Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The London Cooking Club @ The London Foodie

Being me - I was prepared with my Piaf slant on Pink Martini's " Ma maison a la forme d'une cage, Le soliel passer son bras par la fenetre......" in case the cooking club should result in a merry sing-song: ) 
The London Cooking Club is an experience that should not be missed if you are good food obsessed and enjoy cooking. Our host and Cooking Club innovator was Luiz, the man behind the highly ranked online London food guide The London Foodie (and also wine and travel). Luiz is an absolutely disarming host, one of life's natural personalities at creating laughter and a fertile conversationalist.

The premise - 12 cooks (a mix of new enthusiasts with aspiring talents and experienced friends of the London Foodie) each with a recipe from the excellent Lebanese cook book Saha to prepare, mostly in situ at the host's home, and bring to the table where we all dine together.  Seredipitously on this occasion a few stunning bottles of 2004 Chateau Masur red were kindly provided by the Lebanese winemakers to prime and pique our tastebuds to food of the Levant country.


Courgette and Mint Fritters
Hummus with Spiced Marinated Lamb and Pine Nuts
Muhammara - Red Pepper, Walnut and Pomegranate Dip
Chicken Livers in Za'Atar and Parmesan Crumbs with Yoghurt, Tarragon, Cucumber Salad
Ma'hani - Spicy Lebanese Sausages with Pine Nuts
Mushroom Stuffed Vine Leaves with Herbs
Zghorta-Style Kibbeh Patties Stuffed with Cinnamon and Pine-Nut Butter

Golden Chicken Soup with Coriander, Garlic and Parsley


Confit Salmon Tarator with Coriander, Walnuts and Tahini Sauce
Lamb Shawarma - Roast Leg of Lamb in Spicy Marinade
(Served with Herb Salad, Tahini Yogurt Sauce and Arabic Flat Bread)
Accompanied by: 

Lebanese Nut Rice


Watermelon and Rosewater Sorbet and Barazek*
(*Crunchy Sesame-Pistachio Biscuits)

My personal highlights:

Mezze - Chicken Livers in Za'Atar and Parmesan Crumbs with Yoghurt, Tarragon, Cucumber Salad

I was at pains to suppress my ohs and ahs at it's deliciousness.  Crunchy golden parmesan crumbs that instigate the first oh, sinking into the generous, perfectly silky and still slightly rare liver that emulsifies dreamily, as I cogigated and masticated.....I leapt at seconds

Main - Lamb Shawarma - Roast Leg of Lamb in Spicy Marinade 

I had been looking forward to this the most and from the dining table eagerly rubbernecked to see it being carved.  As soon as I saw the warm juices leak between blade and slice, it foretold a mouthwatering experience.  It never left my gaze as it landed plumply to my right and elicited a gladiatorial applause and bravo as though he were the returning huntsman to the feast.  Gerald really was the evening's food hero!

The slices of lamb were served in flat bread, with tahini yoghurt sauce and herb salad.

Later Gerald told me that the leg is de-boned and formed into a roll and ideally should be barbecued for a flame torched crust.  Incidentally, the next cooking club will take a BBQ theme.

Dessert - Watermelon and Rosewater Sorbet and Barazek

I normally refuse rosewater, as it makes me think of Yardley soaps, overpowering Turkish delights and an expensive meal in Marrakesh strewn with rose petals, incensed with roses, and the food doused with rosewater - it was our first night, that was the excuse.

So unexpectedly, I really liked these sorbet crystals exactly for its tender handling of the delicate rosewater flavour, or perhaps it was the balance with the watermelon.

Great food and company - where did the time go?

For forthcoming Cooking Club themes and details to attend - see the London Foodie.  Do you have a cooking club in your city or neighbourhood?

I have just discovered the exclusive design, artisan and upholstery work of Lebanon duo Bokja via honestlywtf - very GYPSET - I love!

Not to be left behind, this is our Levant inspired OOAK patchwork pillow:

Available on Etsy: ooak-pillow-cover 

It is very sad that my beautiful city has in the last few days been burning, both in a physical and a metaphorical sense.  Our business has not been affected and we carry on as normal, and hope you continue to browse our designs and shop with us - thanks for your support always xx


  1. It's not even breakfast time and I'm starving now! And as always, your pillows are breathtaking.

  2. Mmmmm what a culinary delight, sounds like you had an amazing time. Loving the pillows, such beautiful creations.

  3. The cooking club sounds AMAZING (even though I am a terrible cook). And the designs by Bokja are stunning. Thanks for sharing them!


  4. What an experience! I would love to be part of it.

    On another note, we have been living with the London (and not just) nightmare for the past few days. I am really terrified by how quickly evil spreads and feel like all the terrible movies threatening us with a dark and mean future are coming to life. Looking at the videos from London I've got sick. Really. I am afraid.

    Thankfully, i saw a beam of light yesterday, when I got proof that good can also be contagious...

  5. How lovely of you to write this beautiful account of the evening! Thank you so much. I LOVED your dish - courgette and mint fritters! It was so nice to meet you too and hope you will be joining us at the London Cooking Club again!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie