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great reviews so far …

Published just over a month ago by Flavoured Books, The Galilean Kitchen is already being well received online, through articles and book reviews in The Jerusalem Post and Hadassah magazine.

The focus of each article is on the cultural flavours that ooze out of the kitchens where Ruth Nieman, author of the cookbook, spent a year gleaning how to replicate these Arabic dishes, using authentic spice blends and fresh, seasonal, local produce.

“There are no cookbooks in these kitchens” Ruth tells both interviewers, “all the recipes are handed down through the generations and by adding a touch more za’atar, a pinch of baharat or an extra clove of garlic or two, the recipe becomes each cooks own”. Ruth then painstakingly deciphered the ‘handfuls’ into cups, grams or tablespoons and puts pen to paper, allowing the reader to create these delicious Middle Eastern recipes from the Druze, Muslim, Christian and Bedouin communities, in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Red Magazine has now published on line Amira’s Cauliflower Sinye from the cookbook as part of ‘Veganuary’ with social media feeds, trending about this comforting, vegan dish.

With beautiful, vibrant imagery throughout the book by photographer Neil Mercer from Kibbutz Tuval, The Galilean Kitchen holds its place on any kitchen shelf along side all Middle Eastern cookbooks and now is available to buy in Joseph’s Bookstore, Temple Fortunes, NW11 & Muswell Hill Bookshop, N10.





The Galilean Kitchen

Come on a journey from the land to the plate and learn to replicate the rich cultural flavours of The Galilean Kitchen … order your first edition copy here

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Chicken, Potato & Garlic Soup from The Galilean Kitchen

Warm up this winter with a hearty chicken, potato and garlic soup, from The Galilean Kitchen.    

This fragrant soup, laced with medicinal spices and deep flavours of garlic and lemon juice, is a firm favourite from Nawal’s kitchen, where ‘shorba’ the Arabic name for soup is easy to make and deliciously satisfying to eat on a cold day.

Nawal’s Shorba (chicken, potato & garlic soup)

for basic broth

2 chicken breasts, chopped into large cubes

1 piece of ginger, peeled & sliced

3 –4 bayleaves

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

11/2 litres cold water

1 teaspoon salt

for chicken, potato & garlic soup

2 large potatoes, peeled & cubed

6 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

3 lemons, juiced

11/2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 250mls water

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon baharat

1 teaspoon black pepper

  • place the chicken cubes, ginger, bayleaves, cardamom, salt & water in a saucepan & boil for 20-30 minutes to create flavour
  • add the potato cubes, lower the heat & simmer for a further 15 minutes
  • mix the flour & water into a paste & add to the broth & boil for 5 minutes to thicken the soup slightly, add the cumin & baharat & boil for a further 5 minutes
  • add the garlic & lemon juice, mix well & leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow all the flavours to develop
  • pour into a serving bowl & sprinkle the teaspoon of black pepper on the top 

For more delicious recipes, beautiful photographs and delightful stories from the women whose dishes are featured in The Galilean Kitchen, order your copy here

The Galilean Kitchen … a cookbook with a difference

This time last year, the groves of the Galilee began their annual production of organic olive oil and I started writing this beautiful cookbook, The Galilean Kitchen.
It has been a year in the making (involving lots of writing and LOTS of tasting) and it is with great excitement, I am proud to announce, that it is now ready to bring you the best of this lush region’s dishes, full of cultural flavours.
A cookbook with a difference, The Galilean Kitchen is full of recipes for family meals, using Middle Eastern staples, vegetables and spices, with each page containing tips and easy to find ingredients to cook these dishes in your own kitchen. It tells the stories of the women who have parted with their family recipes, as well as the regions seasonal produce.

First edition copies are now available to order here, and you can look forward to cooking from an untapped cuisine that is waiting to be unleashed into every kitchen and at the same time read about the culinary cultures of the region’s Arabic communities.

The Galilean Kitchen…..a cookbook in the making

Within the rural region of the Galilee, home to a diverse ethnic population, culture and flavours mingle together in the local kitchens where traditional dishes are cooked. Through the eyes and palates of home cooks, The Galilean Kitchen will immerse you in authentic cooking from a social, cultural and culinary perspective, allowing you to re-create the delicious flavours in your own kitchens.

Inspired by my love of Middle Eastern food and the beautiful Galilee of Northern Israel, I am writing a book that enters into the untapped area of Druze villages, surrounded by olive and citrus groves and where with local seasonal produce alone, Sinye, Hubeza & F’tir are prepared from recipes that have been passed through the generations. Coupled with the stories of the local home cooks, their heritage and passion for food, The Galilean Kitchen will be a cookbook with a difference and one to look out for, when it reaches the shelves at the end of the year….

As part of the social element of this project, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to raise funds for producing, publishing and distributing this beautiful cookbook, full of cultural flavours, whilst promoting a co-operation between the people of this area and discovering new culinary delights too….

Read our story and prepare yourself for a Galilean feast at:



NOPI….another Ottolenghi triumph…

Israel’s good cheese guide….


With the emphasis on Israel’s cuisine being heavily placed upon dairy, it is not surprising that there is an increase across the country in boutique dairies, providing innovative alternatives to traditional cheeses.

Until recently the larger companies and supermarkets were the main suppliers of Israel’s dairy staples such as cottage cheese, cream cheese and labneh, the Middle Eastern cheese made with cow, goats or sheep milk.

Throughout Tel Aviv, Israel’s culinary capital, quaint little delicatessens and Fromageries have been selling delicious cheeses and all forms of dairy products to chefs, restaurants and cheese lovers alike, produced both in the country and imported from France, Italy and Holland.

In my latest article for The Culture Trip, A Cheese Lover’s Guide To Tel Aviv, discover where artisan cheese and dairy products are being sourced, to create new and exciting dishes, both sweet and savoury.


recipe: labneh

  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil, zaatar, black pepper, fresh oregano leaves & pistachios, to serve

take a large square of muslin/cheesecloth rinse in cold water & wring dry
line a colander with the cloth, draped over the sides, place colander over bowl to catch the whey
mix the salt into the yoghurt & pour into the muslin
fold the cloth over the mixture & twist the top, place in the refrigerator overnight
discard the whey & place the thickened creamy cheese into a bowl
drizzle over the olive oil, black pepper & zaatar, garnish with oregano & pistachios…..

any excuse for cheesecake….

deconstructed cheesecake with frozen yoghurt (courtesy of arT to FooD)

deconstructed cheesecake with frozen yoghurt (courtesy of arT to FooD)

Every Jewish festival has a culinary significance and Shavout makes no exception.

Also known as the spring harvest, this festival of weeks, directly translated from the Hebrew, makes two references to the connotations of food, the end of the spring barley and the start of the summer wheat harvest, as well as the dietary laws laid down in the Torah, when given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Shavout is by far my favourite festival, in so much as it is customary to only eat dairy products during the holiday and therefore a cheesecake fest takes place in Israel.

The laws of keeping kosher does not allow milk to be eaten after meat and it is said that as the  laws of the Torah were handed down to Moses on Shabbat, there was not enough time to slaughter the animals, so only dairy was eaten and therefore the tradition has been maintained. Israel is also the “land flowing with milk and honey” and it is from that Biblical saying that we eat the dairy products of the land.

The food of Israel has always been greatly influenced by dairy products and with so many of great chefs creating new ideas using artisan cheese from the boutique dairy farms up and down the country, as well as imports from France, restaurant menus are being elevated with innovative ideas for cheesecakes, blintzes, salads and other  savoury and sweet dishes.

I am a lover of all cheesecakes and often find myself searching through cookbooks and magazines for recipes with new flavour combinations to incorporate into old recipes. There is great debate as to whether cheesecakes should be baked or unbaked, but to my mind it is down to simple personal preference of whether one prefers the slightly denser baked texture or the lighter more mouse-like dessert that sits on top of a sweet, crumbly biscuit base.

One never needs an excuse to make, bake or eat cheesecake, but if one had to find a reason, Shavout is the perfect justification for it, so without feeling guilty, enjoy the unctuous, creamy, but simply delicious cake of all cakes…..the cheesecake….

Mulberries…the ‘super’ spring berry

Although June is now upon us, the Galilee still bears the beauty of spring, with the lush green hills, the wild flowers still in bloom and trees laden with the new seasons crop.

The spring harvest has begun in the Golan, Northern Israel and fruit picking is a family outing,  picking the berries and cherries that laden the trees in these lovely late spring early summer months, before the real heat hits hard.

Mulberries, a superfood in its own right through its high Vitamin C content and antioxidant properties, deck the trees with their ripe red fruit with a deep purple hue, ready for turning into jam, chutney or dark red sorbet.

mulberry sorbet

mulberry sorbet

recipe: mulberry sorbet

  • 750g washed, fresh mulberries
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250mls water
  • 1/2 juice of lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) or elderflower cordial
  • mint or edible flowers for garnish

put the caster sugar, water & lemon juice in a pan
bring to the boil & simmer for a few minutes until all the sugar has dissolved
remove from the hob to cool completely
place the mulberries in food processor & puree until a pulp, add cassis or elderflower, if using add puree to sugar syrup, mix well then chill in refrigerator for 6-8 hours
churn mixture in an ice cream maker, following instructions for sorbet
put back in freezer & serve with mint or edible flowers as garnish…..



dedicated to the humble chickpea….

hummous....the Middle Eastern self starter....

hummous….the Middle Eastern self starter….

May 13th is marked on the calendar as International Hummous Day,  a whole day dedicated to the humble chickpea. A popular dip throughout Israel and the Middle East, hummous has recently been elevated to becoming one of Israel’s ‘national foods’, appearing on menus in restaurants and cafe’s throughout the country.

Chickpeas are legumes and rich in nutrients. They are considered to be a popular source of vitamins and minerals in the diet of both vegetarians and vegans. It popularity follows the dietary laws of Kashrut and therefore hummous can be eaten with both meat and milk meals.

Hummous is directly translated from the Arabic meaning ‘chickpeas’ a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine dating back to ancient times, although widely used in stews and tagines, rather than as a cold dip.

Hummous in it’s simplest form is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas and combined with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt,  however, many combinations of spices can be added for extra flavour with cumin, coriander or smoked paprika being the most popular and garnishes including whole chickpeas, pinenuts, flat leaf parsley or paprika.  Other versions include using fava beans or broad beans instead of chickpeas and adding beetroot, green olives and sun-dried tomatoes for colour and texture. Sumac and za’atar are also used sprinkled on top to enhance the Middle Eastern flavour.

Hummous is part of the culture of Israel and equally as popular amongst the Israeli Jews and Arabs alike. Throughout the country there are restaurants dedicated to the humble chickpea and even tours throughout Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to find the best tasting plates of hummous, made from traditional recipes handed down through the generations of the eclectic cuisines of Israel.