• Artichoke stuffed

Stuffed artichoke hearts (Artichauds Cerdagne)

This recipe was given to me by my aunt Claire. She married a French man (perhaps her first name predisposed her) and she was ever the dutiful wife, fixing him a meal from scratch every day. This one was amongst his favorites; I was told he used to request it for their dinner parties to serve […]

By |March 14th, 2015|Salty|6 Comments
  • blue grape

Grapes in blue cheese spread

In your opinion, what makes a person a foodie? I think one clue is to have food-related memories. Like the day my friend Connie offered us a plate of these dainty cheesy balls; the delight to discover the crunch, sweetness and juiciness of a fresh grape inside the creamy exterior. Since I never […]

By |January 16th, 2015|Salty|9 Comments
  • dup-plate-shak

Bell peppers stew (Shakshuka)

A perfect Summer dish, this (vegan) stew is a mixture of bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic, all pan-fried in olive oil. It is served at room temperature and eaten with pita bread. It is considered an appetizer (mukkabalate). 

INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

1/2 cup olive oil

3 bell peppers, one of each color or all green […]

By |July 15th, 2014|Salty|17 Comments
  • koossa-mtabal-fg

Zucchini hummus (M’tabbal koossa)

I can imagine a Lebanese or Near-Eastern reader raising an eyebrow at the title of this post. In Lebanon, only chickpea-based dips (mixed with tahini) are called hummus. The reason is simple: Hummus means chickpea and the chickpea dip is actually called hummus m’tabbal, meaning seasoned chickpeas. In the US, hummus (tahini-based chickpea dip) has […]

By |May 14th, 2014|Salty|10 Comments
  • blog-pine-cone-mezze

Pine cone mezze

There are two worlds in Lebanon: The urban world and the rural world. While Beirut residents would go out for sushi or burgers (American-style), rural folks scavenge nature for food and sustenance. Take the pine cones, for instance. I never knew until recently that the green ones were edible. Lebanese farmers in the fields […]

By |April 23rd, 2014|Salty|17 Comments
  • grape-leaves-with-fish

Fish-stuffed grape leaves

It took a bit of convincing to get the lady I was working with to attempt this one; well, I could see her point. This is not done here, first off. My argument was: We’ll just cook fish simply, with veggies and a few spices, but instead of keeping the fillets whole, we’ll cut […]

By |August 18th, 2013|Salty|11 Comments
  • Sarka Babicka

The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy



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 […]

By |July 11th, 2013|Reviews|13 Comments
  • zucchini-flowers

Stuffed zucchini flowers

Even though these flowers are not used here in Lebanon (wonder why), I could not bear dumping them. They are easier to stuff than, say, grape leaves. I dipped them in a quick batter after stuffing them and fried them for a few minutes. 

I discovered that in Turkey, these flowers get stuffed just like […]

By |June 29th, 2013|Salty|17 Comments
  • Cauliflower-fritters-with-bread

Cauliflower fritters


I found this recipe in a cookbook I bought recently while in Kurdistan (Iraq); the cookbook was in Arabic and featured the recipes of a very popular TV cooking chef personality in the Arab world, Mrs Manal el-Alem. It took reading a few recipes until I realized the book had been pirated because none […]

By |April 17th, 2013|Salty|26 Comments
  • kibbeh-ma3-shawarma

Shawarma in kibbeh (Akrass al-kibbeh bel-shawarma)


Kibbeh is ubiquitous here; not only is it Lebanon’s national dish but it would be unthinkable to lay down a mezze table without having a plate of small appetizer-size kibbeh balls. 

The idea to split the kibbeh open and stuff them with sweet things comes from Aleppo (Syria); kibbeh get stuffed with cherries, quince or […]

By |April 2nd, 2013|Salty|10 Comments