The Middle East via Scotland

Our Scottish beauty, Elisa has decided against feeding us haggis, neeps and tatties, opting instead for Jordanian inspired food.

It was delicious so we shall let her off disowning the culinary delights of her homeland.

On the menu was Filo Tart filled with Feta and Olives, Galjet Bandura (no photos) served with warm pitta breads to scoop it up with, a sweetcorn and kidney bean salad followed by Apple Pastry Roses with ice cream.

Feta and Olive Filo Parcels

This cooking session was just after my return from holiday in Greece, the feta cheese and olives just took me right back there. As I write this I am thinking of the sunshine and blue skies – it is raining again here in Maisons-Laffitte as I type and it seems to be getting harder the closer it gets to school pick up!!  The Seine will be flooding again!

Finely chop 2 onions then fry them in butter until they are really soft. Add some freshly ground black pepper  and then some brown sugar to caramelise the onions – about 2 tsp.

De-stone and chop a handful of black olives.  Chop a 300g block of feta into chunks.  Then mix the olives, feta with the onions.

Cut filo pastry sheets into half to make squares and then brush them with some olive oil and layer them making a star.  Put a pile of the mixture in the centre and make a parcel.  Brush with a little oil and place the parcel on a baking sheet.

These are put in a pre-heated oven at 200C for about 10 minutes until they are golden and crispy.  The finished articles…

Galjet Bandura

This dish was essentially a Middle Eastern bolognese flavoured with Arabic spices served with flatbreads to scoop the sauce directly from a communal pot .  We warmed some pitta breads which worked perfectly.  I am not sure that I have the name quite right but regardless of the name it was delicious and the spices just made it special.

Finely chop an onion and red pepper, saute until soft in a large pan.  Add  400g good quality minced beef and brown the meat.  Add 400g can of chopped tomatoes or passata along with the following spices: cinnamon, cloves, star anise, garlic and a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar.   Add the spices to your taste – be as generous or as sparing as you like.  Allow this to simmer gently and thicken.

It was easy to make and you could serve it with rice, pasta or couscous.  Mince and tatties was a dish I grew up with being from a Scottish family – making mince like this and serving it with potatoes would be a twist on a Scottish classic!

Sweetcorn and red bean salad


A simple salad of sweetcorn , kidney beans and lemon juice worked beautifully.  Be generous with freshly squeezed lemon juice.  A handful of fresh herbs such as flat leaf parsley would work a treat.

I fear the threat of the tag l’alcools de Maisons-Laffitte is going to be bandied about again!!  The chilled bottle of white wine standing proud on the table!!




Apple Roses in Pastry


We finished of the meal with something quite were stunning to look at and delicious to eat.  These roses were a little fiddly to put together but worth the effort.  They were fun to make all together – it was quite a crafty, artistic dessert.

2 dessert apples are very thinly sliced and put in a bowl of water with lemon juice added to prevent the apples from browning.

In a pot, melt 125g of butter with brown sugar and cinnamon.  When the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, drain the apples and pour the butter mixture over so that the apple slices are covered well.

Now for the tricky bit.  Fold the filo sheets or feuille de brique in half and spread with warmed apricot jam.  Lay slices of apple on the filo sheet and then roll the filo up to create a rose with the apples layered within the pastry.  The apples were not peeled and the pick and red skins added to the effect of the rose.  It is fiddly but effective.

These were put in a preheated oven at 200C for 10 minutes and were golden and crispy.  We served it with a blob of vanilla ice cream.

All in all, another fabulous cooking day in Maisons-Laffitte.  Thank you Elisa for some wonderful food.  Next stop Belgium with our French teacher.

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