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Joumana Medlej

London, GB

Bio:

I'm a fine artist by day, but my past life as an illustrator and comic artist still haunts me, and the passion for food comes with my Lebanese roots – drawing recipes was the inevitable consequence. With my studio near London's most famous farmer's market, and my home near foraging grounds, I am spoiled for inspiration!

Recipes By Joumana Medlej

Mamie's Pomelo Salad by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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When I was still living in Beirut, I regularly had lunch with my grandmother in her neighbourhood Thai restaurant. We never failed to order the pomelo salad for starters, a great favourite. Eventually the restaurant relocated and, for some reason, dropped the salad from their menu. My grandmother was still thinking longingly of it several years on, so I recreated it as far as I could remember, using ingredients easy to find locally. It was a hit!

Any that is left over will keep a few days while getting even tastier as it marinates further. Make sure to return to room temperature before eating, to fully enjoy the flavours.

Nässelsoppa – Swedish Nettle Soup by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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A traditional springtime recipe in Sweden, this soup makes use of the abundant young nettles shooting out at that time of the year. Nettle tops can be frozen for use later, though — and so can the soup itself.

Fresh Face Masks by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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Some foods are also great to feed the skin!

Pumpkin Kibbeh by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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This is a traditional Lebanese recipe, a vegan version (for Lent) of our national dish Kibbeh.

Maamoul – Lebanese Easter Cookies by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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A traditional recipe from my book, Lebanese Home Cooking :)

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Christmas Desserts: Anoush Abour (Armenia) by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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This "sweet porridge" is traditionally served in Armenia from New Year's Eve up to Christmas, which falls on January 6 in the Eastern tradition. Plan ahead, as it needs to thicken overnight.

Christmas Desserts: Ghraybeh (Palestine) by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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The shortbread biscuits known as ghraybeh or ghoraybeh are also famously made in Lebanon, but in Palestine they are a special Christmas treat.

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Seriously Citrus by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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A zesty overview of the surprisingly large and diverse Citrus family.

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Madeleines by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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Madeleines are such lovely little cakes, not overly sweet, and very, well, French. They do dry out after the first day, and that makes a big difference, so I only make them for gatherings. Madeleines are usually made in specialized baking tins to give them their scallop shape, but mini cupcake tins work just as well, or use regular-size cupcake tins and underfill them.

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Before-Dinner Cocktails by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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A pre-dinner selection from my "76 Cocktails" book.

Heavenly Honey by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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Varieties and virtues of this pantry essential!

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Challah by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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This traditional Jewish bread is slightly sweet and eaten on Sabbath and holidays.

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Kadoo Pish Gaza (Iranian courgette dip) by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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This breakfast from Iran is a nice all-veg change from the usual stuff, but it can equally be made as a side dish, a dip, or take its place in a mezzeh. Or, half-bake a thin pizza crust, spread kadoo pish gaza on, and pop back into the oven till the dough is fully baked.
If you want to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, you'll need to start with 200g (8 oz).

Batata Harra (Lebanese spicy potatoes) by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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Every time I have potatoes in the house, I end up making this. Garlic+lemon+chilli = heaven on a plate! It's also a great way to use leftover baked potatoes. Some notes:

• You can fry the diced potatoes instead of baking them. I just avoid frying, myself.
• Hot pepper paste is perfect for this, but you can get quite close to it by using dried chilli flakes (or even cayenne powder) and tomato paste.
• Feel very free with the quantities! Have as much garlic, lemon and chilli as you like. And don't worry if you don't have cilantro/coriander leaves at hand, either, I do without it most of the time.

Sfouf: Lebanese Turmeric Cake by Joumana Medlej

London, GB

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Sfouf is a plural (meaning "rows", referring to how they're cut), just like "brownies", and as much a classic of Lebanese homebaking as brownies are in the US.
Sfouf have a dense texture, are not too sweet (at least with this recipe), and have a startling yellow colour due to the turmeric, which also gives them a particular taste hard to describe. To make them more nutty, you can pour half the batter into the pan, sprinkle nuts liberally, then pour the rest of the batter on top.