How To Put Together A Lebanese Breakfast

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.)

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Life Would be Dreary Without an Addiction

Mine is called Downton Abbey.

It started a few weeks ago when I was belatedly drawn to Downton Abbey. Yes, I only just started watching it a couple of weeks ago after I had heard several addicted friends talk about it like it is the new age opium. Being the mature person I am, “I reserved my judgement” and decided to give it a look.

That was late October. Now, I am a full-fledged addict; I worry about Lady Mary’s future more than her mother Cora does, I proudly quote Carson, I swoon over Lord Grantham, and I am an avid admirer of the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s wit and sarcasm.

Every night now, between 10 and 11 pm, the ritual is as follows: a hot cup of tea (preferably STASH Ginger Peach Green Tea) and an episode of Downton Abbey.

(Ah, how I love Montreal!)

And why not throw in a few of my favorite DA quotes?

“Life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.”

“I hope you know that really smart people sleep in separate rooms.”

“I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.”

“Are you afraid someone will think you’re American if you speak openly?”

“But nobody learns anything from a governess, apart from French and how to courtesy.”

”War has a way of distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don’t.”

“I’d rather have the right man, than the right wedding.”

“I’m an American, I don’t share your English hatred of comfort.”

Confetti’s Blueberry Cheesecake on Yummly!

I am ashamed to say this, but I only found out last week that, in the summer, Confetti’s Blueberry Cheesecake recipe was shared on Yummly.com! Is this an exciting discovery or what?!

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the rather popular recipe that I tried around a year and a half ago, which goes like this:

BAKED BLUEBERRYCHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

For the crust:

– 2 and 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, finely crushed
– 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the filling:

– 900 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
– 1/3 cup lemon juice
– 1 and 1/2 cup caster sugar (or just give the granulated sugar a quick buzz in a food processor)
– 1 Tbsp cornflour
– 1 and 1/3 cup double cream or whipping cream or creme fraiche
– 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup of white chocolate, melted
– 1 cup blueberries, dusted with a little flour

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter and press gently onto the base of a spring-form pan.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together except the blueberries. You might have to beat the mixture with an electric beater for a minute.

To prepare, pour half the cheese mixture over the biscuits then throw in the blueberries scattered on top. Then, pour in the other half of the cheese mixture. Smooth the surface. Place in the oven for one hour and 15 minutes. Then, let it cool on your kitchen surface, and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Confetti’s New Coat

In celebration of the change of seasons, I have decided to give Confetti a new look.

I chose the color dark orange for the new theme of Confetti; I thought I should pick a color that speaks more of the current season and somehow reflects better the identity Confetti. Nothing else has changed.

I hope you guys like the new look that I have given Confetti and continue to read it and spread it.

autum in montreal

Forest Bathing

Fall is here and  nature is shedding its old coat in preparation for the winter. We started feeling the effect of the shorter days, the longer nights and the colder temperatures. We feel like  being outdoors but can’t really get ourselves to stay out long due to the cold and lack of enough sunshine. Soon enough, our energy levels drop and we start feeling rather ‘down’, if I may use this term loosely. What can we do to alleviate the melancholy and get those feel-good hormones rushing?

The Japanese called it “shinrin-yoku”, which translates to forest bathing: a simple walk in the forest (and breathing the air) when the forest takes on a whole new air, rich and wet, smelling of fallen leaves. The Japanese regard this as a very important form of aroma therapy: a simple walk in the woods lowers blood pressure and reduces levels of stress.

Next time you find yourself feeling rather ‘under the weather’, plan for a walk in the woods at the weekend. Surprisingly, it is more effective to walk in the woods in fall than it is in summer! Get moving and inhaling!

Fresh Berries Fruit Salad With Rose Water

I don’t know what I like more about this salad, the colors or the taste!

Rose water (and rose oil) has been used since the times of the Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians. It is now used in cooking and in preparing desserts. I adore rose water, especially in the famous Lebanese dessert Layali Loubnan. It has such a light yet apparent flavor, perfect for fresh desserts and milk-based puddings.

In this recipe, I joined the volatile strawberries with the delicate rose water to create a fresh and thirst-quenching dessert.

Fresh Berries Fruit Salad With Rose Water

– 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
– 1 cup fresh blueberries
– 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
– 1/4 cup cold water
– 1 Tbsp rose water
– 1 Tbsp sugar
– 1/2 tsp orange  blossom

Wash the berries and put them in a bowl.

In another small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the liquid ingredients.

Pour the sweet water over the fresh berries. Refrigerate for an hour. Best served cold.

Try it and let me know what you think!