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Monday, 24 November 2014

Another Soubhieh

Soubhieh is when Lebanese get together to visit over coffee, cigarettes and treats.

The coffee is served in fancy cups.

And a spread of sweets are laid out to enjoy with coffee.

Today's Soubhieh included a French yogurt cake (Click for RECIPE) and a simple wacky chocolate cake (tune back next week for recipe).

But the star of this Soubhieh were those hand made petit fours filled with dates, dark or white chocolate.

Finally, to digest all of this, a serving of sugar covered almonds, wafer chocolates and Aaramish appeared.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How To Make 'Lebanese' Coffee

This is the first thing I see when I wake up in Lebanon.

This is the next thing I see.

And this is how you make Lebanese (or Turkish or Greek or Arabic) coffee.

This is the Lebanese coffee kettle (small one, makes 3 - 4 cups).

Fill it with water for up to three-quarters its size.

Bring to boil.

Take it off the stove.

Add two heaping teaspoons of the finest grind coffee.

If you like it on the sweet side, add half a teaspoon sugar.

Mix well and return to the stove.

The challenge how quickly this boils

So you have to bring it to boil but be prepared to take it off the heat very quickly as soon as it starts to boil.

And immediately stir it to stop the boiling over.

Repeat the bring-to-boil process two to three times.

And Lebanese coffee is ready to serve.

Again, be careful when bringing to boil, it happens fast - the spoon and taking it off the heat is the only way to halt the boiling.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Even more enjoyable with something sweet. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

All The Way From Yemen

These are seeds of the best pomegranates I have ever eaten.

They arrived fresh as a personal gift all the way from Yemen.

Easy to open. Seeds redder and larger in size than other pomegranates I have seen in either Lebanon or Canada.

The seeds are so ripe, juicy and sweet with inside seeds that are tiny and soft making them easily edible. With pomegranate like this, I can easily have one a day and keep the doctor away.


Friday, 21 November 2014

My Favourite Meals - Arnabieh

Those are bitter orange (with some mandarins among them) picked up fresh off trees in the neighbourhood.

Bitter oranges are the base of one of my favourite meals - Arnabieh.

Arnab in Arabic means rabbit. 

Arnabieh, originally, is a stew of rabbit meat cooked in tahineh sauce where the tahineh sauce is made with bitter oranges juice as opposed to lemon juice.

Instead of rabbit meat, some use Kebbeh as the meat base for Arnabieh.

The tahineh sauce is brought to a boil, onions and cooked chick peas added to it.

Kebbeh footballs are first boiled, then added to the boiling tahineh sauce until they are warmed up.

The Kebbeh is then taken out, soaked in tahineh sauce and lunch is ready.

I had 3.5 pieces of Kebbeh with lots of sauce. A real treat and not difficult to make; I should try it (anyone interested, invite yourself).

Thursday, 20 November 2014

How Do You Keep It So Clean??

Q. Mom, how old is your stove?

A. I don't know, more than 10 years. Maybe 11 or 12 years old.

Q. Mom, how do you keep it so clean? It looks like it just came out of the factory.

A. The first rule is you clean it immediately after each time you use it or something drops on it. Otherwise, it will get stuck and you'd never be able to take the dirt off.

(mental note to self - hmmm, how long would it take me to clean the stove as soon as I finish cooking? Not too long when you think of it)

Q. What else do you do to keep it looking so new?

A. When you are using one head to fry or cook something that will splatter everywhere, take everything off the stove and cover the other heads with foil paper. Once you're done, clean the stove and put all back.

(mental note to self - a bit of work, but worth it)

 Q. How about the oven? It's sparkling.

A. You keep a foil sheet at the base - those are all over Canada, so you don't have an excuse. Then, just like the stove top, you clean the inside of the oven after each use.
(mental note to self - even my self clean does not do such a good job; I should try this technique)

Q. Is this toaster oven new?

A. This is as old as the stove; over 10 years old.

Q. And how do you keep it so clean? Let me guess, clean after each use.

A. And cover the tray with foil paper before using.

(mental note to self - I better change my post cooking habits drastically). 

Q. Should I put the laundry away?

A. No, these are just taken off the drying line, I still need to fold them.

(mental note to self - this is a laundry tip that will triple the time spent on laundry - ignore/delete).

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Dad's Tabouleh

While cabbage can kill bad bacteria (Read Dad's Cabbage Salad), parsley absorbs all the dirt from dirty water.

So when local parsley grown by someone you know and watered with rain water only, it is a Tabouleh celebration at my parents.

Dad starts with soaking the bulger wheat. Once they are soft, they become the base of Tabouleh (I always added them at the end).

The parsley is then added to them, along with green mint.

Tomatoes come last, diced into small squares. All the vegetables make the bulger even softer.

Lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

If you eat onions (which dad does not eat), you add chopped onions to it at the end.

Mix well and a delicious Tabouleh is served.

Mom does not eat it, which meant a whole big bowl for my father and I to indulge on; eaten with cabbage leaves.

 But nothing goes better with Tabouleh than a big glass of Arak!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Dad's Cabbage Salad

This is how Lebanese cabbage looks like - thin as a piece of paper; a greenish colour difficult to describe.

In addition to its health benefits, cabbage is supposed to be able to kill any bacteria that attacks it making it a safe vegetable to eat - specially in a country where the water used for watering cabbage fields is not always the cleanest.

The taste of this cabbage is amazing - sweet and silky, makes a perfect salad. The way dad makes a cabbage salad is by first cutting the cabbage into equal 3 x 6 inches pieces and layer them in a pile.

Dad then chops them, from the large side, into very thin long slices.

The dressing is lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Delicious, healthy and addictive.

Thank you dad.