Monday, September 29, 2014

The Godfather night at Cavalli Caffe

   One of the things I can enjoy a lot is the imitation game or pretending to be someone else and play the game. You can imagine with how much excitement I wait all year round for a Halloween party or “eid el berbara”, a Christian celebration where you get to dress up in costumes as well—I think it’s also part of my “capricieuse” personality, shifting moods. Good for me Halloween is coming, but, I have somehow lessened this excitement with last week’s themed dinner at Cavalli Caffe.
   Even though I have never watched The Godfather series—a shame really—I always knew it was about mafia and guns so I got excited. I Googled the movie theme to look for some outfit ideas… but almost all I could find was pictures of scarily powerful and cigar smoking men. I had only found one or two pictures of women with The Gatsby-like uniforms. My mom dug in her closet to find a long beaded flower “sautoir” necklace. As for me, I have managed to gather a few other accessorizes I already had—but which I actually never wear—and contented myself with another treasure find in my mom’s closet, a slim cut black dress with a deep cleavage embellished with a series of sequined roses. A costume just perfect for the night!
   The décor in the restaurant was accordingly set with the theme; on the tables, there was for every guest a cigar, a red rose, a plastic gun and a Borsalino hat following Mario Puzo‘s famous trilogy style. The guests comprised mainly the online community of Beirut including the most dynamic bloggers. The occasion of this special themed dinner was the launching of Cavalli Caffe’s new menu we had the pleasure to enjoy first: a fine selection of Italian cuisine from the restaurant’s signature salad, zebra ravioli, and savory eggplant parmigiana to the famous gnocchi with gorgonzola & truffle oil. Not to mention the desserts!—there was a tiramisu with dates, a tarte tatin (French apple pie), and the best of all, Pain Perdu with delicious caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
   Enjoying ourselves too much and not wanting to leave right after dessert, we spent the rest of the night dancing to the sound of Tarentelle Sicilian music with a glass of Sangria wine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Practical Tuna Wrap Sandwich

   There are some very valid reasons why this recipe is one of my favorites. First, it is very easy to make. Also, its ingredients are always available at home (tuna cans and sweet corn cans and, most often than not, cucumbers and lettuce). And finally, it is a better alternative to junk food and deli when your fridge is quasi empty. If you don’t happen to find the pita bread (that of Fajitas) easily at the grocery store near your house, you can use a bun if you like or just cut down on the Carbs and make it a salad. If you choose the salad option, you should note a change in the seasoning as well—1/2 cup of lemon juice and 2 tbsp of Mayonnaise, yes a low-cal version!

For 3 wraps you will need, 


3 pita bread (tortilla flour bread)
300g of tuna in water
2 cucumbers
100g of sweet corn
6 leaves of leaf lettuce (laitue frisée in French)
¼ cup of fresh Thyme leaves to sprinkle over the ingredients before wrapping
OR 1 tsp of dried thyme to add to the seasoning


The juice of ½ a Lemon
½ cup of Mayonnaise
½ tsp of Pepper
½ tsp of Salt


1- Wash all the vegetables. Slice the lettuce thinly. Cut the cucumbers into small cubes.
Wash the sweet corn and drain them.

2- Mix the lemon juice along with the mayonnaise, the dried thyme (if you don’t have fresh leaves), the pepper and the salt. Spread the seasoning all over the pita bread while keeping the edges clean.

3- Lay the frilly lettuce, then the cucumbers, the tuna, and the sweet corn in form of a line, on top of one another, and towards one side of the pita bread.

Sprinkle the fresh thyme leaves on top if you have some.

Roll the bread like a wrap, cut in half and serve.


Follow the steps on YouTube!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

15th of September in Igloo, Faraya

If anything, blogging is all about posting your content timely. So there I failed miserably, there was potentially one post left from midweek August. But I’ll add it now since the outfit can still be relevant! It was actually on the 15th of August, just the middle of August, and after a night of partying with my friends on the ski slopes; I had lunch with my parents in Igloo, Mzaar. Around this time of summer, they welcome people with an impressive buffet, comprised of Mediterranean food and Lebanese, of course! It is just too bad though that you would have to wait until next year to eat there if you haven’t already this summer!
They served many salads and Lebanese mezza (starters), Beef and chicken platters, and for dessert, fruits and different delicious recipes of tarts catered by Cat & Mouth. (My favorite one is the Halewa and Pistachio tart, you can watch my version of the recipe here)

I was wearing a red waxed leather pants from the collection of Isabel Marant x H&M, white crop top from Topshop, Vintage leopard fringed bag, and my then shiny new black converse.
There was a looot of traffic on my way back home since everyone was leaving the mountains, last day of exhibition. I took a chance to visit Harissa’s church (I changed my shirt with no doubt) for the occasion of the feast of the Assumption of Mary. After that, home sweet home.

North view of Jounieh Bay captured from Mary's statue tower in Harissa
South view of Jounieh Bay captured from Mary's statue tower in Harissa

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Smoked Salmon and Mango Sushi Cake (SushiCake #2)


Hey guys! This is an upgrade on the recipe I already blogged over here.
Sushi cake… some people just don’t get it—don’t get how awesome sushi cakes are! :)))
It’s just another way of preparing Maki, but instead of rolling them, it is just flat!—and you get much more salmon and mango in every bite!
   Who cares anyway, my friends came over last night to finally taste my chef-d’oeuvre that I have been teasing them with on Instagram for a couple of months!—and they were not deceived **pheww**, I was still able to exceed their high expectations gladly! 

Update on the ingredient list: (Items that have changed from the first recipe are in bold)
800g of smoked salmon, (I didn’t find fresh salmon on a Sunday afternoon*. However, smoked salmon is a safer plan than fresh salmon because you are able to conserve the sushi cake for longer than 2 days—even though I bet it will be long gone the minute you serve it!)
2 mangoes, preferable ripe (The avocadoes I found on a Sunday afternoon* were not ripe enough to eat, but honestly I preferred the juicy mangoes!)
4 cucumbers to slice thinly

For the salmon seasoning: (new seasoning for 800g of smoked salmon)
8 tbsp of Mayonnaise (Heinz)
4 tbsp of wasabi sauce
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
4 tbsp of sweet soy sauce
4 tbsp of Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tbsp of lemon juice, homemade (At home we always keep a small jar of freshly squeezed lemon juice for salads seasoning; it is very effective for when you’re in a hurry and you want to prepare a meal quickly)

For the rice:
250 g Chinese rounded rice
6 tbsp of rice vinegar
3 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of salt
4tbsp at least of Roasted black sesame + more for garnishment of the dish
4tbsp of white sesame 

Cookware and Cutlery:

Pie mould of 26cm diameter

Preparation tips:

Follow the instructions of the recipe here with the below amendments:

1-    If you don’t have time to wait for the rice to swell in the water 1hour. Keep in water for 20 minutes or until the water becomes clear when rinsing. But instead, you will need 300g of rice instead of 250g approximately.
2-    Cut the mangoes in 3 parts, cut one centimeter from the middle of the mango on both sides to avoid the mango pit. Then slice flesh in length and width so as to form a grid, (“quadrillage” in French). 
     Turn the mango inside out and cut off the chunks with the help of a knife. If the chunks are too big for the sushi cake, cut again in half. 
     The layer of mangoes comes after the second layer of rice. 
     (Helpful reminder while mentioning the rice: to flatten the rice easily onto the surface, wet your hand with water)

3-    This time, I cut all the salmon in long and thick pieces like for the beef Stroganoff. Mix all the salmon with the seasoning and it is ready to be part of the sushi cake!

*About the Sunday afternoon thing: You should never "nevaaarr" go grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon! Yes it’s a mistake because most of the fish or fresh stuff is sold by lunch time, worse on a Sunday! Despite that, I should have also gone to the supermarket the day before—to plan for the avocados inconvenience perhaps! Or just be good on time and not cook under stress!

This time I was able to slice the cucumbers with a knife, but it needs a lot of attention and precision. Lay the cucumbers on the wooden chopping block to be more in control of the knife movement. I had always wondered whether I could chop the cucumbers into small cubes, but quickly, I dismissed this idea because I didn't want cucumbers to be all over the plate when cutting parts of the sushi cake.