Archive for the 'Lebanese' Category

Lebanese green beans in tomato sauce

August 19, 2010

Green beans are generally difficult to get excited about mainly because of the “squeak” factor. When green beans are not quite cooked enough they squeak when you bite into them. It really sends a shiver up my spine and gives me goose pimples. However, (you knew there was going to be a however didn’t you!!) this dish is so delicious and doesn’t have a squeaky bean in sight.

I have eaten this bean dish on many occasions since I was a little kid and always wondered how they can taste so good. The Greeks, Turkish and Lebanese all make a similar dish, I generally call it “collapsed beans” as they are cooked until they collapse. Several years ago I was discussing this dish with my Lebanese fruit and veg grocer who ran off to get his wife so that she could give me the recipe. What a legend. I have been making it ever since. They also gave me a pot of “Lebanese Pepper” which until recently I had no idea what was in it. I now have the recipe for that too…phew!

The beans are a great side to meat, grilled fish, chicken or just served as the main part of a meal with some spicy rice with toasted almonds, pine nuts and cashews.

Ingredients

500 grams of round green beans (french beans)
4 medium brown onions (I had a mixture of red and brown – doesn’t really matter)
1 1/2 tins of best quality tinned tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Lebanese Pepper (blend of ground Allspice, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Fenugreek, Ginger)

Peel and slice onions by cutting in half and slicing thin half moons. Add to a large heavy based pan with a good glug of oil.

Fry onions on a medium heat until soft, sweet and translucent. Do not brown.

Add washed beans with tops/stalks removed (leave tails). Add to pot. Boil kettle.

Once beans have turned a brilliant green colour add enough boiling water to cover the beans.

Cook on medium heat until water has reduced by half. Add tinned tomatoes.

Continue to cook until tomatoes have broken down and beans are cooked through and collapsed.

Add teaspoon of Lebanese peppers and season to taste.

This dish reheats well and tastes even better the next day.

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Grilled Halloumi and Courgette with tomato and mint salsa

August 18, 2010

Grilled Halloumi with Courgette tomato and mint salad

I kind of feel like it is a bit of a con writing this recipe as it is so very very easy. It is inspired by my friend Sophie who served me delicious grilled courgettes with a tomato and onion salsa at a BBQ a while ago and also by my lovely friend Rima who is the most amazing Lebanese cook ever!!! This is such a lovely summery meal you could serve it as a starter or as a light lunch with some lovely hot pita bread.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 medium sized courgettes
1 block of Halloumi
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 sprig of fresh mint
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Method

To make the salsa – remove core and finely dice tomatoes. Finely dice red onion and add to a bowl with tomatoes. Add juice of lemon, cumin, paprika, finely chopped fresh mint and season to taste.

Cut courgettes length wise leaving on the tip and tail. Brush with olive oil and char grill until “striped” by the grill and cooked but still with bite (a little firm).

Take a dry non stick frying pan and heat on medium/high.

Slice Halloumi into 1/2 cm slices and fry until golden brown on each side.

Serve Halloumi and warm courgette topped with spoonfuls of the tomato and mint salad.

I am dribbling thinking about this…..