Johannesburg - Two cooks share Lebanese recipes they prepare over Easter.
Carole was taught traditional Lebanese dishes by her mother, and for much of her life has been involved in the hospitality industry as well as teaching others how to prepare the delicious and healthy cuisine.
To her, Easter Sunday means a celebration feast and many hours are spent in preparing the food the family enjoys.
Carole offers personal cooking classes for small groups.
She teaches Lebanese cooking and tailors lessons for specific needs.
STUFFED SHOULDER OF LAMB
500g minced lamb or beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sumac (optional)
1 cup long grain rice, well rinsed
100g pine nuts lightly toasted
2.5kg deboned shoulder or leg of lamb
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery sticks, coarsely chopped
5ml white pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
Brown the mince in a pot in its own juices, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.
Add the onion, salt, pepper and sumac and mix well.
Add the rice with 2 cups of water and bring back to the boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook until all the water has been absorbed.
Add 50g of toasted pine nuts. Set aside to cool.
Lightly season the inside of the lamb with salt and ground pepper.
Use a large needle and thin string or thick thread to sew the lamb to form a bag, leaving an opening at the top. Spoon in the cooled rice, but don’t compact the rice too much.
Sew up the opening at the top securely, so as not to allow any water to boil into the mixture when cooking.
In a pot, place the lamb on top of the onion, carrots and celery.
Add the salt, pepper and cinnamon sticks. Cover with boiling water from the kettle and boil on medium heat for 1½ to 2 hours, adding more boiling water if required. Insert a fork into the meat, it should be very soft.
Preheat oven to 250°C with the top griller setting. Carefully take the shoulder of lamb out of the pot, using two large spoons, and put it into a roast pan, with 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Brown all over in the oven.
Remove the string and slice lamb into thin slices, spooning the rice as you go along. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with remaining pine nuts, chopped parsley and lemon wedge.
* Ask your butcher to debone the lamb very carefully and not pierce the skin or the stuffing will leak out.
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, well rinsed
½ cup of good quality tahini paste
3 cloves of garlic crushed with 1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup water (I use the cooled water that the chickpeas are boiled in )
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Boil the chickpeas for 30 minutes in a pot with just enough water to cover, take off the heat and allow to cool.
Mix the tahini and garlic with some lemon juice and water to form a smooth medium consistency.
Blend the chickpeas in a food processor until smooth. Add the tahini mixture, mix until soft and creamy, but not too runny.
Adjust the taste by adding more salt, lemon juice or tahini.
Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with pine nuts, oarsley and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
400g whole almonds with the skins on
200g castor sugar
1 box of phyllo pastry
250g unsalted butter, melted
2½ cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rose water
Chop the almonds in a food processor to your preference. Empty them into a bowl and mix in the castor sugar.
Take 8 sheets of pastry out of the box and keep the rest covered with a slightly damp cloth.
Place 1 sheet on your baking tray and brush with melted butter all over. Add the remaining sheets, brushing each with butter. Spread over the nut mixture.
Remove the rest of the sheets from the box and layer them on top of the nut mixture, brushing each with melted butter.
Using a sharp knife make parallel cuts, about 3.5cm apart, through to the base of the tray, then cut diagonally the other way to create diamond shapes.
Bake at 190°C for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and pour over the cooled syrup, pouring all around the outer edges of the pan, and then working towards the middle, until the whole tray is saturated with syrup. Cool completely.
Store in an airtight tin layered between baking paper.
SYRUP: Bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over moderate heat.
Boil for 20 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and syrup is thick. Remove from heat and stir in rose water and cool.
Priscilla’s love of traditional Lebanese food also stems from the dishes taught to her by her mother. Her family was involved in the hospitality industry, so cooking for crowds came naturally to her.
Priscilla’s Good Friday menu has dishes that would be eaten by Christians where no meat is consumed.
On Easter Sunday Priscilla has a large family lunch.
Priscilla started her catering company Simply Delicious 12 years ago and it specialises in Lebanese cooking as well as Western food.
¼ cup burghal wheat
¼ cup of chopped mint
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 tomatoes, finely chopped
125ml lemon juice
80ml olive oil
lettuce for serving
Soak the burghal wheat in hot water for about 30 minutes.
Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
Place in a bowl and add the mint, parsley, onion and tomatoes and toss to combine.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste and mix well.
Just before serving pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
Serve on a bed of lettuce.
2 cups of dried lentils, soaked
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of chopped onions
¾ cup of long grain rice
salt and pepper.
3-4 onions, sliced
¼ cup of oil
Wash the lentils well. Place in a pot with four cups of water and simmer until they are nearly soft.
While they are cooking, heat the oil and fry the chopped onions until golden.
Add the fried onions, rice and seasoning to the lentils and continue simmering until the rice is cooked and the lentils are soft.
Fry the sliced onions in oil until caramelised and golden.
Drain through a sieve.
Serve the rice and lentils sprinkled with the caramelised onions.
FISH WITH TAHINi SAUCE
½ cup of tahini paste
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup warm water
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
chopped parsley for serving
1kg white fish fillets, portioned
oil for frying
SAUCE: Combine all the ingredients except the pine nuts and mix well.
FISH: Dip the fish portions in flour then in egg and then in flour again.
Fry in shallow oil until golden and cooked. Drain on paper towel.
Serve the fish with the sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts.
Angela Day, The Star