Not just a Beef Shawarma

Not just a Beef Shawarma

Imagine the best kebab joint you’ve stumbled across. Large spits rotating in tasty symmetry in front of fiercely hot elements. Salads, vegetables, pickles and sauces lined up waiting patiently for their time to shine. Your stomach is rumbling! What do you choose? Not sure where to look, you cast your eyes at fresh salads and then redirect to the smell of spicy meat. For me, most times my eyes stop at the Shawarma spit. When you think of Lebanese or Middle Eastern dishes one of the first things you may list is shawarma. It’s quite a popular street food amongst the Lebanese and across the Middle East and now you see it making its mark across the globe. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, shawarma is basically marinated meat that you would often see on a rotating spit at Middle Eastern take away food joints. Just before serving, thin slices are shaved off this rotating spit of shawarma meat and piled up into Lebanese bread or a large pita with all of the best toppings — pickles, vegetables or a salad and a tahini sauce. Growing up I don’t remember my mother making shawarma that often, but I guess the shawarma shop that was a 5 minute walk from home may have had something to do with that. And that’s probably the case for most who can get shawarma on tap, so to speak. The other thing is, some may wonder, how can I replicate the taste of shawarma off a spit at home if I don’t have a spit!? Well, you need not worry ’cause...
Not just a Beef Kebab…

Not just a Beef Kebab…

A late Sunday arvo, out in the yard, kids rolling and tumbling, adults at the ready as smoke fills the air and the smell of barbecue billows. The tabouli is all set, hummus, mu’tabal (baba ganoush) and fresh Lebanese bread all waiting to be consumed as a row of skewers sizzle and grill side by side. For my family, most if not all, Sundays are spent out by the barbie cooking up a storm. We love our barbecues! And if there’s one thing Aussies and the Lebanese have in common it’s their love of a good barbecue…for both it’s a rite of passage and just as sacred. Nowadays we are not exactly ‘throwing shrimp on the barbie’ or just lighting up to grill some sausages. I believe the traditional Australian barbecue has come a long way from that. Not that there’s anything wrong with the average ‘sausage sizzle’. I mean who doesn’t love a sausage on a piece of white bread lathered in margarine and a good squeeze of sauce! These days, though, I think you can take a BBQ from average to amazing with an array of marinated meat kebabs and gourmet salads. My BBQ menu always includes a type of meat on skewers (usually beef), a dip (hummus, of course) and a salad. Choosing the right type of meat to BBQ is important. If you’re looking to cook something new, I recommend buying secondary cuts such as flank steaks (a cut from the abdominal muscles or lower chest) or tri-tip (from the bottom sirloin sub-primal cut), both relatively inexpensive too. For me, better quality cuts of meat...
Not just a Beef Stew

Not just a Beef Stew

I bought my first slow-cooker a few years ago. A friend had recommended it, saying I should give it a go. When I heard I could just throw everything in, turn it on and let it bubble away during the day when I was at work, returning home to find a home cooked meal…wow! I thought that would be perfect! I use my slow-cooker most weeks, especially during these cooler months to create winter-warming meals easily any day of the week. So what kind of things can you cook in a slow-cooker you’re probably wondering!? There are so many lesser known cuts of beef that are perfect for slow-cooking and I encourage you to get cooking with these at home. Try something new with a secondary cut! My favourites to throw into the slow-cooker include brisket, topside, silverside, chuck, blade, round and shin (gravy beef). These are all well suited to low and slow cooking methods, creating deliciously tender beef that falls apart in your mouth. Living in Australia we’re very lucky to have access to such a wide variety of high quality beef. However there are so many cuts and cooking methods for each that it can be confusing if you don’t know what to buy. If you’re ever un-sure when you’re at the supermarket, it’s always a good option to head to your butcher and ask them. They’re full of knowledge and will be able to tell you what cut is best for your recipe, how to cook it, along with their own cooking tips and tricks to really impress your family or guests. Beef has always...
Totally Driven by Food

Totally Driven by Food

Have you ever thought perhaps your life may be ‘driven by food’? Seriously, think about it. Be honest! I think mine is! There is the daily what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the snacks in between. Plus the ‘let’s go out to eat’, ‘Where can we eat?’ ‘Where haven’t we eaten?’ And now, of course, my work is based around food – so when I’m not eating it, I’m shooting food, styling food or blogging about food. Yep, I’m so totally ‘driven by food’ haha! If you follow my work both here and on social media, this will come as no surprise. I’m quite open about my growing love affair with food. But for me it’s more than just the need to eat. There’s something really special about this most basic human necessity, one that everyone from all over the world – regardless of race, gender or sex – has in common. I love the concept of ‘breaking bread,’ sharing food and connecting people. I also love exploring people’s culture through food. What fascinates me most is how different people from different parts of the world eat, how they eat and what they eat. Whenever I travel, one of the first things I think about is, you guessed it, food! Now, let me admit from the get go, I’m not known as the bravest of eaters. By this I mean I’m not known for seeking out and trying bizarre foods. It’s unlikely you will ever catch me eating eyeballs, fried tarantula or a century old egg! Bar that, I believe it’s an important part of my travels to...
Spinach and Beef Stew

Spinach and Beef Stew

This is one recipe I get asked about every time I post to my Instagram. As a mum, having leftovers is the best thing EVER… especially when it's one of your favourite dishes 🙌🏼 Yesterday's dinner plus more as leftovers today is this Lebanese Spinach stew that has a coriander & garlic base. Served with rice & a good squeeze of lemon 🍋 #lebanesefood #spinachstew A post shared by Lina — Sydney Foodie (@thelebaneseplate) on Nov 15, 2016 at 10:09pm PST It’s a popular Lebanese stew (also known as ‘yakhni’ یخنی) which is made with beef and spinach, with a coriander and garlic base. I really really love this dish! It’s one of my childhood favourites that my mother made often and probably one of the first real Lebanese dishes I ever started cooking for my own family. I know this dish can be made differently. There are a few different recipes out there. I’ve seen many who use a ground, minced beef but I much prefer to use cubed beef, which is how my mother made it. I buy a cheaper cut and use my pressure cooker to cook the meat in the stock prior to adding the spinach. I have found this not only reduces cooking time, but also leaves meat soft and tender, just the way I like it in a stew. I use baby spinach leaves and leave them whole in my version. You can use regular spinach, of course, by removing stems and cutting down leaves. You’ll also find my version is ‘soup-ier’ but the addition of rice when serving helps to soak up...
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