Prawns with courgette and cherry tomatoes

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Ingredients

  • two dozen prawns, shelled and deveined
  • one courgette, cut into thin batons
  • eight cherry tomatoes, halved and deseeded
  • 1 chilli (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • sprig of fresh fennel
  • zest of one lemon

Instructions

Boil a pot of salted water , then add pasta.

Heat a skillet or pan and add butter and olive oil.

Turn down the heat to medium and toss the batons of courgette in the pan until they soften and begin to brown. Add the seeded cherry tomato halves and stir them in with the courgette. Now add the prawns and toss while they heat and cook. While those ingredients are cooking, add the chilli and garlic. Then add the lemon zest and finally, the chopped fennel.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan with the other ingredients and stir to combine. Now add the reserved pasta water (half a cup) and allow to combine again.

Finally, add the ingredients to a serving dish. Sprinkle with some fresh olive oil and serve.

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Lamb Fatteh

A fatteh is a Levantine dish distinguished by the inclusion of crispy, even stale, pitta and yoghurt. In this one, I’ve used lamb but you could substitute shredded chicken or make a purely vegetarian version with aubergine, chick peas or courgette, or any combination, thereof.

The ingredients are easy to come by and will be available from the nearest Middle Eastern store or even your local supermarket. The salad I made to accompany it is equally simple to put together and very flavoursome and refreshing. Fatte is often served as a breakfast dish and an evening snack.

Ingredients

  •  200g minced lamb
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • half a cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • ½ tspn of cinnamon
  • 1 tspn cumin powder
  • 1 tspn of 7 spice powder (see previous recipe)
  • 2 cups of fresh, natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of dried or 1 cup of fresh mint

Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add the minced lamb and stir, until brown. Now add the onion and garlic, both finely chopped and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and the spices. Allow to cook, on medium heat, for another three minutes.

Place pittas in a heated oven until crispy and warm.

in another pan, dry roast some pine nuts until they colour and release their oils.

Mix some of the garlic and mint with the yoghurt and set aside.

The lamb should now be ready to plate up in a serving dish. Once its transferred, take the two cups of baby spinach and add it to the hot lamb so it wilts. sprinkle a handful of the chopped parsley over the top. Now add a dollop of the yoghurt mixture and finally, sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top.

Cut up the warm and crispy pitta bread and decorate the serving dish so each piece is available for soaking up the lamb. Fatteh is a communal dish.

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Potato and fennel salad

Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 head of fennel
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • ½ tspn sumac¹
  • green or black olives (deseeded)
  • parsley
  • sesame seeds
  • ½ tspn coarse grain mustard

Boil the two potatoes for twenty minutes, then drain and reserve.

Cut the fennel in fine strips.

Toast the sesame seeds, gently.

When the potatoes are cold enough to handle, cut them up in quarters and place in a serving dish. Now add the fennel strips, the olives and the parsley.

Mix the olive oil, juice of one lemon and the spoon of mustard, to make the dressing. Pour this over the salad and add the sesame seeds. Sprinkle the sumac over the salad.

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¹sumac  Sumac is a dark red powder made from the crushed and dried berries of the sumac bush, a plant that is common in north Africa. It has a very pleasant citric, lemony flavour.