25 June 2012

GUEST BLOG: Everything's vine!

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

I was very excited by the prospects of last Tuesday evening's session: Lebanese mezze. On the menu was: baba ghannouj (smoked aubergine and sesame puree), stuffed vine leaves (Armenia), spicy lamb kofta, spinakopita (spinach and feta filo triangles) and hoummus.

A lovely bunch of people gathered round the table at Chorlton High School to learn and experience Lebanese cooking. Everyone introduced themselves and said a few words about what had brought them there. It was a lovely relaxed, informal and inspiring evening, full of learning, sharing and tasting, and lots of wonderful ingredients. Deanna’s teaching style was relaxed and enjoyable, and it was a real treat to be there, and thanks also to the two lovely volunteers who worked so hard.

My memories from the evening are... the smell of aubergine blanching on a flame (this was then peeled and mixed with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, chopped flat-leaf parsley and olive oil to make a puree). The separating of many vine leaves, blanching and laying them to dry. The smell of spicy lamb sizzling. Freshly ground cumin and coriander. Rolling vine leaves into tiny parcels filled with onions, rice, pinenuts, currants, spices and herbs. Huge sheets of filo pastry cut into strips. Making these into triangles filled with feta, spinach, butter, eggs, nutmeg, spring onions and pepper mix. Freshly made hoummus. Another memory is that halfway through the three-hour session, a fox cub ran across the playground outside on an early-evening hunt for food!

When the last dish was completed, the table was set and we all sat down to enjoy the feast before us – it was well worth waiting for, and disappeared very quickly indeed. I have never tasted vine leaves so good before!   

There are lots of great pictures from this class on the Facebook page. Click here to be redirected.

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