And to top it all off, Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Once again, I have discovered the true cuisine of my heart! Every single recipe makes me want to cry with joy when I read it, the way some of Blake's poetry does, or Shakespeare's. And it's got stories, it's got explanations of ingredients, it's got medieval recipes and quotations from personal histories, it's got a bibliography, for pete's sake. I love it. Family, I want all of her other books for Christmas except the one on Spain, because I bought myself that one too--in fact it was the first one I bought, so enchanted by it in the bookstore I paid full price instead of waiting to get it discounted online.
|A near-random picture of some clementines, to break up the monotony of all this text|
And this was okay, but it was looking a little meh to me, so I added a big handful of red split lentils to thicken things up a bit and add more flavour. I had to add quite a bit of water, a little at a time, and then ended up cooking it down into a wonderful silky softness:
Very, very tasty, and quite beautiful too, in its way. You serve this on a bed of eggplant puree added to a thin bechamel flavoured with nutmeg and a little finely grated cheddar-type cashew cheese:
...and that may not sound superfantastic, but believe me, it was. The only thing that kept me from scarfing down the entire potful was that I want to try it cold tomorrow.
The whole meal is shown at the top of this post: the stew on its bed of eggplant puree, roasted beets, a baked purple yam that I had no idea whatever would be purple inside until I cut it open after it was cooked but what a thrilling colour bonus, some steamed snap peas, a cucumber salad with mint, lemon juice, and orange flower water, and a cute little clementine.
I have three pounds of clementines. They were like kittens, too adorable and little and helpless to leave in the store. Any ideas? Seriously, especially for savory dishes...?