Aleppo, in war-torn Syria, is one of the oldest, continuously-inhabited cities in the world, but both food and family have remained important through the many governments and empires that have come and gone.
It was a collaborative effort by Montreal-born Elie Badra and his Aleppo-born mother Dalal Kade-Badra that produced this new book, Flavours of Aleppo, Celebrating Syrian Cuisine, published by Whitecap Books.
Quite a number of the recipes look like they would be good, with a different use of spices and lots of fresh, seasonal ingredients featured, which appeals to me. However, I did try a Kibbeh dish that did not work for me. It was dry and not palatable, even though the ingredients looked good. I thought there was too much flour in it, but at any rate, it didn’t work.
There’s some lovely photography in the book, both of food and of Aleppo itself, which is situated on historic trading routes linking Europe and Asia, resulting in a very diverse cuisine.
Incidentally, you might still be able to pick up tickets for this Thursday’s fourth annual Wine and Food Extravaganza, put on by the Westbank Rotary Club at the Cove Resort. Tickets are available at the Westbank UPS Store for the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
And, don’t forget the Okanagan Feast of Fields, which is in Kelowna this year, Sun., Aug. 18—a harvest feast of local food, in season, eaten in the field, prepared by top chefs. Guests receive a wineglass and linen napkin at the gate and are invited to browse the offerings of different chefs, brewers and winemakers while enjoying live music in a rustic, outdoor setting.
Tickets are available at Choices Market in Kelowna, or online at: farmfolkcityfolk.ca
Oh, and by the way, there’s a great new reason to head over to the Kelowna Farmer’s Market. You must try the crepes at Crepe Bistro, especially the salmon, spinach, cream cheese and capers. Yummy.
There are also lots of recipes for fresh, local food in season in my book, Jude’s Kitchen, available wherever books are sold.
Lentil and Cumin Soup
This looks as if it would be very tasty.
1 c. (250 ml) red lentils
1/2 c. (125 ml) long grain rice, rinsed well
1/4 c. (60 ml) number 3 bulgur
1 red pepper, chopped roughly
1 medium onion, grated
2 tsp. (10 ml) fine salt
8 c. (2 l) water
2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin
1 large or 2 small pitas
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 c. (60 ml) olive oil
In a large pot, over high heat, bring the lentils, rice, bulgur, red pepper, onions, salt and water to a boil.
Let simmer on medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes, until the lentils and rice are cooked. Stir every so often. (Incidentally, number 3 bulgur is a coarser grind).
Turn off the heat, add the cumin and mix.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. With scissors, cut the pitas into one-inch squares. Brush with the olive oil and cook in the oven for five to 10 minutes, until the pitas are golden-coloured.
In a frypan on high heat, saute the diced onion in the olive oil for about one minute, until they are translucent.
Put the cooked onions and cooking oil into the soup.
Mix well and serve.
Add a few pieces of baked pita to each bowl as you serve it.
Serves 4 to 6.
When the tomatoes are ripe locally, we must enjoy their luscious flavour in every meal of the day, and freeze, can or dry what we can’t eat to enjoy when they are hidden deep beneath the snow. This was delicious.
2 c. (500 ml) tomatoes, diced
1/2 c. (125 ml) cucumbers, diced
1/2 c. (125 ml) green peppers, diced
1/2 c. (125 ml) onions, diced
1/2 c. (125 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c. (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 c. (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) ground allspice
1 tsp. (5 ml) fine salt
In a salad bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, onions and parsley. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the olive, oil, lemon juice, allspice and salt. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
I found this was too much dressing, so you may wish to reserve a little for another day.
Serves 4 to 6.