Who’s For A Recipe? Summer Lebanese Recipes from Warda Restaurant

I love Middle Eastern food – (you can see from a previous post how much). With the arrival of spring, Middle Eastern food, in particular, Lebanese food, is a perfect an escape from heavy winter food. Thoughts turn to barbecues, picnics and summer salads with fresh, juicy ingredients – all of which Lebanese food fulfills in abundance .

At Warda restuarant in Southgate, London, head chef Youssef Harb has decided to share some of his family’s best summer recipes. For many chefs, their recipes are closely guarded secrets, but in the best Lebanese tradition Youssef believes that good food – and good recipes – should be shared. So in the spirit of sharing further please enjoy these recipes! If you do use them please send across your images so that we can tweet them on @whosfordinner

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a traditional Levantine salad which is a popular accompaniment to many summer meals. Its main ingredient is parsley, which gives the salad a subtle and interesting flavour you don’t get with lettuce-based salads. Add to this fresh tomatoes for a juicy lift, crisp spring onions, cracked wheat, and a little mint, lemon juice and olive oil to accentuate the salad’s natural flavours. The result is a wholegrain, vegetarian dish bursting with colour; a welcome change from humdrum three-ingredient salads, and an ideal accompaniment to main meals, picnics and barbecues, or even a quick and healthy packed lunch.

Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

2  bunches of parsley, finely chopped

3 medium-sized red tomatoes, finely chopped

1 bunch (or 5) spring onions, finely chopped

1/4 bunch mint leaves, chopped

2 tbsp fine brown cracked wheat

1/4 cup or 80g extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup or 80g fresh lemon juice

1/2 tbsp salt

Method:

After washing the parsley, mix all the vegetable ingredients in a bowl. Then, five minutes before serving, add the salt, lemon juice, olive oil and the cracked wheat and mix together. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves. For best results serve immediately.

Muhallabiyeh

Muhallabiyeh

Muhallabiyeh

Muhallabiyeh is a delicately flavoured Middle Eastern speciality made with milk, rose water and orange blossom syrup. The ingredients are gently heated and thickened with corn flour, then chilled to set to a silky, creamy texture. As long as you have the patience to keep stirring, it is very easy to make and, served in individual ramekins or dessert dishes and topped with fruit syrup or pistachios, it will add an exotic twist to your dinner table.

Note: Mistaka is a natural Arabic gum.

Ingredients:

1 litre milk

250g sugar

15g rose water

15g orange blossom syrup

100g cornflour

5g mistaka

Fruit syrup (to decorate)

 

Method:

1. Boil the milk in a saucepan. Stir in the sugar. Blend two tablespoons of cold water with the corn flour, then add the resulting paste slowly to the milk, whisking all the time. Continue whisking until the milk thickens.
2. Add the rose water, orange blossom syrup and the mistaka. Take the milk off the heat, pour into serving dishes and allow to cool. Place in fridge until set, sprinkle with pistachios or deceorate with the fruit and serve.

www.wardarestaurant.co.uk

258775

Putting The O in The O-Tower Caribbean Restaurant

Over the Easter Weekend I decided to venture into the lovely streets of Bermondsey  with Mr Man – a hidden gem in my opinion. After a few drinks we both became peckish but didn’t want to head back to London Bridge. I recalled once seeing a Caribbean restaurant on Tower Bride Road that I was keen to try and so we took to the streets in search of it. The O Tower is not difficult to miss – with its yellow signage and bright exterior. With a wide bar, plenty of plants and a friendly smile from the owner we were welcomed into the wonderful world of The O-Tower. The menu was simple and had all the staples that you would expect from a decent Caribbean restaurant.

Crab Claws - Rice & Peas and Fish Stew

Crab Claws – Rice & Peas and Fish Stew

I ordered the chef’s special fish stew with rice and peas, whilst Mr Man ordered Oxtail with rice and peas. We also decided to go for some crab claws with sweet chilli sauce, not fresh crab but still yummy as a pre-dinner snack.

The fish was perfectly seasoned though not spicy enough for me and went perfectly with the rice and peas. I personally found the Oxtail stew too salty, I’m not a fan of salt but even Mr Man agreed that it was a touch too salty. It was a hearty meal with perfect portion sizes, exactly what you want from an authentic Caribbean meal. We were able to “bring a bottle” which added a touch of homeliness to the experience. As the restaurant became busier we overheard the Owner/Head Chef, Orville,  tell a fellow diner that the restaurant would be closing it’s doors for the final time the very next week!  It was a shame that we wouldn’t be able to return because I honestly would recommend The O-Tower. All is not lost however as Head Chef Orville will continue to run a successful catering business.

I’m sure that The O-Tower restaurant will be missed but onwards and upwards for Orville.

Contact:

Orville Chef Catering – 07851354240/02073949204

Oxtail Stew with Rice and Peas

Oxtail Stew with Rice and Peas

Who’s For Something Different? Fried Gluten Anyone?

 Patrick Grell

 

One of our lovely friends in Trinidad & Tobago, Patrick Grell, sent us this picture of what has to be one of the most unusual tinned food items I’ve ever seen! Fried Gluten: Vegetarian Mock Duck. I understand the importance of variety for vegetarians but this looks…well interesting. Thanks for sharing Patrick.

Follow Patrick on Instragram – http://instagram.com/patrickegtt and Twitter @PatrickEGTT