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Meet Bethany Kehdy, Today’s Guest Instagrammer!

Happy publishing day to Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen! Take a look at our Instagram account, Bethany will be our guest Instagrammer for the day.

Bethany Kehdy is an unrivalled chef of today’s new Middle Eastern generation. Bethany works as a recipe developer, freelance food and travel writer and food photographer. She also leads culinary tours across Lebanon and organizes Food Blogger Connect, a conference for food bloggers. Bethany is a Lebanese-American born in Houston, Texas and brought up in Lebanon, she spent countless hours learning to cook with her perfectionist teta (grandmother), her vivacious dad and her spirited aunts. Her recipes are a harmonious balance of classic and contemporary, as she draws upon her childhood roots while adding her own personal twist to these iconic recipes.Bethany-Khedy

 

Nourish: Where does your passion for cooking come from?
Bethany: I grew up in a family that enjoys food and feasts. My father loved to cook and had and still has a big appetite. We also grew up on the ancestral farm in the mountains for a period of time during the civil war and at the end of summer my grandmother would begin preserving the harvests of the land as part of the Lebanese mouneh or pantry. These experiences are a big part of my memory.

N: How did the idea of writing Jewelled Kitchen come about? How did you enjoy the process of writing?
B: I was approached with an idea to write an introductory book on the cuisines of the Middle East and I had been at the time toying with a similar idea for a book. It was both enjoyable and agonising. I really didn’t know what to expect and it was a huge learning curve. I do love the process of writing cookbooks and the creative journey as agonising as it still feels.

N: Can you describe your book? What should the reader expect from it?
B: The Jewelled Kitchen focuses on the cuisine of the region; it’s an introductory book on the cuisine of the Middle East, covering the more famous and lesser known classics. The dishes are introduced in a way that makes them modern and accessible yet still authentic and maintaining the integrity of the dish.

N: What are your cooking inspirations?
B: I am inspired by beautiful produce in its season- when you look at an ingredient which is at its prime, it instigates this childlike excitement of wanting to take it home and all the excitement of exploring the ways in which you can present it as a meal. I also love reading old, scholarly cookbooks and delving into ancient culinary repertoires which often spur ideas in my mind. And of course, I get a lot of inspiration from visiting our Taste Lebanon producers and driving around Lebanon to see what’s cooking. My dad and I often vibe of each other too.

N: What was the first dish you mastered?
B; I guess it was that pasta dish I would make almost everyday when I was 14 for anyone that would consider trying it. I would make this sauce that was heavy on the garlic and olives. I seemed to think it was the best thing in the world- I don’t think I would if I was to try it now.

N: What is your favourite Middle Eastern dish?
B: Gosh too many! I’m into tabeekh or the stews and one-pots- so it’s mjadara, fassolia, mloukhieh, bamieh, loubieh b zeit.

N: What are the ingredients you must have to prepare a perfect Middle Eastern dish?
B: Garlic, onions, olive oil and spices- a well stocked pantry really.

The Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

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Sea Bass With Spiced Caramelized Onion Rice

Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews the Sea Bass With Spiced Caramelized Onion Rice’s recipe, taken from Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen. This fragrant dish called seeyadeeyeh is a family favourite. It was handed down to Bethany’s  Aunt Amale by her grandmother, finally making its way into Bethany’s repertoire. The author’s grandmother grew up along the coast of Batroun where her family’s picturesque restaurant, Jammal, still stands overlooking the water grottos where she once swam. This recipe is a homage to her sea-loving soul.

Sarka Babicka

 

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

whole sea bass, about 500g/1lb 2oz, cleaned and scaled

120ml/4 floz/½ cup sunflower oil

4 onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

200g/7oz/1 cup medium-grain rice

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges, to serve

Tarator (see page 220), to serve

Method:

  • Cut off the fish head and season it with salt. Set aside the remaining fish. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, add the fish head and fry for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the fish head and set aside.

JK Blog post prep

  • Add the onions to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and transfer the onions to a plate lined with paper towels. Spread three-quarters of the drained onions evenly across the base of a heavy-based saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat, add the fish head and cover with 500ml/17fl oz/ generous 2 cups water. Add the cumin, cinnamon and allspice, and season to taste with salt. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil, then remove the fish head and reserve.
  • Add the rice to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan often.
  • Put the uncooked fish in a baking dish, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when pushed with a fork. Divide the fish into four equal portions.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a dish, stand the fish head in the centre, if you like, and arrange the fish portions on top of the rice. Add the remaining caramelized onions and the toasted pine nuts to the dish.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve the dish with the lemon wedges and Tarator.

Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews this delicious recipe:

JK blog final

In my excitement at this week’s publication of The Jewelled Kitchen, I wanted to celebrate by making one of Bethany’s delightful dishes for a dinner party.

To complement the hot summer weather in London right now I decided to go for something light and fresh, and this fish dish felt the like perfect match. I especially liked that Bethany describes it as an ‘homage to her [grandmother’s] sea-loving soul’- thoughts of the sea, breezy and refreshing, felt like the right thing to channel on a sticky summer night!

Unfortunately I was unable to source a whole sea bass at my local Co-Op across from the tube station, so I settled for salmon instead, and made it alongside the moreish caramelized onion rice.

The rice took no time to cook, and was easily made at the same time as the fish. While both were cooking away I got to work on caramelizing the onions and toasting the pine nuts. The two ingredients go together perfectly- the nuts all toasty with their depth of flavour, and the onions sweet and rich. The golden brown colour that both reach when cooked match each other perfectly in this sumptuous dish. I mixed the onions and pine nuts into the rice, and sprinkled with chopped parsley to add a pop of freshness and colour to the dish, and the colours and flavours mingled beautifully- deep brown and bright green, and rich flavours offset by bursts of brightness.

I served the rice alongside my salmon substitute, as well as some asparagus sautéed in butter, garlic, and lemon. With a glass of crisp white wine on the side, this made for a delectable summer soiree meal.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

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Bethany Kehdy’s Favourite Summer Recipes

Summer and the Mediterranean go together like eggs and bacon (or just butter and eggs if you’re vegetarian) and here I’ve selected 6 of my favourite sun-soaked recipes that are light, vibrant and delicious. Bring them and friends together to make for a memorable lazy Eastern Mediterranean inspired lunch or late-evening alfresco gathering. Pop the arak open and enjoy.

Spinach & Labneh Dip
Booranis are a variety of yogurt-based dishes that are served as sides in Iran. They are cousins of mutabal, where yogurt is used instead of tahini. You can use any kind of green or vegetable instead of the spinach.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus draining and chilling the yogurt and making the advieh, and the saffron liquid (optional)
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced (optional)
300g/10 oz spinach leaves
a pinch of Advieh 1
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/heaped  cup Greek yogurt or Labneh Dip (see page 221) a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp Saffron Liquid (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
warm Thin Flatbread or Toasted Triangles, to serve

Method:

1- Heat half the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 8–10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the sliced onion, if using, until golden and crispy. Set aside.

2- Meanwhile, put the spinach in a large saucepan and pour in 1l/35fl oz/4¹⁄³ cups boiling water. Cover and cook over a high heat for
1–2 minutes until it wilts. Rinse under cold running water, then drain well and squeeze firmly with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.

3- Chop the spinach finely and add to the shallots. Add the advieh and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and return the pan to a medium heat. Stir well, cooking for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4- Position a colander over a bowl, and line the colander with two fine muslin cloths. Tip the yogurt in, join the sides of the cloth to create a pouch, and close by creating a tight knot. Squeeze the pouch and then leave it to sit in the colander as the whey drains for 10–15 minutes while the spinach cools. Discard the whey. Alternatively, if you have Labneh Dip on hand, you can use that.

5- Once the spinach mixture has cooled, transfer to a serving dish and mix in the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. Drizzle with saffron liquid and sprinkle with caramelized onion, if using. Serve extremely cold with warm Thin Flatbread.
Fattoush saladSarka Babicka
Fattoush is a bread salad that has become synonymous with the Middle East. It’s a good choice when you want to use up some soon-to-expire vegetables and stale bread. Bread holds a symbolic, almost revered, status in the Middle East. Growing up, I learnt that if I found a piece on the floor I should pick it up, kiss it and place it somewhere it would be appreciated. “Bread and penny never wasted”: the idea is to make use of what is available and in season. Here is one of the many versions I’ve made over time.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus making the toasted triangles

Ingredients:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
juice of 1  lemons
200g/7oz mixed green leaves
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
a small handful of parsley leaves
4 tsp sumac
75g/2 oz/5 tbsp pomegranate seeds (see page 216)
115g/4oz/⁄ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 recipe quantity Toasted Triangles (see page 49)
1 ripe avocado
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

Method:
1- To make the dressing, put the olive oil and most of the lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk together well. Adjust the sourness by adding  more lemon juice, if you like. (Note that the sumac will add a tang to the salad, so it’s best to err on the side of caution first and adjust the zing of the salad once it has all been dressed.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2-Put the mixed leaves, tomatoes, red onions, radishes, cucumber, dill and parsley in a serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Toss well, then sprinkle with the sumac, pomegranate seeds, feta and toasted triangles.

3-Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out and dice the flesh, then add to the salad and gently toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Divide among four bowls and serve with lemon wedges and some extra olive oil.

Mussels in ArakSarka Babicka
Arak, very much the national drink in Lebanon, is nicknamed the “milk of lions”, most probably because when mixed with water to serve, it turns a milky white, but also because it was drunk by men, sometimes in the mornings, to show off their strength and masculinity. Arak is not traditionally used for cooking, but it works wonderfully in this dish, which has a double hit of anise from the Arak (use Pernod if you prefer) and tarragon. The flavour mellows nicely, leaving behind only the slightest hint of anise.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:
2kg/4lb 8oz fresh mussels
45g/1 oz/3 tablespoons salted butter
2 shallots, very finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup Arak or Pernod
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup
dry white wine
2 tomatoes, very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
juice of 1lemons
3 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for sprinkling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
warm Arabic Bread (see page 217) or Potato Matchsticks (see page 218), to serve

Method:

1- Wash the mussels under cold running water, pulling off any beards from the shells (this should be done with a gentle pull in the direction of the “hinge”). Only do this just before cooking as this process can injure/kill the mussel, which is why some may not open after cooking. Scrape off any barnacles using the back of a sharp knife and discard any open mussels that don’t close when given a tap on the work surface.

2- Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy-based pan over a medium–low heat, add the shallots and cover and sweat for about 3–4 minutes until soft and translucent. Pour in the Arak and wine and add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, lemon juice, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir and simmer for about 2 minutes until reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

3- Add 120ml/4fl oz/½ cup water if you find the broth too reduced, then add the mussels. Cover and cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan gently until all the mussels have opened. Don’t overcook mussels, as they turn dry and tough. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle with extra tarragon and serve with warm Arabic Bread or Potato Matchsticks.

Veiled Sea Bass with a Spicy SurpriseSarka Babicka
The inspiration for “veiling” these sea bass came from chef Greg Malouf, who “veils” quails using vine leaves. As I had an excess of bottled vine leaves, and a few sea bass defrosting, it seemed appropriate to marry them. The vine leaves lock the moisture in as the fish is steamed and they also lend a very subtle sweetness. If using fresh vine leaves, blanch them in boiling water for a minute, or until pliable.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus making the preserved lemon
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 handful of parsley leaves
1 handful of coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
1 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped root ginger
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 wedge of Preserved Lemon (see page 212), rind rinsed and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
tsp ground cumin
6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
4 sea bass, about 1.3kg/3lb in total, scaled and gutted
12 large bottled vine leaves, rinsed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couscous, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas 5 and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Put the parsley, coriander/cilantro, dill, ginger, chilli, preserved lemon, garlic and cumin in a blender and pulse several times until you’ve made a rough paste, stopping to scrape the sides down as needed. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the oil and pulse once more to combine. Spoon the mixture into the fish cavities.

2- Season the sea bass with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining oil. Wrap each sea bass with 3 vine leaves, starting at the head and working all the way down, but leaving the tail exposed. Put the fish, seam-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm/1in measured at the thickest part of the fish), until the fish is tender and cooked through. Serve with Couscous and lemon wedges.

Teta’s Smokey Musaqa’aSarka Babicka
The word moussaka, applied to the famous Greek dish, doesn’t actually have any meaning in the Greek language. Instead, it’s thought the dish came to Greece by way of the Phoenicians and then took on French influences (hence the béchamel sauce). Meaning “cold” or “chilled” in Arabic, musaqa’a is a humble vegetarian stew that is best served at room temperature.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus soaking the chickpeas (optional)
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus cooking the chickpeas until they are just tender (optional)

Ingredients:
1kg/2lb 4oz aubergines/eggplants
120ml/4fl oz/  cup olive oil
1kg/2lb 4oz beefsteak tomatoes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
125g/4 z/heaped  up dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (see page 215), or 250g/9oz/heaped 1 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp tomato purée/paste (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Greek yogurt
mint leaves (optional)
Arabic Bread (optional, see page 217)
Vermicelli Rice (optional, see page 215)

Method:
1- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚C/Gas 6. Partially skin the aubergines/eggplants, leaving strips of skin about 2.5cm/1in wide, then cut them lengthways into 2cm/¾in slices. Brush the slices on both sides with
6 tablespoons of the olive oil (or more or less, as preferred) and place in a 20 x 15cm/8 x 6in baking dish, overlapping as necessary. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft. Alternatively, preheat the grill/broiler to medium-high and grill/broil the prepared slices for about 5 minutes on each side or until softened and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2- Core the tomatoes and score the bottoms with a sharp knife. Put them in a heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 1 minute, or until the skins begin to peel. Drain the tomatoes and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking, then peel off the skins and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then slice the tomatoes into 5mm/¼in thick slices.

3-Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, then cover and sweat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Add the tomato slices and chickpeas in layers, seasoning each layer with a pinch of allspice, salt and pepper. Cover with about 250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup water. If the tomatoes are not a rich red colour, then add the tomato purée/paste for more depth of flavour and colour. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

4- Add the cooked aubergine/eggplant slices on top of the stew in layers, overlapping if necessary. Gently press them down just enough so that they are lightly covered by the tomato broth. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and leave to cool down to room temperature. Serve with the yogurt and with mint for sprinkling, Arabic Bread and Vermicelli Rice, if you like.

Wild Orchid Ice Cream in Filo cups
Salep flour, which gives this ice cream its light and elastic consistency, is milled from the dried tubers of a species of wild orchid found in the Anatolian plateau. These tubers apparently resemble the testicles of a fox, and this gave the flour its name! It’s widely thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus freezing
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
700ml/24fl oz/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp salep flour or cornflour/cornstarch
tsp mastic powder or about
2 small mastic tears ground using
a pestle and mortar, or xanthan gum
175g/6oz/scant 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp roughly chopped shelled unsalted pistachios, plus extra for sprinkling
3 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry
40g/1 oz/3 tbsp butter
dried edible rose petals, to decorate (optional)

Method:
1- Pour 350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups of the milk into a small mixing bowl, add the salep flour and mastic powder and stir to dissolve.
2-Place a large pan over a medium heat, add the remaining milk and the sugar and whisk well to dissolve. Bring the mixture to the boil, then gradually pour the salep and milk mixture into the hot milk as you continue to whisk vigorously, gently simmering the mixture over a low heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture does not rise up in the pan and then overflow.
3- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the rosewater and pistachios. Transfer to a freezer-safe mixing bowl and leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.
4-Once the mixture has chilled, transfer to the freezer for 45 minutes, then remove and whisk well to break up all the ice crystals while incorporating as much air as possible to yield a creamier, fluffier end result. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove and repeat the process again, breaking up all the ice crystals that have developed. Repeat two or three more times until completely frozen. This should take about 8 hours. You may find that your whisk can no longer do the job as the ice cream hardens, in which case a spatula is a good substitute.
5-Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4. Remove the sheets of pastry from their packaging and cover them with a damp dish towel.
6-Melt the butter in a small saucepan and lightly brush six cups of a muffin pan with some of it. Brush one pastry sheet with more melted butter, add another layer on top, brush that one with butter and then repeat with the final layer. Slice the stack into six 15 x 13cm/6 x 5in rectangles, then gently press these rectangles into the greased muffin pan so that they form cup shapes.
7-Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown. Lift the pastry cups out of the pan and leave to cool. Fill each cup with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios and dried rose petals, if you like.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

Moroccan Citrus Salad – celebrate the summer!

morrocan-citrus-salad

Moroccan Citrus Salad. Try adding thin slices of red onion, a creamy cheese, olives and dash of paprika

 

bethany-kehdy-author-of-the-Jewelled-Kitchen“It’s hard to provide a recipe for such a basic salad since it really should come about by following one’s instinct and mood, so regard this as more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast recipe: it’s now up to you to bring it to life in whatever way you choose” says Bethany Kehdy author of The Jewelled Kitchen. “If you want to attain more savoury notes, add thin slices of red onion, a creamy cheese, olives, a dash of paprika and a drizzle of argan oil. The combination of fruits and vibrant colours will revive you at first glance, let alone at first bite. Serve with some ginger yogurt, if you like” suggests Bethany.

 

Moroccan Citrus Salad

Serves 4
Preparation time10 minutes

1 lime
1 orange
1 blood orange
1 pink grapefruit
seeds from 1 pomegranate
2 tsp roughly chopped pistachios
2 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chopped mint leaves, to sprinkle
 
To serve (optional)
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
 
1. Using a sharp knife, trim the top and bottom of the lime so that the flesh is revealed. Keeping the lime upright, cut through the peel downwards from top to bottom, following the shape of the fruit, making sure to shave off all the peel and pith. Turn the lime onto its side and cut into thick wheels (not too thick, but thick enough so they are not falling apart).

2. Repeat with the remainder of the citrus fruit. Remove the pips and arrange the slices on a serving plate, so they overlap. Drizzle any juice over the citrus slices.

3. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Put the honey and orange blossom water, if using, in a small mixing bowl and stir well, then drizzle it over the citrus fruits. Dust with cinnamon and sprinkle the mint over the top.

4. To make the ginger yogurt, if using, put the yogurt and ginger in a bowl and mix well. Serve with the salad.

Try Bethany’s Chicken Basteeya recipe for a Middle Eastern classic with a twist.

 

Bethany Kehdy is a pioneer of today’s new Middle Eastern cuisine.The Jewelled Kitchen takes you on an unforgettable adventure of Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. From Tuna Tartare with Chermoula and Sumac-Scented Chicken Parcels, to Cardamom-Scented Profiteroles and Ma’amoul Shortbread Cookies – mouth-watering dishes for you to try. Find Bethany at her inspiring food blog dirtykitchesecrets.com.

 

    “Original and delicious” –  Yotam Ottolenghi

     The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy

      224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

      AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00

      £20.00 l Buy the e-book now!

 

 

 

 

Blackened Sea Bream or masgouf, perfect for a Saturday night

Blackened sea bream recipe

Blackened Sea Bream or masgouf, as Iraq’s national dish is known, is much revered as a food for the mind as well as the body

 

author of The Jewelled Kitchen Bethany Kehdy“The infamous masgouf, as Iraq’s national dish is known, is a much-revered dish for Iraqis, reserved for special occasions. Considered to be food for the mind as well as the body, this Baghdad speciality sprang up along the banks of the Tigris, where the day’s catch would be served to Arak-sozzled patrons in cafés”, explains author of The Jewelled Kitchen. “It’s traditionally prepared with freshwater fish, similar to carp, butterflied and hung on skewers over brushwood fires. Mango chutney was introduced via Indian traders, and Iraqis made it their own with the inclusion of spices such as fenugreek.”

 

Blackened Sea Bream Recipe

 

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus time for marinating
Cooking time: 45 minutes

 

4 whole sea bream, pollock or haddock, about 1.25kg/2lb 12oz in total, cleaned and gutted, then butterflied (head and tail intact)

2 tbsp smoked sea salt flakes

1 tbsp tamarind paste or lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground dried lime (optional)

chopped coriander leaves, to sprinkle

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Green Mango Chutney

2 green mangoes, sliced into 1cm/½in cubes

3cm/1¼in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

½ garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp ground fenugreek

small pinch of crushed chilli flakes

4 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tbsp clear honey

a small pinch of sea salt

 

1. Put all the fish in a grill pan and season the interiors and exteriors generously with the smoked salt.

2. Put the tamarind paste in a mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons water and mix well. Add the olive oil and dried lime, if using, and whisk well. Season to taste with black pepper. Baste each of the fish liberally all over with the tamarind marinade. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the mango chutney. Put the mangoes, ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, chilli flakes, cider vinegar, honey, salt and 350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups water in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20–25 minutes until the mango is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. The chutney should be slightly runny.

4. Depending on your choice, preheat a grill to high, preheat a charcoal barbecue until the charcoal is burning white or turn on a gas barbecue. Secure the fish by flattening them between the wire racks of large fish-grilling baskets, 2 fish per basket, then cook for 7 minutes on each side or until charred, crispy and flaky. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and bake the fish on wire racks placed above baking trays for 10–15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm/1in measured at the thickest part of the fish).

5. If using fillets, then heat a shallow, nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and sear the fish for 5 minutes on each side, carefully turning them.

6. Sprinkle coriander over the fish and serve with Chelow Rice, along with some of the green mango chutney and some Burnt Tomato and Chilli Jam, if you like.

 

Bethany Kehdy is a pioneer of today’s new Middle Eastern cuisine.The Jewelled Kitchen takes you on an unforgettable adventure of Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. From Tuna Tartare with Chermoula and Sumac-Scented Chicken Parcels, to Cardamom-Scented Profiteroles and Ma’amoul Shortbread Cookies – mouth-watering dishes for you to try. Find Bethany at her inspiring food blog dirtykitchesecrets.com.

 

    “Original and delicious” –  Yotam Ottolenghi

     The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy

      224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

      AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00

      £20.00 l Buy the book now!