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Wednesday, 30 April 2014


In the middle of a pine trees forest is a mansion serving as a restaurant called L'os.

The owner welcomes you. The service is swift, the food is good and the place is all glass making you feel like you are eating in the forest.

L'os is famous for its Lebanese style garlic bread.

A baguette stuffed with Lebanese garlic dip (basically a garlic olive oil mayo) and cilantro and grilled. It is kind of amazing, if you like garlic that is.

Dinner was grilled meat and grilled Kafta pitas.

The Kafta pitas were packed with meat, a bit oily but nicely grilled.

And tasted very well with lemon juice.

As at many Lebanese restaurants, the meal is wrapped up with a fruit spread.

But this one included Mhalbieh, Lebanese style milk pudding.

High marks for complimentary white and creamy.

Ein Saadeh, Metn

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Perfect Mehshi

My mother may not agree, but this is the perfect Mehshi.

The pot shot is misleading. Look what comes out of this pot once it was turned over in a tray.

So what did I learn about making a perfect Mehshi today?

Lesson 1: Align the rice along the leaf so it rolls to look like a perfect cigarette.

Lesson 2: Make sure each leaf is the same size as the other.

Lesson 3: Lots of lemon - mom says at least one cup of lemon juice.

Lesson 4: Cook it on slow heat. My grandmother used to put it on coals overnight (maybe I should cook it on the fireplace).

Lesson 5: Don't over stuff the zucchini so you don't lose the taste of the zucchini.

Thank you mom for a perfect mehshi!

Monday, 28 April 2014

My Favourite Crops

Akeedinia (loquat) is my favourite fruit ever.

Its season, sometime in early Spring, is very short. So I am glad to have caught the end of season with a tray of Akeedinia waiting for me.

The insides are bright orange, juicy and sweet.

Each piece has three large seeds. Those plant well and grow fast.

(In fact, jardin has two loquat trees growing out of seeds)

On the vegetable side, those tomatoes are the best tomatoes one can eat.

They are called mountain tomatoes and are out everywhere now.

I just love how humongous they are.

While they look green on the outside, they are red, fresh and delicious inside.

They make a perfect breakfast with mini cheese sandwiches.

I am starting a seeding project on those....

Now those are called Jerenk. I have no idea what the English name is. They are hard and sour plumps that people eat them either like a fruit or dip them in salt as a vegetable. As with the Akeedinia, their season is short and I caught it right in time.

But nothing beats dad's fresh fruit salad made with locally grown fruit (and sprinkled with Cointreau).

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Belated Easter Feast

A belated Easter feast was waiting for me in Lebanon.

In Canada, the Easter dinner was a roasted chicken (Read Easter Toy).

In Lebanon, it's a stuffed chicken.

A Lebanese-style stuffed chicken is a major meal production. 

It starts with a big fresh chicken.

The chicken is stuffed with rice, ground beef, pine nuts and spices. It is then sowed shut and put in a pot.

The chicken is simmered in water spiced with peppercorn, cinnamon sticks and a bay leaf until the rice is cooked (that is what you see in the above picture).

Once the chicken is cooked, it is then browned in the stove and ready to serve.

And what's better to enjoy such a delicacy of a meal than with a 2009 EL Ixsir - perfectly matched.

Slow multi-phase cooking process, a  non commercially raised chicken and mom's perfectionist streak  - no wonder this was a yum yum Easter Feast.

Thank you Mom.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Easter Lebanese Style

I must have inherited my passion for Easter Eggs from my mother.

While both my mother and I turned our Easter eggs into animals this year (Read Easter Eggs), hers were way more elegant than mine.

In Lebanon, in addition to Easter Eggs two other items are a must - chocolate eggs and Easter sweets.

The chocolate eggs are alright, but what I look forward to are those Easter sweets.

Those are Palm Sunday cookies. Simple cookies, crunchy and excellent to dip into hot coffee.

Then the dates, crushed walnut and crushed pistachio cookies - all perfumed with rose water, orange blossom water and lots of sugar.

Those are the same date cookies but made by different people, and sprinkled with icing sugar.

Those are my favourites and am sure they will all disappear before I leave this country.

It is so nice to be celebrating Easter twice this year. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Glamourous Dinner

somerville kitchen was honoured to be dine glamourously tonight.

The seafood themed meal kicked off with delicious buttered shrimps.

An elegant seared tuna salad got the party going until the main dish.

Mussels and chorizo cooked in the fanciest tomato wine sauce - perfect for bread dipping and drinking luscious red wine.

The ultimate glamour and class is serving guests cigarettes in hundreds years old silver cigarette holder.

As guests enjoyed smokes and wine and discussed more decadent indulgences, a true decadency dessert was being prepared.

Fresh from their garden rhubarb production served hot with vanilla ice cream.

It looked too beautiful to mess up, but glad I messed it up since the combination was even more beautiful on the taste buds.

Just when I thought the pleasant surprises were over and time to go home, single malt scotch was offered and enjoyed.

It was simply a treat learning about those scotches from an authentic Scott.

An exceptional glamourous dinner and fun filled evening indeed.

Thank you HaJ!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

My Wacky Kitchen Toys

For someone who does not have many toys (somerville kitchen is a microwave free zone), I surprised myself with using four different toys in one day.

The morning started with my coffee grinder. 

But how else can one enjoy a beautiful cup of Kicking Horse Coffee with condensed milk in my favourite cup.

(the only way to have coffee as far as I am concerned).

The next toy was a CrockPot.

My first attempt was not the best (Read Easter Toy). 

But making scouse in a slow cooker for 8 hours is THE way to use a CrockPot.

I have had this bread maker for half a dozen years by now.

When I first got it, I was using it at least weekly and accumulated close to five bread machine cookbooks.

Lately, it was more out of site out of mind. But with all those toys surfacing today, it was a perfect reminder of the bread maker.

Swedish bread was the day's recipe with rye and whole wheat flour, honey and orange rind.

Perfect accompaniment to the scouse. 

The latest toy was initiated today for dessert.

Swirlo! A compact cute machine where you put frozen fruit from one side and it turns them, in seconds, into a delicious ice-cream.

Add anything you want along the way (already attempted mixing fruit with condensed milk and with rice pudding - I cannot wait for more experimentation).

I think this is going to be my favourite toy this summer.