Creek if you haven’t yet. It is bound to make any day brighter))

This is Ted. He's lovely
This is Ted. He’s lovely

In any case, the bulgur wheat in this case is cooked in a mixture of onions, garlic, chilli and tomato (and some spices). Once cooked it’s mixed with the roasted aubergines and because I wanted to make it extra special I’m including some creamy chunks of avocado (will be researching any and every way to prevent them going brown once cut) and whipped feta (which is just feta mushed up with milk but it goes really creamy and it’s super cool and delicious).

And we’re on to dessert. With a slice of cake that never ever fails to please. Blueberry, lemon and almond. I mean, is there much else to say? The cake is moist, crumbly, light and the flavour is just perfect. If you haven’t had a slice of this cake yet, do yourself a favour and get one. You will not regret it. And if you do regret it you get to request the next dessert to be featured.

Half past one in the morning looks like the exact right time to be finishing up this email. Why do I always let myself get distracted by videos of Jim and Pam’s beautiful love story from the US office – why?? I could have been done at 1am. Which would have been a much more reasonable time – so un-professional Jess! Tsk Tsk Tsk.

Now that you’ve read all about the meals, why not order!?