Mirza Ghasemi (Persian Eggplant Tomato Dip)

Eggplant Dip

I am slowly collecting my Persian recipes, and this is the latest one. This is a fresh and easy dip that is great for dinner parties. If you like eggplant and garlic, then this dip is for you.

Some recipes call for eggs and onions but that is not how my mother-in-law makes it. I like to add a bit of paprika for extra sweetness, which is entirely my addition and not traditional in any sense.

Mirza Ghasemi (Persian Eggplant Tomato Dip)
- 10 Chinese eggplants
- 1 (156 mL, 5.5 fl oz) can of tomato paste
- 1 fresh roma tomato, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp of paprika
- 4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

1. With a fork, poke holes into the eggplants, cut off the stems, place them on a baking tray, and broil low (approximately 15-20 minutes) until they are tender and the skin turns a light brown color. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Peel the eggplants with your hands (the skin should come off easily), discard the skin, and roughly chop the eggplant.

3. In a frying pan, heat the garlic on medium heat with a generous amount of olive oil for 1 minute. Add the eggplant, roma tomato, turmeric, paprika and tomato paste, and cook for another 15 minutes. Once all of the flavors are blended, add salt and pepper to taste.

Eggplant Dip

4. Refrigerate and serve cold. If the dip seems a bit dry, add some olive oil and mix well.

Corner Room, London

Corner Room, London

Tucked away in London boutique hotel, Town Hall hotelCorner Room is a great place to go if you're in the mood for a casual, but upscale meal. Corner room is the low key version of Nuno Mende's Michelin-starred restaurant, Viajante.

To keep things moving, there is a no-reservations policy here, and your stay is limited to 90 minutes when it is busy. The menu changes weekly.

My appetizer was the beetroot with butternut squash & stracciatella. I loved the presentation of this dish. The salad was a mix of pickled and fresh beetroot, which provided a nice contrast.

Beet and Butternut Squash Salad
Beetroot with Butternut Squash & Stracciatella

C had the venison in ash with salsify & date. Again, another beautiful presentation. The venison was delicious.

Venison in Ash
Venison in Ash with Salsify & Date

CK had the octopus with smoked potato & hazelnut milk. The octopus had a nice crunch to it, and the overall dish had a nice salty and smokiness flavor.

Octopus with Smoked Potato
Octopus with Smoked Potato & Hazelnut Milk

I originally ordered the duck but they had run out, so my second choice (with much encouragement from C) was the Iberico pork & Portuguese bread pudding. I wasn't brave enough to get my pork rare, and had it cooked medium instead. The bread pudding, paired suprisingly well with the pork. My plate was spotless by the time I was done.

Iberico Pork
Iberico Pork & Porguguese Bread Pudding

CK + H ordered the short ribs with mushroom caramel & pak choi. The short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Beef short Ribs
Short Ribs with Mushroom Caramel & Pak Choi

C had the onglet steak with celeriac & pine.

Onglet steak
Onglet Steak with Celeriac & Pine

After our meal, the four of us split two desserts. The first was the blueberries with goats cheese caramel, brioche & shiso. The shiso and goats cheese were two very strong tastes that somewhat clashed with each other. I didn't love this dessert.

Blueberries, Goat Cheese and Shiso
Blueberries with Goats Cheese Caramel, Brioche & Shiso

The other dessert was the rhubarb with white chocolate & buttermilk sorbet. A nice blend of tastes but nothing that really stood out.

Rhubarb and White Chocolate
Rhubarb with White Chocolate & Buttermilk Sorbet

By the time our coffee was ready, our 90 minutes were up, so they gave us our coffees at no charge and politely shooed us out.

Corner Room
Town Hall Hotel & Apartments
Patriot Square
London, UK
Telephone: 0207 871 0461

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Beigel Bake, London

Beigel Bake

Montreal has smoked meat, New York has pastrami, and London has salt beef. What I recently discovered was the salt beef part, and I'm so glad I did!

While all three are Jewish deli meats made of beef brisket that is cured in brine, each has its own distinct characteristics and flavors. If you are not familiar with the term salt beef, it is pretty much the same thing as corned beef.

After a long night of pub hopping, our friends from London took CK and I to Brick Lane for a hot salt beef beigel sandwich. A bagel you ask? No, I said beigel.

Brick Lane hot salt beef beigel sandwiches are especially popular with the late night crowd. After a long night out, and if you are in the area, the salt beef beigel is what locals turn to for that 2 am hunger fix.

There are 2 main places that serve salt beef beigel sandwiches on Brick Lane: Beigel Bake and Beigel Shop. The two establishments are literally right beside each other, and both are just as popular. Our friends are loyal to Beigel Bake, so that is where we ended up.

As you walk by, you'll see the sandwiches being constructed with the words hot salt beef etched on the window.

Hot Salt Beef

When we arrived, there was a huge line up going out the door. We waited patiently as we moved along the queue. Once you get inside, you can get a peak of the beigels being made.

Fresh Beigels baking

The bakery is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While I focus on the salt beef sandwich, the bakery offers so much more than that. Aside from beigels, you can also get fresh rolls, breads, and pastries. If salt beef isn't your thing, you can have your beigel filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese, chicken, salami, or tuna.

Fresh Beigels

Alas, the wonderful mouth watering hot salt beef beigel sandwich! Along with the salt beef, you can also get thick slices of dill pickle and loads of Colman's hot English mustard stuffed into the sandwich. Each bite cleared our sinuses and made our eyes water. The spiciness combined with the saltiness of the beef, sourness of the pickles, and sweetness of the beigel made each bite more addicting.

Salt Beef Beigel Sandwich

I debated on eating this for breakfast the next day, but CK talked me out of it.

Beigel Bake
159 Brick Lane
London, UK
Telephone: 020 7729 0616

Beigel Bake on Urbanspoon

Schwartz's, Montreal

Schwartz's, Montreal

I can't believe it took me almost 10 years to try a Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich. Shame on me. My husband has been trying to get me to try Schwartz's forever and for some reason, I always rejected his suggestion. I finally tried Schwartz's when we brought a friend to Montreal for the day. I'm totally slapping myself for not having tried it earlier.

Schwartz's is FAN-TAS-TIC! Mouth watering, make-the-hair-on-your-arm-stand-up GOOD! I had no idea and had I known what I know now, I would have eaten here every weekend when I had the chance.

We drove here on a Wed afternoon, around 2pm and we were shocked to see how packed this place was. It was absolutely chaotic, and we were lucky enough to grab 3 seats at the end of a table beside a couple visiting from New York. They chose Montreal as their honeymoon destination and one thing on their must-do list was to go to Schwartz's.

Open since 1928, Schwartz's was founded by Jewish immigrant, Reuben Schwartz. Schwartz's meat is smoked in-house in the most traditional way, with no chemicals or preservatives added.

Schwartz's Deli, Montreal

There are 3 things one must try at Schwartz's.

1. Smoked meat sandwich. You can order it fat, medium, or lean. Medium is probably as lean as you should go. CK had the lean to be healthy and he totally regretted it. Lean was too dry. I prefer the medium, which was a perfect mixture of fatty and lean.

Smoke Meat Sandwich
Medium Smoked Meat Sandwich

2. Fries. I love the fries here because they remind me of chip wagon fries. Fresh, not too crispy, kinda soft, and a beautiful golden brown color.


3. Dill pickle. They are massive and perfectly crunchy.

Dill Pickle
Dill Pickle

3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Telphone: 514-842-4813

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon