It seems that there is going to be peace in Lebanon for a while, so off I go! Weds. I went to the Chouf again, this time to see Siham and Hani Ghanem in a village called Warhanieh. They were very hospitable to me. We sat in a terrace overlooking fields of fruit trees distilling 'jurri' rose flowers and making delicious rose petal jam. Siham makes this beautifully scented jam with absolutely no artificial coloring agents, so how does her jam turn out to be candied bright pink? The secret shall be revealed in the book!
Siham and I stayed hours discussing mouneh recipes while the distilled rose water slowly poured into a glass bottle. The smell was truly amazing. Later, she set up the barbecue to make barbecued akoub! It is simply a true delicacy. It's very simple, after cleaning the akoub thoroughly, a fine coat of olive oil is spread on the thistles with a kitchen brush to give added flavor. When the akoub is cooked, salt is added. Voila! Enjoy... I can't wait till school is over, I'm going back to Warhanieh to show my children this beautiful village.
Culinary subjects apart...
Hani took me to see a very gifted family made of very talented sculptors called the Assaf family. I was really impressed by their work. They have built a beautiful house surrounded by a large piece of land. They are working on making a museum on the land to display their work. The sculptures seemed alive, they were so neatly done. If you have the chance, go and visit them, it is really worth the trip.