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  • Artisan Cheese,  Cheese,  Food,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Home Grown Heroes

    By now, three quarters of the free world know I have been growing tomatoes on my terrace. No big deal you say? Well, I am not known for my green thumb and also, I LIVE IN THE DESERT! So now, the tomato vines, tended with love during our short and sweet Doha winter, have started to bear fruit. What to do with this bounty? Today a friend passed by for coffee so I whipped up a quick Middle Eastern style bruschetta. I used one of my favorite cheeses, a labneh from Laiterie Jarjoura in Chtoura, Zahlé, Lebanon. It is a famous mountainside stop en route to Baalbeck and the Bekaa…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Sweet Cheeses – When Cheese Meets Dessert

    The French have a phrase – savoire vivre – which basically means living a good life while staying elegant and smart. In my mind, the Lebanese are the embodiment of this. They manage to live a good life, look remarkable at the same time as dealing with the chaos that regularly breaks out around them. Their food is also an illustration of this – elegantly complex. While many words have been written about the wonders of Lebanese mezze and other savory dishes, this country has also given the world some pretty extraordinary desserts. I was given a fabulous surprise by the boys who run Al Balad Qatar on Monday. They…

  • Cheese,  Goat Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Are You Going My Whey?

    I thought I had exhausted the repertoire of Cheeses of the Middle East. That is until I came across Baladi cheese. Baladi is a soft, white cheese originated in the Middle East. It is known Jibneh Khadra or Jibnah Baladi in Arabic. In local language, Baladi means local cheese made from a flock of “baladi” goats. Alternatively, it is also called ‘cheese of the mountains’ because it is made in high mountains all over Lebanon by the local shepherds. Since Baladi is made from unpasteurized mixture of goat, cow and sheep’s milk, it has to be consumed within three days. The cheese appears similar to Akawie, but it has more…

  • Cheese,  Goat Cheese,  Lebanon,  Travel,  White Cheese

    You Goat-a Love This Cheese

    My affection for Lebanon is well documented. And when I needed a little bit of comfort food after a stressful and somewhat strung out week, I called for reinforcements from the Levant. Despite my whinging and revisionist tendencies of former residents, there is quite to love about where I live. The variety of fabulous food just a phone call and Evil Kenieval motorbike trip away. Malaysian, Turkish, Chinese, Mexican, Italian…and of course Lebanese joints are all within shouting distance. This includes the terrific little eatery Al Balad I was actually craving a dish called Eggplant Fatteh – comfort food personified – which is fried strips of eggplant with toasted pita,…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel

    Shanklish for the Memories

    My affection for the Middle East is well know, after all, I have lived here for most of my thirties and now my forties. I have a special affection for Lebanon. Perhaps the only country where, at 11pm, a nice, quiet restaurant will turn into a full blown nightclub. I asked a Lebanese friend about this once. He was blunt. “You know the history of Lebanon. On any given day we could be invaded, attacked or whatever. So why not party?” Words to live by I say. Their food, or food from the Levantine region is some of the most complex and interesting in the world. Drawing from the Middle…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Travel,  Uncategorized,  White Cheese

    Labne…labne my cheese addiction…

    Sitting in my fridge, nestled next to the Mint Slices, are a lovely wedge of Machego and a ceramic pot full of stinky Stilton. I had all intentions of tasting them and blogging about their fabulosity this past week and a bit, but life and a bout of the flu got in the way. They will remain in the fridge for another few days as today I have decided to write about a cheese that changed my idea of what a cheese actually was. And this post is also a tribute to a little country that is close to my heart and again finds itself on the precipice of chaos.…