Eggs-perimentation and Allot-of-iteration

It may have appeared quiet on the Middle Eastern front (well, only from the perspective of my blogging, since quiet it never is in the Middle East) but there has been plenty of action in the test kitchen. In a recent break from tradition, I deviated from my tendency to religiously adhere to recipes. That…

For the love of Yog

We have a (friendly) debate going in our household about which is better, Greek or Turkish yoghurt. Greek is, naturally, but let’s humour the arguments for a minute. Greek is delicious in its rich, creamy thickness, divine drizzled with honey and mixed with fresh summer fruits, and equally scrumptious in what is surely the best cucumber…

Smells like the desert

‘What is this? It smells and tastes like the desert’, one of my guests remarked at my marathon Palestinian meal served close to two weeks ago (and whose recipes I still haven’t fully revealed). We all turned to him inquisitively: ‘what does the desert taste like?’ a couple of voices chimed in unison. He went…

On madness, mahshi, and marathons

What a week. Donald Trump continued on his marathon of political insanity, shamelessly and flippantly making statements about solutions to the Palestine-Israel conflict as if choosing between two-state and one-state was the same as choosing what make of car to buy. Infuriating stuff. In somewhat less high-profile news, I too seemed to compete with, if not…

Delirium T-remmen-s

Ah, the mighty pomegranate. Such a beautiful and seductive fruit; its leathery red skin and multitude of succulent ruby seeds bearing age-old myths and evoking ancient longings. According to Joudie Kalla, who I am cooking along with during her three-week Guardian residency, across the Middle East the pomegranate (remmen or rumman, in Arabic) is a…

A new chapter

It’s a new year and I am back in London after my sabbatical walkabout, but still with both the Middle East, and food, on my mind. After Lebanon I went on to Palestine and Israel as an Ecumenical Accompanier, and spent three months providing protection by presence to communities living under occupation in Hebron. The…

One month reflections….

These last couple of weeks I’ve been in the Beirut restaurant kitchen more and enjoying it. Every day a different lady comes in and if language permits, I get to hear a different story, and if I’m lucky, nab a recipe or two. This week I nabbed a recipe for Baklawa bi Halib, (baklava but not…

Beans means…

I apologise for my silence, dear readers, but life has taken over art for the last week and a half. With a long lost London friend and a new found Beirut friend I visited the beautiful world heritage site of Jbeil – or Byblos- where the contemporary alphabet originated.    Remnants of at least five civilisations…

Freekeh Friday

Monuments to the dead I dedicate this part to my Mum since she loves old stuff and death rituals.  Last night I joined a chilling walking tour of Achrafieh, a mostly well-off quarter of Christian East Beirut. Its winding streets are filled with ‘palais’ or mansions belonging to the old riche, including the large domain of…

Too many cooks

My chef shadowing has continued this week, but I am spurred on by Hollywood film-style fantasies. They start something like this: It is opening night. One of the chef’s car breaks down on the way to work, and she will not be able to make it in time. Panic ensues…they will not be able to…

On originality

I have definitely grown a food baby since I’ve been here. This week, my daily food intake has been the equivalent of a tapas meal for 10, including portions of fattoush, tabbouleh, houmous, moutabbal (an aubergine tahini dip that I’m pretty sure is sold to us ignorant Europeans as baba ghanoush a lot of the…

Portion Control

So far I have been doing more eating than cooking around here. I’ve eaten my way through aubergines and chickpeas nearly all around the country, from the Cedars forest in Bcharre,   east to the Bekaa Valley, down to the evergreen Chouf and back to Beirut again. All of this courtesy of my ‘internship’. Delicious as…