Monday, 3 October 2011

Driving to friends

We went away for the weekend. We were sitting at home, recovering from our colds, when my friend Dalia called, and suddenly, we weren't sitting at home anymore. A plan was planned, our bags were packed, and we were off on a four-hour drive, stuffy noses pointing north.

I met Dalia about two years ago, at a toddler playgroup, and bonded over a common dislike for toddler-topics. We seem to be the only ones who didn't want to talk about nappies, so we found each other, and talked about other things. Soon, the husbands met, and they talked about other things.  And the kids - three of theirs and one of ours - ran around like kids do. We all clicked. (I've never liked the word 'clicked', but it works here)




Since those toddler-group days, we've all changed cities, more than once, and are now farther apart than we were before. But we're also closer than we were before. So, we drive.

This weekend went by too quickly. I'm sure yours did too. Weekends, especially the good ones, have a way to ending before you're ready for them to end. Yeah, you knew that. Anyway, we spent the weekend lazing and catching up over cups of coffee, exploring Liverpool, walking around Manchester.





Then, on Friday, Dalia's little girl turned two, so we stayed up till three in the morning baking this:



While Mo the surgeon and D the techie built this:




And in between all the brouhaha, we squeezed in an obscene amount of good food. A late-night barbecue, Spanish tapas in Liverpool's docks, noodles and stir-fries in Manchester's Chinatown, and the most wonderful, home cooked Lebanese brunch. Dalia is from Lithuania, Mo is from Lebanon and the food is from Delicious.


Mo's Foul & Hummus

Foul and Hummus is a traditional Lebanese breakfast - flavourful and nutritious. The fava beans are cooked in a beautiful thick gravy. This is served over a coarse and garlicky hummus. And on the side: tiny, pickled Lebanese cucumbers, fresh cucumbers, slices of vine tomatoes, sprigs of mint, pieces of lemon, olives and spring onions. These are best scooped up and wiped clean with flatbreads.





Mo's version of foul:


2 cans fava beans
2 tbs lemon juice
5/6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Mix all the ingredients, except the lemon juice, together.
Add enough water to immerse the mix, and bring it all to the boil.
Lower heat and simmer till the beans become soft, and a thick gravy is formed. With your spatula, press some of the beans against the pan and crush them to give the foul a coarser texture.
Add the lemon juice, and give it all a good stir.
(Many foul recipes also add a sprinkle of cumin powder and chopped parsley)


The hummus:

2 cans chickpeas
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 whole garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbs lemon juice
A dash of Tabasco
Salt


Boil the chickpeas in water, with salt, until soft. When cooked, mash the chickpeas to form a coarse mush.
Top with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice an Tabasco. Give it a stir.


To serve:
Transfer the hummus to a plate, and top with the foul.  Serve with raw and pickled vegetables of your choice.

14 comments:

  1. it was one of those weekends you remember

    (deleted all the other emotional bit. Seeing you too soon to allow myself to get sad that you are too far away and sunday evening came too fast)

    but the cake... the cake was really something. i must let the world know that it was your wonderful idea and with all the shopping, mixing, baking, sticking, shaping, spraying, sprinkling together and laughing and laughing it has to be my most fun cake ever.

    thank you

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  2. marvellous weekend with marvellous friends!

    @D: "you can have your dumpling now" "can I?" "can you?" ;)

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  3. That cake is absolutely amazing! Sounds (and looks!) like you had the perfect weekend! Hears to good friends! Emma :)

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  4. Dalia, Mo: we'll just have to do it all over again this weekend. Another birthday, another cake. Somebody stop us!

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  5. Emma, got to come up with another cake this weekend, this time for my daughter's birthday. I might just have baked myself into a corner!

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  6. LOOK AT THAT CAKE.. I took a glimpse and my eyes were fixated.

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  7. Love the photos and the story!
    I really like the way you write Pia :)

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  8. thanks jesica! with that cake, it was more building than baking! :)


    thanks chinmayie! it's always so nice to get your lovely comments :)

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  9. Oh my gosh, that cake is stunning! I love the pop of colours on that breakfast spread too. Your post has gotten me giddy about seeing my best friends in just a few weeks time ... across the pond. Lovely to "see" you, Pia. Beautiful writing as always.

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  10. thanks grace :) meeting best friends you haven't seen in a while - now that's worth a trip across many ponds! i can't wait for my next flight to india to meet mine. you have a lovely, lovely time!

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  11. gorgeous photos! That cake is adorable :-) Happy Birthday to the little girl!

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  12. thanks sneh :) this cake was all for the squeals it received from the kids!

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  13. That's the most incredible cake I have ever seen in my whole life!

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  14. thanks wendy :) the little birthday girl seemed to think so too!

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