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"Diet sensibility-wise I find myself straddled several yards short of the spooky Eat Nourish Glow brigade ... yet far from a woman who eats a double-stack patty with onion rings dipped in chipotle mayonnaise at lunchtime guilt-free. Although, if I’m honest, I can, and have done, and several photos of me exist on the internet standing at parties with my arms around gaunt, size 6 showbiz chums resembling, in relative terms, an amiable Tyrannosaurus rex that has entered a toddler’s sandpit."

Grace Dent

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Entries in pine nuts (2)

Wednesday
Apr062016

Hummus with spiced lamb and pine nuts

The new series I am writing for Borough Market, Box Clever, is encouraging me to be much more adventurous with my packed lunches and how I pack them. Don’t you just love these Indian tiffin tins? I bought them for pretty pictures, but I find I am using them all the time.

I first tried this dish in a little family-run Lebanese restaurant called Emma’s on Liberty in Enmore, Sydney. They called it “traditional houmous” but it was so much better than any hummus I’d tried before. It did make me wonder why I’d been eating the unadorned version my whole life. Never again.

The dish is more often called hummus kawarma or hummus b’lahmeh, both of which mean hummus with lamb, but I am sure there are many other names to match the myriad recipes. There are almost as many versions of this dish throughout the Middle East as there are recipes for hummus. Chopped lamb or minced? Pine nuts or pomegranate seeds? Chunky or smooth? Tahini? Herbs? Spices? It depends who you ask.

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Thursday
Apr072011

Middle Eastern mezze no.3: Hugh Foster's spicy lamb mince

 

Hugh Foster is often credited with having introduced Sydneysiders to Morrocan and Middle Eastern food in the 1990s with his trendy Darlinghurst restaurant, the Fez. The Fez is now closed, but he continues the theme with Café Mint in Surry Hills which has been open since the early noughties and still draws a large crowd, a testament to his ability to keep up with the times.

Café Mint’s takes the successful Sydney café model – communal tables, sleek furnishings and interior, good coffee, all day breakfasts which merge into lunch and dinner – but adds a twist, North African cuisine. Alongside the usual breakfast offerings of sourdough toast, bircher muesli, and scrambled eggs, you have breakfast cous cous with yoghurt, merguez sausage with chakchouka, and baked eggs with beans and sucuk.

My Dad did a stint working at Café Mint after he closed his own restaurant. It was probably around this time that Middle Eastern mezze became a regular part of our weeknight dinner menu. One of my favourite of these recipes is Hugh’s spicy lamb mince with pine nuts, which has made appearances on Cafe Mint’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menu over the years.

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