Although I started out earlier in the week being in the mood for Indian food, by the time Thursday night came around and I was selecting the menu for this week’s food travels, I had moved on to the Mediterranean. I’ve only been to three countries on the Mediterranean (France, Spain, and Italy) but I definitely hope to visit others, especially those in the Middle East.
Port of Jounieh, Lebanon (image courtesy of jounieh.org)
For our pre-dinner course, I prepared goat’s cheese and crostini. Although the recipe features a fruit salsa to accompany the crostini, I opted to skip it. I am however becoming immensely fond of fromage de chevre (goat’s cheese).
For our vegetable dish, I made fattoush which the cookbook described as being a “simple peasant salad popular in Lebanon and Syria.”
1 yellow or red pepper
1 large cucumber
1 bunch spring onions
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tbsp olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
salt and black pepper
2 pita breads
Slice the pepper, discarding the seeds and core, then roughly chop the cucumber and tomatoes. Place them in a large salad bowl and mix together.
Trim and slice the spring onions. Add to the cucumber, tomatoes and pepper with the finely chopped parsley, mint and corriander.
To make the dressing, mix the garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice in a jug, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to mix.
Toast the pita bread in a toaster or under a hot grill until crisp and then serve it alongside the salad.
And for our main course I made chicken with lemons and olives which is a recipe from North Africa. Although I’m not a fan of cooking an entire chicken, I make the exception once in a while and this recipe was definitely worth it.
Chicken with Lemons and Olives
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
3-3 1/2 chicken
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 in piece fresh root ginger, grated
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 lemons cut into wedges
1/2 cup pitted brown olives
1 tbsp clear honey
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
salt and ground black pepper
corriander sprigs, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the ground cinnamon and tumeric in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and rub all over the chicken skin to give an even coating.
Heat the oil in a large saute or shallow frying pan and fry the chicken on all sides until it turns golden. Transfer the chicken to an overproof dish.
Add the sliced onion to the pan and fry for 3 minutes. Stir in the grated ginger and the chicken stock and bring just to the boil. Pour over the chicken, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and add the lemons, brown olives and honey. Bake uncovered, for a further 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Stir in the coriander and season to taste. Garnish with coriander sprigs and serve at once.
Recipes are from Jacqueline Clarke and Joanna Farrow‘s Mediterranean Cooking cookbook.