The Colossus of Palestine has fallen. I hope nobody gets squashed as he hits the ground

Friday 12/11/2004

Back to noshblog site (click here)

Diary and Notes

This didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped, it needed an extra hour's cooking. I was hoping to have the meat falling off the bone, instead it was just well done. Also it needed more spice. However, it was pretty good and it's worth cooking.

Today was the funeral of Yasser Arafat. Irresepctive of your opinions about the former Palestinian leader, it is hard to deny that his impact on world politics was immense. I was going to cook something Arabic to mark the day, to be topical and as I love Arabic food, this should not have been a problem. However, as regular readers may know, this was a Friday and Friday night is curry night and Friday night curry is my relgion. Also, as it's Diwali, I should be cooking curry anyway.

Instead I made a lamb curry and 'Arabic'd it up a bit', gave it a touch of the old Ram Allah spirit. The flavourings are distincly Indian, but the cooking method is a bit more Middle-East and instead of rice I'm having cous cous ('Boo!' I don't really like cous cous, but I've been eating rice all week and thought a change was in order). Also I went to one of the Turkish kebab shops here and bought some Baklava and also managed to get some Turkish flat breads to go with dinner. (It wasn't an easy trade, what with me speaking hardly any German.)

So today's curry was what has trendily become known as 'fusion food'. I debated whether to name the dish Ram Allah (a play on words, a ram being a male sheep and Ram Allah being the compound where old Yasser was buried), or Lamb Arafat. I'll stick with Lamb Arafat, it's more topical and shouldn't offend too many people (I could half (badly) translate the Ram Allah line into English and call this meal The Old Lamb of God, but I think that might irritate the christians as well). I wonder if I'll live to see the Nosh-Blog through, someone might have me killed before my year is up.

Cake Blog

For cakes we had a selection of Turkish baklava and because it's Diwali, a selection of Indian sweets as well. However, today's special cake-blog cake was Swiss Birnenbrot which my friend Mark brought up from Tübingen. His aunty bought it in a Swiss bakery in her genuine Swiss village (wearing one of those pointy hats and holding a large Leedammer cheese). It's suppposed to be some form of sweet concoction made from pears and wrapped in pastry, but was much more like a giant fig roll. It was at least edible, though Mark seemed to enjoy it more than me (but I'm spoiled by gourmet cakes here in Göttingen, Tübingen just isn't as good).


  • Lamb Arafat,
  • Cous cous,
  • Flat bread,
  • Yoghurt,
  • Salads (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, pickled peppers etc...),
  • Ahmed's mixed pickle and mango chutney.

  • Baklava,

  • A few sherbets (Northern dialect for beer and wine of many descriptions).


  • Lamb Arafat: Leg of lamb (on the bone), curry paste, carrot, onion, green beans, red pepper, garlic, fresh coriander, lemons, cinammon stick, green cardamon pods, cloves, black pepper, garam masala, whole dried chillis.


  • Lay the lamb leg on a chopping board and cut deep slits into the flesh. Rub curry paste into the slits and place the lamb onto some tin foil. Sprinkle garam masala, black pepper and a little salt all over. Press some cinammon sticks, cardamon pods, dried chillies, fresh sliced garlic and cloves into the slits. Chop the carrot, onion and pepper into large chunks and top and tail the beans. Tip all the vegetables on top of the lamb and then a handful of chopped coriander. Slime a lemon and place the lemon wedges on top. Now wrap the whole thing up with foil. Make sure that it is sealed all the way around, a double layer isn't a bad idea. Bake slowly in the oven for at least 3 hours.
  • When cooked make your cous cous and arrange in a big dish. Hold the lamb package over the cous cous and cut the corner of the package to let all the juice drain out onto the cous cous. Open, remove the vegetables and tip on the cous cous. Remove all the spice seeds, chillis etc... Cut strips off the lamb, put these in the big bowl, pour over some fresh plain yoghurt and sprinkle with handfulls of fresh coriander. Get some lemons and squeeze juice over everything. Heat your flat breads. Sit on a comfy cushion on the floor around the giant bowl of food (with your friends) and eat the whole lot using only your right hands. No knives or forks please. Afterwards, if you are lucky, houris and serving girls will feed you the baklava and other sweetmeats, while they dance for your delight.

    Assalamoalikom - peace be upon you.