Summer Ices and BBQ Drinks

Summer Infused Water | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Summer Infused Water | http://www.theolivetreekitchen.com

I love going on holidays as much as the next person. When you live in England, the annual holiday is normally the most reliable way to get your dose of vitamin D and anything that resembles a healthy glow. And for me having been raised in the Middle East, I like a lot of sun and a lot of warmth. However, there is something so charming about staying at home in the UK to enjoy the few flecks on sunshine that we do get. And sunny British summer days are divine. The best way to enjoy this is with friends, and some good food cooked over a BBQ while enjoying some drinks. We still aren’t as expert as the Americans- especially those amazing Fourth of July sessions- but we are getting better.

I find that people can be a bit unimaginative when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks and often make such an effort with BBQ food and then just resort to opening a bottle of pop which can let the meal down. I can’t drink alcohol with the medicines for my rheumatoid arthritis, so I have created these two exciting, delicious and healthy drinks to go with your delicious BBQ.

These drinks are fresh and refreshing, as flavoursome and exciting as they are healthy. I can assure you that the Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ices will be so popular that everyone will be drinking it and you’ll be back in the kitchen in now time to juice some more apples and lemons. The apple and lemon combination provides perfect zing with a touch of sweet which complements summer evenings perfectly.

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Fresh Mint |www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Fresh Mint |www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Summer ice cubes | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Summer ice cubes | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Summer Ice cubes and ice hearts
1 handful of shopped raspberries and strawberries
12 small sprigs or individual leaves of fresh mint
Filtered/ mineral water

divide the chopped berries between the sections in the ice cube tray
divide the mint between the individual sections in an ice cube tray
fill the trays with the water and put in the freezer overnight

IMG_5310Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ice | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ice | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ice | http://www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ice | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ice | http://www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Lemon Apple Sherbet with Raspberry Ices
12 golden delicious apples
3 organic un-waxed lemons
1 scoop of crushed ice

put the whole apples and lemons through a juicer
strain off the foam and put in a jug with crushed ice
serve the juice in with a pretty glass with a sprig of mint and a raspberry ice

Summer Infused Water | www.theolivetreekitchen.com

Summer Infused Water | http://www.theolivetreekitchen.com

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Summer Water Infusion
½ cucumber
1 lime
1 handful raspberries
1 handful of fresh mint sprigs
1 scoop of crushed Ice
Mineral water or sparkling water

slice the cucumber and lime thinly and layer in a jug along with the raspberries, crushed ice and mint
fill the jug with a water of your choice
serve in glasses decorated with limes and raspberries


Courgette Spaghetti with Avocado Basil Pesto

courgette pasta
If you don’t have a spiralizer in your kitchen, you really should get one. I am not a fan of having gadgets for the sake of it, but to eat consciously and healthily I do think you need a few things, including a juicer, blender and of course a spiralizer. I use mine daily and could not be without them.

A spiralizer effortlessly turns your vegetables into spaghetti, ribbons, rice and more, and its so easy to use that even my arthritis ridden hands that can’t close around a pen have no problems making my favourite foods with them.

I made this healthy version of my once favourite pesto pasta for a luncheon with my brother a few weeks ago. I put a photo on my blog’s facebook page and several people asked me for the recipe. So here it is, just for them and just for you. This is a great spring and summer recipe, its fresh and delicious with a lovely bite to the courgette.

Plant based fats, such as the olive oil, avocado and pine nuts in this recipe, are incredibly good for you and have really helped me to feel better in my struggle against rheumatoid arthritis.

ingredients
spaghetti
4 large courgettes
9 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

pesto
1 large ripe avocado
Large handful of basil
1 cup of pine nuts
3 shallots, chopped
1 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
½ cup mineral water

method
1. put the flesh of the avocado, most of the pine nuts, shallots and fresh basil into a blender and blend on a medium speed. Slowly add the water and olive oil while blending until the mixture is soft, smooth and silky. You don’t need to use all the oil and water, use it until you have reached a consistency that you are happy with.
2. put all four courgettes through the spiralizer until you have long spaghetti shapes.
3. heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms moving them around the pan until they start to brown. Then add the spiralized courgettes, stiring them for 10 minutes until they are softened and reduced in size. They should still have a lovely crunchy bite to them.
4. in the meantime, toast the remaining pine nuts over a medium heat in a dry pan moving continually until golden.
5. add half the pesto to the courgette spaghetti while in the pan and stir to warm through
6. serve in a pasta bowl, sprinkle the toasted pine nuts to top and add a sprig of basil.


Griddled Baby Aubergines with Heritage Tomatoes, Mint and Tahini

Baby Aubergines
I often test new recipes at home with my family and friends. Some make it onto my blog and some do not. There are then times when I just knock something up with no intention of putting the recipe up on my blog. This is what happened when my brother came over to lunch recently. I made two dishes and just photographed them and put them online. The response I got on my blog’s facebook page and from my brother was so good that I decided to write them up and share them with you all.

I would love to say that I was inspired by my Palestinian culture when making this meal, but in reality I was only inspired by what was in my fridge and what was growing in my garden….. or maybe they are the same thing… Either way, this is incredibly easy to make and so so tasty. Make this for yourself this summer even if the sun refuses to join you as your date!

Aubergines are very good for removing toxins from the body, supporting your gut health and blood sugar. mint is also very good for soothing stomach upsets and sesame seeds are very good for your skin and support your liver as well as being very high in vitamin C, so you can eat plentifully with confidence.

ingredients
3 baby aubergines
Small handful of tiny red, green and orange heritage tomatoes
Small handful of fresh mint
2 tbps tahini
1 tbps extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Loads of Himalayan pink salt

methods
1. keeping the head of the aubergines on, slice the aubergines lengthways into thin slices
2. rub the salt all over the aubergine slices and place in a sieve on top of a pot with a weight on them (I use a side plate on the aubergines weighed down with a few cans). Leave them to drain for 30-40 mins
3. in the meantime, quarter the tomatoes and roughly chop or tear the mint
4. once the 30-40 minutes is over, make sure all the liquid is drained from aubergines by squeezing with your hands
5. place on a hot, dry griddle pan over a medium heat and griddle on each side until nicely browned (3-5 minutes on each side.
6. arrange on a plate with the tomatoes and mint and drizzle over the tahini and add the olive oil if you wish.


Summer Beans with Baked Cod

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Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I have had a tough couple of months. The Rheumatoid Arthritis has really been taking a toll on me. When I feel down the best thing I know to do is cook, and I have been doing a lot of that lately. Unfortunately, I have not been photographing much and I have written up hardly anything that is on my camera. But today the sun is shining and I thought it was a good excuse to get some seriously feel-good summer food on the blog.

Last week, I was looking through my cupboard stores and I saw a large bag of multi-coloured beans and I just knew that I had to cook something delicious with them immediately. So, I soaked them to come back to tomorrow, giving me a few hours to decide what I would do with them. I have always loved beans and I used to consume them in large quantities, especially when my sensitivities about meat and my love for animals meant that I stopped eating meat entirely when I was around five or six years old (my mother could tell you a lot more about that!). I did start pick-ily eating some meat again in my teens, until I stopped again when I was diagnosed with RA.

These beans was a bag of mixed beans which amazingly included black eye beans, black turtle beans, butter beans, haricot beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, rose cocoa beans, alubia beans and mung beans. I know, I have not heard of some of them either! Anyway, these came in a pack from Waitrose, so I am sure you could find something similar in a local supermarket. The day after I put them on to soak, I completely fell in love with them and their amazing hues of greens, pinks, red, speckled purple, peach and white. The beans more than tripled in size during their soak overnight, and it wasn’t until they were spread out across my kitchen island and I knew what to do with them. This is the first non-vegetarian meal I have put on my blog so far. I have started to introduce more fish to my diet. Mainly oily fish like salmon to help my RA, but when I was out, these loins looked do good, I had to get them.

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We all know that beans are great for us, but just in case you need a reminder: Beans are a great source of fibre and molybdenum, which helps to activate enzymes in the body. These two things are so important to maintain digestive help which supports many other functions in your body and can defend against diseases. They also contain iron, phosphorous, potassium, amino acids and protein. This makes them essential to diets that to not include animal protein.

*Before starting this recipe, soak the beans overnight. The following day, put the beans in a pot, and cover them with water. Put on a high heat and bring to the boil. Remove any foam from the water, then reduce the heat to a summer and leave the beans on for 1-1 ½ hrs. Keep checking there is enough water in the pan so that the beans do not dry our and burn. Add more water as necessary until they are tender and easy to squeeze between your fingers. Take off the heat and drain, ready to use when you make the below recipe.*

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Serves 4

ingredients
tomato bean mix
800g mixed beans
5 large organic tomatoes, large chop
1 yellow onion, large chop
2 shallots, fine chop
1 can organic chopped tomatoes
2 tsp extra virgin organic olive oil

baked cod
4 cod loins
4 thin slices of organic unwaxed lemon
2 vines of organic baby tomatoes, each one cut into 2, so you have 4 sprigs in total
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin organic olive oil

method
tomato bean mix
1. put the olive oil, shallots and onion into a frying pan on a low/medium heat until translucent
2. add the large chopped fresh tomatoes, stir on the heat until they are soft
3. add the tinned tomatoes and continue to cook down
4. once they are all cooking away together add the beans and season to taste
5. add the fresh oregano and cook on a low heat for a further 15 to 20 minutes until ready to serve.

baked cod
1. preheat the oven to 200C
2. while the tomato bean mix is cooking, put the cod loins in a baking tray lined with foil, with enough over the edge to fold over the cod
3. add a pinch of Himalayan salt and fresh pepper to each loin, place on a slice of leon and drizzle with olive oil cover with foil
4. put in the oven for 20 minutes
5. remove from the oven and fold back the foil, place the baby vine tomatoes next to the fish, cover with foil and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes
6. remove from the oven and assemble the cod and tomatoes over the bean mix.


It is not a recipe, or a story of a sunny land….its just the truth

When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I wasn’t particularly sad about it. I was merely relieved that they knew what it was and I could be cured. I thought they must have a pill to make me all better. I left the consultant’s office at the private hospital feeling hopeful that the incredible pain I was in could be over soon and I would be alright in a matter of months. The reason I was at a private hospital was because I was in absolute agony and I could not wait the four weeks referral time into NHS rheumatology services. I had for the last two months slowly become more and more immobile, as pain as sharp as shattered glass ripped through every joint in my body. What started in my hands and feet, to which my husband dutifully rubbed and massaged every evening, was soon everywhere, in joints I was not even aware I had and had to google (sacroiliac joint, which I found after googling ‘pain middle pelvis bum’). The things I could not do was enormous; I could not touch my fingers together or make a fist, I could not bend my elbows, I could not move my shoulder, I could not put any pressure on my wrists, I would not bend down, I could not put too much pressure on my feet and ankles, I could not bend my knees, I struggled to move my neck and every time I chewed, the pain from my jaw joint was excruciating. In case you are not sure what this means in real terms, it meant that I could not pull my bed covers up over myself or push them back off, I could not adjust my position in bed, I could not hold cutlery or a pen, I could not pull trousers up, get socks on, brush my hair and teeth or open door handles, get into the shower or back out, I could not walk down the street or anything else. I was immobile, and in constant agony greater than I thought I could bare. So one evening I found myself in a consultant’s office begging for anything to help me through. I was signed off from work for three months and I felt awful.

Then something I did not expect happened. The effect of the constant pain, the immobility, the constant severe fatigue of the disease coupled with the facts that I was completely isolated, at home alone day after day unable to get out of bed to even get some water, not able to work, or do anything else, I became seriously depressed. My life was lost to me. I felt as though I was a terrible employee, a terrible wife, I felt as if I had no family and no friends and all my life ambitions were suddenly so unachievable. Every night I would pray to not wake up the next morning, and the sudden jolt of pain that indicated that I had woken up was the world once again telling me that my prayer had not been fulfilled. Everyday more despair. I am certain that I have never cried so much. Everyday on waking I would cry, I would cry most of the day and still be crying when my husband got home. Not the most romantic homecoming for newly-weds.

So hearing that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis didn’t bother me. I left the consultant’s office with a body full of steroids and was told that in 24 hrs I would be relieved of all pain and back to normal. Great! No big deal.

The injection wore off in less than two weeks and I was once again sat with a rheumatology consultant crying.

The truth is that Rheumatoid Arthritis is not just achy joints and it is not something that can be cured by medicines. It is a serious autoimmune disease that I will have for life, in which my body attacks my joints damaging them permanently with strange deformities. When I first heard that news I realised that it was a big deal. Pain, immobility, joint deformity and sever fatigue for the rest of my life. That takes some strength to come to terms with, a strength that I sometimes have and sometimes don’t have. I am no longer bed-bound and I am no longer in a crippling pain that means that I can’t do anything in my days. I am back at work and back to my swimming, walks in nature, crafting and cooking and most of the other things in life that makes me happy- I’m just a bit more uncomfortable when I do them. I am still in low levels of pain and I can’t close my hands and other smaller limitations, and I get terrible fatigue, with some days being worse than others. Sometimes I think I can live with it and sometimes I am so frustrated that I am convinced that I can’t. However, the story does not end there. I have lots of fears about how my disease has limited my life; will I ever get a promotion when I have to work from home so often, will I be able to take on a new job and challenge when I am constantly challenged by my disease with all the appointments and time that that takes, will I ever be able to go out dancing again, will I ever be able to just accept invitations to go places, meet people out, other things that seem impossible in my current state. I am better than I was at my worse, but I am still not great. What I regret the most is the fact that while I am being treated for this disease- this disease that will never go away- my husband and I are not able to have children. I feel an enormous disappointment in myself, in my role as a wife, in the shared dream that my husband and I had to start a family and it’s me who is not able to deliver on those shared promises we made when we got married and took our vows. This fact hurts me immeasurably. It is a bitter and crude sense of self-loathing that I have coupled with a more innocent sense of loss of the child I am so ready to raise.

The current medical treatment of RA is a lot of chemical drugs. I have been on three of these, and they have not worked on me, my inflammation is still incredibly high and my joints are still at risk of permanent damage. I have days struggling to walk and days where I just sleep for hours as I battle fatigue. My doctors have told me that they want to try using biological drugs instead. These drugs are seen as a good option for me as they could move my disease into remission; they also come with serious health effects of infection, cancer, MS and lupus as well as the lower grade side effects of dizziness, headaches, nausea, etc. The doctors tell me that this is my best bet. That alone makes me shudder and wish things could be completely different for me.

Through all this torment and uncertainty, physical, mental and emotional pain, deep depths of depressioin and crushing anguish has been my husband. My true love and best friend who has helped me, supported me and encouraged me, showered me, brushed my hair, dressed me, proof read my work, attended appointmets with me, cooked for me, finished all the house work, driven me around, constantly ensuring i am as comfortable as possible, cared for me and loved me relentlessly and endlessly. Who never questions what on earth the food we are eating is, never once asked for a steak and chips and never once ever let me believe the terrible things I have been feeling about myself through this whole eighteen months since I started suffering from the disease. He even managed a few giggles out of me when I thought it impissible.

I suppose this is a brief history of why I started writing this blog. A dream and determination that there must be a better way for me get rid of this disease in my body. That I could let my body heal with food alone. I keep reading about people who have healed themselves through their diet and lifestyle and I know that I can too. I can’t go through life with these limits on my dreams, with this emotional nothingness that the depression brings me, with all this pain and without a hope of ever having a baby. Speaking to my rheumotology consultant today has made me more determined than ever to really stick to what I have learned on this journey in healing nutrition. I am convinced that I am doing the right thing in focusing on my gut health, eating a mainly wholefood, plant-based diet. I can’t wait for the day when I can say that ‘I did it!’, when I can come onto my blog and write ‘I healed myself and I learned how to do it myself and I am no longer on the drugs and I am now a mother, and I am truly happy’. I don’t know if that day will come soon but I know that I will keep on working at it until it does.


Griddled Aubergines with Tahini Dressing

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I have had a very complicated relationship with aubergines in my life. When I was tiny, I used to push it off my plate and now I surreptitiously give myself bigger portions as I simply cannot get enough!

I can’t get enough of the smokiness, the heartiness, the substantial bite, the lightness and depth of flavour. The whole eating experience transports me to sunny days looking out over olive groves, almond trees, spring blossoms and lunchtimes where the conversation is as moreish as the food! (writing that, I have to say, please try my Baba Ghanoush!) So as soon as spring comes around I start buying large aubergines and I get griddling!
Aubergines are such a good food to eat as it is so healthy. Filled with antioxidants, beta-carotene, magnesium and fibre this vegetable has some great nutrients which your body will thank you for, helping your digestion and balancing of blood sugars. This recipe is especially good as you eat the skin which is where all the goodness is concentrated.

The tip with getting a good griddle on your aubergines, making sure they are grilled and not boiled or steamed in their own juice is all in how you prepare your aubergines. You need to extract the liquid, which I have outlined in step 1 below.

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ingredients
2 large purple aubergines
2 tbsp pink Himalayan salt
Small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine kernels
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil

method
1. slice the aubergines lengthways and slather with the salt, place in a sieve covered with a small plate and pressed down with cans over a large bowl for 30 minutes. The salt will draw out the moisture and the weight will push it out of the sieve into the bowl below.
2. meanwhile, place the pine kernels in a dry frying pan on a low heat and toss occasionally for about six minutes until brown
3. mix the tahini and olive oil together and add half of the chopped parsley
4. after half an hour, use your hands to strain and drain the remaining liquid out of the aubergines, brushing off any excess salt as you go. Heat a cast iron griddle pan or flat iron pan and place the aubergines on top, turning every few minutes until both sides are a golden brown.
5. When all the aubergines are cooked, layer onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the pine kernels, remaining parsley and drizzle over as much tahini sauce as you like.


Mama’s Fluffy Basmati Rice

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When I was a child my mama was very concerned that I would turn into a large grain of basmati rice. This was because for many years it was largely all I ate. My mama’s fluffy rice served with toasted nuts, herbs and yoghurt was all I needed for much of my tiny years and even now, I am happy to eat just this. And I think that I now cook it just as tastily as she did. My husband always smiles when he comes home to find that we are having this dish because it tells him just the kind of day I have had.

You can eat it almost on its own if you like, but this dish is a fantastic accompaniment to almost any meal; vegetable chilli, roasted vegetables, grilled fish, veg, curry, or my favourite Mediterranean ratatouille ( I ate this portion with my grilled aubergines). As you will know from my other posts, I normally cook brown basmati rice and wild rice or rice substitutes like buckwheat or bulgar. However, occasionally I do like to eat white basmati and it does have good health benefits, so it’s a fine option to have with all the whole grains in the pantry! White basmati rice is a good source of selenium and magnesium and it slowly releases energy into your system once you eat it so it’s a good option to get you through the day.

rice is a funny dish to cook, so many people seem to struggle with it; at university my friends would beg me to teach them how my mama made it. All Middle Eastern kitchens can make perfect rice, and The Olive Tree Kitchen is no exception!

I buy organic basmati white rice and I am convinced that you can taste the difference. The ultimate tip is to soak and wash the rice well before cooking to give you that light fluffiness that can be so hard to achieve.

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ingredients
1 cup organic white basmati rice
2 cups filtered/ mineral water
1 pinch Himalayan pink salt
Small handful of parsley and mint, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsps pine kernels and almond slithers

method
1. soak the rice for 15 minutes in cold water
2. drain and rinse the rice a further two times with cold water and put in the pan
3. add the two cups of filtered water and the salt to the rice and put over a high heat until it reaches a rolling boil
4. once the rice is boiling, reduce the temperature to low and put a lid on the rice and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes
5. put the pine kernels and almonds into a dry pan over a low heat and toss regularly
6. once the rice is cooked, spoon into a dish and sprinkle with the fresh herbs and nuts
7. serve with yoghurt, salad and anything else you like!

Tip: do not drain the rice or disturb (stir) it while it is cooking. To see if it’s finished, push a spoon down between the rice and the side of the pan to see if there is any water left. If the bottom of the pan is dry and and the rice is soft, then remove from the heat- it’s cooked!


Warm Frothy Hazelnut Milk with Cinnamon

 

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Its cold cold cold in London tonight. I read recently that in cold weather, humans like to find a partner and hibernate with them. The rates of new relationships and people seeking relationships goes up in winter, as people seek to find someone to cuddle up with and keep out of the cold. Tonight is certainly one of those night where you just want to crawl under a blanket and snuggle up with a warm drink.

When I was younger my mother always used to make us warmed up milk to drink when it was very cold. It always seemed such a loving and caring act, and it was always very much appreciated.

I now make my own dairy-free version on cold nights like this. I use hazelnut milk, because it has a lovely sweet, nutty and smooth taste that I just can’t get enough of. I also put cinnamon in it as it’s a great antioxidant and had anti-inflammation properties. It also tastes delicious.

Now I just have to wait for my husband to come home to share it.

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serves 2

ingedients
2 large mugs of hazelnut milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon

method
1. add the hazelnut milk to a saucepan and sit on a medium heat to gently heat-up
2. once the milk starts to heat, add the cinnamon and whisk the milk with a hand-held whisk until fully warmed through and nice and frothy
3. pour into heated mugs and drink immediately.


Pomegranate, Sumac and Toast Salad (Fattoush)

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Fattoush is a salad. But is so much better than any salad you will have ever eaten. As a child I would finish the dinner on my plate and then finish the rest of this salad straight out of the serving bowl. My Mama always made it to eat with any meal she was making when we had guests visiting for dinner. I have tweaked her recipe a bit to come up with this one. However, I still always serve it in the ancient bowl she handed down to me when my husband and I bought our first home.

If you have ever eaten at a Palestinian or Lebanese restaurant you will have likely eaten Fattoush, but you may not have had it like this. I always use pomegranate, as it adds lovely sweetness and makes the salad look jewelled and sumptuous. And goes so well with the irresistible crunch of the bread. I would advise that you buy a fresh whole pomegranate and take the lovely little bulbs of crimson out yourself. Not only is it more fun to dismantle this brain-looking fruit yourself, but it’ll be much tastier. Every packet of prepared pomegranate I have ever seen looks white and are never as fresh or ripe.

You get sumac in most supermarkets now, which is absolutely essential to the tastiness of this salad. Always use extra virgin olive oil of the best quality. This will make all the difference to your salad; its taste and its health benefits. I use organic fair trade olive oil from Palestine, and it is the very best in the world.

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ingredients
2 little gem lettuces, thinly chopped
4 little radishes, think sliced
2 tomatoes, small chop
2 inches cucumber, small chop
¼ green pepper , small chop
small bunch of mint, thinly chopped
¼ fresh pomegranate, skin and pith removed
2 whole-wheat pitas chopped into squares and toasted in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
1 tbsp sumac
1 pinch Himalayan pink salt
1 pinch of freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon

method
1. put all the ingredients in a bowl
2. mix well and eat with anything you like.


Aubergine & Olive Kubbeh Pie

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I love this pie. It’s so delicious and such a pleasure to make. It’s also a real show stopper so it is a great option for a Birthday meal of weekend family get-together.

Traditionally kubbeh are made from minced lamb meat and pine nuts stuffed into burghul and shaped into small oblongs and deep fried. The women in my family would often spend a whole days making hundreds of them for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Christenings or parties. We always have a warm plate of them making the rounds as we open presents on Christmas morning. The ‘mid-week’ version of this in Palestine is to make a pie, so the same ingredients go into a pan to be baked. I have wonderful memories of getting home and smelling this pie baking in the oven. It’s this pan version that I have altered to make this incredibly delicious and very healthy vegetarian and vegan Aubergine & Olive Kubbeh Pie.

Make it this weekend. It is incredible!

Burghul or bulgar wheat can be found in most UK supermarkets.

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Serves 6

ingredients
for the burghul crust
4 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 cup burghul, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1 tbsp rye flour
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne
4 tbsp olive oil

for the filling
3 large aubergines peel and sliced
3 tbsp Himalayan pink salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup of purple/ black olives
6 plum on-vine-tomatoes, large chop
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped (can be replaced with 1 clove of garlic)
1 handful of pine nuts
1 pinch cinamon

method

for the burghul crust
1. Mix all the burghul crust ingredients together. It should be a soft mixture but should not be wet

for the filling
1. Sprinkle the 3 tbsp of pink salt on the aubergines, and rub on. Put the salted aubergines into a sieve over a pot and weigh them down with a small plate and a few cans for 30- 60 minutes. This will draw all the excess liquid and sour taste out of the aubergines.
2. Soften the onion and shallots in the olive oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, olives and aubergines (once rinsed) to the onions and add a pinch of cinnamon.

assembling and baking the pie
1. preheat your oven to 200C
2. put the potato bulghar mix in the bottom of a ceramic oven dish and pat down so its even and flat
3. cover with the aubergine mixture
4. put a second layer of the potato mix on top and level it out so its smooth
5. score square shapes onto the top
6. use the pine nuts to decorate each square however you like. I like making little flowers.
7. bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with Fattoush Salad.

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