I’ve spent a week under the blazing sun in Abu Dhabi – a country of extremes of culture, landscape and, most importantly for me, cuisine. There’ve been surprises along the way – camel’s milk is one I won’t be repeating though! Lessons have been learnt through the common language that seems more common outside of England than in it – that of food.
Everywhere I travel I am constantly amazed by the passion and loyalty people have towards their food heritage. Maybe it is the essence of communal dining we have lost in our busy lives; shared meals are becoming more and more a thing of the past as we struggle to steal a moment here or there.
I for one have a few routines that I try and stick to – a weekly dinner with friends where we eat family style, sharing from large dishes for example, or a celebratory breakfast at the weekend. (even if it is just warm croissants and homemade damson jam or poached eggs sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper on toast, liberally spread with salted English butter.)
Food should be shared, enjoyed together – a communal experience and one that if possible we should linger over – dwell, enjoy and digest.
A little tip I picked up along the way in one such discussion. To make the smoothest, humus, that which you find in your local Lebanese restaurant don’t use the tinned variety. Instead, boil dried chickpeas with a pinch of bicarb – you will end up with a much smoother, softer chickpea that blends to a delicate puree with tahini, olive oil and a splash of lemon – perfect with warmed pitta.