Notice anything different? Yup. DKS has just had a face lift. Just a little nip tuck to help make space for more content like the new section called “The Lebanese Pantry” where you can find information about the key ingredients used in Lebanese cuisine. I’ve also added a section called “The Mediterranean Diet” which brings together wholesome, nutritious recipes that incorporate essential ingredients to the Mediterranean diet; grains, pulses and vegetables. Be patient with us though as things are still feeling a bit sore and bruised as we continue to make improvements over the next couple of days.
Also, every month I will be highlighting a “Blog of The Month”. A blog will be chosen based on my personal likes and will be one that I find inspiring, beautiful, well-written, humorous, touching or anything else that may strike my fancy. To kick-start this off I have chosen Sari’s blog; Cook Your Dream as “Blog of The Month”. Sari’s blog always unites beautiful photography with mouth-watering recipes. Do check it out!
In celebration of all these new happenings, I’ve decided I’d like to have a GIVEAWAY. Many of you write to me asking about where you can find some of the ingredients I use in my recipes. Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not. So I want to help you out. A month ago my sister was in Lebanon and was nice enough to haul back a bunch of ingredients for me. I’ve selected some of the most important ingredients, packaged them and labeled them in English, so they are ready to go right into your cupboard. Here’s what the Lebanese Pantry Package includes:
Guidelines to enter: All you have to do to enter for a chance to win the Lebanese Pantry Package Giveaway is tweet this post on twitter and/or to increase your chance you may also comment on this post (please no double entries) by the 30th of April. I will tally up all the entries in an excel sheet and with the help of this website a winner will be selected at random.
Please note: I will send this package anywhere in the world but the winner is responsible to check with their Customs Office about any specific guidelines and/or prohibitions that may be in place.
Freekeh is my all time favorite grain. In fact I can just eat it all alone; plain, drizzled with some olive oil. It is so rich in flavor and texture as it’s got quite a nutty undertone and a smoky aroma but yet works really well as a blank canvas, allowing your imagination to run wild with recipe possibilities.
Freekeh is another ancient grain and cereal food made from green wheat. The wheat is harvested young when it is still full of moisture; it is then sun-dried before being burned or roasted over an open fire for several minutes. Once cool it is then rubbed to separate it from the chaff. It’s name is derived from the Arabic root “Al Fark” or to rub.
According to Nachit (2007) & Slow Food Beirut, freekeh originated around 2300 BC, when the attackers of a Mediterranean village set its green wheat fields on fire before retreating. To salvage what they could, the inhabitants rubbed away the burnt layer and found that the grain had ripened due to the heat and that it had retained a greenish hue. This discovery led to the later production of freekeh.
Freekeh is an outstanding grain and a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and although not yet proven, some believe it to be suitable for gluten-free diets as the gluten is denatured due to the high temperature burning process. For more information on Freekeh you may visit this site.
The following recipe is a freekeh salad with grilled lamb loins that have been dusted with seven spices. The cucumber and a generous drizzle of the cool, minted yogurt dressing works wonderfully to unite tastes and textures and create really vibrant explosions of flavors in one’s mouth.
- 350g lamb loin fillet
- ½ teaspoon of seven spices
- 3 garlic cloves- minced
- 80ml or ⅓ cup red wine
- 150g freekeh or about 1 cup (whole or cracked- I used whole)
- 120g of cucumber or about 2 cucumbers
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes (You could substitute with pomegranate seeds if in season)
- 125ml Greek yogurt or about ½ cup
- 30ml of water or 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon of dried mint
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Begin by rubbing the lamb with the seven spices and then marinating it in the wine & 3 minced cloves of garlic for about 2 hours or overnight.
- I like to make the dressing a day in advance so all the flavors can sit and really develop. Place the yogurt in a bowl, add the water, dried mint, minced garlic, salt and mix well. Cover and set aside in the fridge till ready to serve.
- I do not add salt till just before grilling as it can draw out the moisture making the meat chewy. Before roasting the lamb bring it back to room temperature as this allows it to roast evenly. Roast the meat in a pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes at 400F/200C/6G for medium rare or cook longer to your liking. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it sit for five minutes or so before slicing.
- Place the tomatoes into a baking dish, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with some olive oil. Pop into the oven half-way once the lamb has been cooking for 10 minutes. Cook for about 10 minutes or till soft.
- While the meat is roasting, rinse the freekeh then place in a deep, heavy bottomed pot and cover with water (for every 1 cup of freekeh add 3 cups of water). Add some olive oil and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce and let it simmer. The cooking time will vary depending on the freekeh and whether it is whole or cracked. For whole freekeh it could take about 15 minutes for the cracked variety and about 40 minutes for the whole variety. It’s ready when it is soft and easily chewable.
- While the freekeh is cooking and meat is roasting, slice the cucumber into quarters.
- When freekeh is cooked, drain any excessive water. Bring back to the pot or a serving bowl and let it cool for about 10-20 minutes if you wish. Add the yoghurt dressing and mix well. Top with the cucumber, tomatoes and lamb. Add salt and pepper to taste.