Riz ib Fool – Broad Beans with Rice.

So, Happy New Year to all. Hope you had a wonderful New Years Eve and a quick recovery New Years Day.

Every year my husband and I sit on our balcony overlooking huge native fig trees with a mezza spread and a glass (or 6) of wine and beer.

This year we decided to try something different and flew to Adelaide for a few days and spent New Years Eve on a 10th floor balcony looking over Adelaide city.

We got to Adelaide, dropped off our bag and marched ourselves to Adelaide Central Markets.20140104-174036.jpg I absolutely love that place. It has everything you could possibly need from delicious local and overseas cheeses to perfectly ripe fresh fruit and veggies, amazing sour dough breads and all sorts of chocolates, cakes and pastries. It is heaven to me and a great shame you can’t find the same great variety of providores and produce under the same roof in Sydney. That’s not to say we don’t have amazing shops and produce in Sydney, it’s just that you have to visit several different shops to get the same variety. Probably dug myself in a big hole with that comment, but anyway…..ImageImageWe had a wonderful New Years Eve.

We also had dinner at Coopers Alehouse on our first night in Adelaide. What a great place. Lots of beers on tap, a good wine list and something on the menu to satisfy just about anyone.

20140104-180152.jpgAnd so now its time to ease off a little on the holiday food and give our systems a dose of light and healthy.

This dish was just what we needed.

In a small saucepan melt a little butter with a dash of olive oil. Add 100g of lean minced beef and squash with the back of a spoon while browning. Season well with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Next add 200g broad beans (frozen or fresh), stir then pour in 350ml water and stir again. Cover, bring to the boil, turn heat down and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

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Now throw in 1/2 cup of long grain rice, stir, cover and allow the rice to absorb the water (it takes about 20 minutes on a very low heat). Stir it once or twice.

Once the rice is cooked leave the saucepan covered for about 10 minutes then you’re ready to serve.

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Yes..it’s really simple but oh so delicious.

Leave out the mince and you have yourself a delicious vegetarian dish.

We serve this with a good dollop of natural yoghurt, sticks of cucumber, wedges of tomato and some marinated olives.

Enjoy…

and all the best for 2014.

Koussa Ma’hshi (stuffed marrows or Lebanese zucchini)

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This one was very difficult to write. I’ve made Koussa dozens of times but every time I made it,  the weights were wrong and I’d end up with heaps of filling left over. I believe I’ve got it right this time.

Koussa Ma’hshi is a family favourite. Growing up it was always served with vineleaves stuffed with the same filling. Mum would make the filling and stuff the zucchini while I rolled the vineleaves.

There was never a shortage of vineleaves thanks to the vine in mum and dad’s backyard. All spring and summer you could find us outside picking the leaves, laying them flat on top of each other and storing them in the freezer. Things haven’t changed much over the years either, except now you’ll also find my husband outside picking them as well.

During summer the vine covers alot of the yard and provides a wonderful canopy. Perfect place for barbecue lunches.

We use a tool called a manakra which is a kind of long thin apple corer to hollow out the zucchini. You’ll find a manakra in most Middle Eastern food stores. I’ve seen it written that you can core the zucchini with the handle of a long spoon, but I’ve yet to try it.koussa 2

For this dish you’ll need:-  8 medium (10 – 15 cm long) Lebanese zucchini

4 large cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 medium brown onion – finely diced

150g long grain rice (rinsed well)

250g canned diced tomato

200g lean beef mince

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp each ground black pepper and ground cinnamon.

juice of 1 large lemon

Cut the stalks off the zucchini. Carefully hollow out the fleshy inside making sure not to poke any holes through the skin. Rinse well with cold water, and allow to drain while you prepare the filling.

In a bowl mix well the garlic, onion, rice, tomato, mince, salt, pepper and cinnamon.

Stuff the zucchinis with the filling, and arrange in a medium saucepan.

Sprinkle a little salt over the zucchini, invert a plate to fit over them and cover completely with water.

Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 45 – 50 minutes or until the zucchini are tender.

Serve warm with a little of the cooking liquid and some lemon juice.

The filling amounts should stuff 8 zucchini but I only did 6, so with the left overs I defrosted some vineleaves and rolled them up with the filling inside.koussa 4

Yum

Enjoy…

Mjadra (Lentil and Rice Pilaf)

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Yet another Lebanese Lentil dish. I did say we love lentils in this house.

I cooked a corn beef on Monday night, then made fritters out of left overs yesterday and then corn beef and mustard pickle sandwiches for lunch today. We are all corn beefed out. A quick SMS to my husband and tonight’s dinner is decided.

Healthy, vegan and delicious – Mjadra….

Here’s what you’ll need :-

1/2 cup green lentils

1 cup brown rice

1 1/2 large brown onions

2tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

2 1/2 cups water

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Rinse the lentils then put in a medium saucepan. Pour over  cups cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn heat down to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile chop 3/4 of a large onion into large dice and gently fry in 2 tbs olive oil until soft and just starting to brown on the edges then throw them, along with the oil, in with the lentils.

After the lentils have had their 10 minutes, stir in the rice, season with plenty of salt and pepper,  cover and bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and leave to cook for 45 – 50 minutes or until the rice is cooked. (You can add a little more water if you think it needs it.)

When it’s done, turn the heat off and leave it covered while you thinly slice the rest of the onion and brown in 1 tbs olive oil with a sprinkle of salt. This is then served on top of the Pilaf.

We like this dish with a fresh tomato, onion and parsley salad and a spoonful of Greek yogurt.

Yum…

Enjoy…

Bazella (pea, mince and tomato casserole)

Here’s another Lebanese dish.

This was a last minute meal, when mum didn’t have time to cook something long and slow.

It seemed that it was on the stove one minute and in our plates the next. Mum was always good at doing that. Most of us have left home now, so she has a lot more time to slow things down and really enjoy cooking.

We all still get together at mum and dads for lunch most Sundays. During the week mum will phone around and ask for lunch requests. There are so many of us, the menu can be very different from one week to the next, depending on who has chosen lunch for us all.

The dining table has more than doubled since we all lived at home, what with partners and kids and sometimes friends. It can get very loud and chaotic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way….

This is a slightly slower cooked version of mums bazella  –image

In a medium saucepan gently heat 2 tablespoons olive oil then add 1 diced medium onion and 5 or 6 cloves chopped garlic and stir for about 2-3 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add 200g lean beef mince and stir it into the onion and garlic mix, squashing any clumps of meat. Keep going until the meat has browned. Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.image

Add 200g tinned diced tomato and about 1/2 cup of water. Cover and leave to simmer for  30 minutes, then throw in 200g frozen green peas, stir, cover, and let simmer for a further 20 minutes.

Now, this is served with rice, or in Lebanese, Riz, which has egg noodle vermicelli added to it.image

In a small saucepan melt 30g butter with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Crush 1 nest or 50g vermicelli egg noodles into saucepan and stir constantly until brown (careful, once they start to colour they darken very quickly and can burn, so keep stirring them). Add 200g rinsed long grain rice, 1 teaspoon salt and continue stirring for 1 minute coating every rice grain with butter. Carefully pour in 450g (nearly 2 cups) water (watch out for the steam), stir, cover tightly and leave for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Turn heat off and leave covered for another 10 minutes.

Serve some Riz with the bazella and some lemon wedges on the side (lemon juice makes this dish even more amazing).image

Enjoy…