Lunch for the girls, Athens, Greece (Beetroot, orange, walnut salad recipe)

I moved from Bucharest to Athens when I was 7 years old to attend the American Community School.  It was a calculated move on my parents part to give me a better education and so I could finally learn to speak English.It took me a long time to adjust: there was the language problem; the stigma of being both Eastern European and an Arab (children can be as racist as adults); my short unruly hair cut; and my mother’s habit of insisting I wear the same outfit the entire week.  Like we all do, I learned to navigate the playground and insisted on a pair of pink high top reeboks which I hoped would elevate my social standing.25 years later, I’ve gotten into the habit of hosting a lunch for my former play mates whenever I visit Athens.

For this lunch I made: mint lemonade*; beetroot salad, recipe follows; asparagus and potato salad (recipe), courgettes stuffed with mint, breadcrumbs & Parmesan (recipe); a dessert of cherries and strawberries in syrup, chocolate brownie, whipped cream and meringues Read more of this post

Roast Pumpkin filled with Quinoa, served with Rocket and Pickled Beetroot salad and Tahini drizzle

I met Misterrios at a vegetarian cafe named Die Rebellion des Zimtsterns.  It is a cute cafe, with a fun green wall and big communal table.  I balked at the fact that you could get a warm lunch on a plate for €5!  Mr. Rios looked at me like I was from Mars.  Well I live in Mitte!  And London before that so - yes, I think it is cheap!

It was back when my computer was out of action and he had heroically volunteered to fix it.  So he ordered the pumpkin dish of the day and hunkered down behind my Mac to gently prod it back to life.

Now for a little aside…

Even if I don’t know you very well, I will probably eat food from your plate.  Over the years, I have learned that this drives most people bananas!  I can’t help it though!  Chalk it down to my Middle Eastern upbringing, we share food!  I have since learned that the correct way to approach sticking your fork in someone else’s lunch is to first volunteer they try yours.  The usual response is “No, but would you like to try some of mine?”

Count to 3…

1 Mississippi,

2 Mississippi,

3 Mississippi

…then go for it! Read more of this post

Lentil and Beetroot Salad

Credit for this salad (and for many more to come) goes to the wonderful British Deli, Melrose and Morgan.  After I did my diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine, I bounced around the London independent scene, never really finding my place.  I got a little discouraged because I felt as if I had finally found what I loved but it didn’t love me back!

There was a very modern deli in Primrose Hill that I would pass on my way home, so one day I went in there and asked for a job.  I was too insecure to ask for a kitchen job so I ended up working on the shop floor.

Read more of this post


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