Mountain area Jbeil
Salma helping a fisherman along the corniche
Most cities by the sea posses a certain kind of beauty. Beirut is one of those cities. Like a beautiful woman who is aware of her looks and awaits for no adoration, there is blue wherever you look; a clear sky that is adorned with the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea.
It was a brief trip we took- luckily there was enough time to visit a mountain area an hour outside Beirut called Jbeil. The latter was really the high light of our trip. Jbeil had an exciting street life with bars scattered around and little churches placed in various areas.
What was striking about the food we had in Lebanon was how fresh the fruits and vegetables were. Unglamorous pool side dishes like fatoush salad and grilled shishtaouk were excellent. We tried a fusion restaurant called Casablanca– I had a shiitake spring roll dipped with minted soya sauce with grilled Asparagus. Last day in Beirut my daughter, dad and myslef decided to venture into down town- riding in a taxi in Beirut is fun- sometimes taxi drivers can be moody and rude- but the guy that we rode with was witty and we laughed a lot at his jokes- of course he completely ignored our request to not light up a cigarette in the car because we had a child with us. All in all it was a happy and short trip and i have to say it felt safe to be there- even though it was empty of tourists.
I love cooking and posting simple recipes that are so quick to cook and yet savoury and wholesome. Foul Medames aka Ful is an Egyptian vegetarian dish made of fava beans and is the epitome of wholesomeness. The most common way to cook these beans is to find the canned variety. I find that the Ma Ling chinese canned Foul to be great in taste and texture. After rinsing, just boil in half a cup of water on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. What makes this dish special is all the stuff that you will add inside and on top of it once it is cooked. I usually boil it with one crushed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and once I feel the beans are soft, I remove off the heat add salt, crushed black peppers and mush half the beans with a fork. I pour in one cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and mix it all up. I start layering the cut up vegetables on top: chopped onions, baby ripe tomatoes, parsley, green peppers and green thai chillies (heat from the cooked beans soften the vegetables ever so slightly yet remaining raw and crunchy. I did not write up a specific measurement as you really should add what suits your taste. When I make this I usually use two canned beans and therefore one crushed garlic per can and half teaspoon cumin per can. So the whole lemon is for two cans. Again what brings out the flavour of the beans is the lemon, olive oil and fresh vegetables you add. It is usually dipped and eaten with pitta bread, using your hands! Bon Appetit.
Everything comes out of something right? We get inspired by people, some of us even copy each other (you know who you are). Basically it is rare for someone to simply invent something out of nothing..So Sally in My Custard Pie has inspired me to get back to souping few times a week! She took part in a London Foodie blogger #Jump15. Basically they follow this healthy plan of having soup for lunch everyday. With this inspired healthy foodie plan, one is meant to get into juicing fruits and veggies in the morning, soup for lunch and dinner is what ever you have cooked. I guess it is a way of thinking about what you are eating and increasing greens and fruits. I lasted on it for five minutes. It just didn’t work for me I have to say. I was very hungry way too early in the morning just after my juice and right after my lunch of soup. So I think it suits people whose blood sugar level are stable and have the discipline to wait for supper to have a proper meal. So even though it didn’t fully work for me I loved that I got to make soup few times a week and think of all the things one can do with fruits and vegetables. Method Boil the corn cobs after washing, in salted water for 30/40 minutes. I used that water for the soup later. Fry the onions, cubed red peppers, cubed celery stalks, celery leaves for 10 minutes in one table spoon half olive oil half grape seed oil. Once everything has softened and cooked scrape the kernels off the cobs and fry with the rest of the vegetables for another 10 minutes , until all cooked and tender. This is when I like to add some seasoning like salt/pepper, half a vegetable cube and add boiled water. Let it all boil for a good 40 minutes ad let it sit and cool down before you liquidate it into soup. I garnished the whole thing with diced red peppers, toasted corn and Plain large doritos and parsley.
- 3 large corns on the cob, scarped
- 1 litre salted water
- 1/2 organic vegetable cube
- half a large pepper
- 1 small onion
- 2 tall peeled cubed celery stalks
- 1.5 table spoon olive oil/grape seed oil