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Monday, 16 April 2012

Goodies from Abroad in Two Parts (Part 2)

Yes, there were that many goodies from abroad that I needed two parts (read Part 1).

Dragées are sugar coated almonds that originally were for only special occasions like weddings and christenings. 

Good authentic dragées are hard to find outside of France (and Lebanon). Glad I got some.

French influence on Lebanon is definitely most apparent in the food. 

LU is a sweets Kraft brand that has many nice quality sweets (and available on Amazon). Those are "petit beurre" - simple sweet wheat cookies that can become very addictive.

"Aarameesh" means stuck together like grapes on a branch.

Pistachio "Aarameesh" are fresh pistachios stuck together with melted sugar and sprinkled with sugar.

Crunchy, sweet, delicious, and definitely not diabetic-friendly.

Okay, enough sweets - now on to the savoury.

"Ershaleh" are Lebanese crackers. They are made from bread dough and sprinkled with sesame.

They are bland tasting but great with warm milk (a not so healthy replacement to cereal).

Fresh pine nuts from cones dried up on the ceiling of Lebanese houses. The dry cones open up and the seeds fall off. The seed is cracked open and the nut is taken out, peeled from its thin layer, cleaned and dried up.

The jar on the right is "Sumaq". I am not sure if this comes from the same sumaq trees that we have here. But the process is that the sumaq cones are crushed and this beautifully sour tasting coloured red spice is produce. It is used mildly in Lebanese dishes and heavily in Iranian dishes.

The other jar is "zaatar" - this is made of a special kind of thyme that is dried up and crushed to a powder. It is then mixed with sumaq and sesame seeds. Sounds really easy, I should try producing it this summer with my jardin thyme.

I am going to be writing a full feature on orange blossom water soon. 

But as a teaser, here is what an authentic home-made good quality orange blossom water looks like. 

See how dark the colour is? You don't get that quality in the cheap commercial bottles we find in middle eastern stores here. 

Now this is definitely something I will not try making from scratch despite the few orange blossoms my little lemon plant has this season.

I am not sure those mixed plane food nuts from Middle East Airlines qualify as goodies; but they crossed the ocean in the luggage after all.

And that brings us to the end of goodies from abroad. 

Tune back for more stories from the parents' visit throughout the rest of the month.

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