Monday, April 9, 2012

Recipe: Muhammara - spiced capsicum dip

My neighbours' garden
Wonderful use of the climber Pyrostegia venusta Flame Vine
I have lovely neighbours with a lovely garden and I was going to cook for them on Friday night.  JUST SLIGHT PRESSURE - she is Belinda Jeffery the cook book writer, chef and television food presenter. I shouldn't really worry because she and Clive are all round lovelies and she always tells me she would be happy if someone made her a boiled egg.

We had decided on a Middle Eastern theme and I had tried a wonderful recipe for lamb shanks with figs so decided on that as the main course.  I just had the entree to sort out.  We were doing that sensible thing of sharing the load so Belinda was doing the vegies and desert.  I have been sharing meals like this with friends for years.  It was a particularly good idea when we had three small children and found it difficult to get out and expensive to keep paying for a babysitter.  I remember some wonderful dinners, shared with friends, and the added delight of trying other people's cooking.

Continuing on with the roast red pepper theme of a couple of weeks ago, I came across this Middle Eastern dip recipe.  It's wonderful sweet nuttiness with a little kick from the pomegranate and chilli is positively addictive.  I have tried to find out its origin and variously seen it referred to as Syrian, Moroccan, Turkish and Palestinian - cuisine from the Levant seems to cover all of those - anyway, it sounds romantic.  It was a big hit and everyone who has tried it wants the recipe - always a good sign.

2 large roasted red capsicum or 4 small (see previous post on how to cook and prepare these)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup stale sourdough breadcrumbs
1 large clove very fresh garlic, crushed
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
sea salt to taste
Blend all the ingredients to a coarse paste.  Adjust seasoning.
Best served with flatbread or a Turkish style bread

NOTE:  As with all simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients reflects on the end result.  Only use the freshest and the best.
Byron Bay
Well, I was wrong about the weather.  Our normally wet Easter didn't eventuate and this is what we had instead.  Four days of stunning weather; clear blue skies, no howling winds, perfect temperature (about 28oC), clear night skies with a full moon and top body surfing waves - to be savoured as it doesn't happen very often.  Happy days!

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