Syrian Cuisine: Qatayef




It’s always exciting learning about new foods and trying new recipes, especially so when the recipe hails from another part of the world. And if the recipe happens to be a scrumptious dessert, so much the better! How about a small, hand-held yeast pancake, folded over and filled with creamed cheese and nuts, then fried until crunchy on the outside, and then served with a sweet and delicately scented orange blossom syrup. How does that sound? Continue »

Labneh and Greek Yogurt



photo courtesy of Melissa Bays

photo courtesy of Melissa Bays

Greek yogurt has been all the rage for a while now, with more and more people choosing the thick, creamy yogurt to the more traditional plain or Balkan style. Greek yogurt is basically plain yogurt that has been strained of much of its whey, resulting in a thicker product that is slightly lower in lactose as some of it is in the whey that is strained. But you can make your own Greek yogurt at home quite easily; all you have to do is let it strain in your fridge for a day or even two; the longer it sits and strains, the thicker it gets. Continue »

Syrian Cuisine: Tahini


Roasted Beet and Tahini Dip

Roasted Beet and Tahini Dip



In our most recent series we are having a look at the cuisine from the Middle East, specifically Syria. And one of the first things we notice is that there a few ingredients that pop up quite often, so we should get to know them, how to access them or prepare them and have them handy. Za’atar, preserved lemons, and sesame oil feature prominently in the culinary traditions of Syria, and today we are examining another must-have ingredient; tahini. Continue »

Syrian Cuisine: Preserved Lemon




One of the most indispensible ingredients in Middle-Eastern cuisine is preserved lemon, a must-have for so many dishes like tajines, hummus, stews, salads, couscous, grilled lamb and chicken, the list goes on and on. So many dishes from Syria and the Levant are improved, enriched and brightened up with this fantastic condiment that once you get used to cooking with them, you’ll want to chop up a little preserved lemon in almost everything you make.
This means you’ll want to have a jar of preserved lemon handy, and lucky for us all, making and keeping preserved lemons is ridiculously quick and easy. Caveat: you have to wait a month before using them, so why not make a batch today and enjoy them in early June and for the rest of the summer! Continue »

Syrian Coffee



It’s always interesting to see how a food item, or culinary ingredient is manifested in different cultures around the world. Something like a dumpling, for example may appear bobbing on the top of a pot of chicken stew in the maritime provinces of Canada, but in other cultures dumplings take on various and exquisite forms- shaped by centuries of tinkering and tweaking, and traditions based on the history of one’s country.

Coffee is another example of how a universal foodstuff is enjoyed differently from culture to culture. In Canada the most prevalent way of drinking coffee is probably a drip type deal, using a contraption that boils water and lets it drip through the grounds, either once, or several times, as in the case of percolator coffee. Sad to say but the typical Canadian best coffee maker at Great Coffee Brewers experience can be summed up by one word uttered twice; double double. What do I like best about the Melitta Thermal Coffee Brewer? It’s not the generous carafe that never goes cold, or the automatic shut off that keeps me from burning the house down; it’s the placement of the controls! Most coffee makers have the buttons and at the bottom, near the base of the pot, but Melitta had another idea. There’s nothing worse than an overflowed coffee, unless you considered overflowed coffee on your coffee makers controls! Or how about going to push a button and hitting the hot pot instead? Now that is a thing of the past! With the controls at the top of the coffee maker the result is far less unforced scalds to the fingers! Continue »