The Foodie Kit: Buy from Palestinian Artisans

As many of you know I have spent much of the last 10 years supporting Palestinian livelihoods and economic development. Supporting Palestinian artisans is not just essential to the local economy in Palestine, but is also important to maintain traditional cultural crafts and skills. We at The Olive Tree Kitchen have teamed up with Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans to bring you some wonderful gifts for your kitchen.

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Herby Feta

My mother didn’t really teach me recipes, she taught me how to cook. How to have an instinct for flavours, consistencies to achieve and methods of preparation. and i suppose that is what this herby feta is. It isn’t really a recipe, its a way of eating.

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Kousa Nuggets

when you have a three year old, a lot of food starts being referred to as a ‘nugget’. We always make these a day or two after we make mahshi with the pulp of the courgettes that have been cored out. they are utterly delicious and make a great lunch with a nice fil-fil dip and salad.

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Pita Bread

Every summer growing up, my mother was sent to stay with her Aunt Rifkah in Taybeh (yes, the same Taybeh that makes he delicious beer…. and the one Jesus stayed in). She says that her aunt would wake up in the early hours of the morning to make fresh pita bread. she would then wake up her rabble of visiting nieces and nephews and as the sun began to rise they would all set off down the road out of town to my Aunt’s lands. Once there they would be put to work climbing fig trees to collect the fruit and collecting vine leaves from the grape vines that used to snake along the floor- a traditional practice which decades later i would be training women how to build frames to grow their grapes along! (life can be so odd…..) . After a good few hours of work in the sun, Rifkah would unload a basket that she can carried on her head and out would come the freshly made pita breads, boiled eggs, freshly made cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers, zayt and za’atar; in the shade of the trees protecting them from the hotting sun, they would have their breakfast.

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Labaneh Balls

You may have already dried our Labaneh dip with chili and walnuts. its delicious. its not hard to make labaneh, you just hang up some yoghurt in a muslin and go to sleep. Despite it being very easy, its even easier to just get some out of your fridge in the morning. So if you make a lot you can preserve some and they will last you months.

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Sumac Eggs

Believe it or not this is basically a weekday breakfast in Palestine. Its simple enough if you aren’t making the labaneh and bread from scratch and you already have them in your fridge/ freezer. Just fry up some eggs and chop some tomatoes. this is a good breakfast for 4.

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Whipped Feta Yoghurt with garlic roast aubergines

This dish is one of my mother’s favourites. The garlic, aubergine, parsley and olive oil combination is a traditional and classic combination in Palestine. We have added the feta yoghurt to this traditional dish to make it a whole lunch that you only need mint tea and warm bread to make perfect. the aubergines are traditionally deep-fried, but we increasingly bake in the oven- its easier and healthier as i work to shift the baby weight!

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Ka’ak al Quds

In Jerusalem, street corners are bustling with street sellers who have wooden carts piled high with Ka’ak. You can stop by or call out of your car for the Ka’ak, baked eggs, falafel and tiny parcels made of old Arabic newspapers willed with salt or za’atar. they call out that they have fresh ka’ak and are usually sold out before the morning is done. It makes a pretty perfect breakfast. In Palestine, people get to work extremely early in the morning and then stop for breakfast with their colleagues in the office kitchen at about 9am and its oven ka’ak with a selection of cheese, vegetables, yoghurt, hummus and falafel enjoyed with hot sweet minty tea.

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