Monthly Archives: January 2018



Yet another dish fought over and its identity claimed by so many different nationalities! Certainly all the countries of the middle east, no exception. As well as Turkey. And ofcourse Greece.

Personally, I prefer the middle-eastern version. Whatever the filling, it is always lighter & crispier than its Greek cousin. No offense meant to my adopted country!


1pkt filo pastry

2 sticks butter melted

400 grs shelled pistachios

100 grs hazlenuts

place the nuts in a food processor and give them a couple of whirls. Do not grind into a powder, you should still be able to see and identify the nuts!



2 cups sugar

1 cup water

juice of half a lemon



place your sugar and water in a small saucepan

simmer gently

when all the sugar has been disolved

squeeze-in the juice of half a lemon

keep simmering until the mixture starts sticking to the back of the spoon

add one tbsp rose-bud water to give it that middleastern touch (in Arabic it is called “mazahr” as opposed to “maward” which I dislike tremendously!)

set your syrup aside to cool


separate the sheets of pastry in two halves

brush your tray with butter

start laying your pastry sheets brushing with butter between each sheet

when half the sheets have been used, spread your nuts evenly over the whole tray

continue with the other half of your pastry sheets, one at a time, brushing butter between each sheet

finish with another good brush of butter
cut your uncooked baklava tray in diamond shapes

you need to cut deeply, almost all the way through before baking (if you leave your cutting till afterwards you will end up with a crumbled mess! (so sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the unbaked version!)


Bake in a 180centigrade pre-heated oven for approx. 45mns

keep checking on the colour of your baklava as every oven is different

when you’re happy with its colour remove it from the oven and immediately pour on it the cooled syrup

important note:

in order not to end up with a soggy baklava, you need to make sure that one of your two items (baklava or syrup) is hot and the other one cold. If the 2 are hot it will be soggy, and if the 2 are cold the syrup will just sit on top of the baklava without penetrating its layers. I prefer to make the syrup ahead of time and set aside to cool, before placing my Baklava in the oven. This way its ready for pouring as soon as the Baklava is out.


Bon Appetit!




Maklouba (Palestinian):


Its been more than a year since I last posted! Apologies to those of you that have been following and must have given up on me by now! I promise that I’m still faithful to my kitchen and to my cooking, even if sometimes “life” does get in the way. I am now left with a backlog of pictures and recipes cooked throughout the year, and frankly, I’m at a total loss as to which to post and when. So lets just start with the most recent prepared just a few days ago.

The holiday season was quite busy this year. It so happens that a lot of the expats on our island, have decided to stay put this winter, so there was a fury of parties flying back and forth, and an over abundance of super delicious food, and fantastic company.

This past Thursday we had a few friends over, for an overdue and long promised middle-eastern meal.

We started with a spread of various appetizers: hummus, homemade labneh, mehamara (my style), and tabouleh. All with arabic bread ofcourse.

I then served one central dish: Maklouba Palestinian style.

Its basically chicken, eggplant, zucchini, and rice. Each cooked separately, then assembled in layers to be presented in one dish, which gets turned over (upside down) in the last minute. Hence the name Maklouba, which in Arabic means upside down.

A bit of an ambitious choice on my part considering that I’m a one woman kitchen! Also considering that “this” one woman does not have the same energy as in the past, and tends to tire somewhat faster these days. But with some organization it can definitely be undertaken, and believe me it will be worth the effort as this is one dish that is meant to impress!!!

There are many versions of Maklouba out there: Palestinian, Syrian, or Lebanese. Some with lamb, some with ground beef, some with chicken, but all with vegetables and with rice. I happen to like this one.

Oh and I forgot: for dessert I made a Baklava with pistachio nuts, which was a great success. Recipe to follow later today or tomorrow.

Now back to the Maklouba!



2 double chicken breasts (meaning 4 individual breasts cut horizontally into two each, giving a total of 8 relatively medium pieces)

2 chicken legs (w/bones) separate drum sticks from thighs

marinade mix:

½ a tsp of each of the following spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, allspice, clove, paprika, salt, and juice of one lemon


rub all over the chicken pieces, cover, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

1 large onion cut into thin wedges


4 medium eggplants sliced length wise 1cm thick

4 medium zucchini sliced length wise 1cm thick

2 large onions sliced into thickish wedges

2 large tomatoes peeled and sliced 1cm thick


2 cups rice

2 cups boiling water

1 tsps turmeric


mix together in a bowl and set aside till ready to use



Brown the chicken pieces in a bit of olive oil in a large pan till lightly coloured on both sides

remove from pan and set aside

put the onion wedges in the same pan and saute till soft-ish

put the chicken back in the pan and deglaze with some white wine

add water (a little at a time in order to roast and not boil)

cover the pan and simmer till the chicken is tender and there is enough gravy in the pan to use for later

remove the chicken and set aside till ready to use

adjust the gravy: you will need about 2 cups worth, so you may need to add some water to it, probably a soup cube as well, and bring to the boil once

set that aside as well

P.S. Up to this point the chicken can be prepared the day before.



line a couple of oven trays with parchment paper

oil the paper and sprinkle some sea salt on it

place the eggplant slices next to one another (you may need to use both trays to hold all the eggplant)

brush the top of the slices with olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit more sea salt

bake in preheated oven, set on max, with fan on

third shelf and above it

switch trays half way through

check frequently on colour. Should be slightly coloured (not brown!)


repeat above procedure with the zucchini slices (oiling & salting the parchment paper first, then oiling & salting the zucchini slices)

if there is enough room in one of the trays, place the onion wedges as well

repeat as above until slightly coloured (the zucchini will need a lot less time than the eggplant, so remember to check on it frequently


you will need a large heavy bottom pan with a lid


start assembling your ingredients in the following order to build up the layers of your Maklouba


tomato slices

chicken pieces

half the eggplant slices

half the onion

half the zucchini slices

the pre-soaked rice

the remaining eggplant

the remaining onions

the remaining zucchini

pour the gravy from the chicken on top

place a flat dish to keep everything in place


cover the pan and simmer for 40 mns or until rice is cooked

Test rice for done-ness. Remove pan from heat and keep covered (about 20-30mns) till ready to serve.

Now the tricky part: Remove the lid, place a large round serving dish on top of the pan, hold from both sides, and flip over and into the serving dish.