A few weeks ago we had a very special Fiesta Friday: following an invitation by the wonderful Selma, a few of us regulars met up in a beautiful setting just off Regent Street, for a bit of non-virtual fun. I was incredibly excited to meet so many of you in the flesh – reading your blogs, getting an insight into what you’re up to in and around your kitchens has become such an important part of my life.
Fiesta Friday is such a unique event in that it really feels like a party: you get to know the regulars, appreciate their contributions and their appreciation of your own efforts. As a community, Fiesta Fridays feel almost like family – at times you feel as if you were literally sitting around one huge table!
In a similar attempt to recreate that warm and fuzzy feeling of Fiesta Fridays, FoodEatLove‘s Petra and I decided to meet up, too – somewhere central, somewhere food-related were the ground rules. When Petra suggested Edgware Road with its Middle Eastern shops and restaurants, I was easily convinced.
A few months ago, Elaine and Selma went to Sheperds Bush for a dose of Middle Eastern food, an experience they shared with the gang over at Angie’s. Those post about incredible spices, exotic fruit and vegetables and amazing sweets were the perfect preparation for our own trip. And guess what, it was just as great as I had imagined it to be – just head over to Petra‘s to check out her beautiful pictures!
In the end we had some wonderful Lebanese mezze, and especially the sweet and tangy flavours of the fattoush salad stayed with me. In fact it impressed me so much that I bought pomegranates, molasses and sumac on the spot to recreate this perfect summer lunch. All that’s missing is some homemade pitta bread, like Marita‘s.
Fattoush, after Esperance Sammour (serves 4)
The following ingredients are approximate – please feel free to vary depending on what you’ve got, what’s in season and, obviously, on the colour scheme of your dining arrangements. OK, I was kidding about that last one.
- 2 pitta bread, cut into 1 in squares
- 3-4 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs sumac
- 6-8 radishes, sliced
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 10 cocktail tomatoes, halved or diced, depending on size
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1 smallish romaine lettuce, cut into 1 in strips
- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs of mint, chopped
- 1 pomegranate, deseeded
For the dressing:
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (ca. 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 cup olive oil
Heat the oven to 200C / 400F. Drizle a little oil on a large baking sheet and add the pitta bread squares. Sprinkle the sumac over the bread, add a little more oil, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
I’ll bring this dish to Fiesta Friday this week, as a special Thank You to all those bloggers whose warmth, generosity and enthusiasm make Fiesta Fridays so special.