Sunday, 27 September 2015

Omelette - املت

Tonight is one of those nights, I am struggling to write this blog post.  This shouldn't be difficult for me.  I am the go-to person for all those people who need perfectly constructed sentences or a convincing argument on a piece of paper and usually very last minute! Well, I've had some feedback from my blog readers who have all requested more and more insights from my everyday life and I'm trying my best tell you what I usually do. 

I work full time in an ordinary office job but please don't get scenes of "Julie and Julia" in your head (yes, the one scene where she was trying to come up for the next best thing she could do in her life).  You have no idea how happy I was when all Julie scenes were finally cut out of the movie! I ended up watching it over and over again, just like a child obsessed with a Disney character, bawled my eyes out over the initial Julia scenes when she struggled and jumped for joy when her book was delivered to her doorstep. I was so obsessed with the new half version, without all the annoying parts, that I found myself unconscionably reaching for my phone and watching it in the wee hours of the morning and weeping.  Blogging is an enjoyable hobby for me but I have certainly not pulled a sickie to dedicate a whole day to cooking!

The weather was absolutely amazing this weekend.  Finally, it felt as if summer is almost here! I went on a couple of walks and went to the swimming pool. I've never been keen on swimming, but I'm forcing myself to perfect a couple of techniques.  The last time I had a swimming instructor, it ended badly! I had a 5 minute argument with him in the pool trying to tell him that my toes were pointing the right direction without realising that he wasn't telling me off for my toes! I still don't know how he managed to keep calm and act as if nothing happened.  I am definitely not proud of a few achievements this weekend - I accidentally poured coffee on a random dog on the beach while trying not to bump into any dogs, walked almost into a power pole and made a wrong turn onto a one-way street!  I managed to hit the brakes and almost everything flew in the car and did a U turn to get myself and poor Fey (my car) out of trouble.  I survived in the end!

It was a busy weekend in the cooking department.  I made jeweled rice yesterday and today decided on something light and fresh.  Although, with the eventful weekend that I had, I could manage a shortcut version of the omelette. Usually, I would stay far away from canned vegetables as the flavour is not spot on.  So, here it is, a quick dinner I grew up on.  Maman often made this during summer very late at night after hours of sewing.  These days though, we don't eat dinner late at night but still is our quick favourite dish on a summer day when tomatoes are picked ripe and you can smell them from meters away.  This is a Shakshuka style dish traditionally served for breakfast but these days something quick and as wholesome as this can be eaten any time of the day really.

To make this omelette, take 3 ingredients and you are half way there.  1 medium onion, 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and 4 eggs.  If you have plenty of fresh tomatoes, I suggest you peel them first, then chop them in half and remove the seeds and chop roughly. I suggest 2-3 medium tomatoes per egg.  Sautee chopped onion with a little olive oil and add chopped tomatoes.  Cook on reduced heat until it thickens (approx. 20 minutes for 2 cans of tomatoes but it will take twice as long if you start with fresh tomatoes).  Crack the eggs into the sauce and cook until eggs are firm.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with fresh onion slices, green herbs and crusty bread.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Roasted Beetroot and Feta Salad

I don't have an exciting post for you this time other than my favourite combination of beetroot, feta and walnut.  Beetroot and feta is an explosion of edgy and bald flavours.  If you are a food blogger yourself, you know very well that the world of food blogging is not as glamorous as it seems! There's the planning, shopping, cooking and the few minutes you get to take a photo but only to realise that none of your photos are half decent! To take the pressure of disappointing myself at the end of a 4 hour blogging work, I went for an easy option - as salads are photogenic and half the hard work is done! 

I'm loving beetroot at the moment and its not everyday you can find golden beetroots in the supermarket. Golden beetroot is not as earthy as the ordinary ones but it sure adds another colour to your plate.  Autumn is long gone but if you enjoy the fresh taste of autumn walnuts then you can soak them in water overnight and use them in salads which is what I've done here. 

Spring is great for fresh produce and if you are lucky enough to have a well looked after veggie garden then hand picking some fresh herbs and crispy salad leaves from your backyard is a better option than a trip to the supermarket. Lettuce, parsley, chives and mint are currently growing in abundance in our backyard and soon we should have broadbeans and Persian cress  which I'm very excited about.  Did I say I went for an easy option?!?! Chopping and roasting beetroot is no hard task and neither is picking greens and washing them! Next, roughly chop herbs and let's assemble the salad.  If you rather do a Jamie Oliver and get your hands dirty then go ahead, but I prefer the more delicate and classy way of layering the salad components and going for a simple and effortless look.  The dressing? Go with a balsamic vinegarette with a little maple syrup to sweeten it.  

There are many versions of this salad and no matter if you choose feta or goats cheese or another creamy cheese, you'll still end up making an amazing salad.  I don't enjoy cooking with a recipe in front of me - I suggest you go with what you think will work .... Create and live a little, and if its a disaster, try something new!