In the kitchen – wall basket

Bamboo wall basket by unknown artist, Japan, dated 1930s (Showa era) – 17.8 × 8.9 cm
Exhibited at “Masters of Bamboo Art,” Erik Thomsen Gallery, NY (Nov. 2015)


In the kitchen – Chef Corrado Assenza


If I may, I highly recommend you watch Vol.4, Episode 2 of Netflix’ “The Chef’s Table.” It is dedicated to the Sicilian Pastry Chef Corrado Assenza, from his Caffè Sicilia in Noto, Sicily.

I loved everything that was presented from his approach to baking; the treasures that came out of his kitchen such as granita, gelato, almond cookies, brioche and so much more; and his insistence of high quality products and making almost everything by hand, one by one.

And then I smiled a big smile when he spoke about apricot jam (marmellata di albicocche). He spoke about it with so much tenderness almost as tender as the jam itself and just the way I think about it. He said it was the first jam a child tasted,  as it was the case for my son; the one that had to be made at home, as we do; and of course, bringing the amount of sugar to a minimum to enhance the natural flavour of the apricot.

If I may, you can find many apricot jam recipe on Fig & Lemon: Apricot & Rose Jam, Apricot and Vervena Jam, Apricot Jam with brown sugar, Jam with small apricots, among others.

He concluded by speaking of living a life of quality and simplicity, the same way he approaches his kitchen. I liked that very much.

Photo: Gelato al basilico e zafferano/mandorla/limone, Caffè Sicilia, Noto – via Passione Gourmet, Italia.


Nawruz mubarak from our kitchen to yours!

!نوروز مبارک   —   Nawruz mubarak!

Happy Persian New Year from our kitchen to yours.

The Haft Sin, the seven offerings that start with the letter “s” (س) and some more, are all set-up to welcome the new year. This year, we set it up wishing the world well, with a special thought towards the ones who continue to bare the brunt of senseless violence and war.

An apple so that the world may always be beautiful and healthy.

Greens and flowers marking a peaceful renewal and the arrival of Spring.

Dried fruits so that love and wisdom may imbue the hearts of all.

Vinegar celebrating age and granting the world patience. We need it so much.

Sumak, the colour of sunrise so that tolerance and acceptance prevail against brutality.

Garlic for medicine so that the sick and wounded may heal, and hurting hearts as well.

Coins for the wealth of wisdom and the generosity of compassion.

And the mirror (silver plate) and the candle to bring light into the hearts and remove hatred.

Eggs for the fertility of the earth, the body and the mind, towards peace.

Sweet pastry so that words may always be kind.

And of course, a book of Hafez’s poetry so that every day, life may be celebrated with beauty.

Thank you.


In the kitchen – plums

Whenever I bite into a plum, I am always reminded of “The English Patient,” when Count Almásy tells the nurse, Hana, after biting into a plum: “This is a very plum … plum.”

“The English Patient” was written by Michael Ondaatje (1993) and made into a movie under the direction of Anthony Minghella (1996). Both versions are wonderful.

The bowl is from Turkey, and I bought the plums this morning at the market.

In the kitchen – Palestine

Photo taken by the Palestinian Chef Hind Tahboub.

There are more photos on this link and all are beautiful. I encourage you to visit.

The link actually brings you to a program on France Culture in French, where Hind Tahboud talks about the millenary tradition of Palestinian food, and all the influences from the region. She tries through food to keep the Palestinian culture and identity alive, and likens it to a “terre de mémoire” (a land of memory).