Thursday, 9 July 2009

Leon's Biyaldi & Minty Raisin Barley Coucous

Leon is the newest addition to my every growing book collection. Yesterday, before I made myself swear I would stop buying anymore books until I had read and cooked through the ones I already have, I sneaked on Amazon and bought Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade one more book review will probably be coming up soon! Anyway this pact is suppose to last till the end of the summer! AHH - I really cannot promise that will happen, but I am going to try and go for at least a month. Don't get me wrong I am not some shop-O-holic here. I just have a book problem. I should be able to admit it - IT is starring me right in the face- big UPS packages being shipped from Scotland...weighing a lot....filled with books...and books....and well some more books.

Anyway lucky for you I acquired this amazing book, which is one part food dictionary one part recipes. With pull out maps of European cheese production and country origin of every fruit, veg and nut on earth I will be reading this book for a good long while, and YES I definitely recommend Leon Ingredients and Recipes.

I was in a very Levantine mood and cooking up a storm for Pete and his roomie Jordan, so I browsed through my new best friend (originally looking for babaganoush) and found this biyaldi/babaganoush combo. It was really absolutely fabulous. I had made enough for the boys to take it to work the next day, but NO Pete (and yes mostly Pete) ate it all that night. The cool and minty couscous I whipped up really complemented it, and for the first time I made couscous correctly!!! Ill tell you the trick....ready..... I followed the directions on the box- go figure ;)

The story behind biyaldi is that the Turkish Imam Biyaldi was (to quote Leon here) "so overcome by the deliciousness of it (due largely to the generous amounts of olive oil) that he fainted, or biyaldi'd." Yet as Leon states the original recipe involved cooking the aubergine/eggplant, extracting its flesh and then rebaking the flesh in its own skin. So technically this recipe is no biyaldi and even though it is cooked more like a babaganoush, without tahini it isn't babaganoush either. However, it is very good and healthy...and both Pete and Jordan forgot that they had not eaten meat that night.

I have altered mine a bit from Leon's and the original, because I definitely don't think I used as much olive oil as other's have - no one fainted when I served it.

Hybrid Biyaldi/Babaganoush
(Adapted from Leon)


1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
2 large aubergines/eggplants
olive oil to taste (3-6 tablespoons)
touch of balsamic vinegar
1 red onion
1 head of garlic (for roasting) + a couple more for frying
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
around 200 gms of organic tinned tomatoes
2-3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon raw sugar
large handful of flat leaf parsley
small handful of basil
salt and pepper

Grill your peppers and aubergines. I did it under the grill (in the oven) some people like doing it on an open flame. My peppers took about 25 minutes, the aubergines took an hour. I did it nice and slowly but you could always speed the process up. I peeled my peppers but decided to leave the skins of the aubergines\eggplants on because they were not blackened. About half way through grilling the aubergine I added some balsamic vinegar. Also while I was grilling the veg I cut the top of a head of garlic off (just enough to expose the garlic) and I turned it upside down and put it in the tray with the veg.

After the veg is grilled mush it together in a bowl, then extract the roasted garlic from its skin and blend it into the grilled veg. In a sauce pan add the olive oil and saute a red onion and some raw garlic. When they are golden add in the tomato puree, the 200 gms of tomatoes, a tablespoon of raw sugar, the basil leaves, the bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let the ingredients come to a simmer. Allow 10-15 minutes for this. Then add the grilled and mashed peppers, aubergines and garlic to the tomato base. If it looks a bit dry add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan.

At this point I put the top on the pan and allowed the mixture to simmer gentle for another 15 minutes. I am sure the longer you allow it to simmer the richer it would taste but I had hungry boys to feed. What I realized about this dish is that if you prepare the grilled veg ahead of time, this recipe becomes a quick dinner meal.

For the couscous I went with what I had around and it came out so brilliantly.

Minty Raisin Couscous

couscous ( I used barley)
half a lemon
salt and pepper
handful of nice sized raisins
handful of chopped mint
30-60 gms of feta
a couple tablespoons of olive oil

Cook the couscous according to the directions (really trust me). Then add in the salt and pepper, juice from half a lemon and olive oil (I assume you know I mean extra virgin always). Soak the raisins in boiled water for a couple minutes, drain them and then toss them in. Add the crumbled feta (crumble finely) and the chopped mint leaves. Toss all together and serve with the biyaldi-babaganoush.

p.s this biyaldi reminds me of my Turkish delight, i.e my Sweet Melissa - I'm missing you girl xoxo


J xXx

1 comment:

  1. These have definitely made it onto my "to make" list as well...yuuum!!!