Monthly Archives: July 2019

Rice Pudding (Rozz bel-laban)


This recipe is courtesy of my good friend Lina.

It is plain-old rice pudding ofcourse, common to almost every culture that we know, but this one has got the unmistaken middle eastern touch to it: “mastic” flavour! It is unbelievably delicious, and tastes almost like ice cream, you’ve got to try it.

Some of you will ofcourse ask what on earth is “mastic”??? It is shown in the close-up picture here.


Translation? The dictionary says: an aromatic resin or gum extracted from a tree grown in the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern region.

I have no clue where you would find it in “your” country, a middle Eastern grocer I would guess. I have no problem finding it in Greece, as it is also common to Greek deserts (especially ice cream!). They also have a “Mastikha” liqueur from the island of Chios; yummy served on ice.

Back to our rice pudding that my husband has been asking me to make, for many days now!!



3/4 cup rice

8 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp mastic grounded w/1 tbsp sugar (place both in coffee grinder and blitz till powder form)

1/2 cup chopped pistachios to garnish


soak rice in 2 cups hot water for 1 hour, then boil for 10mns

add milk and stir almostconstantly for 3/4 hour

(you really need to pay attention to this one, don’t go sit down with a book, or get involved with another dish, milk boiling over, or worse still blackened milk stuck at the bottom of a pan, is not pretty I assure you!)

add sugar, stir, keep for 5 more minutes

add mastic mixture and stir to combine

take off fire and let cool a bit

divide in small glass bowls


cover with cling film (very close to the surface to prevent milk for forming a skin)


refrigerate when cooled

sprinkle chopped pistachios on top before serving




Cheese pie (w/sundried tomatoes & olives):


Sometimes I get bored with the same-old same-old, and depending on my mood and what I can find in my fridge, I try to come up with something different.

Today I’m cooking for my nephew Zeyad and his girl friend visiting for a couple of weeks.

I’m making oriental chicken cubes (already posted), rice w/vermicelli & pine nuts (already posted), a greek salad, and a cheese pie. At least some form of a cheese pie.

Sundried tomatoes have been on my mind for a while; yesterday I finally remembered to get some. I also got some really big and plump Kalamata olives. So… that’s what I’ll put in my pie today.



250 grs crumbled feta

100 grs grated emmental (to cut the sharpness of the feta a bit)

85 grs sundried tomatoes chopped small

85 grs black olives sliced

1 pkt filo pastry (450grs)

1 stick butter melted


divide your filo into 2 equal parts: ½ for the bottom and ½ for the top

brush your pan with butter (as well as the sides)

then start layering your filo on it one at a time, brushing with butter in between each sheet

Note: Your sheets are never going be the exact same size as your pan which is fine. Because you want them to overlap on the sides so that later you can fold them over, in order to keep the filling in and prevent it from oozing out the sides of the pan. As I lay each sheet of pastry into the pan, I try to have it fit nicely into 2 sides of the pan and the remaining I drape over the other 2 sides, making sure I covered all 4 sides as I go along. I don’t know how to explain it in words better than that, so you’ll just have to look at the pictures to understand what I mean.

when you’ve used your first half, spread the crumbled feta, the emmmental, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the olives over the whole surface

now start covering with the 2ndhalf of the filo, one at a time, brushing with butter between each layer and ending with brushed butter on top as well

cut your filo into squares before baking. Use a sharp knife and go with an up & down motion (cutting all the way to the bottom). Make sure you hold lightly with the fingers of your other hand to ensure that the sheets remain in place while cutting

bake in a 180centigrade pre heated oven till the pastry puffs up and is golden brown on top (about 30mns)