I didn’t cook much when I lived in Paris, preferring to go out to restaurants or friends but I loved going to the market. Like in Beirut where I grew up, most of the produce was seasonal and it all looked gorgeous. Sadly, there are few places in London where I love to shop in the same way: La Fromagerie, Pimlico Road farmers’ market and Leila’s Shop which fortunately is closer to home and where I bought this gorgeous radicchio the other day for my lunch. I am not sure why I don’t go back to my old habits of shopping daily, walking over there every morning to buy my lunch. I think I will make it my new resolution for this spring if it ever arrives. Shame I don’t also have a butcher and fishmonger nearby. Or just a farmers market!
Very soon I will be going to California for WOF which theme this year is Arc of Flavors. I am looking forward to the conference of course but I also can’t wait to see my newly-engaged nephew and his fiancee and my niece and all my friends including lovely Amy, who as some of you may know, helped me cook my birthday party. I love cooking with Amy. Not only is she a marvellous chef (at Chez Panisse) but she is also a fabulous partner in the kitchen with the sweetest character and no ego in play; and she is very silent as she works — I am totally paranoid about noise. And to make things even better, Amy loves my Lebanese food as much as I love hers. So, when we saw the fresh borlotti beans at la Fromagerie, I told her about my mother’s fassulia (beans in arabic) bil-lahmeh (meat), and how she used to prepare it with pork skin in a tomato sauce. As luck would have it, I had received that morning wonderful pork belly from Packington Free Range farm. So, we decided to buy the beans to cook with the pork.