Unusual Fact: Ancient Egyptians worshipped over 1,400 different gods and goddesses.
So so much has happened since my last post. 21st of January, wow, a whole month now. Since then, I have celebrated Australia day in style, travelled for 11 hours straight on public transport, got instagram, and started school (second last year!). Since this is my second last year of school, the work load and difficulty has increased dramatically. It has taken me a long time to write this post and find time to research our next county, El Salvador. So unfortunately I may not be posting as much over the next two years. I have to put study first as all of my grades from here on count towards my final score when I finish.
Before I get started on Egypt I have to tell you something exciting. I am taking part in a monthly blogging event call Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things in the foodie world, whether it be a new restaurant, ingredient or cooking technique. This month is hosted by Kim at Love, Live, Life by Kim. I have decided to focus on markets around my area. I can’t believe it, but I am cheating on my first entry. These are not new to me, I have been going to these markets for about a year now… So not new, but still just as great.
The first market is the Fishermans road markets. These, obviously are at Fishermans Road opposite the netball courts, they are in operation every Sunday morning. Mum goes for the fruit and veg, I go for the food. Every week I bring $10. I spend $5 on dumplings. Then $5 at the popcorn stall. But recently the popcorn store has been selling slightly smaller cups for $2.50. Recently there has been an iced tea stall with lots of lovely flavours. We also buy ciabatta each week from the bakery stall.
The second market is the Ocean St markets, or Night on Ocean in Maroochydore. These markets, located on Ocean street are on less frequently, only the second Friday of each month. Ocean St is barricaded off and the market starts at 5pm and finishes 9pm. There is live music and all the restaurants along the sides of Ocean St are open. I went last Friday night with some of my friends. I suggest getting there early, say 5:30 – 6-ish because by seven the street was packed and everyone was squeezing past each other.
I bought two Chinese duck buns from a stall, my friend bought a potato slinky and my other friend bought okonomiyaki from the Japanese stall. We then shared a tim tam flavoured cronut. Next we bought a bubble tea from one of the restaurants called Junk. Junk has some awesome modern chinese food. I really want to eat there after reading their menu! Just to complete the food extravaganza, I bought a lime macaron, and it was delicious. So was the rest of my food. I really recomend nights on ocean. There is something for everyone, Brazilian, German, spicy, asian, ice cream, African and so so many more to choose from.
We ate from Egypt on Valentines day, although we didn’t have an Egyptian dessert we had a valentines dessert of a flourless chocolate soufflés. The recipe is here if you want to check it out. What we did have from Egypt was a carrot salad, koshari, koftas and hibiscus tea.
These carrot have been roasted with dukkah. The dukkah we used was not traditional Egyptian dukkah but an Australian inspired dukkah. From what I believe the spices are the same but the nuts are different. These carrots tasted amazing with a lovely warmth from the dukkah. It paired perfectly with the rocket and almonds. But like always the dressing was the star of the show. With flavours of honey and lime, whats not to like?
These are what koftas are supposed to be like. Not that I’ve had that many, but they were good. Easy to make, easy to form, flavoursome. I think I’ve checked all the boxes. You only need to eat two and your full. The recipe says to cook it with charcoal, I didn’t, I just fried them in a heavy based saucepan.
Next up is Koshari. If you need to carbo load then this is the dish for you. Pasta, lentils and rice all in one pot, wow. Then it’s topped with a spice fill tomato sauce. These work incredibly together, I would not suggest having one without the other. I didn’t quite cook the tomato sauce for as long as the recipe suggested, but I thought that it was already strong enough. You make that decision when you make this though. I forgot to put the chickpeas on the top, so you should do this as well.
Last but not least was this hibiscus iced tea. I love iced tea, especially in the summer. I have heard that this particular iced tea is very popular in Egypt. We used hibiscus tea leaves from our local tea house but if you could get your hands on actual dried hibiscus leaves they would be better. We sweetened ours with honey but I don’t think we did quite enough. I would suggest 2tsp for 2L.
Egyptian Carrot Salad recipe from SBS
- 3 bunches baby carrots, use a selection of heirloom varieties
- 2 tbsp dukah
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 big handfuls of baby rocket leaves
- ½ cup toasted almonds, sliced lengthways
- 1 cupKalamata olives
- 1quantity preserved lemon dressing
- 2 pieces toasted pita bread, broken into large shards (see below)
Preserved lemon dressing
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp preserved lemon rind, pith removed and julienned
- 1 tbsp honey
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Preserved lemon dressing makes 1 cup
Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F). Trim the carrots, leaving a small amount of the stems attached. There’s no need to peel the carrots when they are young. They roast beautifully with the skin on. Cut any large ones in half lengthways, trying to make all the carrots roughly the one thickness.
Toss the carrots in a large bowl with the dukah, salt, pepper and olive oil. Massage into the carrots so that each carrot is well coated. Place into a large baking dish so the carrots are in a single layer and bake for approximately 30–35 minutes until the carrots are golden and tender.
To make the preserved lemon dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.
Arrange the baby rocket leaves on a large platter and top with the roasted carrots. Sprinkle over the almonds and olives and just before serving drizzle with the dressing. Serve alongside the shards of crisp pita bread.
Egyptian Kofta recipe from Food of Egypt
Serving Size: 3 pieces per person, serves 5 persons
1 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground lamb (optional, if not using then add more ground beef instead)
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 grated small onion
2 minced garlic
1 Tbs salt
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp nutmeg
Extra virgin olive oil Spray
1 piece of charcoal
~ Mix the onion and garlic with the spices and let it sit in room temperature for 15 minutes
~ Add the meat and the parsley to the onion and mix well. Shape the meat into kofta shapes.
~ Spray the bottom of a large pan with the olive oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat.
~ When the pan is hot, add the koftas and pan fry on all sides. Lower the heat and cover the pan.
~ Let it cook for 5 minutes. Then uncover the pan and let any liquid evaporate.
~ The kofta is now ready to serve or you can continue to the next steps to add the charcoal smokey taste:
~ When cooking the kofta, get the charcoal ready by putting it on a medium high fire until it turns grey.
~ Make a small pocket that will hold the charcoal: Take a piece of aluminium foil (8×8″/20x20cm), fold in half then fold the edges to make the pocket shape.
~ Place 1 Tbs of olive oil and the hot charcoal to the foil.
~ When the kofta is cooked, remove from the heat. Make a hole in the middle of the pan, pushing aside the koftas.
~ Put the foil pocket in that hole and quickly cover the pan. The smoke from the charcoal will fill the pan and infuse the koftas.
~ After 2 minutes, your kofta is ready to be served.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup medium grain rice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups small macaroni
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 garlic clove, quartered
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Salt to taste
- For the Sauce:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 (15 oz) can unseasoned tomato sauce (cooked/pureed tomatoes)
- 2 tsp baharat spice blend (see recipe here)
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (omit if you dislike spicy hot)
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Crispy Onion Garnish:
- 2 large onions, finely sliced
- Oil for deep-frying
- 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and fry it for 2 minutes, then add the vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil, decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Rinse the lentils under cold water and add them to another medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Add the garlic, cumin and bay leaf and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Once cooked, add the salt and stir to combine. Strain any excess liquid if necessary.
- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions until al dente.
- Note: Prepare the rice, macaroni and lentils while the sauce is simmering and leave them covered in the pots to keep warm.
- To make sauce:
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, baharat, salt and pepper to taste, chile flakes (if using) and red wine vinegar. Bring it to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To make the crispy onions, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions and fry until dark brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the oil and place them on paper towels to drain and cool.
- Add the rice, lentils and macaroni to a large bowl and toss to combine (or simply scoop out desired amounts of each onto the plates). Sprinkle a little baharat over each portion and serve topped with some of the spicy tomato sauce. Top with garbanzo beans, the crispy onions and another sprinkle of baharat. Serve warm.
Egyptian Iced Tea recipe from Good Food Magazine
1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
500ml boiling water
1 tbsp honey, agave syrup or sugar syrup
2 sprigs of basil or mint
1. Place the flowers in a jug and add boiling water. Add the honey, agave syrup or sugar syrup, stirring, then taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until required.
2. To serve, strain out the flowers, and pour the tea over plenty of ice in two glasses. Add a sprig of basil or mint – and a dash of soda water for a bit of sparkle if you like – and serve.