Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Dreaming of Palestinian food…

Tonight I’m editing together the ‘eating’ section of the Nablus chapter for Bradt’s Palestine guidebook. That means I’m in danger of dribbling on my mother-in-law’s couch, and will have to go to the Jerusalem restaurant on Hindley Street some time in the next few days for a fix of Palestinian cuisine. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the Al-Aqsa kanafeh bakery in the Old City, just for old times’ sake…

2 comments on “Dreaming of Palestinian food…

  1. debbie
    January 24, 2011

    Hi Sarah I’m enjoying reading your various posts. What is the stuff on the circular tray – for those of us who haven’t been able to visit Palestine? It looks like it might be sweet… if its kanafeh – what exactly is that?!

  2. admin
    January 24, 2011

    Hello! Yes, the stuff on the tray is kanafeh, which is sadly not at all vegan. It’s amazing to watch it being made, though – in this case in the Al-Aqsa bakery in the Old City in Nablus. It’s bright yellow semolina which is spread in a layer in one of those big metal trays you can see in the picture and toasted till it turns that amazing orange colour. A layer of crumbled sweet cheese (I think goat’s cheese) goes on top of the semolina and melts into a lovely chewy consistency, which I guess kind of holds the whole thing together. When it’s cooked another of the metal trays is placed onto the first one (which, mark you, is roasting hot), and a very agile guy flips the whole thing over and douses it with sugar syrup. Then it gets whipped from the kitchens on one side of the street to the bakery shop on the other side, where the guy in the rather scarily insanitary-looking apron cuts it into big squares and doles it out at lightning speed and, with your molars pleading for mercy, you add about 3 inches onto your arse in one bite. Fantastic!

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