Friday night shenanigans in Blandford
I am on a bit of a tour around the country during August catching up with friends. This weekend I was in deepest Dorset with some friends who have all the same interests as me including food! As it was Friday night they were keen to toast the arrival of the weekend after a week at work. I had brought some wine to get us started and offered to rustle up some nibbles to go with it so we could graze and sup through the evening whilst catching up on our lives since we last were together.
Christian was telling me about how he had perfected the art of making tahini and proceeded to show me so a plan was developed to use the fresh tahini to make houmous and baba ghanoush accompanied by chicken and courgette pakoras.
- Gently fry some sesame seeds in a little light olive oil.
- When they are lightly toasted place into a blender and begin to blend to a paste.
- Very slowly dribble some more light olive oil into the sesame paste while the mixer is still on.
Hey presto beautifully smooth tahini!
Quick Houmous (also made by Christian)
- Drain a can of chickpeas and place into a blender with a couple of cloves of garlic, salt and lemon juice.
- Add some tahini and blend together.
- Taste and adjust flavours accordingly. Some people like more lemon some like more garlic.
- Check the salt level sometimes a little extra salt can make all the difference.
- Spoon into a dish drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
Baba Ghanoush (Aubergine dip)
- Place two aubergines on a baking tray in a hot oven. Remember to prick the skin a few times to prevent them exploding!
- When they are soft anywhere from 20 mins to 40 mins, depending on your oven and the size of the aubergine, take them out and with tongs hold them over a gas flame to char the skin. On this occasion burnt is good it makes for an intense and smokey flavour. If you don’t have a gas ring you can skip this step but you won’t get the same intense flavour.
- Leave to cool a bit and then scrape as much flesh away from the skin as possible. It can be a bit fiddly but worth the effort. Tip: use a blunt knife or palette knife for the scraping.
- Place all the aubergine flesh into a bowl with a couple of garlic cloves, some tahini, salt and lemon juice, blend together. At this stage if you want to give it an authentic North African flavour (my preference) add some cinnamon and blend some more.
- Taste and adjust accordingly with lemon juice and salt.
Chicken and Courgette Pakoras
- Dice some courgettes, chili’s (to suit your taste), chicken breast and coriander
2. Place all the diced ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add salt, pepper and a good amount of garam masala.
3. Sprinkle over some gram flour (made from chickpeas) add a small amount of water just to bind it together. Keep adding a little gram flour at a time and a drizzle of water until all the diced ingredients are well coated in batter.
4. Heat some oil in a frying pan (preferably a mild flavoured oil) and slowly fry small spoonfuls of the mixture. It is very important to fry them slowly to make sure the chicken cooks through.
5. Drain on some kitchen paper and eat straight away dipping them into the baba ghanoush!
We sat in the garden talking, laughing, eating and drinking until late, a perfect Friday night was had by all.