Fun Food Friday – Baked Eggplant Slices

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Gotta love a Friday afternoon. After all, for most it means no getting up early for work tomorrow. It’s that wonderful feeling of unwinding and having a drink (or 3) with a simple long lasting dinner.

Then, it’s Saturday. Time for a nice leisurely breakfast in your favourite cafe, on the balcony or in bed. At least that’s our Saturday mornings, especially since we both stopped going to work on them.

But back to Fridays…

I’m lucky enough to finish work pretty early in the afternoon so I get time to think of something fun to make and eat for dinner. Hence the name Fun Food Fridays.

I stopped off at our local supermarket on the way home and found the prettiest looking Eggplants and decided that baked spiced eggplant, fried haloumi and fresh tabouleh in crunchy lettuce leaves was exactly what I felt like (and a glass or two of a wonderful wine we bought back with us from the Barossa in South Australia.)

Eggplant cooked this way is easy, healthy and delicious. You just season it any way you like, bake it and serve it as part of any meal. It goes perfectly with haloumi…

All you’ll need is:

1 medium eggplant
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Cayenne

Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices. Brush lightly on both sides with olive oil the sprinkle on your fave seasonings.

Place in a single layer on a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 200oC oven for around 30 – 40 minutes.

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While the eggplant was cooking I made a bowl of tabouleh and I pan fried some thick slices of haloumi.

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We grabbed a lettuce leaf each, filled it with some tabouleh, a piece of haloumi and a slice of eggplant then rolled it up and dug in.

Mmmmm…..Delightful….

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Hope you Enjoy…

Shanklish – A Lebanese Herby Yoghurt Cheese.

This is an amazing cheese. I remember not liking it so much when I was really young because of all the herbs and chilli coating the outside, but I definitely grew to love it and at the moment can’t seem to get enough of it.

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I did some research this morning with my mum and found it’s made from heating yoghurt to a certain temperature and then straining it through a cheese cloth  for several days. Once most of the liquid has drained, herbs and chilli powder are mixed in. Then you roll it into balls and roll the balls into another mix of herbs and chilli. It’s then left to dry for a few more days.

Aaahhh too long so for now I’ll just buy it from my local Lebanese green grocer who has a fridge full of different cheeses. I  will, however, one day attempt to make it.

Shanklish has a very crumbly consistency and is usually served mixed with tomato, onion and olive oil. Even writing about it makes me hungry for it…

The other week I was trying to figure out what to make for our traditional Fun Food Friday and came up with Shanklish Bruschetta. It was a hit…

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And really easy…

All you need is:-

1 ripe tomato – diced

1/4 small red onion – finely diced

a few fresh basil leaves – finely chopped

a little fresh parsley – finely chopped

a generous glug of excellent extra virgin olive oil

some freshly ground black pepper

some crumbled Shanklish Cheese

A few slices of your favourite bread (or in this case what was available late on a Friday evening)

1 clove of garlic – peeled

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Mix everything but the shanklish in a bowl until combined then add the cheese and gently stir it through. You don’t want to over mix and cause the cheese to break down too much or you’ll end up with a mush…you want small chunks of cheese…

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Grill or toast your bread then gently rub the garlic clove over the surface (as little or much as you like)

Arrange on a serving plate then spoon the cheese mix over the top making sure not to waste any of the yummy dressing left at the bottom of the bowl.

Serve…

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Sooo Goooood…..

Enjoy…

Fun Food Friday (Nachos)

Friday night at our place is Fun Food Friday. It’s the end of the working week and we can sit back with some wine or beer and look forward to work free weekend. Unless, of course, my husband has to work on Saturday in which case we make Fun Food Friday really count……Image

Beef and Bean Chilli

To a small saucepan add 2 tbs olive oil, 4 cloves finely chopped garlic, 1/2 finely diced brown onion and 2 finely chopped red chillies and cook on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onions start to brown on the edges. Be sure to stir occasionally.

To this then add 1 tsp each cumin seeds, fennel seeds and hot or medium paprika, and 1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, tumeric, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper (optional, depending on how much heat you like). Stir well and cook for 1 minute before adding 200g lean beef mince and stirring in really well, making sure to break up any clumps, until the beef is browned.

Throw in 200g diced canned tomato (with the juice), 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

Once it comes to the boil, turn the heat down to low, half cover the saucepan with a lid and let it simmer away gently for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 200g canned 4 bean mix (or whatever beans you like – red kidney works very well), mix it all in and allow to continue simmering for another 10 – 15 minutes.

I love serving with lots of corn chips, grated tasty cheese, some hot tomato salsa, sour cream or Greek yoghurt and heaps of guacamole :

In a bowl mix together 2 mashed avocados, 1/4 very finely diced or grated brown onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 tsp  salt, sprinkle of pepper and a sprinkle ground cumin.Image Tonight meal was accompanied by a glass of Peter Van Gent Verdelho for me and a Coopers premium Lager for  Brian.

Perfect…

Enjoy…