I returned home yesterday from two weeks overseas, taking a 16 hour flight from Dubai. One of my business contacts there took us to a Syrian restaurant for an amazing lunch. Super fresh, lemony, tabbouleh and a hummus garnished with pine nuts and pistachios served with piping hot pitas, folks at tables around us smoking bubble pipes and the meal finished with cups of strong, hot, sweet chai.
We stayed in an older part of the city, populated by the large migrant Indian community and had dinner one evening at an outdoor cafe that served fine Dosa (The papery thin, crisp, savory crepe stuffed with curried vegetables and served with sambar and chutney) and Uttapam (a thicker savory pancake that often includes onions and tomatoes). Both of these are made with wheat flour, with rice flour often added to the Dosa recipe to ensure a crispy product. Both served in the hustle and bustle of sari and jewelry shops and to the competing sounds of multiple calls to prayer from several nearby mosques.
Breakfasts in Yerevan (Armenia) where I spent five days included cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese and yogurt and preserved whole walnuts - sweet and lightly spiced and with lavash, a thin flat bread baked in a tandoor-like oven. Armenia - an island of Christendom is a sea of Islam, one of the oldest Christian countries in the world - feels at once Middle Eastern, Slavic (The Russian presence is strong) and Central Asian.
This Saturday's Bake
I want to get back to basics this weekend and so will make organic white sourdough this Saturday.
Your Canadian Baker