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50 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 05 October 2011

Join Pennie Latin this lunchtime when food writer Sally Butcher takes us on a vegetable lover's tour of the Middle East, demonstrating a range of sumptuous vegetarian traditions through a host of delicious and exotic recipes. Fragrant Persian noodle rice anyone? Gingery tamarind aubergines? Or how about pink pickled turnips?

On the day before the 2012 Michelin guide is published and next years stars awarded we'll be asking what difference does a Michelin star makes to a restaurant. How much kudos does it give the chef? What do you need to do to earn a Michelin star? Is the food really any better? And would the presence of Michelin stars make you want to go somewhere ... or put you off?

And if you been out walking in the countryside you will have most likely noticed an abundance of wild mushrooms. So why not get some inspiration and ideas from The Kitchen Café's experts on what to do with your Shiitakes, Portobellos and Enokis?

Kitchen Café Takeaway - Ghillie Basan makes smoked venison salad. Recipe and podcast available to download from the Kitchen Café webpage.

  • The Kitchen Cafe Takeaway recipe

    The Kitchen Cafe Takeaway recipe

    Download Ghillie Basan's smoked venison with feta cheese and melon

    Smoked venison salad
  • Download The Kitchen Cafe Takeaway podcast

    Download The Kitchen Cafe Takeaway podcast

    Download the Kitchen Cafe Takeaway podcast of cook Ghillie Basan making smoked venison salad

    Podcast recipe for smoked venison salad
  • Sally Butcher's Butternut squash boots

    This Persian dish is a Golshan Ebrahimi family favourite. That means that my long-suffering mother-in-law has to make it at least once a fortnight for her clamorous brood. It is a delicious dish: the sharpness of the cooking stock contrasts beautifully with the creaminess of the squash.
    Kadoo in Persian just means squash, and in common parlance little difference is made between them: the word is applied equally to courgettes and pumpkins. If you really want to be pedantic, you can refer to the butternut variety as kadoo halvayi – it is, after all, sweet and creamy like halva.

    Khoresht-e-Kadoo – Butternut Squash Boats
  • Sally Butcher's Egyptian Street Food

    The first time I sampled kushari it was prepared by a fellow sous-washer-upper at some restaurant in which I was working, and I looked on sceptically as he combined rice, AND pasta, AND lentils – in truth it looked like a rather bad experiment. But it worked, and came to be a popular staff supper (trade secret: some of the best restaurant meals are born out of staff dinner experiments – but shh! You didn’t hear it from me). Took me a few years to work out that it is in fact the joint favourite Egyptian national dish (one of three), and probably Cairo’s best-selling street fare.

    It evolved as a nutritious and fast dinner for Coptic Christians, who spend 210 days of each year fasting and following a vegan diet. They hold that man only started in on carnal pleasures (yes, that includes meat eating) after his fall from grace, and that good Christians should aspire to renounce such things as often as possible.

    It is especially good Monday evening fare: after the over-indulgence of the weekend, this simple concoction of tomatoes and carbs hits the mark.

    Kushari: Egyptian Street Food


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