Istanbul Culinary Diaries

Sometimes we go to places that bring us memories we didn’t know we had; places that teach us more about who we are and what we are meant to do. Travel could not have a more important purpose. My most recent culinary journey was to Turkey, where I was taken away by the energy of…

Basbousa Bil Joz – Semolina Pastry Stuffed with Walnuts

In Lebanon, there is a rich semolina pastry known as ma’moul mad (a fragrant semolina cookie bar filled with nuts, date paste, or clotted cream.) In other parts of the Levant, a similar concept is called basbousa bil joz (semolina cake stuffed with walnuts.) In Gaza, for example, kunafa ghazawiya or kunafa arabiya is the…

Banana and Dulce de Leche Cake

This dulce de leche and banana cake is an upgraded version of the traditional flavors of banana bread. Dulce de leche, which translates to “milk candy,” is the Latin version of caramel, only milder, creamier, and nuttier. It is bound to make anything paired with it utterly irresistible. So, you can probably imagine a proper…

Turkish Poached Eggs with Labneh | Cilbir

One of my favorite ways to start the day is with this ancient dish of rich and creamy labneh topped with poached eggs, melted chili butter, and sumac. The flavors and technique of this breakfast are reminiscent of my childhood. Labneh or yogurt infused with garlic and paired with runny eggs and Levantine spices –…

Lazy Cake Orange and Pistachio Truffles

Lazy cake orange and pistachio truffles. Fragrant, sweet, citrusy, and decadent, these truffles could not be any more characteristic of the winter season. They are also made up of basic cupboard ingredients, to fulfill your chocolate cravings whenever you fancy. INGREDIENTS/ MAKES ABOUT 24 TRUFFLES 7 oz./ 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk 1 tablespoon unsalted…

Eggless Dark Chocolate Mousse with Date Cream

Fulfill your holiday chocolate cravings with this deliciously simple dark chocolate mousse infused with vanilla bean and espresso and topped with a date caramel cream. It is light in texture, rich, and indulgent. And for those that like extra decadence, this mousse can be easily thickened by adding chocolate and using less cream and sweetened…

Spiced Pumpkin and Almond Cake

If you’ve been watching this space for some time, you may remember this pumpkin, almond, and olive oil cake that I developed a couple of years ago. It was one of my first blog posts and now is one of the most popular recipes on my site. I revisit it several times every fall. To…

Brownie Cheesecake

  After a few months of being away, I bring to you a brownie cheesecake intensified with espresso and finished with a rich dark chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts. This recipe is a continuation of my flourless olive oil and dark chocolate torte recipe from the archives. The addition of a smooth cheesecake layer is…

M’tabbak – Sweet Cheese Pastries

If you have been to Jerusalem’s old city, you may be familiar with m’tabbak, puffed pastries stuffed with sweet cheese and drenched in syrup. The traditional dough used for this recipe is often thinly rolled, filled with an unsalted goat’s cheese, folded into an envelope, brushed with butter, and baked in a hot oven. My…

Lemon, Turmeric, and Semolina Loaf Cake

The inspiration for this lemon, turmeric, and semolina cake comes from the traditional Lebanese ‘sfouf’ cake. The treat, which is traditionally made for holidays or special events in Lebanon, consists of a dense and eggless cake made with semolina flour, turmeric, aniseeds, and pine nuts. Intrigued by the combination of turmeric and semolina, I decided…