Yemeni Scrambled Eggs

 Yemeni Eggs

Yemeni Eggs

4 eggs

1 medium potato, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 an onion, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped 

1 tsp cumin

1/2tsp tumeric

1 tbsp sunflower oil

You are probably familiar with shakshuka, the more famous cousin of this tasty Middle Eastern egg dish, but give this a try and it is sure to become a regular fixture in your brunch repertoire. Yemeni cuisine tends to be a little spicier than other Middle Eastern fare, perhaps because of the centuries-long influence of their Indian trading partners. The addition of cumin and chilli gives these eggs an aromatic kick. 

Heat the oil on a medium heat in a good sized frying pan, a sauté pan with a lid is perfect.

Add the onions and potatoes and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes, spices, and most of the green chilli (leave some aside for garnishing your eggs later on). Cover the pan and cook until the tomato is soft. If the mixture becomes too dry or the potatoes begin to stick, add a splash of water to the pan and stir. Whilst the tomato is cooking, crack the eggs into a container and whisk with a fork.

Once the tomato is soft and any excess liquid has boiled off, turn down the heat to medium-low. Add the eggs and leave them to set slightly for a 2 minutes before stirring them gently through the mixture to scramble. Scramble to your desired consistency! 

Serve the eggs immediately with flat Arabic bread or pita bread and another hearty spoonful of labaneh. Garnish with more green chilli if you need an extra bit of spice. 

Athens Eats

 Wild Figs Bought From the Acropolis Slopes

Wild Figs Bought From the Acropolis Slopes

Greek food has a pretty bad reputation in my family. Dad likes to regale us with stories about the greasy spanakopita and 'retch-sina' that he was subjected to on Greek holidays during the 1980s. Don't even get him started on the subject of taramasalata....

However, over the last decade, Athens has transformed into a foodie city, with a strong culture of eating out - and the restaurants to match. Recently, I visited Athens for the weekend, and I was blown away by the beautiful produce and homely, tasty taverna fare. Here's a little selection of the highlights.

Psarras Taverna, Plaka

Address: Erechtheous 16 & Erotokritou 12, Plaka

Contact: +30 210 321 8734; psaras-taverna.gr

This gorgeous restaurant spills out into the atmospheric streets of Plaka, one of Athens' most beautiful neighbourhoods. I visited on a warm evening in August, and it couldn't have made for a more magical first night in the city. Descending the steps to the restaurant, you are greeted by a warm glow from the candles on the tables, and the reception from the waiters and waitresses is equally welcoming. We left ordering in the hands of our waiter, a congenial Greek-Australian, returned to Athens after many years in Melbourne. He chose us a sweet, tomato-rich cuttlefish stew and some flavourful meatballs, alongside a crisp greek salad. All the food was delicious and fresh, and was accompanied by a fantastic Greek wine. The red was made from the Agiorgitiko grape and hailed from the Nemea region of Greece. Legend has it that it was this wine which Hercules drank after slaying the Nemean lion. 

This is the sort of restaurant where the hours just slip away, as you listen to music, drink good wine, and sip on mastika. 

 A view over Plaka to the Acropolis

A view over Plaka to the Acropolis

Ta Karamanlidika

Address: Sokratous 1, Athina 105 52, 

Contact: +30 21 0325 4184; karamanlidika.gr

A hidden gem, we stumbled upon this taverna after a mouthwatering walk through Athens' Central Market. The taverna serves as both restaurant and delicatessen, with an impressive array of hams, sausages, and cheeses on display. Indeed, on almost every table there was a long wooden board of cold cuts and sliced cheeses: we knew what we would be ordering! Accompanying this selection, we had a bubbling skillet of tender aubergine and tomato stew, topped with feta, fresh dolmades, and an egg cooked with spicy sausage. Home-cooked and tasty, this was the perfect lunch - although he did have to go home for a little siesta afterwards!

 

 

I'm a Fuul For You

 Fuul Medames

Fuul Medames

I first tried fuul medames at Hashem, a veritable institution for Jordanian mezzes, and a must-try for any visitor to Amman's 'Wast Al Balad' - the bustling downtwon. A Middle Eastern staple, fuul medames is potentially one of the less photogenic of foods, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in flavour. Fava beans (aka dried and rehydrated broad beans) are cooked with cumin, garlic, lemon, and green chilli. This is by far my favourite Jordanian breakfast, and it couldn't be easier to make. 

 

 

 

Serves 2-4 

Ingredients:

400g fava beans, with water

1/2 a white onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

A pinch of ground cumin

A small pinch of cumin seeds

1 tbsp sunflower oil

For the dressing:

1 lemon, juiced

Half a medium sized green chilli roughly chopped

To serve:

Fresh Labneh

Extra virgin olive oil

Flat Bread

Recipe:

Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the ground cumin and heat until aromatic. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the fava beans to the pan, with the water from the tin. Bring to a simmer and heat for a further 3-5 minutes, until piping hot. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pan and stir in until the remaining liquid has been incorporated into a "puree-like" consistency surrounding the other, whole beans. If you prefer your beans a little less rustic, keep mashing! 

Whilst the beans are cooling, squeeze the lemon into a small bowl and add the chopped green chilli. 

Serve the beans, adding spoonfuls of olive oil and lemon-chilli dressing to your taste. Eat with Arabic flatbread (or pitta) and lashings of delicious yogurt-y labneh.