As part of our 'Around the world in 80 dogs' mission, we thought we'd bring a little piece of Lebanon into our kitchen - with it's abundance of fresh herbs, aromatic spices and tangy pickles, we thought it would be the perfect way to give our dogs a tasty fresh make-over.
We went with loading our Classic Dog with heaps of fresh tabbouleh, pickled pink cauliflower and a generous drizzle of tahini vinaigrette.
Pickling foods has been happening for centuries in Lebanese kitchens. During the “mouneh” months, pickling and preserving summer produce for the winter months still plays an important part in the food calendar for many Lebanese.
During the harvest season, fruits and vegetable are preserved in a whole variety of ways such as pickling in a simple vinegar solution, drying in the sun and preserving in olive oil.
"This mouneh is essential to preserve nature’s abundance according to each season, naturally."
Let's get pickled!
We thought we'd have a go at making our own 'mouneh' as a way to add some colour, tang and tradition to our Lebanese dog.
We went with Pink Pickled Cauliflower... because who doesn't love pink food!
Here's how we did it:
Prepare the cauliflower: Cut small heads from a cauliflower, removing any of the thick stalks. Blanch the cauliflower in some boiling water for just a couple of minutes, you want it to still retain its crunch.
Sterilise a large glass jar by washing with boiling hot soapy water or putting in a dishwasher.
Make the pickling liquid: Combine 500ml distilled vinegar, 250g sugar, 25g salt, 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp of peppercorns in a pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
Add the cauliflower to the sterilised jar along with a quartered red onion, a quartered beetroot and some fresh turmeric. Pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the liquid.
Remove any bubbles by gently tapping the jar on a work surface and seal the jar tightly. Store the pickles in a fridge for a minimum of 48 hours to let the flavours and lovely pink colour diffuse.
We served these pickles with some tabbouleh made with fresh mint, parsley, bulgar wheat, lemon, red onion, tomato and olive oil.
We also made a simple tahini dressing to finish it off by mixing tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and honey.
The tangy pickles and fresh herbs are a great match to our smoked hot dogs. Enjoy!
The great thing about these pickles is that they can last for up to 2 months in the fridge. Just remember to use a clean spoon each time you dig in!
Why not add other vegetables to this pickle such as cucumber or red onions, neither of which require pre-cooking.