Maschawi Mschakkaleh, Mutaeal Batinjan, Falafil, Muhallabieh

Saturday 20/11/2004

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Diary and Notes

We're still in Frankfurt and there is food everywhere. Surprisingly, along with the usual German fare, our hotel even does a traditional British breakfast. It was very much like the one I made last Sunday, considering that the sausages were little Nürnburgers and the baked beans weren't what you'd get at home (they were actually butter beans in a spicy tomato sauce, quite good actually).

Anyway, you don't come here to read about breakfast, what's for dinner Jon?

Ahh, Fran and I laboured hard, wondering what we should eat. We both agreed that if you are in a foreign country you should eat what is traditional to that country, even try to be regional if you can (when in Rome). So that was our plan, something traditionally German, i.e. Turkish. Yep, everyone in Germany eats Turkish food, it is to them, what the curry is to us and mighty fine it is too. However, the nearest Turkish restaurant (there were hundreds of cafes, but nothing nice and sit down-y) was a ways away and it was blowing a gale, so we decided to go to a Vietnamese place nearby, that we had seen earlier in the day.

Another failed plan.

No Vietnamese food for us. My poor friend Fran (who is about six months pregnant) can't suffer the smell of fish at the moment and as the Vietnamese place was attached to a giant fishmongers she couldn't go in. Instead we headed for a nice looking Greek restaurant we had also seen nearby, but we never went here either. What a fuss and bother today's blog is becoming. What we actually did, was notice a very swanky looking Lebanese restaurant, just opposite the Greek one. Now I love Greek food, but absolutely adore Lebanese and there was no choice (sorry Greece, excellent Olympics, but Arabic food is just more my thing) so in we went. It was very upmarket. I could just imagine Willem Duisenberg and Peter Mandelson coming here after a hard days negotiating European free trade, drinking a little too much vino and playing footsie under the table. Just what I needed after a hard days cake chomping and coffee drinking (but without dear Peter winking at me suggestively as he mentions the falling dollar and the serious problem of the American balance of trade deficit - Ooh Peter, I just love it when you talk dirty, tell me about residuals...).

So what delights did we have?

We decided a little variety was in order and got a selection of starters, a main course and some bread and had it all brought at the same time. I kept the reciept so that I could write the strange and wonderful names of what we had, but it was really what in Britain would be called a mezze, a selection of tasty things. There was salata libanieh (Lebanese salad, excellent and swimming in lemon juice), mutaeal batinjan (often called babaganoush, my favourite word in any language), falafil (falafel with yoghurt sauce) and maschawi mschakkaleh (a selection of skewered kebabs and salad). We also had an excellent bottle of Lebanese red wine (Kefraya) and some baklawa and muhallabieh afterwards (cardamon and pistachio semolina pudding). We could have eaten more but the quality was superb. In addition, almost like my wish for you on Lamb Arafat day, there was a dancing girl to entertain us while we ate our sweets. It was as if the ghost of Yasser was watching over me and remembering his lonely days of exile in Beirut.

Cake Blog

Mohrenkopf: I think this translates to moore's head (I don't think they'd allow that in Britain). It was a delicious ball of sponge, filled with cream, rolled in apricot jam and covered in very dark chocolate. Quite special.


  • Salata Libanieh,
  • Mutaeal Batinjan,
  • Falafil,
  • Maschawi Mschakkaleh,
  • Flatbread.

  • Muhallabieh,
  • Baklawa.