Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that I had a six week long Summer break. Because you know what? On days like this, it feels like I’ve been at it for a good couple of (hundred) years.
It doesn’t help that my favourite person in the entire world (hallo Bean!) and longtime BFF (hallo Lex!) have deserted me for calm blue waters and powder coated ski slopes (respectively, not together). Or that I’ve been slowly coming to terms with the fact that sometimes some people’s lives can be incompatible, despite the people themselves being very much the opposite.
And all of this has me retreating into crazy-social-media-addict mode. Checking my emails every twenty minutes in case something comes through with its magical ability to plaster a grin on my face and have me reading and re-reading the lines to see if I can almost, maybe, feel like they are back here with me. Clinging to the people who are left in my life lest they all decide to up stumps and disappear in search of a better life (or at least a more challenging one) in a place far away from here.
It does, however, help to spend the weekend watching bad movies, good movies and some awful fighting thing in an octagonal ring whilst eating my bodyweight in katsu curry. To build new relationships with people who have been around but overlooked whilst I stayed snuggled tight in my circle of favourites-who-would-never-leave-me (hmph!)
And it helps to look back on the photos of my holiday from not-so-long-ago. To remember the excitement of seeing mew places and tasting new things. To laugh at the antics gotten up to when we thought no-one was looking (someone is always looking… usually the tour guide).
And to remember the eagerness with which I tried my darndest to recreate the meals I ate upon my arrival home.
Like this kofta. Or kofte.
(Like the segue? You can say no. It’s ok. I’ll just sit here and mutter to myself.)
Tell you what, we got fed well on our tour of Egypt. (Though by “well”, I’m mainly talking quantity). There was food everywhere all the time meaning that seconds at meal times were reserved for the best food and only consumed in the knowledge that oppressive fullness and possibly indigestion were likely to ensue.
We were in a little restaurant on the third floor of a building in a city which name I forget when the kofte came out. Crisp, scorched exteriors. Tender, toothsome centres. I smothered them in yoghurt, wrapped them in fresh pita with a bundle of fresh tomatoes and herbs and demolished one after the other.
I was so full that night that I could hardly roll over in bed.
These aren’t exactly the same. Which is probably unsurprising considering my heritage (not Middle Eastern) and the scope of my knowledge of Egyptian food (very limited).
But they are tasty. Moreish. Likely to cause you to eat one or two too many and have trouble sleeping later that night.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
my best approximation of beef kofta
you will need:
1/4C coarse burghul
500g beef mince
zest of one lemon
half a bunch of fresh parsley (about 1C loosely packed chopped)
2 cloves garlic
2tsp ground coriander
salt & pepper
2tbsp oil (40 ml)
how to do it:
1. Â Pick through your burghul, making sure all stones have been removed. Place in a bowl and cover with cold water for ten minutes whilst you assemble the remaining ingredients.
2. Chop the onion finely into cubes. Crush the garlic or chop finely (depending on how much you like garlic). Mince the fresh parsley, including some of the younger stems, and zest your lemon.
3. Drain the burghul and toss it into a bowl with all of the other ingredients. Mix it all up with your hands, squishing the ingredients together until they look to be mixed evenly.
4. Grab balls of the mix the size of a small plum and form them into football shapes. That’s rugby football and not soccer football ok?
5. To cook, heat a heavy bottomed pan over a high heat. Brush with oil and place the kofte evenly around the base. Sear the sides of each kofte, turning when the bottom side has become brown and looks crisp. Once you’ve browned all of the kofte, turn the heat down and cook for a further ten minutes.
6. Serve with fresh pita bread, a dollop of hommus, natural yoghurt, fresh tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon.