Nigel Slater's Middle East

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Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 3rd, 2018, 7:18 pm

We really enjoyed last night's programme - it was fascinating seeing the za'atar harvest and we're doing the chicken with za'atar, chickpeas and garlic yogurt this evening. The rice pudding recipe also looks delicious.
That amazing smallholding where they made different things throughout the year according to what was in season so that they could actually eat in Winter! and their fragrant and colourful jams and preserves - I'm going to get a jar of rosepetal jam the next time I'm in one of our Middle Eastern shops. Yum!
Last edited by Suelle on February 3rd, 2018, 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Separate from Italy thread
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Re: Italy Unpacked becomes Rome Unpacked Friday 5 January

Postby patpoyntz » February 3rd, 2018, 8:10 pm

I love Nigel’s books, but can’t bear to watch him on TV....too creepy, so I wasn’t going to watch this. However I am so pleased I did, I loved every minute. We lived in Abu Dhabi for many years, and there is a large Lebanese population there. Great restaurants and shops,(particularly the nut roasters...how I miss buying freshly roasted, still warm nuts). Good hairdressers too!
We ate a lot of really good Lebanese food there, lots of arak, lots of music and dancing on the tables (the men), joyous,
So many lovely happy people.
I have never wanted to back as a tourist, but I might have to after watching that program.
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Re: Italy Unpacked becomes Rome Unpacked Friday 5 January

Postby KC2 » February 3rd, 2018, 8:27 pm

patpoyntz wrote: particularly the nut roasters...how I miss buying freshly roasted, still warm nuts


oooh, freshly roasted still warm nuts ... bliss!

The chicken was delicious, btw, and the garlic yogurt was excellent with it, as were the roasted chickpeas. We had it with some couscous with mint and raisins. I'd thoroughly recommend the recipe.
(https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/zaat ... with_26334)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Suelle » February 3rd, 2018, 8:36 pm

I hope you don't mind, KC2 - I've separated these posts about Nigel Slater's programme from the thread about Rome Unpacked. Might get more notice as a separate thread too!
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 3rd, 2018, 8:38 pm

Oh thanks Suelle, that's great. Much better idea.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Suelle » February 3rd, 2018, 8:39 pm

I was interested in the segment about za'atar. I've only bought it once and found the flavour of the brand I bought very unpleasant - astringent and bitter. It might be time to try again, as in general I really like middle eastern flavours, and I'm trying to eat less meat too, so the style of eating, with more grains and pulses, would suit me a lot.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 3rd, 2018, 8:56 pm

Sorry to hear that about the za'atar you had - we're on our second lot of it now and find it is great in loads of things - we were already sprinkling it on roasting chickens but hadn't made up the emulsion with olive oil, which is much better. We also marinaded the chicken bits in the mixture before roasting.
I put a couple of teaspoons in the last few batches of hummus too, and it was very successful.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby patpoyntz » February 3rd, 2018, 10:20 pm

KC2 wrote:
The chicken was delicious, btw, and the garlic yogurt was excellent with it, as were the roasted chickpeas. We had it with some couscous with mint and raisins. I'd thoroughly recommend the recipe.
(https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/zaat ... with_26334)


I thought that chicken looked good, so I’m pleased to hear it was. Will be trying it this week. Although we lived in AD, I hardly ever cooked...it was so cheap to eat out, and always excellent. So now I feel inspired to cook some of that lovely food. And I actually can buy the ingredients I need up here in the north. Can be a challenge sometimes with some cuisines.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby patpoyntz » February 3rd, 2018, 10:28 pm

Suelle wrote:I was interested in the segment about za'atar. I've only bought it once and found the flavour of the brand I bought very unpleasant - astringent and bitter. It might be time to try again, as in general I really like middle eastern flavours, and I'm trying to eat less meat too, so the style of eating, with more grains and pulses, would suit me a lot.


It sounds as if the za’atar you bought had a lot of sumac in it, which is very sour. The one I have is ok. I use it sprinkled on home made flat bread with olive oil..it’s very nice.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 3rd, 2018, 11:03 pm

What I want to know, is why everyone who does TV about Middle Eastern food does Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr; isn't that a bit like coming to England and covering only Lent and Christmas?
I need to warch it properly (we were talking) but it seemed to cover the food pretty well though Nigel did do a bit of a Rick Stein, eating very ordinary things and raving about them. How would you feel about a Lebanese making programne about the wonder of crumpets?

Za'atar, as he said varies a lot. I first encountered it as a dio for bread at breakfast - you dipped your bread in oil then sprinkled on the za'atar.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 3rd, 2018, 11:32 pm

OH gave me Claudia Roden's Arabesque for Christmas a few years ago, and it never fails to come up with something incredibly delicious and not necessarily very complicated! And it's great to be able to get the ingredients, patpoyntz. We have a lot of good shops here on North End Road in Fulham, and I think you're even better off for interesting shops in Stokey, Sue!
StokeySue wrote: Nigel did do a bit of a Rick Stein, eating very ordinary things and raving about them. How would you feel about a Lebanese making programne about the wonder of crumpets?

Fair point! But then he did say he wanted to look at what people eat at home ... and I love crumpets although have never made them :lol:
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby TeresaFoodie » February 4th, 2018, 3:42 am

I missed it on Friday because of Requiem and the repeat on Saturday was not aired as the tennis over-ran. I'll have to find it on catch up. Sounds so far as though I won't be disappointed.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby patpoyntz » February 4th, 2018, 9:37 am

StokeySue wrote:What I want to know, is why everyone who does TV about Middle Eastern food does Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr; isn't that a bit like coming to England and covering only Lent and Christmas?
I need to warch it properly (we were talking) but it seemed to cover the food pretty well though Nigel did do a bit of a Rick Stein, eating very ordinary things and raving about them. How would you feel about a Lebanese making programne about the wonder of crumpets?

.

I think the program showed a good mix of food, from the special dishes only made for Ramadan, to the the sheer extravagance of Eid. But he also went to ‘ordinary’ homes and tried the everyday foods. I think it showed the kindness and generosity of the people he met, and how proud they are of their traditions and traditional food.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 4th, 2018, 9:54 am

I too find NS a bit creepy to watch (like a male Nigella ? ) and also like Tessa, settled down to watch the repeat yesterday, only for it to be cancelled ... so will be watching on catch up today ;) :tu:

(Digressing, but is anyone else hooked on HFW Hugh's Wild Side ??? )
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby suffolk » February 4th, 2018, 9:58 am

I thought NS seemed much more relaxed when talking to people face to face rather than just him working to camera :)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby cyprusmoira » February 4th, 2018, 10:13 am

PatsyMFagan wrote:(Digressing, but is anyone else hooked on HFW Hugh's Wild Side ??? )

Yes

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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby scullion » February 4th, 2018, 11:00 am

i was shown how to make za'atar nearly forty years ago by a woman from damascus, in the netherlands. it was interesting to see that it was made with oregano rather than thyme, in the programme. i will have to try it with that to see what the difference is like. i haven't made it with added sumac.
i think the 'creepiness' may have something to do with the way he slowly looks away from the camera at the end of a sentence then quickly looks back at the start of the next. maybe he's more comfortable with the written word.
yes, we've watched hugh's wild side programmes. they've been rather good, really.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Suelle » February 4th, 2018, 11:09 am

cyprusmoira wrote:
PatsyMFagan wrote:(Digressing, but is anyone else hooked on HFW Hugh's Wild Side ??? )

Yes

Moira


Me too - it's a lovely series of programmes!
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 4th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Suelle wrote:
cyprusmoira wrote:
PatsyMFagan wrote:(Digressing, but is anyone else hooked on HFW Hugh's Wild Side ??? )

Yes

Moira


Me too - it's a lovely series of programmes!


We must look out for them! Are they on iPlayer?
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby TeresaFoodie » February 4th, 2018, 2:29 pm

I have never found watching Nigel creepy. I know what you mean about his way with the camera, but I rather like it. Love his written word - books and newspaper reviews etc - I also love how he sticks to his talents and doesn't try to force himself on us through other forms of media such as TV ads, TV panel shows, TV interviews (not that I have seen anyway). I think I mean he is interestingly understated which makes him even more enjoyable when he does pop up.

I have liked what I have caught of the new HFW series too.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 4th, 2018, 4:27 pm

I've been meaning to catch with HFW, BBC 2, Saturday at 18.00 and also on iPlayer

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m8l63
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby liketocook » February 4th, 2018, 4:48 pm

Oh I forgot about this - have added to my watch list. I have warmed to watching Nigel over recent years- I don't know if I've mellowed or he has. ;)
My son's in Greece at the moment so I've asked him to keep an eye out for sumac and za'atar as both are difficult to buy locally here. I used the last of my sumac on a favourite of mine - sumac chicken & onions baked on top of pitta bread.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 4th, 2018, 4:53 pm

Sorry but I still can’t bear Nigel. And his latest recipes in The Guardian have been pants even if you can work your way through all his flowery lingo. A shame because his early books were great. I’ve probably said this before but what really turned me off him was his autobiography Toast. The TV version was Ok but the book did him no favours. Uncompromising, spoilt little brat.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Zosherooney » February 4th, 2018, 5:18 pm

I liked both the film and the book.... :D Glad to see he has had a bit of a haircut recently, he was beginning to look like the wild man of Borneo !
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 4th, 2018, 6:30 pm

KC2 wrote:We must look out for them! Are they on iPlayer?



I think the first one might have now been deleted, but my daughter has been catching up with them on iplayer ;) Every time I see this I state that I want to live there!!! ;)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 4th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Zosherooney wrote: Glad to see he has had a bit of a haircut recently, he was beginning to look like the wild man of Borneo !


I caught up with this programme today and must admit that I am still finding it difficult watching him ... it's the ARTICULATION !!! ;) And I commented how scruffy he looked with his hair all over his face/eyes when he was in a kitchen where everyone else had their hair covered :? :rolleyes:

However, I thought the food (with he exception of the raw meat dish) looked delicious and now want to visit a Lebanese restaurant .....anyone care to join me ? ;)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 4th, 2018, 6:39 pm

I’m up for that Pat. ;)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 4th, 2018, 6:51 pm

StokeySue wrote:I've been meaning to catch with HFW, BBC 2, Saturday at 18.00 and also on iPlayer

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m8l63


Thanks Sue
PatsyMFagan wrote:
KC2 wrote:We must look out for them! Are they on iPlayer?



I think the first one might have now been deleted, but my daughter has been catching up with them on iplayer ;) Every time I see this I state that I want to live there!!! ;)


Sue's link takes you to episodes 1-5 Series 1. Ep 1 is apparently available until 8.45 pm tomorrow.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 4th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Pepper Pig wrote:I’m up for that Pat. ;)


:tu: :tu: :tu: Didn't you eat Lebanese a few weeks ago ?
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 4th, 2018, 8:23 pm

I'm always up for a Lebanese restaurant, I know of one good one (Al Waha on Westbourne Grove) and I'm sure there are others

http://www.alwaharestaurant.com
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 4th, 2018, 9:04 pm

Al Waha is great. So is Yalla Yalla opposite M&S off Oxford Street.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby earthmaiden » February 4th, 2018, 9:59 pm

I watched this tonight and thought it was brilliant. If NS just faced the camera and didn't do that funny looking away thing at the end of each sentence it would have been perfect :lol: . Top marks to him.

I love Lebanese cuisine. We haven't had a Christmas/New Year meet yet :o :hungry: .

Takling of Lebanese cuisine, while I think of it, Suffs, this was where we went in Oxford for a Wildie meet with FCQ and others a good few years ago now - I think it is still worth a visit if you stay in the city though it's in the Jericho area so a walk away from the centre. https://www.al-shami.co.uk/
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 5th, 2018, 8:22 am

Recipes from the series from yesterday's Observer.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyl ... rn-recipes
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 5th, 2018, 9:46 am

earthmaiden wrote:I love Lebanese cuisine. We haven't had a Christmas/New Year meet yet .


I was thinking the same .... we should start new thread ;)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby earthmaiden » February 5th, 2018, 11:16 am

Good idea Pat.

Thanks for the link PP. Both recipes look good. I assume there will be a book to go with the series. If it continues to be as good I might have a look.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 5th, 2018, 12:38 pm

Right, so far I've compiled a list of three possible Lebanese restaurants. I've confirmed they all take bookings (though they didn't all in the past, I think we once discounted #2 for a meet because they didn't take bookings)
In no particular order, numbers just for reference

#1 Al Waha, Westbourne Grove. A "proper" restaurant, family run, slightly old-fashioned in a good way.

#2 Le Comptoir Libanais, now a chain, several possible branches, probably Wigmore St is good, sort of Beiruti cafe (like a trattoria perhaps?)
http://www.comptoirlibanais.com

#3 Yalla Yalla more canteen like, street food, two branches, one either side of Oxford St, seems PP and I have been to different branches and both have been good
http://www.yalla-yalla.co.uk
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 5th, 2018, 1:53 pm

I like the sound of the first one, second choice would be the third one ;)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby earthmaiden » February 5th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Well done Sue. They all sound good. I'm familiar with the Le Comptoir Libanais branches at South Kensington and Stratford and like them, though they have become a bit more commercialised in recent times I think. I rather like the sound of Al Waha but it may not be central enough for all.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 5th, 2018, 3:16 pm

The (original) Yalla Yalla in Soho is absolutely tiny. About 4 tables. You'd have to queue. Am not up to that these days. (I believe there's also one at Greenwich). Not keen on Comptoir Libanese but I only know the one at Westfield where the acoustic is terrible.

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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 5th, 2018, 3:42 pm

The Fitzrovia Yalla Yalla is bigger and tkes bookings, though the building looks like a particularly uninspiring office block
I see they have a new branch in Shoreditch, which really is becoming a restaurant area (not ideal access wise though)
Al Waha is quite small so booking essential
We seem to have elimated Comptoir Libanais, I haven't eaten there, when it first opened on Wigmore St I went in and looked at the "deli" section, and was rather disappointed to find it was more window dressing than a useful grocery store.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Hope » February 5th, 2018, 7:20 pm

I really like Nige! I don't find him creepy at all. Just finished watching this and really loving it. Love seeing what people traditionally eat. I want to make lebneh (is that how it's spelt?!) but they seemed to miss out a stage or too, it went from milk to yogurt very quickly!

I'm tempted to buy some za'atar, but I never know with UK spice mixes if they are authentic. Like my hunt to track down some proper ras el hanout - most were packed with sugar and no rose petals, finally found a proper one, but then I'm not entirely sure I like it anyway!
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby suffolk » February 5th, 2018, 7:25 pm

Hope wrote:I really like Nige! I don't find him creepy at all


Same here
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Pepper Pig » February 5th, 2018, 7:48 pm

suffolk wrote:
Hope wrote:I really like Nige! I don't find him creepy at all


Same here


Really??
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby scullion » February 5th, 2018, 7:50 pm

Hope wrote:I'm tempted to buy some za'atar,

Why not make up your own, its not difficult and you may have the basic ingredients in the cupboard. The version I was shown had just sesame seeds, thyme (on the programme it indicates oregano) and salt.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Zosherooney » February 5th, 2018, 8:38 pm

Another NS fan here, not creepy at all :D
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby StokeySue » February 5th, 2018, 8:39 pm

The yogurt stuff is labneh, you make it simply by straining thick yogurt mixed with a little salt and draining it in muslin until it forms a lind of curd cheese

Loads of recipes, this one would work
https://www.themediterraneandish.com/homemade-labneh-recipe/
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby Hope » February 6th, 2018, 7:47 am

scullion wrote:Why not make up your own, its not difficult and you may have the basic ingredients in the cupboard. The version I was shown had just sesame seeds, thyme (on the programme it indicates oregano) and salt.


Oh good idea. I thought it had summac in it too? Why do I think of making labneh from scratch, but not think of mixing my own spices?!

StokeySue wrote:The yogurt stuff is labneh, you make it simply by straining thick yogurt mixed with a little salt and draining it in muslin until it forms a lind of curd cheese

Thanks. good plan! I do keep meaning to make yogurt from scratch too, but still haven't got around to it. I'll use some of the yogurt in the fridge. (boys seem to be not eating it again!)
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby PatsyMFagan » February 6th, 2018, 10:59 am

I have a tin of Bart's Zatar ... it contains toasted sesame seeds, thyme, salt and sumac.

They also do lots of other spices :
http://bart-ingredients.co.uk/ingredients/
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby scullion » February 6th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Hope wrote: I thought it had summac in it too?


not always, i suppose it has a regional variation as with many things. i was shown the damascene variation - or maybe she couldn't get sumac, in dordrecht, in the early eighties.
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Re: Nigel Slater's Middle East

Postby KC2 » February 6th, 2018, 1:57 pm

I've made my own ras-el-hanout in the past, but am very happy with the za'atar I get. There are as many ras-el-hanout recipes as there are people that make it, I gather!! I've got an unopened packet at the moment so will see what that's like when I get round to it.
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