sharing recipes from one generation to the next
Greg Malouf’s name is revered in Melbourne’s food scene. In the 1990s he made a name for himself fusing the flavours of his Lebanese birthright with the Irish heritage of O’Connell’s gastro pub in South Melbourne. It was under his tutelage that a generation of up coming young cooks adopted a shopping cart full of new flavours, and then spread the style across Melbourne.
Greg, with his former partner Lucy have published three coffee table format books, Saha, Saraban and Turquoise. Embracing the genres of armchair travel, insiders guides and cookbooks, Greg and Lucy take the reader on a culinary journey through Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Turkey.
For the month of October the Cookbook Guru is exploring the Maloufs’ Saha, a record of their journey to Greg’s ancestral home, Lebanon.
I love the aesthetic appeal of these books. They sit in a pile on my side table in the lounge room because they look good, but I welcome any excuse to open the pages and feast my eyes on the evocative photos of people, produce, the countryside and food.
The recipes in Saha have an exotic simplicity to them. Lemons, lamb and chickpeas, fresh herbs, garlic and tahini seem ubiquitous, but Malouf has an innate ability to raise flavours to another level with judicious aromatic seasonings, fresh salads and unexpected ingredients combinations.
The recipe for muhammara is quite simple to make thanks to the food processor. I charred the peppers while preparing dinner in the evening, then sealed them in a plastic airtight container to steam before chilling them overnight. I finished making the recipe the next morning.
Muhammara has an absolutely delicious pesto quality to it. The flavours are intense with the charred peppers and pomegranate molasses. The texture is thick and unctious. We ate it as a dip with crackers, as a topping on Malouf’s zucchini, mint and fetta fritters, and as an accompaniment for pan fried barramundi. I also enjoyed muhammara spread on my toast for breakfast.
I made a few necessary adjustments to the original recipe so it fitted within my dietary framework.
Red pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip
3 large red capsicums (bell peppers)
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
125g shelled walnuts
1/3 cup dry gluten free breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon garlic infused oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sugar
sea salt to taste
very generous grinding of black pepper
Thoroughly char the red peppers on the barbecue or over a gas jet on your cook top. Once done, seal the charred peppers in an airtight plastic container to steam and loosen the skins.
Remove the skins, seeds and white membranes. Avoid washing the peppers, simply use clean hands to scrape away any clinging seeds and skin.
In the food processor pulse the walnuts until roughly chopped. Add the flesh of the red peppers and the breadcrumbs and process until a rough paste.
Add the pomegranate molasses, sugar and lemon juice, then with the motor running, add the oils
Taste the paste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Process the paste until it’s a thick smooth paste.
Makes about 2 cups
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Wa-hey! Looks fantastic, I love pomegranate molasses and Mr Malouf. Will be putting this on my ‘to make’ list.
it’s a great dip Cheery, i think you’ll like it!
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I love this recipe! In fact, I love all three of the books you mentioned and, though they are housed on my kitchen cookbook shelf (not the lounge :-)), they are well used and perused.
My lounge and kitchen have no dividing wall, the cookbooks are all mixed up the other genre! The side table is for the beautiful!
If you like beautiful (with really good food, naturally), have you ever seen “Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the other China” by Canadian husband and wife, Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguld? Like the Malouf’s they have produced a few more books on Asian foods with beautiful photographs. They are on my shelf next to Turquoise, Saha and Saraban.
Oo no I don’t know of these books, something to go hunting for. I love having an excuse to go to the bookshop….
A great recipe of a spread I have not made for quite some time. That would do me for breakfast any day as I always use matters savoury to wake myself up! Feel smilingly healthy to boot ! Being usually alone: would this keep for a couple of days – halving the recipe would make it more work 🙂 !?
Good too see you Eha, it’s been a while 😃 I think I’d halve it, 2 small caps perhaps. It took us (2)close to a week to use the batch I made, it was good to the end.
Nice to ‘see’ you too: had a necessary hardworking blog break September and now my computer has taken a big dislike to me for no reason 😦 : we are limping but hope to get along more amicably by next week
Delicious! I love a dip – houmous, guacamole, tzatziki – but I’ve never tried this. And I’ve got some roasted peppers in the fridge so I’ll be trying this for sure, thank you 😀
You won’t be disappointed Trix, delicious is the only way to describe it
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thanks for the shout out 😃
Hi Sandra, this dip is one of my favs, Good choice!
Ii know why muhammara is a favourite Glenda, it’s very delicious!
I’ll have to have a go at this. I made their ‘Spicy Tomato Soup’ last night, while making my first ever batch of chicken stock following their instructions. I’m making one of their soups with it tonight.
Look forward to your posts, I have no doubt the soup was delicious!
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I am loving this book. Mine is from the library and I don’t want to return this one! This recipe also caught my eye as did Leah’s spicy salt. I could happily work my way through this book for months.
I have to confess it’s been a while since I cooked from it, but I’m loving revisiting Saha, lots of interesting twists and turns in the recipes.If you like Saha, you need to borrow Saraban and Turquoise from your library too…
I’m booking them!
Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
Lady Red Specs has contributed a luscious capsicum, walnut and pomegranate dip as part of this month’s The Cookbook Guru. Make sure you check it out.
Yum! I have this on my list of must makes…I’m pretty sure its the dip Sonia and I used to buy from the Adelaide Central Market when I shared a house with her. xxx
it’s really delicious and will a regular here from now on xxx