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all eyes on Lebanon

With little coverage in the UK news about what's happening there, our eyes are very much on Lebanon.

We're regularly in touch with our two producers who say that the situation is tense. Being in the north, olive oil producer Youssef Fares' olive groves are unaffected. Yasmina Raffoul of Bassatin Baanoub in the south, mentions the constant drones overhead. Although far from the border, the Israeli strikes can be heard from their land.

In recent days these have increased in intensity.
Shorkk donated £100 to Najdeh Association so that Sania Khalil could take the children on a day trip out of Shatila camp. However, because of the lack of security the trip hasn't been possible yet.

"Is the war in south Lebanon ending or just beginning?"by Mounir Rabih

Photograph of the destruction of buildings in Houla, South Lebanon taken by Aziz Taher Reuters News Agency
photo: Aziz Taher/Reuters
The article above from the Lebanese daily Orient Today gives a detailed look on the next "crucial" phase of the "war" as tension rises.

wheat in Akkar

Although Lebanon imports most of its wheat, farmers in Akkar, north Lebanon, still grow ancient varieties. This rich agricultural land (the olives we import grow in this region) is home to many wild varieties of wheat.

Roasting green wheat to make freekeh is a tradition in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. Jenny Gustafsson's article from a series on agriculture in Lebanon called Land Stories is a fascinating in-depth look at the history of growing wheat.
burning green wheat to make freekeh in Lebanon in Akkar photo by Jenny Gustafsson
photo of Hasna Ali known for her knowledge of making freekeh
credit: Jenny Gustafsson

freekeh risotto

We found a recipe for freekeh risotto flavoured with saffron in a newly published cook book called Bethlehem.

Written by Palestinian chef and owner of Akub restaurant in London Fadi Kattan, the book is a culinary love letter to his home city of Bethlehem.

With Zejd's aromatic saffron to hand, the risotto was fragrant and nourishing, in fact much more interesting than a regular risotto!
a bowl of saffron with bags

souk el salam in Piccadilly

raising funds for Palestine

We're joining in the fund-raising at the souk el salam on Sunday 9th June. Organised by Sami Tamimi, Noor Murad & Pierre Malouf, the money raised will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Amos Trust.

Among an array of chefs, Phil Khoury, Chef Ayesha Kalaji and Lebanese soul food restaurant Lebnani will be dishing up their best for the lucky 500 ticket holders!

logo of souk el salam
As tickets have sold out for the event at St James's Church Piccadilly if you are keen to donate, the link below will take you to the Amos Trust emergency Gaza donation page.

recipe of the week

a broad bean treat

So popular in Lebanon and Syria, this dish has to be the nicest way to cook broad beans. UK broad beans might not be available yet, but your local green grocer should have some from Italy or Spain.

If you've only ever steamed them, adding fried crushed garlic and fresh coriander along with a pool of golden extra virgin olive oil is a treat indeed.
extra virgin olive oil 500ml

markets in June

Saturday June 8th Ardagh Food and Craft Market, Horfield Common Bristol 10am-3pm

Sunday June 9th Souk el Salam, St James's Church Piccadilly, London 11.30-1.30pm ***SOLD OUT***

Saturday 15th June Whiteladies Market, Bristol 8.30am-1pm

Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd June Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival
Our first time at this 3 day festival! Tickets are available on their website.
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