Well if I’d known how time consuming ‘cooked from scratch’ food was going to be, I would have bought tubs of dips and shop made turkish delight and passed them off as my own. I had a plan, carefully plotted over the course of the week where I’d do one bit of the meal each night. Of course my plan went out the window and it was 8pm on Friday night and I was at the supermarket. Not just your average Tescos though, I was at a fabulous Lebanese supermarket off Edgeware Road. There were quite a few ladies shopping in their burkha’s and I was looking at the Burkha curiously, trying to figure out how they tie them on. I decided a scarf might suit me better. I made the Moutabal (Baba Ghanoush), Hummus and Baklawa on Friday night. If you knew how much butter and sugar was in Baklawa it would make you think twice before reaching for another piece (but you’d still reach for it, it’s far too delicious not to).
Saturday morning I was up at the crack of dawn and down to the Notting Hill Farmers Market where I bought organic chicken and veges for my main course of Moroccan Spiced Chicken. The first cooking chore for the day was my Turkish Delight — what a MISSION! The stuff was a big gloopy mess and kept sticking to the bottom of the pan. I realised I’d forgotten the food colouring so went knocking on all my neighbour’s doors, but no one had any so the Turkish Delight wasn’t pink it was a light caramel colour.
Kylie was my dinner date for the evening and she was an absolute godsend. She came over and decorated the whole living room, laid the table, lit incense, hung pictures around the house and provided fabulous props and makeup. We kohled our eyes and arranged our shawls just in time for the first dinner guests, Nikki and Freddie. Freddie had his shirt unbuttoned and I thought it might be a middle eastern look he was going for, but I didn’t want to say anything in case it wasn’t. It was, so I was safe. Nikki had a burkha on and looked hysterical! Not long after Dani and Alex turned up and we took some photos of the harem.
Everyone took their place at their own table setting and their own middle eastern inspired name. Here is Freddie’s place setting, it makes me laugh!
The other names were Dani Fez, Nikki Burkha, Alex Sheesha, Kylie Hubbly and Bronwyn Bubbly. So fluffy Maroush pita bread, hummus, baba ghanoush (moutabal) and feta, pinenut & parsley dip for the first course. YUM!
I’d also arranged one of those weird bowls of vegetables that you get in Lebanese restaurants, when I first saw one I wondered whether you ate them or whether they were just table decoration.
The dips went down well and there were compliments all round. The favourite dip seemed to be the feta, pinenut and parsley – it was delicious!
Koi-lee and I abandoned the cooking (really just pouring boiling water over the couscous) and took loads of photos of ourselves; with a head scarf, without a headscarf, with a demure look, with a come hither look, cracking up laughing etc. Um, time to get back to the cooking!
There were notes on the Moroccan Spiced Chicken recipe about the spice quantities and there were many conflicting reviews and opinions. For good reason. Even with me mixing the spices up, the main just didn’t seem to work. I served it with cinnamon and sultana couscous.
People ate it, but I wouldn’t say it was a star attraction and I probably wouldn’t make that recipe again.
I entertained my dinner guests with a brief belly dance and dance of the one veil. I only seem to have one move though – we dubbed it the towel move as it looks like I’m drying off after a shower. What a shame 😉 we don’t appear to have caught that on video, but here’s Freddie busting a few of his own veil dancing moves.
The Turkish Delight and Baklawa was popular and deemed so good there were those who doubted I’d even made it. Miss Nikki said it was lovely and she grew up on Baklawa, so that is a great compliment which I’ll accept graciously (and tell everyone I know). Everyone had seconds and thirds so I think this was the favourite course. I served it with kumquats (very sour), physallis (old fave of mine, also known as cape gooseberry) and a blackberry to garnish.
Then time for Port or Franjelico.
Freddie was mighty sick of the middle eastern tunes by now so we kicked into cheesy music mode, with some favourites. No points for guessing who made an appearance – Miss Dolly, come on down! Here is a rendition from Nikki and I. We’re considering turning professional.
We fired up the sheesha and it certainly helps to have the right coal! I lit it from a lighter and it didn’t take long for the coal to ‘take’ and for the smoke to start coming out. Apple tobacco is lovely!
Here’s a pic of Alex doing his ‘I’m a little teapot’ impression as he smokes the sheesha.
Kylie turned from ‘dinner date’ into ‘dishes princess’ and washed up all the dishes between courses, which was SO appreciated and made my hangover a little more bearable, knowing I had minimal mess to clean up. Thanks Koi-lee, you’re a star! x