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Totally random - Arabian/North African recipes

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No real reason for this post, but here is some info I used a while back while designing an Arabian themed drinks menu. Sure that

some of this info will be useful to some of you, or just for those with an interest..........

After having a chat with my mother (she is an awesome cook and has been cooking middle eastern/north african food for years - my father is Libyan) she gave me an old book she had. It was published in 1985 and is called "North African Cookery". The author is Arto Der Haroutunian. It is a fantastic book and has a section devoted to drinks of that region. Here is some recipes from the book you may wish to use (with the addition of alcohol obviously, but also good if you have any non-alcoholic requirements), it definitely helped inspire me with my menu........

Lemonade - Add a lot of water to freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add sugar to taste and stir until dissolved. Add a few drops of Orange Blossom Water and some ice and serve.

Acir El Qaress - If you wish to be a little more ambitious, try this Algerian speciality, which makes enough for 6-8 glasses.

6 lemons

1 grapefruit

150g (5oz) sugar

2 litres mineral water (sparkling or still)

Cut the lemons and grapefruit in half and squeeze out their juice. Pour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Pass the mixture through a fine

sieve into a serving bowl and serve with ice cubes and diluted with the mineral water. You can also prepare orangeade in this way.

Acir Tchina

12 oranges

1 lemon

1 grapefruit

8 tablespoons sugar

2 litres mineral water (sparkling or still)

Reserve 1 orange. Half the remaining fruits and squeeze out the juice. Continue as with the recipe above. Peel the reserved orange, cut it into thin

rounds and add to the orange mixture. Serve as above. Makes 6-8 large glasses.

Grape Juice

If you have your own vine (unlikely) or can find grapes cheap enough try this drink. Use about 5kg (10lb) grapes and remove large stalks. Crush the grapes and pass through a sieve. Collect the juice in a bowl, add the juice of 1 small lemon and flavour with 1-2 tablespoons of Orange Blossom Water, 1/2 teaspoon

cinnamon and 2-3 tablespoons sugar.

Pomegranate Juice

When pomegranates are available in the shops - they usually appear around Christmas time - don't ask yourself "what do i do with these?" This is one

recipe you should try. The colour alone is enchanting, never mind the taste.

Use about 5kg (10lb) pomegranates. Halve the fruit, remove the seeds and put

in a liquidiser with a little water. Blend to a pulp. Pass this pulp through a fine sieve and collect in a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 large ripe lemon, 3-4

tablespoons sugar (or more to taste) and 1 tablespoon of Orange Blosson Water.

Stir well. Serve with ice, it is very nice!

Hlib Bel Louz - Milk of Almonds

A beautiful drink made from the milk of almonds. It is one of the most popular drinks in the Arab world and is usually drunk during religious festivals.

There are many variations and i have given two, one from Libya/Egypt, the

other from Morocco.

225g (1/2lb) ground almonds

900ml (1 1/2 pints) water

675g (1 1/2lb) sugar

2 tablespoons Orange Blossom Water or Rose Water

Put the ground almonds into a Muslin cloth or bag and fasten securely. Place the water in a large bowl, add the bag of almonds and leave for about 1-1 1/2

hours rubbing and squeezing it occasionally to release the almond milk and turn the water milky. Finally squeeze the bag tightly to extract every last

drop of the almond milk. Pour the almond milk into a large saucepan, add the sugar and bring slowly to

the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Just before removing from the heat, stir in the Orange Blossom Water or Rose Water. Pour into a jug

and leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed. Serve, diluted to taste, with ice cold water or ice cubes.

Moroccan Variation

225g (1/2lb) ground almonds

900ml (1 1/2 pints) water

2.5l (4 pints) milk

275g (100oz) caster sugar

3 tablespoons Orange Blossom Water

Follow the recipe above mixing the water and milk together before soaking the bag of ground almonds. Only heat the almond milk enough to dissolve the sugar - do not boil. Serve as above.

Hlib Bil Assel - Milk and Honey drink

A favourite with mountain folk, it is tasty and refreshing.

900ml (1 1/2pints) milk4 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

About 110g (4oz) finely chopped strawberries or stoned cherries

Place the milk, honey and sugar in a large bowl and whisk vigorously for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped fruit. Refrigerate until ready to

serve, in tall glasses with ice. Serves 6.




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