The Musette: mujadara

Lentils, rice, olive oil, spices and onions – this Middle Eastern standard is the ultimate pantry recipe. It’s also the classic example of a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. There are literally dozens of recipes for mujadara out there – each country, possibly even each family, seems to have its own version. The one I like best is that served at our local Lebanese restaurant, who kindly gave me their recipe – result! It’s also quick and easy to make. A bit of stirring on the stove and then pop it into the oven and it’s ready in next to no time.

Ingredients (serves 4 hungry cyclists)

  • 2 medium-sized onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g (3/4 cup) Puy lentils
  • 1ltr (4 cups) boiling filtered water
  • 325g (1 1/2 cups) long grain brown rice (soaked for an hour in 500 ml (2 cups) filtered water)
  • bunch finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves or coriander (cilantro) leaves

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 3 (375°F/350°F fan).

2. Toss the onions with the olive oil, cumin and thyme in a frying pan (skillet) and cook over a high heat until they turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.

3.Add the rinsed lentils, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a further couple of minutes.

3. Add the drained rice to the mix and turn into a casserole dish (dutch oven) before carefully adding the boiling water. Stir, pop on the lid and put it into the oven for around 25-30 minutes. It’s done when the lentils and rice are tender and there’s no liquid left.

4. Remove the dish from the oven. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning. Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with the parsley or coriander (cilantro), and serve warm or at room temperature.

5. If you’re so inclined, you can dress it with greek-style yogurt, Aleppo-style pepper, crispy shallots and additional olive oil.

Thursday doors #33

Here’s a  selection of doors from my recent trip to Bavarian town of Munich. Thanks to the rain, all these magnificent doors can be found within a few hundred metres of the Bayerischehof Hotel.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

 

Wordless Wednesday – gardens

While I’m away in Australia where I’ll be taking thousands of photos – yes, really – I’m going to keep Wordless Wednesday going. I generally try and feature a photograph from my archive but one taken at a similar time of year.

I’ll also continue to let the picture speak for itself, otherwise it’s no longer Wordless Wednesday!

(Note for Carole Ann: this picture features the beautiful gardens in front of the Town Hall in San Sebastián.) 

 

Postcard from Brisbane I

We spent two weeks in Brisbane giving us plenty of opportunity to experience everything the town and surrounding areas have to offer. I have to thank those of you who live in or have recently visited the area for your kind suggestions, they were much appreciated.

We arrived at our hotel in historic Spring Hill on Wednesday afternoon and quickly settled into our spacious studio room, complete with kitchenette. I like having the ability to eat-in for a few meals, particularly breakfast. That said, we ate lunch in the excellent on-site restaurant before checking out the hotel’s pool and gym.

As I plan our holidays, I tend to let my beloved choose how we spend our days. As I’d swerved a visit to the Gold Coast, he decided to head back to the coast on Thursday and Friday (Sandgate and Redlands) just to check out my decision. We found some fabulous beaches and picturesque bayside villages where we easily lowered the average age in each of the towns we visited. These are clearly very popular with the retirement community. I can understand why.

Having spent Thursday and Friday touring  beaches, I suggested we spend the weekend in Brisbane as the fabulous weather would encourage people to visit the coast, leaving the city quieter. The queues of traffic leaving Brisbane on Friday evening appeared to back up my hypothesis.

Saturday morning we enjoyed breakfast at Eagle Street Pier overlooking Brisbane’s sub-tropical Brisbane river before taking a round river trip. I love seeing cities from their riverbanks, it gives them such a different perspective. It also helped identify further areas for us to visit.

We ate lunch at a plentiful seafood buffet in a riverside hotel where we feasted on oysters and a local speciality, Moreton Bay Bugs, which was a first for us. Thereafter, we enjoyed a stroll around the city’s beautiful Botantical Gardens, just one of many parks around the city.

Sunday we strolled into town after an early breakfast to find a coolish wind had subdued the sun’s heat. We popped into the magnificent City Hall to check out the interior and its exhibit, Brisbane Art Design Festival which was very interactive. Having marvelled at the Hall’s architectural details we topped up our caffeine levels in Shingle Inn, a faithful restoration of Brisbane’s oldest cafe, on City Hall’s ground floor.

Sunday lunch was eaten in one of the city’s newer restaurants, Three Blue Ducks. I wanted to see whether the concept we’d so enjoyed outdoors in Byron Bay had translated to an urban environment. It does though the restaurant was tricky to find as it’s in the W Hotel, in North Quay. My beloved plumped for the Sunday roast while I had a nutritious salad. This left us with a little room for dessert. I don’t usually indulge but the vegan dessert sounded delicious while my better half had the popular apple dessert. What is it about men and apples?


Replete we continued our stroll around town before heading back to our hotel and its gym. After a good night’s sleep, on Monday we decided to walk over to Paddington, a nearby suburb of Brisbane built atop one of its many steep ridges with plenty of interesting shops and beautifully restored historic houses. I just love those wrap around porches and gingerbread trims.

There are bars and restaurants housed in former workers’ cottages and plenty of antique shops and art galleries to wander around. We also found a fabulous place for breakast to which we’d return a couple more times during our stay.

The views of Brisbane are stunning from Paddington and yes, those streets are really that steep! On the way back to our hotel we passed the Suncorp Stadium, home of the rugby league side The Brisbane Broncos. Caxton Street and Petrie Terrace looked as if they’d be particularly lively once the sun went down.

We followed this with a walk around nearby Roma Park where my beloved almost trod on this little fellow (approx. 1m/3 ft) sunning himself on the pavement.

 

During our strolls, we’d noticed many advertisements for #EKKA and despite never before having visited an agricultural exhibition, decided this was how we’d spend our Tuesday. After all, you can’t go to Brisbane and not visit the EKKA!

 

3, 2, 1 Quote me – Love

Mega thanks to Pooja who blogs over at Lifesfinewhine for the tag. Born and raised in Kenya, an ethnic Indian, Pooja speaks both English and Gujarati and is currently trying to learn German – sehr gut. She’s studying history and sociology at University in Canada, loves writing and someday hopes to write a novel. Drop by her blog, check out her posts and give her a follow.

This tag is the work of Rory @ https://aguycalledbloke.blog and I thank him too for his many efforts to engage all of us at WordPress.

Having thanked the blogger who tagged me, I then need to post two quotes on the dedicated Topic of the Day, LOVE ❤️ and next select three bloggers to take part in “3, 2,1 Quote Me!” on the same topic: LOVE ❤️

Before I turn my attention to the two quotes, let’s look at the definition of LOVE ❤️:

  • an intense feeling of deep affection
  • a strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone
  • affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf
  • a formula for ending an affectionate letter
  • a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid
  • a great interest and pleasure in something
  • a person or thing that one loves

There are many so quotes about love, nonetheless here’s my two choices:

This first one reminds me of my relationship with my husband and the second represents my philosophy on life.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare, in his play “All’s Well That Ends Well”

My Nominees:

Anyone who wants to try out this tag, please go ahead and feel free to join in. The more the merrier!

The Musette: vegan quinoa pancakes

My beloved was heading off on an insane four-day trip to Bangkok and I wanted to give him (and me) a breakfast treat before he left. I had a few frozen blueberries in the freezer which I turned into blueberry compote with the addition of the juice and zest of an organic lemon and two tablespoons of my home-made strawberry jam, though any red/black jam will do.

I also had a spot of quinoa flour lurking in the bottom of one of my storage jars which I toasted in the oven and then cooled before using in the recipe instead of the oat flour I typically use. I also added some coconut flour which I’ve found greatly adds to their texture making them ultra fluffy, but also moist and tender. Consequently they soak up the compote and maple syrup, but don’t fall apart when you cut into them.

Ingredients (enough for two hungry cyclists)

  • 50g (1/2 cup) almond flour
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornflour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups plant-based milk, I used unsweetened almond
  • 2 chia or flax seed eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds or flaxseed meal plus 6 tbsp filtered water)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, I used grape-seed

Method

1. Preheat a non-stick griddle or flying pan over a medium heat.

2. Whisk together the chia seeds or flax meal with the water and set aside to gel.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

4. Whisk together the milk, oil and syrup then add the “eggs” whisking again to incorporate. Then pour wet into the dry ingredients until a smooth, thick batter forms.

5. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan and flatten slightly. Cook the pancake until small bubbles begin to form around the edges, about 2 – 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes longer until the other side is golden brown. Repeat until no batter remains – typically makes six pancakes.

6. Serve warm with compote or fresh berries and pure maple syrup – enjoy!

Thursday doors #32

Here’s Part II of a  selection of doors from my recent trip to the medieval town of Konstanz, on Lake Konstanz.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).