Thursday, March 09, 2006

An Ancient Meal

I have been interested in food and cooking for a long time. It really started when I first moved over to the UK and discovered that I could not go down to the local supermarket and get tortillas, refried beans or even chiles. An assistant at Tesco'sa laughed at me and told me there was no call for such things around here. I had a moment of satisfaction when they started stocking such things!

Anyway, my dh bought me a cookbook recently -- Casa Moro. Anyway, I decided to make flatbread and Syrian lentils. As I was making the dough, I realised that this was not a new meal, but in face a very ancient meal, and its ingredients probably go back far beyond the Romans to the early civilsations of the Tigris and Euphrates. Simplish to prepare, it tasted fantastic.

To make the bread:
Soften a pinch or so of dried yeast in in approx 175 ml warm water. The Ancients would have used a bit of dough left over from the last batch. Put approx 250 grams of strong flour, about a teaspoon of salt in a bowl and add the yeasty water. Mix. Add approx one tablespoon of olive oil. Allow to rest for 20 -an hour. The dough will become easier to handle. Divide into balls about the size of an egg. Roll and pull each ball out to paper thin. Cook on a hot griddle until bubbles form, turn over cook on the other side. Keep warm and fill with the filling of your choice. It is a bit like making tortillas but there is no saturated fat in the dough.

Lentils are very easy prepare and don't need to be soaked:
Fry several cloves of garlic in olive oil. Add freshly ground coriander and cumin seeds about a tablespoon each. Cook for one minute. Add approx 500 grams of Puy lentils and 1 1/2 litres of water. Add two handfuls of chopped corander stems. Cook three onions until carmelised. and then add that. When lentils are soft add salt and a few handfuls of cordiander leaves. Serve.

Simple. Comfort food to echo down the ages.

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