Before getting to today’s recipe, please allow me to thank you …

After last week’s post I received so many  comments, messages and emails and I am truly at a loss for words. The kindness, concern and compassion that you have all showed was heartwarming and I deeply appreciate it. I am fine. I know so many of you were concerned that I sounded depressed or worse yet, desperate but I really wasn’t. I was just venting and I really appreciate the fact that you listened. Thank you.

I have been trying to write this post for a week! I was determined to finish it tonight, yet I have been staring at my screen for a couple of hours trying to figure out how to put into words the feelings that have overwhelmed me ever since the 9th of Nov.

I usually pride myself in my ability to use the English language to express myself despite the fact that it is not my mother language but for the first time in my life, I find myself at a loss for words. Unable to translate my thoughts and emotions into meaningful sentences! Cecilia so eloquently expressed in her post” I am an immigrant” how anyone who has lived through the experience of being an immigrant or an expat can relate to the deep rooted feelings of fear that the results of the American elections have stirred.

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When I shared my tips on how to create a middle eastern antipasto platter I got quite a few questions about the crackers in the background. There were two types of crackers, the first is the  raincoast cracker and the other small square shaped ones are actually my favorite way to use up almond pulp. 

Lately my news feed has been flooded with cheese boards and antipasto platters! There seems to be a memo that I had somehow missed saying that Sept was the month for cheese boards!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love cheese boards and antipasto platters, there is so much room for creativity in terms of color combinations, flavors, and presentation and I am all for anything that allows creativity to run wild. Added to that, cheese platters and antipasto platters allow you to enjoy a little bit of everything without going overboard! A win win situation in my book.

So in the spirit of joining the fun, I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips and ideas on how to prepare the perfect Middle Eastern antipasto platter but before I do, I think I need to explain the last word in my post’s title: “Mezze”

In the middle east, breakfast and dinner (remember,Lunch is the main meal here) are usually served in a style called mezze which means a selection of small dishes that are meant for sharing.The word  mezze actually comes from the Turkish meze “taste, flavour, snack, relish”, borrowed from Persian مزه (mazze “taste, snack” < mazīdan “to taste”)

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Nostalgia is a funny thing!

Two year away in the UAE made me realize that the things I love the most in Amman are the small and simple details.The smell of jasmines in the morning, the unique and beautiful white stone clad buildings in the sunset,the buzz of the downtown markets, the calls of the kaek carts in the morning, the breeze that carries the smell of fig trees in the summer,the smiles and chatter of people in the streets on a cool summer evening, the carts and vans that sell all sorts of fruits and vegetables in the old  neighbourhoods  , a cup of tea with my mum and dad in their kitchen, My kids digging out potatoes that my dad planted months ago just for them.

All the small details that give a city its soul and transform it from a place on the map to a home..

Since I am in Amman on vacation, I thought I’d share a bit about Amman with all of you. If you are here for the recipe, simply scroll down to find it but if you are in the mood for a little virtual journey,read on 🙂

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I came across this video last night and it really got me thinking. If I could go back in time to give my younger self some advice, what would I tell her?

Before watching the video, I think I would have handed my younger self a looooong list of “mistakes” to avoid and people to steer completely clear of . There was so much in my past that I wished I could change.(Something I think most of my readers can relate to)

The kid in video, when faced with the list of mistakes, crumbles it and asks his older self a few questions that completely change his perspective.I decided to use the kid’s reasoning, and ask myself the same questions

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Bruschetta “pronounced bru’sketta” is a wonderful antipasto (starter dish) from Italy. Grilled bread is rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and topped with a variety of toppings that range from humble to luxurious: tomatoes, herbs, cheeses, flaked meat, marinated vegetables, it is really up to your taste and imagination. The only rule is, use something fresh, in season and have fun!

Since I often write about Arabic and middle eastern recipes and try to explain the link between the name and the actual recipe, I have developed the habit of looking up word roots! The noun bruschetta comes from the Roman dialect verb bruscare, meaning ‘to roast over coals’. It is believed that the dish probably originated in ancient Rome, when olive growers bringing their olives to the local olive press would toast slices of bread to sample their fresh-pressed oil.

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The most popular form of bruschetta uses a topping of tomatoes, basil and occasionally mozzarella cheese and though this is a heavenly combination, in my book the ultimate tomato-herb combo is tomato, mint and a touch of lemon juice.

As a kid this was THE salad on my mum’s Ramadan table. Fresh juicy tomatoes, loads of fresh fragrant mint, lemon juice, a dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It does not get any simpler than that but try scooping some with a piece of warm pita bread ,the flavors are mind blowing.

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