This post was meant to be a review of a book that I am looking forward to reading: "The Language of Baklava" by Diana Abu Jabar as a "Cook The Books" challenge. But a series of mishaps have intervened. I saw it when we were in the US but decided not to buy it until we got home because we were so close to being fined for overweight luggage. Then when I got home I found no local bookshops stock the book, although they were happy to order it for me from the publisher in the US. Eventually, I found a bookshop that promised delivery in 5-7 working days, so ordered it in the middle of January, and surprise, surprise, no book thus far....
So to get you in the mood for a review and a recipe which will be forthcoming when the stars align, here is a plate of Middle Eastern inspired nibblies. Very simple to assemble, this dish introduced me to much more sweet and floral flavours than I am used to in an hors d'oeuvre, particularly with the orange blossom water. I am looking forward to exploring more food from the book when it arrives.
Medjool Dates Stuffed With Goat's Cheese and Pinenuts
adapted from "Cuisine Magazine" January 2009
1/2 cup goats cheese whipped with a fork
3 tbls toasted pine nuts, plus extra for serving
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbls lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 tsp orange blossom water (add more if you would like a stronger floral flavour)
12 dates sliced open lengthwise to remove the seed (make sure you keep them in one piece for the stuffing)
2 tsps ground sumac
2 tbls coriander leaves
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Combine the goats cheese with pine nuts, lemon zest and juice, orange blossom water, salt and pepper to taste, then mix well. Stuff the dates with the goats cheese mixture then sprinkle with sumac, the extra pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and the coriander leaves. Serve at rom temperature or slightly warmed.