Happy New Year! This is my first post for the year and it’s a very special one. It’s been a longtime dream to write an article about Lebanon and 2010 saw me realize that dream. Accompanied by Roderick Field, we flew to Lebanon where we spent five days gorging ourselves. In fact, on one of the days, we managed to visit 6 different restaurants, and it wasn’t just tastings that took place. Part of Lebanon’s great charm is the abundant hospitality of its people. In other words, they don’t take no for an answer when it comes to feeding their guests, because let’s face it, a guest could just be shy and of course, the host must insist several times in an effort to dissolve the guests shyness. And that’s exactly what happened with each restaurant we visited. They wanted us to try nearly everything on the menu and after 5 days we were pretty much bursting at the seams. The Gourmet Traveller feature on Beirut is in Food & Travel Magazine February/March issue, which is out now in all major bookstores, worldwide. Hope you will grab a copy and have a read 🙂
One of the places I highlighted in the feature was Furn Al-Sabaya or the Bakery of the Ladies. This is the only bakery in Lebanon that still makes mouwaraka; bread dough that is rolled out thinly, lathered with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, almonds, walnuts and orange blossom water and then rolled into a spiral shape and baked till golden and crusty. The Lebanese version of cinnamon rolls, if you like. I was able to track down the recipe but with a couple of secret ingredients that could not be revealed. However, I made it at home and it worked like a charm.
I’d like to take this opportunity to inform you of my Taste Lebanon tours- 7 day culinary journeys that I lead throughout the year. The next one is scheduled from April 28th- May 6 2011. There is one more seat available, however, we can make arrangements to include one more couple. For more information and to register for the tour follow this link.
A warm welcome!
- 120g white flour
- 3g salt
- 3g of fast-rising yeast
- About 6 tablespoons of water- more or less
- 60g fresh almonds, crushed
- 60g fresh walnuts, crushed
- 60g white sugar
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 5g butter
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, yeast and adding half the water and then more as you need it. knead till the dough is elastic.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 3 hours at room temperature.
- Spread the dough with a rolling pin, very finely (3mm thick).
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
- Cut the dough into 3 pieces and shape a circle of 25 cm in diameter.
- In a bowl, blend the almonds and walnuts.
- In a bowl, combine almonds, walnuts, sugar, rose water and orange blossom water.
- Coat the dough with butter.
- Spread the mixture. Leave 2 cm from the edge without mixture.
- Piece a hole in the middle. Roll the dough from the inside to the outside.
- With a brush, coat it with oil or butter.
- Bake for 10 minutes.