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...
RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

  We’ve reached the final week of the fasting month of Ramadan. And whilst it always feels like it comes and goes so quickly, there are plenty of times when it feels like you’ve been fasting forever. I’m not sure about you, but I always find I get that ‘run down’ feeling at week 3.  I’m sure most mothers of young kids, especially, have thought this when trying to stay on top of work commitments, on top of household chores, kid’s schooling, sports, other extra curricular activities and of course having a wholesome meal ready for iftar! It’s not easy, I know! On these days perspective must come to play. Perspective is everything when fasting. Perspective of what we have and what we don’t. What we choose to do and what we have to do. What we are exposed to and what we are protected from. Perspective reminds us of what we so often take for granted. You know the simple, negligible stuff that we don’t think twice about. Stuff that so many others spend their life praying for – food, clean drinking water, health, shelter, safety. Perspective keeps us in remembrance of the less fortunate. Those who are forced to fast all year round because that’s the world they live in – whether it be due to poverty, war or famine. When we are at our worst we need to remember these people and be grateful for how easy we have it.  This realisation, this gratitude I find is the turning point of the month. The tough job, though, is to keep it in mind beyond the month of fasting. ...
Zataar Chicken

Zataar Chicken

Here’s a super easy and healthy marinade for your baked chicken breast fillets. I’ve been using a zataar & olive oil paste to baste my chicken for a while now and love it. It has a unique aromatic and tangy taste that pairs well with it. This can also be used with other chicken pieces or even a whole chicken too. But the breast piece has always been my favourite and one that I cook with most often. Print Zataar Chicken Yield: 5 - 6 serves Ingredients 3 - 4 breast fillet pieces (approx. 1kg) 1 tablesppon zataar 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, crushed Juice & zest of 1/2 lemon Instructions Preheat oven to 180ºC Combine all ingredients in a bowl to create a paste Prepare and clean breast fillets and place in an oven tray Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked right through. Baste pieces a couples of times through out to keep pieces moist Notes Serve with a salad or roast vegetables 4.14 http://thelebaneseplate.com/zataar-chicken/ Recipe & Images © The Lebanese Plate...
Guest Recipe by Amina Elshafei

Guest Recipe by Amina Elshafei

On this year’s Ramadan Menu Plan we have been trying to feature recipes from a number of talented bloggers and cooks from around the world. I’ve really enjoyed making their recipes for my own family, as well as photographing some of them too. This week we have special guest Amina Elshafei sharing one of her favourite recipes. We first got to know Amina when she appeared on Masterchef in 2012. My kids & I are huge fans of the show and right from the get go we became big fans of hers as she worked her way into the top twelve. I had the pleasure of meeting Amina in person at one of my recent #spreadhummusnothate events and to my satisfaction she was as warm and as charming as I thought she would be! So here is the recipe Amina very generously shared, which she says, “is one I love making at home for the family as it has elements of Egyptian and surrounding Mediterranean vibes.” I loved making this too and I’m sure you will also! Print Amina's Prawn Kofta Tagine Yield: 4 Ingredients For the Prawn Koftas 1kg fresh prawn meat (shelled and deveined) washed and drained of liquid; reserve heads 1½ tbs plain flour ¼ cup parsley leaves ¼ cup of coriander leaves 1 tsp minced garlic 1 small brown onion sliced into quarters 1 tbs olive oil 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp Arabic mixed spices (buharat) 1 tsp sumac ½ tsp chili powder (optional) ¾ tsp salt ½ tsp ground black pepper For the Sauce 2tbs olive oil 1 onion sliced...
RAMADAN – WEEK 2 Where’s the coffee?

RAMADAN – WEEK 2 Where’s the coffee?

Week 1 of Ramadan is pretty much done and dusted! How did you all go? Personally, in the first week, my body struggles a bit and I tend to get headaches. It’s mostly the change in sleep and more than anything the deep caffeine withdrawals. The trick is to keep yourself busy and it’s amazing how quickly the body adjusts. I also find it beneficial to remind myself of the intention behind my fast. The self-discipline, the patience, the remembrance of those who are less fortunate and not allowing it to be a mere act of hunger. Dear Coffee, I need you. ❤️ Me xoxo . . . ( 📸 via @coffeesesh ) A post shared by Lina — Sydney Foodie (@thelebaneseplate) on Jun 1, 2017 at 2:01pm PDT If you have a family with kids, especially tweens or teens who are also fasting, I know things can get a bit frantic. You’re not only managing your own adjustments but sometimes theirs too. I think this is a perfect time to get them to realise how much they take for granted, like their unlimited access to food and water. It would help to also get them to set attainable goals for the month. What bad habits do they want to break (phone usage, tv, internet usage!)? Or what character traits could they work on improving (patience, anger, gratefulness)? I hope you all found the Ramadan Menu Plan WEEK 1 useful. Even if you don’t cook the meals on those same nights, it’s a good reference for inspo when you get stuck for ideas! I’m continuing the series with Hiba Jebeile (Nutrition/Dietetics) and will update the blog...
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