I had the good fortune to be invited onto BBCRadio Sheffield Saturday morning cooking slot and decided to make a variety of breakfast dishes from the Middle East. There are so many to choose from that I ended up going with four kinds to give a small introduction. These dishes are wonderful in that they encourage sharing and the chance to linger over food with lots of chatter. It also avoids food envy scenarios which I have been known to suffer from! Choose what you want and how much you want - its a win win for me.
These dishes can be made individually as dips or as side plates for breakfast, brunch or lunch making them super versatile and appealing to vegetarians, gluten free and even vegans (Fuhl dish). Thankfully, there were no cameras to capture the naughty little cherry tomato that shot me in the eye.
1. Fattet hummous – Chickpea with toasted bread and yoghurt
· Half brown Arabic bread, cut into small random pieces with scissors
· Olive oil
· 200g cooked chickpeas
· 2 cloves garlic peeled
· 2 large heaped tablespoons of yoghurt
· 1 tablespoon of tahini
· 30g butter
· handful of pine nuts
· Ground cumin
2. Fuhl – Fava Bean puree
· 1 Tin of Fava beans in brine, ready to eat
· 1 clove garlic peeled
· Juice of 1 lemon
· 4 cherry tomatoes
· half a spring onion sliced
· Olive oil
· Ground Cumin
· Ground Paprika
3. Aishe – Baked Eggs
· 4 eggs
· Handful of Parsley chopped
· 4 cherry tomatoes
· Courgette (half of small courgette)
· 50g Kashkval cheese grated
· Half medium onion, finely chopped
· 1 teaspoon of baking powder
4. Lebneh with walnuts etc – Yoghurt dip
· 3 large heaped tablespoons of Lebneh – (greek yoghurt strained in muslin cloth overnight to make it thick and creamy)
· 1x Small cucumber chopped into small cubes
· Handful of walnuts, chopped
· half spring Onion, sliced
· 2 sprigs of Fresh mint leaves torn
· Handful of Green olives, squashed and pitted
· Olive Oil
· Aleppo pepper to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
2. Start by taking the cut up pieces of bread and place in an oven tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season then mix together so that bread is coated in oil. Place in oven for 10 mins to toast. Remember to set a timer!
3. Chop 8 cherry tomatoes and put to one side. These will be used for both the baked eggs and Fuhl dip.
4. Next, chop the spring onion and place to one side. This will be used for the Lebneh (yoghurt) and Fuhl dip.
5. Next, chop the onions and courgettes. Put a small frying pan on the heat with a drizzle of olive oil and start frying the onions until translucent. Add the chopped courgettes and fry for 2 mins. Take off the heat and put to one side – this will be added to the egg mixture shortly.
6. To make the egg mixture break 4 eggs into a bowl along with chopped parsley, chopped cherry tomatoes and grated cheese (eliminate cheese if lactose intolerant). Add the baking powder (you may need to sift this in if lumpy) and season with salt and pepper, beat until the baking powder is incorporated. At this point you can add the fried onion and courgette, stirring until all combined. Now pour the mixture into a non stick oven tin (size dependent on how many eggs you are making) or terracotta pot or even ramekin and place in the preheated oven to bake for 20 mins or until lightly golden brown.
7. During this time, gently heat up the chickpeas in some water (or their cooking liquid if they have been soaked overnight and then boiled).
8. Take the peeled cloves of garlic and mash with some salt in a pestle and mortar until you reach a paste consistency. Take a teaspoon of the mashed garlic and place into a clean bowl. This will be used for the Chickpea and yoghurt dish. To this bowl, add the yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of tahini and mix thoroughly until incorporated. Put to one side until you are ready to assemble the dish.
9. With the remaining garlic in the mortar, add the tin of fava beans, lemon juice & salt and begin to mash the ingredients until you have a rough paste with some whole beans left. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with cherry tomatoes, spring onions, a sprinkle of cumin and paprika and finally a generous drizzle of olive oil. This is now ready to serve.
10. To make the Lebneh, put the cucumber, spring onions, walnuts, olives and mint leaves in a clean bowl, season and mix together. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper. This is now ready to serve.
11. When the baked eggs are nearly ready, melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the pine nuts until golden – keep an eye on this as it can burn very quickly! The chickpea dish is now ready to assemble; take the bread that was toasted in the oven and pile on the bottom of a shallow serving bowl. Spoon the warmed chickpeas with some of their cooking liquid over the bread and top with the yoghurt, tahini & garlic mixture. Finally pour the butter with pine nuts over the yoghurt, sprinkle some ground cumin, paprika and serve.
These dishes are served with Arabic bread, cucumbers, pickles, olives, white cheeses and fresh mint to nibble on over breakfast.
Sahtein! (bon appetite!)
Listen to the broadcast? Its available for the next 24 days on BBC iplayer by clicking here
You can also view images and a short video footage by clicking here.