The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy

 

Sarka Babicka

I discovered Bethany’s blog a few years ago and was impressed by the stylish designs and gorgeous photography. This Spring, I even met Beth in person with her team who tagged along; we had lunch in Beirut at one of these Ottoman-era houses converted into a funky coffee shop and talked about her recent Taste of Lebanon food tour which had enthralled David Lebovitz ( I got to find out what Lebanese food specifically the man had fallen for)

Beth’s newly released cookbook is just as stylish as I expected; the photographs and styling are just beautiful. Beth displays a judicious choice of  recipes from Persia, Morocco and Lebanon accented with her creative touch. For instance, the famous Syrian kebabs with cherries becomes venison and cherries sitting atop mini-kadaifi nests. This was the first recipe I was dying to try in my kitchen. I loved her version of the okra and lamb shanks homestyle classic; Beth turned it into an oxtail stew, redolent of ginger and cardamom sitting atop couscous. Quinces are stuffed with veal and wheat berries and served with a garlicky yogurt sauce. I was also drawn to a chickpea flour quiche studded with tomatoes and lamb. 

All in all, this is a cookbook to savor and to plan parties for; the photography is a visual delight courtesy of food photographer Sarka Babicka. Beth’s recipes are an imaginative and tasty play on classics. If you love her blog, you will love her cookbook. 

Here is the recipe I tried (I have adapted it a bit, by omitting the pomegranate molasses in the sauce and the Star anise). 

Venison and sour cherry nests

3 oz salted butter

3 1/2 oz kadaifi dough (shredded phyllo)

9 oz minced venison (or lamb or beef)

6 Tbsp kirsch

9 oz Morello cherries in syrup, drained

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

salt, pepper

Spices: 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 4 garlic cloves, 1 star anise, cracked; pinch of allspice and seven-spice

 1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Melt 2 oz of butter in a frying pan, set aside and mix with the strands of kadaifi as thoroughly as possible. Divide into 2 mini-muffin pans and bake for 10 minutes till golden.

2. Mix the meat and spices and shape into mini-meatballs. Brown them in the remaining butter and set aside.Pour the kirsch into the pan, boil for a minute, add the cherries and walnuts and boil till syrupy. Transfer the crisp kadaifi nests on a platter, place a meatball in each and spoon a tiny bit of sauce on top. Serve. 

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12 Comments

  1. Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful book I hope to own someday and a heavenly treat!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    David has a mention of her cookbook on his blog today, too! Sounds wonderful.

  3. Nidal
    Posted July 12, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Bonjour Joumana,
    J’ai trouvé ces commentaires de David Lebovitz sur le Liban.
    C’est assez récent (29-04-2013).
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2013/04/lebanon/

  4. Posted July 12, 2013 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    So pretty!

  5. Posted July 12, 2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Wow this sound really interesting, sure I can track down these ingredients. Have a good weekend. Diane

  6. Posted July 12, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Dearest Joumana, thank you again for taking part in the book launch and for writing such wonderful things about the book. I’m honoured that you took part and that you have liked the book. See you on my return to Lebanon in August. Love, Bethanyx

  7. Posted July 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    These are gorgeous.
    I don’t eat venison, but would love to make these beef.
    Wow.

  8. Posted July 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Tasted these exquisite nests at the Jewelled Cookbook launch – everyone, including me, was swooning over them. Your picture is fantastic.

  9. Joumana
    Posted July 13, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    @Sally-My Custard P: This image is from the photographer for the book, Miss Babicka.

    @Beth: Definitely! let’s meet in the Chouf Mountains!

  10. Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Funny, I just saw the same picture on David Lebovits’ blog a few minutes ago!

  11. Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful presentation! This sounds like a cookbook very worth having. How wonderful that you got to meet her.

  12. axel
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Delicious food recipe provided by Dhabba http://bit.ly/15Qw38G

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