We recently had a lovely holiday in Israel. Since we were last there a couple of years ago, the quality of restaurant food seems to have improved immensely (unless we were just eating in all the wrong places last time). We had some truly spectacular meals.
On our first night in Jerusalem, we went to a street fair that was being held not far from where we were staying. The road was closed to traffic, and there were stalls, music, costumes, and all manner of entertainments. The food on offer though seemed to be limited to popcorn, candy floss, and corn on the cob.
Fortunately, the street itself was home to a number of cafes, bars and restaurants. So when the time came for dinner, we chose a place with outdoor tables near to a stonking blues band (fronted, rather incongruously, by an observant Jewish guy with a big beard and tzitzit dangling) and sat down.
The food was absolutely delicious! I had pasta with vegetables, sesame oil and feta, and it was wonderful. It was a combination of flavours that I would never have thought to put together otherwise, but I’m glad someone else did. YUM! The chef had also added enormous whole cloves of garlic to the dish – fantastic! Based on our experience, it seems the whole garlic clove is en vogue among Israeli chefs at the moment 🙂
So now we’re home, and it’s time to try and recreate some of our holiday yummies. To be honest, I couldn’t remember exactly what went into this dish – we were having too much fun at the street fair to make detailed notes, sorry. Also, I decided to make the veggies and feta but put them in quesadillas instead of on pasta. We’ve been eating tons of pasta recently and I just fancied a change.
The end result was deliciously good. You could serve the vegetables and feta with just about anything, or just as a side dish, and they would be great. So tasty. The sesame oil, which hitherto has only appeared in Asian dishes, was a revelation.
This made four quesadillas. We scoffed the lot.
- 2 small or 1 medium onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 green pepper
- 1 small aubergine (or half a large one, approx. 175g)
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 100g cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tortilla wraps
- 100g crumbled feta cheese
- Peel the onions and cut into thin slices. Peel the garlic cloves and cut each one in half. Peel the carrots and cut into julienne strips. Deseed the pepper and slice. Cut the aubergine into small chunks.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the carrots, pepper, aubergine and tomatoes, increase the heat, and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the toasted sesame oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Place a tortilla on a non-stick baking sheet and spread a quarter of the vegetables over one half of it. Top with a quarter of the feta. Fold the tortilla over to enclose the filling and squash down to close.
- Repeat with the remaining tortilla wraps, vegetables and cheese.
- Bake the quesadillas at 180C for around 8 minutes, until heated through and browning at the edges. Cut each one in half, and serve.
- You can serve the vegetable filling as a side dish, or over pasta, instead.
The November Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers, is on the theme of bonfire night. I wish I’d thought to make these quesadillas on bonfire night as they would have been the perfect warming and delicious thing to eat before watching the fireworks! Next year…
I’m also entering them into Family Foodies, hosted by Louisa at Eat Your Veg and Vanesther at Bangers and Mash, which is after delicious vegetarian dishes. I’ll definitely keep checking the linky for new veggie recipe ideas 🙂