24 October 2009

Evening in Beirut

Tonight will be one of the rare times in which I will exhibit my hopefully still-working cooking skills to others. The only other time I have done this so far is when the department has its annual welcome party, and everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share. Every time for the past five years, someone has asked me for a recipe of the dish that I have made for the occasion.

Anyway, tonight, I am co-hosting a Middle-Eastern dinner party with a friend. She has the kasbah, I have the cooking skills. And we invited a few of our close friends for the occasion.

So, what's in store for the night? I am making hummus with spinach, which includes tahini, garlic, kosher salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. This will be served beforehand, with Middle-Eastern pita breads to accompany it. The main dish would be a tagine of chicken with chickpeas and mint. This involves simmering the chicken in a pot full of exotic spices such as cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon. Fresh mint would provide the contrast needed from the spices. This is served with couscous with dried apricots and coriander seeds.

Now the dessert, well, I am not too good when it comes to making desserts. So I will let my co-host plan that. After all, she's better in baking and in desserts in general than me.

What else? I have a few CDs of Middle Eastern electronica, featuring bands from underground clubs in Beirut, Paris, Montpellier, Marrakesh, and so on. This should be fun. The only thing missing are the belly dancers.

(African Shield, from my Sackler and Freer Collection Series)


  1. Wonder what your invited close friends said about the dishes. Very good, some more please?

  2. Chicken tagine wow! This is a great dish I've eaten several times in Morocco with couscous. Saw how it's prepared and find the cooking vessels really unique. No belly dancers though he he he!

  3. Abaniko,

    My dishes were popular! The chicken disappeared!


    Ah yes. It was very good indeed. I've seen those tagine vessels as well, very interesting craftsmanship.


    Yup, you read it right.