by Fouad Kassab
This year I took it upon myself to make the impossible possible. The challenge was, could I create a gluten-free maamoul - Lebanese Easter Shortbreads - that's as good as the real deal? Inspired by my macadamia and currant shortbreads which I included in our cookbook, Life-Changing Food, I have created this recipe for gluten-free/grain-free maamoul. The result, I promise you, is as good if not better than the originals. And if you don’t believe me, bake a batch and see for yourself. The only thing is, do you have the self-control to wait until after Easter to dig in?
By Fouad Kassab - We used to serve a more complicated version of this recipe at my restaurant, Baraka. The incredibly popular dish was made by cooking the lamb in a master stock braise with burnt garlic and onions. At home, I use the recipe below, cooking the lamb in a slow cooker. It involves very little preparation time and results in a brilliantly tender and delicious meal with very little effort.
I can’t remember where I was the first time I tried Brussels sprouts, but I do remember the bitter flavour made even worse by the over-boiled texture. I was in my early twenties, and having grown up in Lebanon, Brussels sprouts were new to me. It certainly was not a culinary revelation. For many years, I avoided the vegetable, deterred by its sulphurous smell and the soggy memory of our first encounter.
But this is why forgiveness and second chances are so important.
When you've got a cold and you're feeling sick and miserable, or you feel the need for a super nourishing meal so you don't GET sick, what do you crave? For me, it's always chicken soup. Maybe it's something to do with my childhood, and mum making soup for us when we were sick... Chicken soup for me means love, nourishment and comfort. But it's not just psychological - it really IS medicine!
Only a few years ago, it seemed like the entire world was certain that fat was going to kill us. From the perspective of a population that was suffering from extreme weight issues, soaring cholesterol levels and an epidemic of heart disease, cutting out fat seemed to be the logical thing to do. If ever there was a usual suspect, fat had to be it: it was energy dense (all those calories in a single tablespoon!), full of cholesterol (the stuff we see in clogged arteries), and it tasted really good (tasty things have to be bad for you)!