Monday, 9 June 2008

A TASTE OF SUMMER

This weekend saw more sunny weather in Edinburgh and as a result I spent most of it outdoors and not in the kitchen. However, the thing about sunny weather is that it always has me hankering for the sort of food you eat when you're on holiday: any sort of tapas, food which you eat with your hands and is more often than not accompanied by a glass or two of something ice cold, fizzy and alcoholic - be it champagne, prosecco or a good old chilled bottle of beer.

The saturday morning farmer's market on Castle Terrace was bustling as usual, and the stalls were buckling under the weight of the beautiful fresh produce. I bought enough vegetables to feed a small army and decided to chargrill them. This isn't something to make if you're in a hurry but if you've got a spare hour and you feel like slaving over a hot griddle then you're in luck. That evening, once the sun had finally started to make it's decent, I sliced up aubergines, courgettes, red onions and great big meaty portobello mushrooms and griddled them until they had a pleasing criss-cross scorch marks on both sides. Juicy red, yellow and orange peppers were scorched on the naked flame of the hob and then steamed in a bag before being peeled of their charred skins and added to the rest of the layered vegetables in a dish. I mixed some finely chopped chilli and a couple of smashed garlic cloves with a good few slugs of olive oil and poured this liberally over the vegetables before allowing them to marinate in the fridge overnight. Hummous, tomato salad, buffalo mozarella wrapped in parma ham, toasted wholemeal pitta and the marinated vegetables made Sunday lunch a tasty affair.



I came across a recipe for Muhammara the other day, which is a Middle Eastern spread I had never heard of before. One of it's main ingredients is pomegranate molasses which is a store cupboard staple in this house but one that I don't get the opportunity to use nearly often enough. And so it was that I found myself pounding away with my pestle and mortar late on Saturday night, wondering whether it might have been a better idea to leave the experimental cookery until the morning... If you have a food processor you can throw all the ingredients in there and blend until smooth.

Muhammara
Serves 2 - 4

3-4 red peppers
12 tablespoons toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
4 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 red birds eye chilli
salt and pepper to taste

Roast the peppers over a naked flame until charred all over. place in a plastic bag and seal, allowing them to steam for 10 minutes. Remove from bag - the skins should come away easily. Half and discard the seeds. Chop through thoroughly until mushy before transferring to a pestle and mortar and pound until smooth. Place in a bowl.

Pound the toasted walnuts in a pestle and mortar and add to the peppers.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. You might want to adjust the amount of pomegranate molasses of you don't want your muhammara to be too sweet. If it is too thick, thin down with a little water.

5 comments:

Lauren @ Parsnips Aplenty said...

You and I are in the same boat, pomegranate-molasses-wise! Hopefully I'll get a chance to make this this weekend.

Kitty said...

That looks phenomenal! I am always in Edinburgh performing a puppet show at the Fringe and I SO wish the farmers market was going on then.

AMY VIG said...

I haven't bought pomegranate molasses before, but now I think I might just have to. This sounds delicious!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Everything looks so delicious! This dip looks scrumptious!

Cheers,

Rosa

Libitina said...

I bought pomegranate molasses on a whim recently and hadn't figured out what to do with it. Thanks for posting this recipe, it looks delicious.

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