Ftoot is a type of bread popular in Palestine. The name ftoot means crumbled and it refers to the crumbled cheese infused through out the bread.

Last year, when I shared the Nabulsi recipe for ftoot ,I promised that I’d share my mum’s recipe for ftoot which is my go to recipe for this bread and it is a little different from the Nabulsi version. Well I’m finally doing that today:) but before I do, allow me to take you on a little trip

I told you in my previous post that we were planning a road trip. Since Eid was on Wednesday we had a long weekend and we decided to take the kids on a road trip to Abu Dhabi the capital of the UAE.

Abu Dhabi is about 270 km from Ras Al Khaima and since the kids and I  have never been to it during our 2 year stay in the UAE, we were really looking forward to the trip.

Abu Dhabi -like Dubai and most major cities in the UAE- is famous for its modern sky scrappers ,shopping mega-centers  and themed amusement parks and though all of that was fun to visit, the part I enjoyed the most in our 3 day trip was our visit to  the city of masdar (the eco friendly city of the future) and our tour in the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque which is a true architectural master piece.

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The part I love the most about exploring any cuisine is trying recipes that I would have never tried or would have never associated with that particular cuisine had it not been for this whole blogging adventure.

Today’s recipe is a great example of that.

Some call it Saudi Pizza, others called aysh abu laham (which literally means meat bread,you see, aysh is bread in the Saudi dialect and laham means meat). A recipe popular in the Hijaz area of Saudi Arabia, particularly in Mecca. This recipe was our Arabic flavor assignment for the month of June.

When Salma (this month’s  host ) revealed the recipe, I honestly had my doubts. Pizza and the traditional Saudi cuisine seemed like an odd mix (I expected a rice based main meal or a date based dessert or a cardamom scented drink) But it turns out that there is so much more to the Saudi cuisine than that just like there is so much more than pizza and pasta in the Italian cuisine

Saudi pizza (meat, tahini and chives galette)

When I was a kid, before globalization and the internet (yes , that statement does make my kids giggle and makes me feel old) whenever we had a special occasion and  we wanted to  buy desserts for it, the options were simple: Baklava, muhalabia, layali lobnana, eish al saraya , awwameh or another item from a long list of traditional Arabic desserts. These desserts were sold by specialty stores who displayed them in the most tempting ways. Sure they sold the occasional cake and some cookies  but these were never that fancy nor tempting when compared to the extravaganza of Arabic delicacies on display.

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Image from Hebron times

My favorite dessert, as a child was these little white rolls you see in the next picture. They are , velvety and almost melt in your mouth. Delicately flavored with orange blossom water, the creaminess from the filling is beautifully balanced by the nuttiness of the pistachios. They are  little clouds of bless. There weren’t that many places that sold these little beauties, so whenever we passed by one of the stores that did, my dad would buy me some

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When I posted the batheeth recipe, I promised you more recipes from the UAE and the Arabic peninsula and this is the first in a series coming your way over the next few weeks.

I have to admit that the popular Emirati recipes are growing on me, be it batheeth, Masoub, karrak tea or the long list of rice and spice dishes that are so popular here.

Today’s recipe is one that my kids got me to try. After a cultural day at school they came home super excited about masoub, logaimat and khameer bread (I know this sounds like gibberish now but I promise to dedicate a post to each and every one of these recipes)

Masoob by chef in disguise

What do you pack when you’re an expat at the end of your vacation back home and you’re getting ready for another year away from your family and friends?

How do you capture the precious warmth and joy that you feel in their company? what can you take to help you get through the months of nostalgia?

Whenever we go back home for a visit, my mum prepares a love package for me and the kids, there are always new books and DVDs for the kids,a few props for my blog, her signature cookies, maamoul, Zaatar, nabulsi cheese and this apricot jam. My son loves jam but in his book, no store-bought could ever come close to his teta’s homemade apricot jam (teta is Arabic for grandma).

For the first few months after the vacation, I am fine, I miss everyone, but I manage to keep busy and keep my mind off it. But as the year rolls by and we get to the last couple of months before the summer break I struggle with longing and little details like opening a jar of my mum’s jam, tracing her handwriting on the lovely notes she sticks to the lids can drive me to tears.

Apricot jam by chef in disguise