mulukhiyeh dip copy

I wonder how many of you will be partying tomorrow night. I for one will be having a quiet evening with my lovely friends in their house by the sea, snapping the sun as it sets and going to bed long before midnight. But for those of you who are in a party mood, here is a very unusual Saudi dip made with mulukhiyah (the leaves of the Corchorus species that are commonly known as jew’s mallow) for you to share with your family and/or friends. It takes longer to prepare than a simple dip like hommus or baba ghannuge but it is also a lot more complex and it is a special night after all, at least for some. Hope you enjoy it and wishing you all a prosperous and healthy 2013!

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qley3at-roumiyeh-view 2 copyI can’t remember when my mother moved to Balluneh. I wasn’t happy because I loved our huge appartment in Beirut in a 1920’s building but it had been squatted during the civil war and even though my mother had gotten rid of the squatters (who were neighbours), she no longer felt safe there. So, she bought in Balluneh, away from the chaos of Beirut and close to her brother. I didn’t like the place at first but I do now, for all kinds of reasons including Qal’at el-Rumiyeh in neighbouring Qley’at where they rear their own lambs to serve the best nayeh ever — the only better nayeh is up north in places like Ehden where they make it with goat meat. They also have the most amazing view as you can see from the picture above. And whenever I visit, my mother knows that lunch at Rumiyeh is the first thing I want to do. It was no different this time except that we were joined by my sister and her husband, a rare couple who are still mad about each other nearly 40 years, 3 children and 2 grandchildren later!

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hommus khawali-finished & plated copy

Today world leaders have finally called on the lion to step down. Let’s hope he does, and without delay although I am not holding my breath. Anyhow, it is a significant development and to celebrate I decided to give you a recipe from my favourite restaurant in Damascus, Khawali, for one of the best hommus ever. The Syrians don’t put garlic in hommus and if they do, they also add chopped parsley and call it hommus Beiruti. At Khawali they have the regular version and their own hommus Khawali to which they add pepper paste and pomegranate syrup.

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