Dinner party #1

Last night, we had new friends coming for dinner – Israeli-Kurdish twins with their partners, a baby and a bump – and I’d been thinking spice, spice, spice.

The previous night’s scour through the cookbooks left me salivating for a compilation of dishes from Sam and Sam Clark’s ‘Moro: The Cookbook‘ and ‘Moro East‘, and Skye Gyngell’s ‘A Year in My Kitchen‘.  After a midnight fit of origami-ish page folding and unfolding, I ended up with my meal plan, which looked like this:

Avoacado tahini dip
Pitta bread (that we sprinkled with za’atar before baking)
Fattoush (I added half a finely sliced bulb of fennel into the salad too, which lifted it)
Aubergines with garlic, chilli and mint
Chickpeas with lime, chilli and coriander (I would recommend adding more chickpeas than recommended to make it a heartier stew)
Jewelled pumpkin pilav

I’d been hoping that the tamarind I’d stashed away in the back of my spice cupboard would come in handy soon, and oh my, it did.

I had three and a half hours to prepare this meal, and I wasn’t far off given that the new friends were Middle Easternly late.  (This is a good thing – my sense of time too has a hot, desert-like crawl.)  The only thing I needed back-up with (*somebody else to make*) was the pitta bread, a task kindly taken-on by a wide-eyed, panic-stricken husband whispering, “but I’ve never made bread”…

And before you know it he was joyously kneading away on his floured, grainy worktop proclaiming, “if this works out, I’m going to open a bakery!”  Yes, that’s just how addictive and wonderful and downright earthy bread-making is.

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