by cookbookarabia

Archive for the ‘Middle Eastern kitchen’ Category

London, Ottolenghi & pomegranate

In Israelian kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen on March 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Recently Merijn was in London for delicious. and visited the fantastic Ottolenghi places, the one in Islington, and met Yotam & Sami. It was so great to see their warm and superb Middle Eastern fusion kitchen live. Even nicer was Yotam’s warm enthusiasm. Merijn gave him our books, and we are proud he loves them as much as we loves his/their books. We made plans to cook together here in Amsterdam, as Yotam’s coming to promote his great Plenty book.  And to conclude this post: a festive cocktail (with or without champagne) with pomegranate for prosperity and a free future for the whole Arab world!

Prosperous pomegranate cocktail

Mix pomegranate juice with champaign or sparkling water, make mint sugar from fresh mint, lemon rind and sugar and dip the wet glasses in the mintlemonsugar. Pour in the pomogranate cocktail and add some seeds!


Souk el Tayeb meets Arabia

In Israelian kitchen, Lebanese kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen, Turkish kitchen, Za'atar on December 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Now here’s some pictures of our wonderful dinner at Proef! First let’s start with the menu, by Kamal Mouzawak and us.

Arabia’s Pistachiospread & Pumpkinhummous & cauliflower couscous (see previous post)

Hommos & labne

Tabbouleh – the parsley burghul salad with lots of lemon juice

Fattoush – the fresh salad with mint, parsley romaine lettuce, crispy golden flatbread and pomegranate molasses

Manaiish za’atar – little pizza (manoushe) with za’atar

Salatet el rahebb – Roasted aubergine  with tomato and spring onion

Frikeh with wild herbs – traditional soaked briefly cooked frikeh mixed with rosemary, tym and oregano: our version.

Arabia’s  yufka rolls with garlic yoghurt and hot paprika oil.

Arabia’s pistachio custard

Sfouf b debs – Lebanese cake with carob

Kamal arrived on sunday with Christine, his business partner in Souk el Tayeb and Magyu, who owns our favorite little fish restaurant on the rocks in Batroun on the seaside. A lovely brunch was waiting for them…of course this time with Dutch delicacies and some good friends who went with us to Lebanon, of course including Marije Vogelzang from Proef. We were very happy cause another good friend specially arrived for the occasion of the dinner; Shir from the Tel Aviv farmers market. After an afternoon filled with food, stories and laughter we were ready for the real work the next day.

But…not without starting the day with warm apple pie at one of the oldest café’s in Amsterdam Café Papeneiland. From eleven on it was cooking time at Proef! As we are now used to cooking together, we did so many times in Lebanon, it was a pleasant morning and afternoon, with a nice lunchbreak at The Bakkerswinkel, and everything done in time. Of course Magyu was in charge of the aubergine salad, but she took the advantage of doing the pomegranate dressing for the fattouche, which was basically the pomegranate molasses, some garlic, salt and olive oil mixed together. Lotte was back in the kitchen too, sometimes almost in funny despair cause Kamal was telling her to squeeze the lemons like this, and then Magyu said oh no, you have to do it like this…which was of course the complete other way round. That’s what we call the Lebanese way…your own way.  But we were all proud when everything was looking so fresh and appetizing all set and done on the tables. Waiting for hungry forks. And then the evening came, people sat at the tables, laughing, eating, drinking and enjoying every bite (so they told us all the time). And we were the happiest people on earth, sharing friendship and good food!

Who’s cookin’ for you? We are!

In Dates, Israelian kitchen, Libyan kitchen, Maghreb kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Orangeflowerwater, Palestinian kitchen, Sardinian kitchen, Turkish kitchen on November 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm


It’s such a nice feeling to cook for people that specially came for you. Of course it’s pure joy for us to cook from our new book, all these dishes we love so much. The first monday we were a bit late, due to a presentation at PINC. which was in a city at an hour from Amsterdam. And to make things worse we needed to go past The Lebanese bakery in Almere, because we forgot to get the bread the day before. But there it was: warm and tender…everyone who knows the joy of freshly baked flatbread (when you have to open the plastic bag to get the moist out) knows what we mean. Then our saving angel was there in the person of Marnix, a talented upcoming chef, who was eager to chop lots of herbs and onions for us. Lucky girls we were! Everything was done just in time, and reactions were overly enthousiastic and we were proud as mothers with their babies. The next monday was very relaxed because we didn’t have to go nowhere (well we were missing out on the event of the launch of a big restaurant guide, but ah isn’t life about choices).

So cooking was filling our day, nice and peaceful. All set & done, and the evening went very well with some 32 happy guests. Two dinners yet to come…and we are looking forward to these: the big ones. Coming monday 50 guests and next monday another 50 guests. Which means literally fully booked, no seats left! Next monday 29th will be extra special as our good friends from Lebanon will join us, with Kamal Mouzawak cooking with us Lebanese dishes. Check out the menu later next week.

Next monday’s menu on 22th will have some slight changes:

Pumpkinhummus & Pistachiospread, Labne & Za’atar

Parsleysalad with pomegranate seeds and tahina

Yoghurtsalad with lemon & green peppers

Jaffa’s orange salad with fennel & almonds


Sardinian vegetable couscous with pinenuts from Carloforte

Yufka rolls with garlic yoghurt and hot pepper oil


Bread & Butter pudding with dates and orangeflowerwater

Today’s Ras el Hanout

In Maghreb kitchen, Ras el Hanout, Spices, Syrian kitchen, Za'atar on November 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Oh boy, do we like spices! We just love them.The smell of the souk in Damascus we’ll never forget; the air pregnant with pungent sweet spicy almost musky aromas that make you dream. Once you put your nose in the typical za’atar from Syria it works as an instant time machine: back in the souk in a minute.

It’s because their za’atar is different from most za’atars you’ll find in the Middle East: not only is it a mix of the wild thyme, sumak and sesameseeds they put in a secret mix of cumin and other ‘warm’ spices: this perfume fills the little streets. Another favorite spiceblend is the Moroccan one: Ras el Hanout. You will find this blend in every Moroccan shop, but doing it yourself at home is ever so rewarding. The name says it all: the spiceblend of the shopowner is the translation of Ras el Hanout. So why not take all the freedom we want, in the end this is our shop: so this is how today’s ras el hanout tastes like. Good thing as well as with many things in life: today’s ras el hanout is never the same as tomorrow’s. This time we made a sweet and savory one. The sweet one is full of rose petals, staranise, anise, cinnamon, cardamon, jasmine flowers, fennelseeds. As for quantities, this is just something you need to feel…we are always careful with powerful pungent spices like cardamon or cumin, but it’s just a blend according to your personal private taste, so if you like a certain spice very much, be welcome to add more, just smell and taste with your fingertip if it’s right. The smell is very important. A good starting point is to start with little bits of everything and then add more as you go along. Oh and this time we didn’t have lavender, but that’s very nice to add too. We love to make the chicken stew with this one, and why not use it in spice cookies or even a cake?

The  savoury one we put in cumin (not too much!) grains of paradise, black cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, different kinds of black pepper, pink pepper, pul biber, long pepper and coriander seeds. Great in a lamb stew with fava beans and quinces!

So what do you need? All spices you can find in your larder, a coffee & spice grinder and your nose and tongue!

Our own little restaurant!

In Catalan kitchen, couscous, Israelian kitchen, Maghreb kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen, Sardinian kitchen, Turkish kitchen on November 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm

We are so excited! Every monday starting 8th of november we will be cooking Bismilla Arabia dishes at eating designer Marije Vogelzang’s Proef! restaurant on the Westergasterrein in Amsterdam. Marije came with us to Lebanon for our first book Arabia and we became close friends ever since. It’s so great to finally have to chance to collaborate and cook our dishes in her fantastic little cosy place. Marije is of course designing beautiful drawings like these ones, to introduce our dishes…And there are still some seats left for 15th and 22th of october, and maybe if you’re quick even for the first one this coming monday. Check it out and send a mail to &

Here’s the menu!

Our Mezze: Pistachespread & pumpkinhummus & labne & za’atar with flatbread

Turkish walnutsalad with sour hot green peppers

Our Kisir, bulghursalad with paprikapaste, lots of herbs and pomegranatemolasses

Catalan garden salad with figs & hazelnuts

Fregola with wild herbs

Yufkarolls with lamb meat, garlic yoghurt & pul biber oil

Pistachecustard & sweet couscous with orange rind, almonds and raisins.

Our Christmas cooking!

In Lebanese kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Moroccan kitchen, Turkish kitchen on October 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Last friday we were already hearing Christmas bells. Our own of course: cooking new Arabia food for this years coming Christmas issue of the Dutch delicious. It was in a great studio in Amsterdam, Studio 13, with lots of light, a big kitchen and many people, ‘cause usually there are two parellel shoots. So when photographer Harold Pereira and stylist Maaike Koorman were busy on the right side of the studio, we were cooking on the left side. And as the building is some sort of a loft (it used to be a tobacco factory) everything is open, and so is the kitchen. We found ourselves  surrounded by the people of the ‘other’ shoot going on, all the time. So guess what: we were explaining how to make couscous and doing some sort of workshop while preparing our dishes. We felt soooo sorry we could not let them taste yet, everything still had to be captured by Harold’s camera. We made a delicious yoghurtsoup with saffron & almonds, the by now famous cauliflower couscous, deliciously warm comfort chickens with cumin, cinnamon and apricots, a crunchy salad of raw thinly sliced veggies like carrots, fennel, orange and tangy fresh herbs like mint, dill with crunchy aromatic toasted fennelseeds and a zingy orange dressing. Sidedish was a delicious pilaf of bulghur with walnuts, paprikapaste and mint. To top it off our delicious pistachecustard in a new version with lemon and candied orange and grapefruit on the side. Of course you all have to wait for the Dutch Christmas delicious. issue to read and cook and get your saliva going for these ones. We’ll publish by then the translated recipes in English here. To get you to going some pics of the shoot to reveal a tiny little bit!

Summer couscous!

In Citrus, couscous, Maghreb kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen on September 29, 2010 at 7:41 pm

This summer we were in hot Lebanon again and made up a new recipe. And as always scarcity brings out the best ideas. When we found in the our friend Tamar’s kitchen a cauliflower and the superb Lebanese lemons (they’re like the famous Amalfi lemons or Sicilian lemons from Italy) a new dish was born: a cold summer couscous from finely grated cauliflower, lots of lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, fruity green olive oil and a generous amount of golden fried chopped pinenuts: there you go! The cauliflower is fresh and crunchy, the lemon juice fresh and aromatic, the olive oil gives a fruity taste and you end with the nuttiness of the pinenuts and preferably some fleur de sel or flake salt. At Souk el Tayeb’s Tawlet restaurant in Beirut we prepared it again, and it was an instant success and it remained that way anytime we do it. This coming Friday it will be part of our Middle Eastern Christmas buffet for the Christmas shoot for the Dutch delicious. magazine. Mmm…delicious.!

Greedy again: Pumpkinhummous, Labne with pomegranate seeds & our favorite pistachespread

In Israelian kitchen, Lebanese kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen, Turkish kitchen on September 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Yesterday we made some nice dips from Bismilla Arabia for the Dutch Youth Food Movement 1th anniversary dinner: we roasted the pumpkin in the oven instead of steaming (like we do in the book), which made it more nutty, then pureed the whole batch. We left the skin on, but it turned out to be too coarse, so we pressed it through a sieve: mixed with the tahina, olive oil, salt and some lemon juice, it turned out to be the most delicious. silky pumpkin hummus, just like we know it from both Israël and Palestine. On the side creamy salty labne with lots of pomegranate seeds and some olive oil from Lebanon, and the course Turkish style paste of pistache with parsley, white salty cheese, a little garlic and a green olive oil. Guys we got greedy again ourselves, dipping away with rustic bread. As good as with the usual flatbread!

Creative solution for a man’ouche craving

In Lebanese kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen on September 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm

As we have severe Arabia food addictions, we often seriously crave certain foods. You know, all of sudden we have this vivid memory of a sunny morning in Batroun, Lebanon, having breakfast with our Lebanese friends, with fresh man’ouche from the bakery around the corner: one of these simple almost sleazy places, where there’s not much more than a superhot oven in the corner of the room, and the rest is quite dusty. But out of it come superb crusty golden thin man’ouche with generous amounts of herby za’atar on it mixed with oil (za’atar being the mixture of wild thyme, sesameseeds and sumak). So we find ourselves with mouths full of saliva back here in cold rainy Amsterdam. But we have za’atar at home. And we have a delicious. Napoli pizzabaker around the corner with a very very hot stone woodoven. So we start thinking, one and one is two. As we arrive with our little bag of za’atar, they look at us in typical Italian astonishment (we think our Lebanese baker would look the same if we arrived in his place with some tomato sauce). What do we want? We want this green stuff mixed with oil on a superthin pizza? Yes that’s what we want. Exactly that! Of course they can do that for us. Not even 5 minutes later we are munching away on our own version of man’ouche, not far away from the real truth. Our Italians now understand, and yell at us molto bene. It’s just a shame their oven is not hot at right moment: in the morning!

Bismilla Arabia!

In Maghreb kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Southern European kitchen on September 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

…though as well still in Dutch. For this book we traveled in the south of Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Libya, Algeria, Catalunya in Spain and Sardegna in Italy. Bismilla Arabia is the fruit of our new understanding of the Arab influence on the kitchen, with so many similarities and differences.