With the arrival of spring, the people of Britain are looking about them for an escape from heavy winter food. Thoughts are turning to barbecues, picnics and summer salads with fresh, juicy ingredients. Healthy, low-fat foods – after all, winter coats aren’t the only thing many of us need to shed!
At Warda, one of the best Lebanese restaurants outside Central London, head chef Youssef Harb has decided to share some of his family’s best summer recipes. For many chefs, their recipes are closely guarded secrets, but in the best Lebanese tradition Youssef believes that good food – and good recipes – should be shared.
Muhallabiyeh is a delicately flavoured Middle Eastern speciality made with milk, rose water and orange blossom syrup. The ingredients are gently heated and thickened with corn flour, then chilled to set to a silky, creamy texture. As long as you have the patience to keep stirring, it is very easy to make and, served in individual ramekins or dessert dishes and topped with fruit syrup, fruit pieces or pistachios, it will add an exotic twist to your dinner table.
1 litre milk
15g rose water
15g orange blossom syrup
Fruit syrup or piece of fruit (to decorate)
1. Boil the milk in a saucepan. Stir in the sugar. Blend two tablespoons of cold water with the corn flour, then add the resulting paste slowly to the milk, whisking all the time. Continue whisking until the milk thickens.
2. Add the rose water, orange blossom syrup and the mistaka. Take the milk off the heat, pour into serving dishes and allow to cool. Place in fridge until set, sprinkle with pistachios or decorate with the fruit and serve.