The Return of Jon-Ali Borresen and the Ifreet

Sunday 28/8/2005

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Diary and Notes

"Aha! Now I's got you. I's gonna get all Babylonian on you' ass." And with that the giant fiery efreet bellowed at the poor, handsome hero and swung its mighty axe above its head, sending tornadoes of flame into the starry night sky. "You aint gonna outfox me this time, I's been taking evening classes." Jon-Ali stood and watched in awe.

"Oh wise and powerful efreet." Replied our cunning friend, bowing low and turning his palms to face the desert moon, "I did so wrong thee on our Last Encounter that I am filled with the compassion of the prophet, peace be upon him. Please allow me to make amends by preparing for you a feast that would grace even the tables of the holies upon high." And our hero bowed even lower.

The mighty demon looked for a moment as if unsure of what to do then nodded, "You get one chance homey, you try to trick me again an I's gonna give you beats like you was a dusty rug on washday."

"You are most gracious and wise." Replied our hero and began to rummage through pack to see what he could cook for the monster. "But I shall of course need a few things, I did not expect to be catering for such an honoured and massive guest as yourself."

Suddenly the efreet dissapeared in a cloud of jet black smoke. It was gone some time and our hero was beginning to think he had been forgotten and was just about to have it away on his pins when he saw the giant beast approaching from afar riding a magic flying carpet. As it came closer he could see that the efreet had several bags of shopping with it.

"What, no Tescos this time?" Asked the hero.

"Tescos!" Roared the beast, "Have you seen the price of lamb in supermarkets? I went into Rusholme, I told you, I'm not stupid, I've been taking evening classes."

So our hero set to cooking for the beast a giant feast of sweet lamb and aromatic beans and herbs. When the meal was ready and the efreet was about to sit down to eat our hero called out to him "Stop! You cannot sit down to eat without first saying a prayer of thanks to Allah for his bountious gifts." And the efreet did indeed stop. So the efreet put the magic carpet to face Macca and was about to kneel to pray when again our hero called out, "Stop! You cannot offer up a prayer to Allah until you have cleaned and washed your hands, face and feet. Go down to the oasis and wash yourself or would you pray dirty before the almighty?"

And so the efreet, fearful of Allah, ran down to the oasis. But when the stupid beast placed its hands in the water and poured water over its face the great fire in which it lived was extinguished and its power was drained away.

And so Jon-Ali Borresen washed himself and said a prayer on the magic carpet, then sat down to eat the food himself, while the stupid efreet returned once again in defeat, to the City of Brass.


A word or two about today's dinner:

Just like the efreet I bought my lamb in an Asian butchers in Rusholme. It is a matter of simple economics:

People who shop in supermarkets don't buy a lot of lamb because it is so expensive.

Supermarkets charge a lot of money for lamb as nobody buys it and it sits on the shelves taking up valuable space.

People who shop at an Asian butchers buy a lot of lamb because it's cheap and tasty.

Asian butchers sell inexpensive lamb because everybody who shops there buys it.

This being said I managed to buy a kilo of lamb chops for £5.30. In Sainsbury's (for instance) lamb chops are currently £11.84 per kilo, over twice the price.

You can buy a whole lamb in Rusholme for the price of a kilo of chops and a half a leg in the more normal supermakets and the quality is exactly the same, plus they will cut it up exactly how you want.

While I was in Rusholme I also bought some pomegranate syrup. This is used very widely in Iranian cuisine and is delicious with meat. It's not at all sweet, being more like tamarind paste than anything else.

And advieh is a blend of aromatic spices - cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamon, pepper etc. You can use pretty much any blend of aromatic spices.

And lastly - it was pretty tasty indeed.

Cake Blog

A box of assorted Baklava: £4.00 from Ambala Sweet House in Rusholme, and worth every penny.


  • Lamb Chops in Pomegranate Syrup
  • Fava Beans with Spinach and Fresh Herbs
  • Rice
  • Khubz (Arabic Flatbread)

  • Assorted Baklava


    Lamb Chops in Pomegranate Syrup
    1 Kg Lamb Chops
    ½ Onion
    1 tsp Vegetable Oil
    1 tsp Advieh
    2 Tbsp Pomegranate Syrup
    Little Salt
    Fresh Pomegranate and Herbs for Garnish
    Fava Beans with Spinach and Fresh Herbs
    1 Can Fava Beans
    ½ Onion
    1 tsp Vegetable Oil
    1 tsp Advieh
    1 Can Spinach
    Bunch Fenugreek Leaves
    Bunch Coriander Leaves
    Bunch Mint Leaves
    Little Salt


  • Lamb: Dice the onion and fry in a little oil until soft. Add the chops and brown on both sides. Sprinkle the advieh in and mix. Add the pomegranate syrup and a little water and simmer for 10 miinutes. When the chops are cooked remove and keep warm. Turn the heat up high and reduce the liquid to a thick sauce and pour over the chops.
  • Beans: Sweat the chopped onion. Add the beans, adview and spinach, warm through. Add loads of chopped fresh herbs, stir well, season and serve.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for four people