Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Dinner recap

Last night I had folks over for dinner… (again)

The menu featured duck, a first for me here in Egypt and I’ll have to get some again since it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other places. Let me say first off, that duck is one of my favorite meats. Last year when I visited my friends in Beijing I was delighted to try the real deal Peking Duck, which really is spectacular and folks, not matter how good the others you’ve tried are (I have tried a few and even had a good round In Eau Claire of all places), nothing compares to the original. When I visit France or for that matter French restaurants I do try to order duck whenever I can. I had a particularly annoying experience some weeks ago when my neighbor Maria and I went to our local French place for dinner (Le Bistro, a nice enough place but with the usual crappy Egyptian wine and unfortunately exorbitant corkage¬† fees for bottles we might BYOB). The waiter announced a duck in wine sauce as the special of the evening, which I ordered off the bat, as in right away. It wasn’t a particularly crowded evening either but as soon as I placed my order the response I got was “Sorry but it is finished.” Considering no time had passed between his recitation and my order, I had to wonder… why did they have to tell me about it if they were already out?

Anyway, yesterday, I made the duck with a cherry sauce since I had the sour cherries from my trip to Turkey. I may have over cooked the bird just a trifle but it was quite yummy regardless. It was accompanied by a side of Greek style roasted potatoes (in olive oil and lemon with garlic) but with an added twist – I added pesto instead of just garlic. yum. Another twist was the white beans – my friend Belle characterized them as “like English baked beans but with flavor.” I’m adding the recipe here in a new chapter I thought I’d add to my roster called “Twists in the theme.” Julie brought a lovely fresh salad, there was okra seasoned with tomotoes, thyme and garlic and dried red chillies (naturally) instead of the usual Indian spice mix, and to round off everything couscous stuffed eggplant and peppers (more dried loot from Turkey). Finally dessert also featured Turkish delights (though not THE Turkish Delight aka locum locally) – some amazing dried figs which were plumped up in lemon juice and ginger and served with the usual whipped mixture of labneh, honey and cream.

Last week I had experimented with variations on a Rajasthani theme for jungli-maas/murg, which I had also tried using pigeons instead when Eva and her mother visited. Very simple – the meat of choice is poached – not fried in ghee (clarified butter) with generous amounts of chillies and garlic. Very tender, very flavorful, completely decadent and not at all worth thinking about the calories or the right main (artery that is).

Okay thats all for now… more by and by

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