November 17, 2014

The Book of Tea (Book Review)


"The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks , a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some farway hill " -The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura.

It is hard to write a review for a book that took more than 6 months to read. Take note it is not a long book but rather each word is almost a page on its own. This explains the length of time it took me to read.
Maybe I am a slow reader, but the book holds sophistication within its simplicity.
Some parts, I had to research them and check about a historical, or cultural story so I can feel more connected with the writer. I think the writer has such a strength in his words and stories that you can feel the flow of knowledge transferring to you without him using the technique of reprimanding. Without the Dos and Don'ts....
Philosophical book in all of the word's terms, away from the religious part.
The book dates back to 1906. Even though it was written in a old time, the writer criticises his time of being disregarding some ancient rituals.
It talks about the culture of tea, "The Teasim".

November 13, 2014

A Restaurant of Naturality

 NATURALITÉ : When a  haute cuisine restaurant, ethically resources the ingredients of each plate delicately and naturally.

NATURALITÉ from Simon Pénochet on Vimeo.


Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the Plaza Athénée has just re-opened. The Chef tells a more personal and radical story, following a path he initiated twenty-five years ago. He introduces a cuisine of naturality, that revolves around three key elements: fish, vegetables and cereals. A healthier,  organic, more sustainable and environmentally-conscious approach.

Watch this soothing video of how the plates were created and the people behind them!
While in Lebanon, people are arguing which restaurant is safe or not.
In the other part of the world, some great minds are going back to the basics of cooking, the natural, the organic, and the fair trade...
Natural is what we need these days. Not the extreme of cleanliness, and not the extreme of contamination.
Hoping we can learn and get inspired from Chef Alain Ducasse and people like him.

November 1, 2014

Souk Al Ard: Earth Market in Hamra Street


Fresh Organic Produce from the Farms, every Tuesday in Hamra
During my years studying in AUB and living in Bliss street, I discovered Souk Al Ard in Main street of Hamra. It was my escape from the street buzz,  amid the hectic studies and long working hours.
It was my pleasure to meet the local farmers, see their hand made products, and get from their fresh green treasures!! Street Lebanese Heritage food at its best!

Every time I travel back to Beirut, I make sure to visit this farmer's market. It is a blessful experience to smell the saj, and see all these fresh and organic vegetables, and the pickled jars , marmalade...etc
Lebanese heritage food at its best. My last trip in October, I made sure to visit and do some food shopping!
Home Made Food
Dont miss those tasty saj ( saj is a thin focaccia bread) 
Souk El Ard, ( Earth Market), is located in the alley facing Bread Republic.
Organized by Slow food Beirut, the market aims to offer good, clean and fair food.

October 31, 2014

The Chemistry of Candy (from Hershey's Technical Center)


" Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want." Ryan Gosling

We all have these life moments, when we turn crazy about candy. It is like we want to go back to the time and memory when we were kids, and where we all we had to worry about was our next trip to the store to get some candy! Candy is all about bringing out these childhood memories. The sweet taste and the multi flavors from lemon, to strawberry and chocolate...etc can bring us - adults - some joy in this hectic world!
Apart of their bad health effects ( which I will not be talking about) , candy making is extremely entertaining to learn and know about !
It is a pure science on its own . Each candy has its own recipe and technicality!

I am sharing few knowledge I learned while I was in USA for training few years ago. As part of the training, we visited the technical center of Hershey in Pennsylvania, where we had to learn about the chocolate and candy making process straight from the scientists!