Ravioli alla Concetta

Twenty-two hours later, Marta and I arrived to Rome tired and exhausted. Giorgio and Maria Concetta (Marta’s parents) greeted us with cappuccino and a panino of mozzarella e pomodoro, right at the airport. Once in the car; Life started to get exciting immediately the moment I heard the word: “Ravioli”. I realised my teeth have…

Leaving Australia

The day I left Lebanon to Australia was one of the most confusing days of my life. I was pretty much heading to the unknown, and that last moment at the airport was so heart-breaking that I started planning my way back prior embarking my flight: “so Tina; you arrive to Australia, you travel around…

Chickpeace

In my last 34 years, I never understood the issue of the Middle East, I recall growing up hearing about Beirut, the torn-capital of Lebanon; at a very young age, I had no clue what a capital meant to a country. For me, my country was Zahle, and its capital was the church of St…

Eat and Feed

It started with a little urge to make a difference in someone’s life, that turned into an unforgettable dinner of joy where 30 something people gathered for a good cause around a long table blooming with Authentic Italian-Lebanese plates; bringing a Mediterranean touch to the heart of North Sydney Community Centre. To pay for the…

Köfte, Keftedes, kafta

It’s 1pm in Turkey and I just landed in Istanbul. I spent my first expensive 120 Turkish Liras on a private Taxi to Fendekzade. Abdulrahman; a Turkish driver with a perfect Jordanian dialect escorted me to my hotel & suggested to share a seafood platter for dinner; with my perfect Zahle dialect I gently responded…

Eat-in or Take-away

In Zahle, we tend to be multi-skilled. To fix a TV or a Phone, easy! We just bang the machine on the wall and it works again! Trust me, I even got my hairdryer whacked at least twice and I still have hair! Miracle!!! Our notary comes from the Massaad Family and he has exceptional…

Sweet of the East and Sour of the West

It’s 7am in Zahle and I just woke up to the peaceful sound of the church bells. 2 hours later, the serene smell of burning scents is overflowing from my neighbour’s garden; offering daily gratitude and humbly reciting “give us today our daily bread”. Is it Epiphany day? Or Saint Barbara’s day? Maybe the feast…

When you cook with love, you produce love

Regarded as the Godfather of the Italian cuisine, Antonio Carluccio owes it to his mother: “My passion for food came about in order to provide the food that my mother used to prepare, I was just always around her as she was preparing food, and that gave me the confidence to do it myself. You…

A war survival kit

I started reading “Day of Honey” A Memoir of Food, Love, and War Book by Annia Ciezadlo. Married to a Lebanese journalist from New York city; Annia spent some times in Lebanon developing an extensive Lebanese culinary experience from her mother in law; while her husband was covering the war in Iraq. The book triggered…

Tabbouli Syndrome

I’ve seen it all: Tropical tabbouli…Shoot me! Curry tabbouli…Bury me alive! Tabbouli tikka masala…Now seriously kiss my ass! In my first visit to Sydney, my eyes fell on pineapple pieces on top of a dying tabbouli. It seemed more like a forced marriage between the two, where tabbouli decided to commit suicide…well, I would do…

Shakira visits Zahle

As soon as the announcement was made in the media that Shakira is visiting her father’s hometown of Zahle; regardless of “minee hay Shakira?!” (who is this Shakira!?”); an opportunity to celebrate raised between residents whispering “bent Mubarak jeyeh tzourna men amerka” (the Mubarak Daughter is visiting us from America). Colombia you mean? Wlak eh Amerka!…

Apricot Jam

Every morning, “Uncle Fayez” used to drive his white Volkswagen school van and pick up students living in Mar Elias area, including my brother and myself. Considering my width and height back then, I used to sit in the booth of the van and wait with anticipation for Uncle Fayez to finish his rotation; as…