Ethiopian Recipes from Erin

It was my pleasure to host and to prepare this meal for you… albeit … spending a day in the life of Yetemengu was eye-opening… (not really… since I had the benefit of all the modern conveniences)… OMG… what a life!


Here are the links to the various dishes:
First I made the Berbere spice:
and the Niter Kibbeh:
used in the following dishes…
Mesir Wat – Spiced Red Lentils:
I used this recipe for the Ayib -Ethiopian Cheese:
Doro Wat -Ethiopian Spiced Chicken: recipe suggests adding hard boiled eggs, but I decided to not include since I had seen Doro Wat also prepared without them)
Gomen – Collard Greens:
And for dessert: Ethiopian Coffee-Infused Coffee Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream:
I didn’t have Yirgacheffe coffee on hand but believe you can get it at Ten Thousand Villages. I like the French Roast from there for my morning latte, so used that. Beware: there is a mistake in the baking time … it take about 45-50 minutes (not 20 minutes) in a Bundt pan. The recipe serves about double the number suggested (5-7 for a large Bundt cake seems like humungous servings!)
I had planned to make Injera but ran out of time… and instead served fried Parathafrom the frozen food section.

However, this looks reasonably straight forward to make…  I thought the other Doro Wat recipe looked better using the traditional spices and clarified butter:
For the Injera Recipe:

  • In a large bowl, mix both flours, salt and baking soda together. Whisk in the club soda until smooth. Then add the vinegar and whisk. 
  • In a large skillet over medium heat. Pour oil on a paper towel and wipe the skillet with the oiled paper towel.
  • Using a scoop, pour batter into the skillet creating a 6-inch circle. Carefully swirl the pan around to thin out the batter until it measures 8- to 9-inches across.
  • Cook for 1 minute, then using a large spatula, flip the Injera over and cook another minute. Remove from the skillet and stack on a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. The Injera will seem slightly crisp in the pan, but will soften immediately when placed on the plate.
  • Once finished cooking the Injera. Cut the circles in half with a pizza cutter, roll into tubes and stack. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve the Doro Wat and Injera together, tearing piece of Injera and using it to pick up the Doro Wat.

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‘A Wife’s Tale’ by Aida Edemariam at Erin’s

Wonderful evening at Erin’s – the consensus was that it was a challenging read and the evening was highlighted by a delicious (and time consuming) authentic Ethiopian meal prepared by Erin.

We also agreed, that as so often happens, we enjoyed the book more after the discussion.

From Karen:

Thanks Erin for putting a great deal of effort in recreating the unique and delicious Ethiopian cuisine mentioned in A Wife’s Tale.  It was well worth the trouble and was a hit with the group as evidenced by all the second helpings.  By the way, should anyone be curious, it seems we have a good Ethiopian restaurant in Hamilton (  After trying last night’s meal, I am keen to give the restaurant a visit.  Please provide the links to your recipes on our blog.

I found “A Wife’s Tale” a difficult read and would have preferred to have the glossary expanded and moved (along with the timeline) to the front of the book.  That said, Yetemegnu’s life was inspiring.  Imagine a little girl, married at 8, unable to read, living a cloistered life with a husband who was 22 years older and forced to cope mostly alone, with Ethiopia’s turbulent political upheavals.  And yet she lived to see her grandchildren become educated professionals residing in different countries throughout the world!

From Bev: Karen raised some good points but may I add that reading a woman’s story set in another time and culture makes me thankful for the rights and freedoms I have in Canada. It also reminds me that women are always vulnerable and in times of adversity need to draw on their inner strengths to survive and in this case provide a better life for their children.

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Laura’s Recipes – Lee Bailey’s Lamb and Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie (and Greek Chicken Sheet Pan)

Lee Bailey’s Lemon Lamb with Yogurt

3 pounds boneless lamb, cut from leg

1/2 cup ouzo

1 cup beef stock

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

6-inch sprig rosemary, leaves stripped off, or 1 tablespoon dried

2 medium bay leaves, broken into several pieces

2 dozen fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups beef broth

3 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped lemon zest

Generous dash cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 cup plain yogurt

Cooked rice

Lemon zest strips for garnish, optional

Mint sprigs for garnish, optional

1.       Cut lamb into 2-inch cubes. Carefully trim off all gristle, fat and connective tissue. You should wind up with about 2 1/2 pounds of trimmed lamb. Set aside.

2.       Combine ouzo, beef stock, garlic, onion, rosemary, bay leaves, mint, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in large glass or ceramic bowl and whisk together. Add lamb, tossing lightly and pressing down gently so that it is completely covered with liquid. Cover tightly and marinate overnight in refrigerator.

3.       Remove lamb from marinade and pat dry. Discard marinade, then sprinkle lamb with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

4.       In large, heavy skillet, heat oil and butter together over high heat. When very hot, quickly brown meat on all sides, placing it in large pot as it is finished. When all meat is browned, add chopped onions and sauté over medium high heat, until tender and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and mix.

5.       Continue to cook, moving mixture around with spatula, until flour turns golden, another 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into pot with lamb. Deglaze skillet with beef broth and add to pot. Bring to simmer and add lemon zest, cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until lamb is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in paprika and yogurt and serve over bed of rice. Garnish with lemon zest strips and mint sprigs. Makes 6 servings.

Greek Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner

Cook Time 30 minutes

Servings 4


• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 4 garlic cloves, chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon pepper

• 2 teaspoons paprika

• 2 teaspoons oregano, dried or 1 tablespoon fresh

• 4 Chicken breasts, boneless

• 2 red peppers, sliced keep slices thick

• 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

• 8-10 whole garlic cloves

• 1 pound baby mixed color potatoes quartered red or yellow will work as well

• 1/4 cup crumbled Feta

• 1/4 cup kalamata olives

• 2 whole lemons cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine all marinade ingredients in small bowl.
3. Place sliced veggies on large sheet pan.
4. Place Chicken in and around the vegetables.
5. Pour marinade all over veggies and rub onto the chicken.
6. Arrange mixture evenly, and nestle sliced lemons around sheet pan.
7. Place in oven and roast for 30-35 minute or until veggies are slightly brown and chicken reaches 165 degrees.
8. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and kalamata olives.

Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie

Serves 8 generously


• 10 oz. Graham Cracker crumbs

• 1/2 Cup butter

• 6 egg yolks

• Zest of 6 limes, or 1 bag of key limes

• 1 Cup lime juice

• 2 tins condensed milk

• Container of whipping cream

• Zest of one additional lime


1 Preheat your oven to 160C. Melt the butter in the small saucepan and set aside to cool.

2 Stir graham cracker crumbs into the cooled butter. The mixture should clump back together – once it does, press it into aspringform pan dish, pushing it firmly into the corners and up the sides.

3 Place the crust in the oven for ten minutes until browned, then remove and allow it to cool.

4 While the crust is baking, beat the egg yolks until light and foamy. Beat in the condensed milk, and then the lime juice and zest. The acidity of the lime will react with the condensed milk, causing it to thicken and set without the need for baking. If you’re worried about eating raw egg yolks, do put it in the oven for ten minutes.

5 Pour filling into the cooled pie crust and transfer it to the freezer.

6 Leave the pie in the freezer for at least 6 hours (or overnight). Once you’re ready to serve it, remove from the freezer and slip the pie out of the springform. Leave it to sit for five minutes to defrost.

7 Beat the cream to soft peaks. Spoon the cream over the pie and zest a lime over the top. Serve in large slices.

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“I Feel Bad about my Neck” by Nora Ephron at Laura’s

Reading Nora Ephron’s “I feel Bad about my Neck” was the perfect summer read – I read it sitting on my porch on a lovely summer afternoon – laughing out loud, shaking my head and thinking about how lucky I was to be in that exact spot at that exact time.

Like Nora, Laura was a thoughtful host and prepared a wonderful meal using Nora’s recipes and we were all encouraged to wear a scarf and come prepared to play one of Nora’s “parlour” games:

“We have a game we play when we’re waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was [in my twenties], I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced, funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy.”

From Karen:

A wonderful evening Laura – a definite highlight of my summer.  The meal was DELICIOUS and offering us a glass of good French champagne was such a treat.  Champagne is synonymous with celebration. And anytime we get together is cause for celebration!  (I wish my retirement budget allowed me to bring a bottle to every one of our gatherings).  Thanks also for giving us a well-researched and interesting lecture on Nora’s life.  I think the only thing missing from last night was Nora herself.  She would have enjoyed our conversation and would have fit right in.

From Jill:

Many thanks Laura, a truly enjoyable evening of great conversation, game fun, and a delicious meal! Recipes please! I love champagne!
As I lay awake last night, ( it seems to occur more as one ages..I hesitate to say in our old age:), and mulling over our conversations of how our lives unfolded and how we dealt with our circumstances, the word inspired came to me. When I think back over the years, I realize how many people have inspired me, helped me to think, to become and be a better person.
The other word is motherhood. As a woman, it was the greatest miracle and brought me such joy to bring a little human being into the world.
Thank you again Laura for choosing this book, and to Nora Ephron for writing it, and to give us much food for thought that enables us to give voice to our own vulnerability, awareness and destiny.

From Moira:

wonderful evening spent in the company of wonderful women- who could ask for more?! Many thanks Laura, for choosing the book and giving us such insight into Nora the person, wife, mother, screenwriter …. extraordinaire. Loved BOTH  the meals, and the scrumpdilyicious key lime pie. Please put up the recipes- I might actually attempt one of them, haha. 

PS I love the picture of Josee – reading her list 🙂

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Mid Summer Lunch

Eight members of our group were able to get together for an impromptu lunch at Paradiso Restaurant in Downtown Burlington for a lunch – Great opportunity to catch up on everyone’s adventures and garden successes. See everyone at Laura’s in August.

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Jeanne’s Bobotie and Yellow Rice

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‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah at Jeanne’s

A foggy night up on the escarpment – A very evocative  setting at Jeanne’s discussing Trevor Noah’s funny and tragic story of his life growing up in South Africa.  Everyone enjoyed the book and seeing his remarkable mother and grandmother interviews.

Thank you Jeanne for the authentic and delicious South African food including bobotie and the extra bonus of going home with heirloom tomato plants.

From Jill: Jeanne, many thanks. A true authentic African Bobotie  dish…and all the other delicious dishes! 
I so admire how Trevor Noah overcame all odds with his background, to become the interesting, caring  and humorous person he is today. 
A great utube showing of his ‘chat’ with his grandmother, what a strong and self possessed woman. She, and those of her generation are to be admired. I enjoyed our interesting discussion. 
Thank you also for the tomato plant. I’m looking forward to sweet tomatoes!

From Bev: A wonderful evening Jeanne. Great food, thoughtful preparation for discussing the book, and as always good conversation. 

From Erin: Agreed!  A delicious evening all round! I loved the opportunity to meet Trevor Noah’s mother and grandmother… true forces to be reckoned with!  And… I look forward to the tomatoes from your seedlings Jeanne.

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles at Moira’s May 2019

Thank you Moira! I so enjoyed the absorbing information you shared about the background of Russian history and how it coincided with A Gentleman In Moscow. A truly fascinating story. 
Just out of interest, I was just googling the website and found the Book Food Club, and the recipe for the delicious Latvian stew. 
Wouldn’t it be cool if the Book Club Cookbook would offer recipes for all our chosen books:)
I also read that Kenneth Branagh is set to star and produce a tv adaption of A Gentleman in Moscow. That should be well worth watching. 
I’m so glad you had extra borscht over as I’m going to really enjoy it for my lunch! 
It’s always so special to get together with you all. Jill

Thanks Moira for taking the time to present us with a sample meal from the Hotel Metropol. It was a delicious dinner that will be a highlight on our book club blog.  I will definitely try to make both the soup and the stew next fall.  Yummy comfort food.A Gentleman in Moscow was a charming story and one I wouldn’t have expected given it takes place in a very turbulent time in Russia’s history.   It is quite the contrast to The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes which we read last year at Bev’s. By the way, I found this video tour of the Hotel Metropol on YouTube.  You might be interested to see the grand hotel now that it has been restored.  Karen

The author talks about his choice for the Latvian Stew

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2019-2020 Book List

Host Date Book (*Chosen) Author
Jeanne 6/5/2019 *Born a Crime Trevor Noah
    Count of Monte Cristo Alexander Dumas
    The Fear Index Robert Harris
Laura 8/28/2019 Excellent Women Barbara Pim
    Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons
    *I Feel Bad about my Neck Nora Nephron
Erin 11/7/2019 When Breathe becomes Air Paul Kalanithi
    *The Wife’s Tale Aida Edemariam
Jane 12/5/2019 First Person Richard Flanagan
    *Naive.Super Eland Loe
Bev 1/9/2020 *Instructions for a Heatwave Maggie O’Farrell
    Great Small Things Jodie Picoult
    The Wife Meg Wolitzer
Moira 2/20/2020 *Washington Black Esi Edugyan
Ann 4/9/2020 Beautiful Scars Tom Wilson
    *Son of a Trickster Eden Robinson
Jill 5/14/2020 *Home for Unwanted Girls Joanna Goodman
    The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
 Karen 6/17/2020  Country Dark Chris Offutt 
Boy Swallows Universe  Trent Dalton
     *Hold Still  Sally Mann
Josee TBD TBD  

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Becoming by Michelle Obama at Erin’s March 2019

It was a great evening. Michelle is to me the epitome of grace, intelligence and fortitude. Truly a model for all women. Several years ago I watched a documentary-movie called Southside which tells the story of her early years until she meets Barack. Nice watch and available from the library. Bev

From Karen: This is the excerpt I was referring to last night when Michelle spoke of leaving the White House.  I found this in an interview with Oprah Winfrey:

“But one of the show’s most memorable moments happened while the former First Lady opened up about how she prepared to exit the White House in early 2017. Specifically, she told Oprah that she burst into tears after leaving Washington, D.C. following President Donald Trump’s Inauguration. “When I got on the plane, I sobbed for 30 minutes,” Mrs. Obama said, according to the Associated Press. “I think it was just the release of eight years trying to do everything perfectly.” “I said to Barack, ‘That was so hard, what we just did. That was so hard.’”

From Laura, re above passage: Some written passages are so powerful. This one calls up perfectly the pressure cooker they must have existed in, and in one moment helps us to be in her shoes – the absolute care taken over 8 years to ensure they left an indelible impression on all of America, that black culture is still rooted in the values of honesty, dignity, integrity, and respect for family, ancestors, and community leaders – so missing in the current zeitgeist. It must have been hard!

Thanks Erin, it was a lovely evening, lovely dinner and great discussion!!

Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. Michelle Obama

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. Michelle Obama

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