Monday Lunch in Weston is the New Sunday Dinner in Lebanon
Once a week, a few people housed in North Somerset, who are waiting for their decision about ‘leave to remain’ in UK, meet with members of the local community to exchange news, share skills and learn new ones. And because this group* is hosted by Loves, food is always at the heart of what they do.
This week, Moe showed us how his native Lebanese fayre is best cooked and served. Anna and Josh from Loves made the trip to Dunya, a Middle Eastern store on Bristol’s Stapleton Road, to source some of the ingredients, though if you can’t make that journey and want to support independents rather than the supermarkets, I would definitely have a rummage around in the Eastern European shops in our own town’s Meadow and Orchard Streets and, of course, Eastern Spice will have much of what you need.
* Supported by North Somerset Council’s Community Food Club grant
Moe, Farshid and Nasser got busy in the kitchen – knocking up a menu of Ful Medames, salad (look at that lovely mint!), spiced flatbread and potato cakes. An abundance of colour; taste to make the tongue tingle.
Our meal on this windy Weston day, Moe told us, would normally be eaten in Lebanon on a Sunday, at leisure, with the family. Time to chat, relax and maybe have a sleep after. Beans (ful) are a staple of the region’s diet and, although I’m no stranger to this type of food, the recipe used here took me by surprise – the full flavour of the Ful Medames is one I’d like a lot more of!
‘Best to use tinned or dried beans, Moe?’
Before he was forced to leave his country and seek refuge in ours, he’d go for dried, wrapped in a bag and buried in his nearest beach’s sand for a few hours, then soaked in water for 24 hours before being boiled and simmered until soft.
Tinned is fine!
2 tins fava beans/ful (in fact any beans will do – use what you have)
1-3 cloves garlic (depending on how strong you like it, minced with salt)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 onion (whichever you prefer), finely chopped
Bunch of parsley, chopped
Bread to serve
Warm the beans, add the cumin. Reduce most of the bean liquid on a medium heat (but keep a little moisture) and mash the beans lightly so they still have some bite.
Take off heat and add juice of lemons, garlic ground with salt and some of the oil. Stir let the flavours mix.
Pour into a serving bowl, still warm, and top with onion, tomato and parsley. Add a little more olive oil to the finished dish. Warm up some flatbreads or pittas and use these to scoop up the ful flavours.
Images from Anna at Loves