Thursday, 18 October 2007

Sometimes, No Recipe, Just a Joke

But it does involve condiments....

A few years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco, and several members lunched at a local cafe.

While dining, they discovered that their salt shaker contained pepper and their pepper shaker was full of salt.

How could they swap the contents of the bottles without spilling, and using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa!

The group debated and presented ideas, and finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw and an empty saucer. They called the waitress over to dazzle her with their solution.

"Ma'am," they said, "we couldn't help but notice that the pepper shaker contains salt and the salt shaker ... "

"Oh," the waitress interrupted. "Sorry about that." She unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


NAME: _Fasoulia (Beans with Lamb)
(pictured here in early stages, just prior to simmering for several hours)

1/2 kg lamb pieces (see notes)
1/2 kg green beans (see notes)
50g lamb suet (beef suet will do at a pinch, or olive oil)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp pomegranate syrup or molasses
1 tsp salt
1 large brown onion
2 garlic cloves
bunch fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried
1 tsp black cumin seed
5 to 10 bay leaves
1 tin crushed tomatoes or 1/4 kg fresh tomatoes peeled and chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
(optional) about 100g finely diced bacon

(See notes) Cut the lamb into small chop sized pieces, cut the onion into thin crescent slivers. finely chop the garlic and the fresh oregano. (See notes) Trim the beans but leave as long as possible.

Heat the suet and oil in a large heavy based pot, drop in the onion, and wait, tossing occasionally, until onion is glassy. Add garlic and the lamb pieces, allow to fry for at least another ten minutes so, turn the meat over every two to three minutes. Add salt, cumin seeds, bay leaf, and the oregano, fry for another five minutes to release flavours.

Add chopped tomato, tomato paste, pomegranate syrup or molasses, vinegar, and enough water to totally submerge the meat. Allow to come to a simmer and add the prepared beans and lemon juice, bring to a simmer again, and then leave on a low simmer for several hours, until meat is falling off bones and beans are very tender.

Serve hot to warm, in bowls, and with crusty dense bread. May be served with a dollop of yoghurt, too - in which case, supply lemon wedges too.

Serve four hungry people, or eight less hungry ones with the bread...

Lamb: I find that offcut ribs and belly flap makes the best meat for this dish, as you're anyway simmering it for hours and it will be tender and flavourful.

Beans: While a French cassoulet used fava beans or other, this is a dish for green bean pods, be they stringless, string, round, or other. The main thing is to get very fresh beans for this, make sure they are firm and that they snap not bend. The very best beans will give the very best flavour.

Because this dish contains both tomato paste and grape seed oil, and also pomegranate, it is suitable for the Body Friendly Zen Cookbook diet.
FATS: approximately one full allowance of fats per person if feeding four, or about 1/2 the daily allowance if serving 8.
CARB: Depends on the bread and how much.

Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


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