I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t start my day with an unhappy stomach. And to avoid getting my stomach upset with me, I need to feed it cheese, olives, zaatar, and the like. (See photo above for an illustration of what pleases my appetite)
The above photo might seem a lot of work for just yourself or you and your partner, you’re right, so why not host a breakfast for your friends?! We often invite friends over for dinner, for cheese and wine, cake and tea, but rarely for breakfast. Breakfast doesn’t have to be only croissant and coffee or eggs and bacon. If you’re open for new ideas and flavors, try putting together a Lebanese breakfast which will take you less an hour to prepare, and you’ll have the above gallery of deliciousness to be proud of!
So where do you start? I provided below a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need (most of them can be found in any supermarket, not necessarily a Middle Eastern grocery store) and you can prepare everything on the morning of, an hour or so before.
Your shopping list: labneh (strained yogurt), halloumi cheese, kashkaval cheese, feta cheese, zaatar, green olives (preferably Lebanese), haleweh (I prefer the plain kind), ful(fava beans), pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint. For drinks, usually black tea is served with sugar, something like Tetley black tea.
What to do with what you bought:
- Labneh: spread it around in a plate and pour olive oil on top
- Halloumi cheese: grill it until golden or simply slice it and arrange it in a plate
- Kashkaval cheese: slice it and arrange it in a plate
- Feta cheese: crumble it in a plate, add diced tomatoes and then sprinkle around 3 Tbsp of olive oil on top
- Zaatar: put 3 Tbsp of the dried herb mix in a bowl, add 3 Tbsp of olive oil and mix well
- Green olives: drain them and serve them in a bowl
- Haleweh: crumble it in a bowl
- Ful: pour the canned fava beans and their water into a pot, bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. You can mash the beans with the spoon you’re using to stir, as much as a spoon can mash the beans. Before turning off the heat, add diced tomatoes (2 tomatoes), the juice of 1 lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and 1 tsp of cumin. Adjust salt after tasting. Serve warm with a generous drizzle of olive oil on top.
- Tomatoes, cucumbers and mint: slice them in a nice way and present them in a plate.
Tips: Eat with pita bread only, no need for forks and knives. The tea is ideally had with sugar, and make sure to prepare a big pot of tea because your friends will want refills. Be generous with olive oil on the labneh and feta cheese, and try to find a good quality olive oil. (I personally like Maison Orphée.)