Category Archives: Food

Interview: Chef Fernando Canales Etxanobe


I had to pleasure to meet a while ago at Phoenicia Hotel Beirut the Michelin star chef “Fernando Canales Etxanobe” who was in Lebanon end of January 2015 to add a Spanish touch with refreshing and delicious dishes at Sydney’s Club Bar and Restaurant and Eau De Vie.

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Since 1998, he runs his restaurant Etxanobe, which bears his mother’s maiden name. In addition to its activity in the restaurant, which boasts a Michelin star and two suns in the Repsol guide, he works with various media. For seven years he held the cooking show on Localia, currently airs in the US on the VME chain and in Moscow in the food service channel. He is also a regular contributor to radio. In summer 2009 live from Bilbao, he developed a cooking show for La 1 TVE.

Get to know him more here

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1- When did you know you wanted to be a chef? And Where were you trained?

I was very bad at school, hyperactive child. I come from a family of engineers, and I used to see my father very happy while cooking, so when I was 19 years old I decided to go this way. I went to a cooking school and I loved it. I used to cook for my friends and family and read a lot about cooking. I was very curious and got details from people who are really dedicated to cooking. I studied at the School of Hospitality Leioa, then moved to France and from the hand of Francis Ducasse (Alain Ducasse’s first teacher) I started in the professional kitchen. I learned a lot in France because of the rich culture, and became very discipline in the kitchen “Il faut faire les choses comme il faut” There was a lot of competition too, but it was motivating me to do more and excel. I used to find a way to make things more interesting and keep motivating myself. Then I went back to Spain, worked for two years in Bodegon, then in Bilbao for 10 years. I worked with several chefs for around 20 years and it’s when I decided to have something for my own.

2- How do you get your inspiration?

I get inspired from anything around me, from experiencing new places and cultures. for example I tried the summak in Lebanon and I will implement it in my new cuisine. I am very spiritual, I can detect positive vibes in things, which helps me with my inspiration. I also love to relax by the beach, it calms me, gives me tranquility, spirituality and peace, which helps me clear my mind and find new inspirations.

3- What is your favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?

My Apron.

It gives me a sense of organisation.

4- What characterizes your cuisine?

My cuisine is about sea food. I live between the sea and the mountains and we have a very rich sea in Spain, where you can find different kinds of fish not existing elsewhere. My cuisine is also different from others, because I love attention to details, i’m very picky and I have no fixed rules, I can mix flavors as much as I want.

5- Is there a food that you hate?

I love food, there’s nothing that I hate. In Spain, we eat a lot of pasta and vegetables, similar to the food in Lebanon. But when I was a kid, few things I didn’t like chick peas.

6- What advice can you give for the housewives who are inspired by your style of cookery?

My advice for housewives, is to try the same recipe with different ingredients, to know how to choose the best ingredient.

 

Bon Appétit!

Breakfast At Al Mandaloun Café


I went for a ladies breakfast at Al Mandaloun Café in Dbayeh. It became of a ritual, whenever my friends & I have a cause to celebrate something, we just drive there. This time we were celebrating the start of a successful, golden New Year!

We fell in the love with the place because the interior is so friendly and cozy, we almost feel at home. The burgundy used on the furniture, gives the place a warmer feeling, the lanterns and the watches on the wall gives it a unique touch.

What’s also interesting is that Al Mandaloun Café offers a breakfast buffet that is filled with different choices of cheese, labne, ham, eggs, vegetables, croissant, cakes, bread, juice …

I always order a special omelette with cheese, bacon and herbs and I mix orange and carrot juice for a boost effect. And my favorite part comes with the cakes, there’s a special one that is juiced, not sure what it’s called, but it’s heaven for me!

They have a little boutique, where you can buy cute teapots, and different alcohol kinds.

For the Christmas season, they had cookies and gingerbread cakes as gifts ideas for your loved ones.

Have you been to Al Mandaloun Café?  

Cooking with Annette’s


I was invited with a bunch of fellow bloggers to discover the world of Annette’s through a cooking session that took place at the KitchenLab in Gemmayze.

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We waited until we were all gathered, we all wore the chef’s hat and apron and we were ready to start the cooking experience.

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With the help of the chef, we used Annette’s flour to create a dough for our zaatar mankouche. while waiting for it be baked, the chef prepared pasta with tomato sauce and an exquisite strawberry tart.

When all the dishes were ready, we all sat and enjoyed a healthy dinner together!

Annette’s high-quality, low carbohydrate flour and products are the fine result of two years working alongside an international team of doctors and food technologists, to provide the best in quality.

The refined taste and premium healthy ingredients, especially developed for those with type 2 diabetes, are what makes them unique.

Thank you Annette’s and KitchenLab for this unique and wonderful experience! It was great to know that I can still enjoy my favorite meals with less carbs to stay fit!

Sahtein!

Ferdinand, A place for Good Food and Music!


A while ago I got the chance to visit the newly renovated Ferdinand Gastro-pub located in Mahatma Ghandi street right in the heart of Hamra.

The same spirit as before is still dominating the interior of the place, but with simple adjustments making even more enjoyable. The place is marked with leather couches, wooden tables and bar, candles and low lights.

We were greeted warmly, as we started discovering the diversified drinks menu and choosing what to eat. The menu is full of tasty items, from starters, mains, salads and dessert!

We tried the Devils on Horseback, cheese blossoms, and the burgers!

 

I enjoyed the place a lot, the music was amazing for a Saturday night and the food was so indulging. So if you’re passing by Hamra, you should definitely visit Ferdinand!

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Cheers!

 

Meet The Author Behind “Un Mois A La Cantine”


“Un mois à la cantine” is the first book by Ms. Mima Skaff Harrouk, it is a guide for every woman wishing the best for her children. It contains recipes attracting children by their appetizing colors and taste and at the same time containing whole and healthy food for them.

Ms. Harrouk explains that the idea of regulating children eating habits was running through her head since childhood; this idea has developed rapidly after becoming a mother and grandmother, especially that moms often wonder about the quality of food served to children at home or daycare, and if their diet is complete and healthy.

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Learn more about her and her book here under

1- When did your passion for cooking begin?

It started when my kids were born and began to eat junk food. As a young mother, I was haunted by the idea that I should give my kids the best food with the best nutrients. So I began to educate myself & learn about nutrients’ compositions and their impact on my kids healthy needs.

2- Can you describe your cookbook to us? What is the inspiration behind it?

My kids and my grand kids were my inspiration.

The book contains a full day balanced lunch; a salad or an entrée, a main course, and a dessert, for a period of four weeks. That way, a working mother, doesn’t have to worry about what to cook for her little ones every day.

I got help from a Pediatrician & a Dietician, in order to balance the meals.

3- Which is your favorite recipe from the book? 

The Riz aux poivrons, Le Gratin de Poisson & Les Purees de Legumes et De Pommes.

4- What was your biggest challenge when writing your cookbook? 

I wanted to inspire & pass on my recipes to the biggest number of young mothers.

5- Do you have any favorite food blogs?

Although Le blog de Chanty is not a blog specific for food but it is my favorite by far.

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I hope this book will be useful to all the mothers wondering how to keep their children healthy.

Tasting Lord Of The Wings New Menu!


I was invited to a tweetup to try the new menu at Lord Of the Wings in Kaslik.

We were offered around 18 items to try, I didn’t try them all honestly, because my tummy couldn’t handle that much.

We started with the smoked salmon and avocado potato skins, loaded chicken and veggie quesadillas.

The smoked salmon on potato is a new idea, honestly preferred it from the traditional ones, since i’m decreasing the quantity of bread from my diet. And the chicken quesadillas were really tasty.

Followed by Quinoa salad and Asian beef salad

 

Then wings were flying on the table, we tried  traditional wings tossed in buffalo mild sauce, grilled wings tossed in citrus pepper sauce and boneless wings tossed in garlic parmesan.

There were also American Artisan bread also, but I honestly didn’t taste them, to leave place for the real deal burgers!

We were surprised by the American, the bistro burger, and the Nippon chicken

And the most appetizing item for me is in the hearty sandwiches section, the pulled pork & slaw, miam..miam… the club sandwich was really good also, you could see the cheese melting….

 

A good meal has to end well, especially with the authentic cheesecake and the caramel lazy cake!

 

The new menu has a really wide variety of items and is a must try!

EL IXIR Wine Tasting


I attend a special EL wine tasting at Enoteca in Tabaris. We had the pleasure to taste IXSIR‘s micro Cuvée in both, white and red: EL White 2012 and EL Red 2010.

 

I tasted first the EL White 2012

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EL White 2012

 

The subtle complexity of this wine distinguishes its elegant and delicate aromas of flowers combined with white fleshy fruits, infused herbs and spices.

On the palate, the purity of a great Viognier blended with the richness of the Chardonnay, offers an unctuous and full-bodied wine with exceptional elegance, minerality and depth.

 

And then I tried to the EL Red 2010

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EL Red 2010

Good color and a subtle nuanced nose of ripe blackberries with a hint of spice.

In the mouth there is an instant lushness, backed up with a wonderful freshness. It has an elegant structure and a finish that is powerful, sustained and balanced.

Despite its youth, it’s already a pleasurable experience to taste. It triumphs with a seductive combination of classicism and hedonism. Although it can be savored now, it could very well reach full maturity in 2017 and age thereafter until 2030.

My favorite was the EL White 2012!

 

Are you a wine fan?

Did you get the chance to taste them? And which one was your favorite?

 

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