I love Lebanese food and tasted manouche for the first time in Covent Garden the other day with my Lebanese friend Ralph at The Lebanese Bakery which is worth a visit if you want proper fresh Lebanese flatbreads. Manoushe is freshly baked flat bread with Za’atar on it and it’s a delicious combination of Middle Eastern flavours with thyme. The bakery put hummus and parsley, rocket and pine nuts on top, but you can have it as is or dipped into baba ganoush with salad. It tastes amazing with any mezze.
These slightly sweet falafels are soft and moist. They are perfect with humus, pita bread and salad, but I also like them warm with Apple sauce which I first had as a starter at the restaurant Caravan in Exmouth market and still remember it as a surprisingly brilliant combo. You can double or triple the amounts from the recipe and bake them in batches if you want to make more. My friends who I’ve tested this recipe on said that they’re the best falafels they’ve ever had!
This trad Lebanese cauliflower salad, which Ralph made recently, is so delicious that I had to get the recipe from him and put it on the blog. It’s got the great combo of flavours from the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds popping in your mouth, to the tangy sesame nutty dressing. It’s crunchy and creamy and totally dairy free and vegan. You will also love it if you love roasted cauliflower. If only all healthy eating was this divine.
This is my version of mujaddara which is a delicious spicy dish of lentils, rice and caramelised onions with parsley which dates all the way back to a recipe book written in 1226 from Iraq. It is served in restaurants from Egypt to Isreal and is delicious served with a salad, chopped cucumbers and with plain yogurt or labneh. It is served at room temperature so it’s perfect for preparing in advance for a dinner or picnic. You can serve it with a green salad and or with meat or fish. It’s a staple round mine.
Serves 4-6 depending on what you serve it with.
2 x 250g bags of cooked brown basmati rice (supermarket)
1 x 400g tin or carton of green or brown lentils
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
¼ -½ teaspoon of chilli powder
2 minced garlic cloves
2-3 finely sliced large red onions
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 lemons zested and cut into wedges for squeezing
big bunch of roughly chopped parsley
Salt to taste
This really delicious Lebanese salad is made with toasted pitas and a mix of salad vegetables and herbs and has the most delicious fragrant sweet dressing. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and sour and crunchy and soft combined. You can add radishes, carrots, olives, peppers, shredded red cabbage, feta or what ever you fancy, it’s perfect for using up vegetables in the fridge. It’s a sort of Middle Eastern version of panzanella and its really gorgeous. You can serve it as a starter, or with meat or fish and it’s perfect picnic food and pretty healthy too. I like it as a healthy lunch made with wholemeal pitas and a side order of humus and more pita bread. Over to Ralph…
Ralph here……It tasted amazing! Took me right back to my mum’s Lebanese kitchen.
2 teaspoons of sumac, soaked in 2 teaspoons of warm water for 10 minutes
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 clove of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of wine vinegar
1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A couple of pita breads, lightly coated in olive oil and roasted in the oven till crispy then broken into smallish pieces
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a cucumber, skinned and diced
Half a red onion finely sliced
1 little Gem or baby romaine lettuce, shredded
A sprig of finely chopped parsley
A sprig of finely chopped mint
This bruschetta is Italian meets Lebanese (like us). A traditional tomato bruschetta perked up with a Lebanese garlic paste called Toum. This is a fantastic starter or snack for garlic fans.
4 thick slices of sourdough bread
2 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup of light olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
Micro leeks or cress for decoration (optional)