I am so lucky to have met so many people along my business journey and adore sharing the love by featuring some of these wonderful people on the blog.
This week I am chuffed to show off my friend Karima Hazim’s amazing cooking with her Vine Leaves (Wara Enab) recipe. Her new business Sunday Kitchen is all about learning to love cooking whilst picking up some serious skills at her cooking classes in Sydney. Find out all about her here and in the meantime enjoy this week’s recipe! Over to Karima:
My name is Karima and I am a passionate home cook. I live with my husband and 19 month old daughter Layla. I have always been drawn to the history of food, and how and what people really cook, and after 10 years of working in fashion I have decided to pursue it as a career.
Sunday Kitchen (Instagram: @sundaykitchenau) was born out of a love for cooking, delighting and the desire to share that joy with others. Cooking should not be a chore although it could often feel this way. Sunday Kitchen is a place to learn, share and grow your confidence in cooking both inside and outside of the kitchen and ultimately share it with your family and friends. Two generations of home cooks, mother and daughter, come together to bring you beautiful and delicious home cooking to inspire and build on your foundations in the kitchen.
From simple, hearty family dinners to moreish, crowd pleasing weekend lunches. Sunday Kitchen is a tribute to traditional recipes and family rituals – an insight to what foods feed our soul.
About the Recipe…..
Vine Leaves are a labour of love. First and foremost you need to locate fresh leaves – worthy of the hours of rolling you are about to endure, such leaves usually come from a relative who has a vine growing in their back yard. But otherwise you can buy them from Lebanese grocers. Then it is about the roll – hours of stories, laughs, debates and distractions. Usually in a small group for efficiency but mostly just mum and I and Fairuz playing in the back ground. As for the dish, there are many ways to roll, stuff and cook vine leaves.
Our method, is how the people of Tripoli in Lebanon prepare them. By rolling them into short, pinky sized treasures, packing them tightly in a tall Bessemer pot over a bed of lamb and bone cuts. Vine leaves are certainly not a dinner for two, or four, it brings people together from start to finish.
Calling around for the leaves usually means you will be inviting the supplier to the meal. Then a few more people to roll, and before you know it there is twenty odd family members eating from this one pot. It really is something special.
My Tayta (grandmother) Amineh had 15 children, my mum was number 14. Growing up we would go to my Tayta’s house and and sit in a circle on a mat on the floor because it was the only way we would fit.
It would take 3 women to tip over the deep pot. Then we would sit around eating from a deep tray of vine leaves, lamb, bone and marrow. But you had to be quick, because there would soon be no more. I am forever grateful for those memories.
This is a very traditional recipe and method and should be treated more as a guide rather than an exact recipe.
With all cooking but particularly traditional lebanese cooking tasting and smelling along the way is extremely important as well as knowing what to look out for.
Preparing the leaves:
- Wash and soak the fresh leaves in water to remove any excess dirt, the leaves should be a fresh vibrant green colour.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and submerge a handful of leaves at a time to blanch until they turn a khaki green colour, repeat with all the leaves.
- Put in a strainer over the sink and run cold water over them to cool down. Allow to cool and then place on a tray ready for rolling.
- It is important the leaves are cool so as to not spoil the stuffing mix.
Whilst the leaves are cooling you can begin your stuffing mix. Place rice, mince, salt and spices and kneed together with your hands so as to bring it all together.
On a clean, flat, wet surface (I use a chopping board) lay a leaf flat with the rough side facing you and the smooth side of the leaf on the board.
The amount of filling will depend on the size of the leaf, but the aim to to have a uniform of rolled leaves to allow for even cooking. Therefore if you have two quite small leaves you can place them along side one another overlapping half way to form a bigger leaf or if you have a giant leaf you can cut it in half down the centre.
The average leaf should be palm size and requires 3/4 – 1 pinky length and thickness of stuffing, remembering the rice expands when cooking. Ensure you are relaxed and not tense whilst rolling the vine leaves. Place the filling about a centimetre from the base of the leaf, roll it to half way to ensure the edges have tripled and then tuck them into the centre. Be sure to press on the centre and pull it towards you to keep it tight.
To prepare the meat:
- Place the meat and bones in a clean sink and rinse very well with cold water.
- Place meat and bones into a pot with water and bring to the boil.
- Remove the layer of scum that comes to the surface.
- I then drain the meat in the sink and wash off any excess that is on the meat with cold water.
Ensure you keep tasting the juice of the vine leaves and adjust with more lemon accordingly.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and see you soon for more musing and inspiration!
Love Tiffany x
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