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Friday night and Ian and I have decided we would have another date night, and thank you to “The Spicery”

20160129_15305820160129_153000Tonight we are heading off to Egypt and we are going to prepare and eat a delicious meal from Cairo…

The Arab republic of Egypt is a country spanning more than one continent, touching the Northeast corner of Africa and the Southwest corner of Asia which is reached via a bridge which is courtesy of the Sinai Peninsula. The worlds only adjoining Eurafrasian nation.  The majority of Egypt’s terrain sits within the Nile Valley and also boasts itself as a Mediterranean country, and bordered by Israel, The Gaza strip, The Red Sea, Suda, Lybia and The Gulf of Aqaba…

There is a lot of history associated with Egypt and arising in the 10th millennium BC as one of the world’s first nation states. Some of the worlds earliest progresses of agriculture, writing, organised religion, development and central government have be born from Egypt.

With over 90,000,000 residents/occupants, Egypt is the most densely inhabited country in North Africa and the Arab World and it is the third most populated in Africa following Nigeria and Ethiopia.                            In the world?  Fifteenth…. amazing?    Around 40,000 sq km on and near the banks of the Nile the greatest majority of people live, because of being the only area where arable land is found. The Sahara Dessert is a large part of Egypt’s land but thinly occupied. The Urban areas are densely inhabited  by around half of Egypt’s occupiers.  Further information about the history can be found in various places, but there is useful information here…

Cairo is the largest city and capital of Egypt. It is situated near the Nile Delta and Jawhar al-Siqilli (“the Sicilian”) of the Fatimid dynasty, founded modern Cairo in 969 CE. However, the land which is the present day Cairo was the site of “ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible” in parts.

Greater Cairo is the largest metropolitan area in the Middle East and the Arab world, and 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area.

The Cuisine of Egypt dates back possibly 5000 years and it has been documented that food was used as payments for other goods during the ancient times. Over the years there have been changes made and greatly influenced from other cultures and styles. Egyptian cooking relies quite a lot on vegetables such as onions and beans and also lentils. Meat is featured a lot and this can be difficult for vegetarians. However, near and around the coast fish can be found in meals… Aish is an Egyptian bread and generally served with most meals.

Our first course is a traditional complement to leavened flatbread and is said to be an “early evening snack in Cairo”

Pickels Dukkah, Baba Ghanouj, Bread and Eggs

It looks interesting and something neither of us have ever tried before. Pickled Carrot and Aubergine…Ian tells me he doesn’t like aubergine so after this evening we will know for sure. According to our helpful notes from thespicery.com Dukka, means “to crush” in Egyptian Arabic and is an amazing scrumptious aromatic seed dip that is very nutritious and apparently quite addictive…and following our starter – Yes, I agree!

The carrots are par boiledDSCF5465 and set aside meanwhile the herbs and spices are added to a pan of water with the other ingredients necessary and brought to the boil, then after around 2 minutes pour over the sliced carrots and set aside..DSCF5470

 

 

Eggs are boiled and set aside in cold water to cool.          The aubergine is prepared and cut into chunks and added to a pan with oil and cooked until they are slightly softened and a little brown.

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Leave to cool and then mash slightly and add lemon and salt and pepper – set aside

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Although Egyptians eat leavened bread we opted for pita bread as that was an option also and we already had some and didn’t want to waste it. However either is acceptable.  Once all dishes are prepared, we serve….

Our main course is lamb – we love lamb, but can be cooked with chicken:

Marinated Lamb with Koshari and Zabadi

 

Koshari is a traditional street food which apparently is a very comforting food. It consists of onions, lentils, rice, cumin and oregano…Mmmm looking forward to this. Zabadi is a tangy yoghurt sauce with spices and cucumber.

The lamb pieces are prepared with Olive oil and the spices provided and some salt and then set aside…

For the Koshari, lightly fry onions until brown and crispy….

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….drain on some kitchen paper and set aside… Drain the oil from than, all but  couple of table spoons and add the lentils with water and simmer for around 20 minutes…

Add the rice, cover and bring to a simmer and let the fluid be absorbed and cook until cooked through….DSCF5497.jpg

The tomato sauce that goes with this dish is very simple to cook and looks amazing in the pan – well I think so….
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Fry onion in oil until clear and soft…Add the spices provided, the garlic  and tomatoes…

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The Zabadi is basically like a raita that would be served with a curry. Yoghurt and cucumber, but this recipe adds the spices provided and I have to say very tasty…

The recipe says to grill the lamb, but alas we haven’t got a grill – as its broken…. 😦   – so we decided to lightly fry the lamb with a little oil, ensuring not to burn… We like our lamb pink so ensured that was how it was cooked. So we ready to go…The aromatic flavours filled our kitchen and the house, and this is what I love about cooking and preparing food…

Dessert is something we hardly ever have, as you will know if you have been reading our other blogs. Occasionally on a Sunday we are known to eat one, so tonight is a treat and it is:

Rose and Cardamon Ice Cream

I suppose this is just what it says and am sure it will be delicious…

A combination of whipped cream and the spices provided, then adding evaporated milk, mixing all the time and then placed in the freezer to freeze.

I have a sneaky suspicion Ian didn’t whip the cream long enough or with the right utensil… but we will see….

Serve with the given spices sprinkled on top…. and so the finished dish…..Still not sure he whipped the cream correctly.DSCF5538

Family Verdict: Easy to prepare and cook, but does take time., so don’t think these recipes can be cooked in 10 minutes….. The given spices were spot on and the ingredients suggested could have easily served three people.      The starter was delicious and even Ian loved the aubergine – think I may using more of that now…. Main course a little over facing with all the ingredients, but very very tasty.   The dessert was delicious and again made enough for three people and a very refreshing pud for refreshing the pallet.

The Spicery company is fantastic and we have reached the end of Ian’s subscription and I absolutely would certainly recommend them. I bought Ian’s package for a Valentines gift and for a year ( but you can also buy a 6 mth pack too) and we have enjoyed some great dinners and because we didn’t use the every time they were delivered have still got some to go so watch this space….

 

 

 

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