About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

My Complete Profile

Recent Posts
Lamb In Old Sheep's Clothing
San Marzano Tomatoes
Prawn Ceviche
The Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour
Hey Sol, Guess What? Oils Ain't Oils
Sho Noodle Bar
Bass Phillip Dinner
Say Cheese
Old School vs New School

1001 Dinners 1001 Nights
A Few of My Favourite Things
Abstract Gourmet
Apellation Australia
Becks and Posh
BurgerMary ATX
Cook (almost) Anything at least once
Cooking Down Under
Cook sister!
Cooked And Bottled In Brunswick
David Lebovitz
Deep Dish Dreams
Chef Paz
Chubby Hubby
Eating Melbourne
Eating With Jack
essjay eats
Food Lover's Journey
Grab Your Fork
I Am Obsessed With Food
I Eat Therefore I Am
Iron Chef Shellie
Just Desserts
Kalyn's Kitchen
Kitchen Wench
Matt Bites
Melbourne Gastronome
My Kitchen in Half Cups
Nola Cuisine
Not Quite Nigella
Nourish Me
Seriously Good
Souvlaki For The Soul
Stone Soup
Syrup and Tang
Steve Don't Eat It!
That Jess Ho
The Elegant Sufficiency
The Perfect Pantry
The View From My Porch
Thyme for Cooking
Tumeric & Saffron
tummy rumbles
What I Cooked Last Night
where's the beef
Vicious Ange

Food Blog Resources
Food Blog S'cool
I Eat I Drink I Work
Kiplog Food Links

Food for Thought
Autism Victoria
Autism Vox
forget me now
Lotus Martinis
MOM - Not Otherwise Specified
St Kilda Today

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh man, I was hanging out.

A week or so ago, there was baba ganoush, closely followed with tabouli - not the version where burghul (cracked wheat) dominates, but the parsley salad favoured by those of Lebanese extraction, where burghul is just a hint, not a highlight.

Of course, there was plenty of flatbread to scoop up the garlicky, smoky eggplant paste, which inevitably meant left-over bread, which took to loafing about our bread basket, until I recalled a recipe that would bring gainful employment to the idle flatbread. A recipe based on stale flatbread being given a makeover into a beautiful new tastier life. One that I hadn't made in many years, but suddenly wanted.

Stale bread dishes abound in old cookbooks, a relic of a time when thrift was paramount and every crumb had to be put to use. Every cuisine has a way of putting to good use leftover bread, whether in sweet or savoury fashion, Mexicans have tortilla soup, Spanish and Portuguese migas, the English, bread and butter pudding as well as summer pudding. Eastern Europeans turn old rye bread into kvas, which is the soured base for a variety of soups and also a drink. The French use stale bread to make panade, which is a binding agent used in certain recipes.

The Middle East is no exception, with a wonderfully, healthy Levantine salad called fattoush, not all that dissimilar to the Italian panzanella, whereby pita bread is either toasted or fried and mixed with a melange of whatever vegetables are to hand, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and spiced with citrussy sumac.

(serves 4)

1 regular stale pita bread, split in two
3 Lebanese cucumbers
4 vine ripened tomatoes
1 green pepper
2 or 3 spring (green) onions
bunch parsley, leaves picked from stalks
juice 1 lemon
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1/2 teaspoon sumac
salt & fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 200c and place split pita bread on oven racks with the insides facing up and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes, remove and cool. Peel alternating strips of skin off the cucumbers, making a pattern, cut each one in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half in two, then into chunks. Cut tomatoes into similar size chunks as the cucumber, dice the green pepper into 1cm chunks. Thinly slice the spring onions, including some of the green. Finely chop the parsley then tip all the vegetables into a large bowl and crumble the toasted pitta bread into the bowl and mix together. Measure the lemon juice and combine with an equal or slightly greater measure of olive oil, add the garlic and season with sumac, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, mix well, leave for five minutes, check seasoning, mix well again and serve.

Note: I didn't have sumac to hand, the salad won't suffer if you don't use it. I also used more olive oil than lemon juice.
  posted at 12:13 pm

At 4:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of sumac, you can use a bit of fresh oregano -- but even without, fattoush is absolutely wonderful, and remains one of my favorite salads.

At 4:08 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh lovely Neil. Now I'm longing for fattoush again

At 4:28 pm, Blogger Ran said...

my dad used to deep fry leb bread for this. bad bad!

i like lots of lemon but i like lemon in everything

At 6:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cut up the bread into segments, toast it with oil and zataar with sesame and pile it high on a plate for parties. It disappears in seconds and is far cheaper and more nutritious than party junk food like chips which I refuse to buy, food-snob that I am!

At 11:19 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

Mmm, I love fattoush - and panzanella! Long live stale bread.

As for the stale bread "loafing" around your bread bin - you crack me up :D

At 3:46 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi lidia, great tip and to think I've got a great big pot of it and didn't think to use any!

Hi tanna, I'm sure your season will still allow a good one. I know that longing feeling too...

Hi ran, there's no such thing as a bad dad, especially if he's cooking!!! I probably would never fry the bread all the same, it's just too easy to bake it in the oven, but I'd guess fried bread would stay crispy a little longer in the salad.

Hi kitchen hand, now that's a great idea, even after we had the baba and fattoush there was still bread left over. I'll have a crack at that.

Hi jeanne, I was wondering when someone was going to pick me up on that, isn't it sad that I get fun from word plays.

Hi tennan, thanks for having a look, I'm going to check you out.

At 8:54 pm, Blogger iGurman said...

Very nice blog. I am from Slovakia republic. I have also a blog focused on recipes for cooking. See. You need to translate the Google translate

At 10:00 am, Blogger Squishy said...

Missing you! Where did you go?


Post a Comment

<< Home


Recipe Categories
Cakes & Desserts

November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
May 2009
June 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
July 2012

Prev ~ List ~ Random ~ Join ~ Next
Site Ring from Bravenet

Site Feed

counter easy hit

Blog Design by:

Image created by:
Ximena Maier

Powered by:

Photos, Original Recipes, and Text - (C) Copyright: 2005-2010
At My Table by Neil Murray, all rights reserved.
You may re-post a recipe, please give credit and post a link to this site.

Contact Me
Neil Murray

Follow messytable on Twitter