Food From the Levant

Sorry I am writing this a bit late but I am currently swamped with work, research and few extra-curricular activities not running smoothly these days. Whinge over!

As I mentioned in my last post, Michael Hanson chef and owner of The Hearth Pizzeria and Bake House has kindly invited me to help run a charity event in aid of Syria. Michael wanted to serve food that represents the true flavours of The Levant. We wanted it to be a relaxed chilled evening with delicious authentic dishes, lovely wine and beautiful music. 

The menu

To start, we served six mezze dishes with a beautiful freshly baked flat bread:

Green Keshkeh


Baba Ghanouch


Chicken Livers with Pomegranate Molasses

Hummus with Sujuk

Ful Ma'ala (green Fava beans with garlic and coriander)

In addition I was hoping to serve a second hummus dish topped with Ful for vegetarians. However on the day it turned out we had Turkish tinned white beans instead. So, with a bit of improvisation, we ended up cooking the beans then crushing them with salt, cumin, Turkish sun-dried red peppers paste (Muhammara), garlic and lemon juice. It worked a treat!

For main, we served roast leg of lamb with Freekeh and roast vegetables with "Arabic" spin. The latter was cumin, lemon, garlic and chopped parsley. 

For desert, Michael have made beautiful ice creams with true Levantine flavours, pistachios and rose.

The Experience

This was my first experience cooking in a professional setting to 45 paying costumers. I will have to say, I loved every minute of it. Tiring and hot at times but very rewarding. 

The restaurant as I mentioned is pizzeria with a beautiful food fired oven. Although we had a small hob in the preparation area most of the cooking was done in the oven, an unusual method for cooking Freekeh, Ful and chicken livers. It worked well however.