This week in SBS Food’s Blog Appétit – our round up of food blogs worth bookmarking – we bring you Dirty Kitchen Secrets.
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19 Jun 2014 - 1:08 PM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2014 - 2:21 PM

Blogger Bethany Kehdy was born in the Deep South of the US, but raised in Lebanon, the land of her father, where she was surrounded by food-loving grandparents and aunts. On the family’s farm, she grew up harvesting fruit and vegetables, tending to animals and learning to cook traditional fare. Now living in England with her husband and children, Kehdy remains enamoured with the sights, smells and flavours of Lebanon. She launched Dirty Kitchen Secrets in 2008 as a platform to document Middle Eastern recipes, followed by Taste Lebanon culinary tours. The blogger-entrepreneur is also the founder of Food Blogger Connect, an international food blogging conference in London. Ready for a Lebanese feast? Dig into Kehdy’s autumn banquet here.

“Autumn in Lebanon is, without a doubt, my favourite season. The cool Mediterranean breeze makes its way through, relieving us from blistering hot and sweaty days. Most importantly, it’s when harvest is in full swing. It’s an experience to witness all the greatness picked from the earth and then sit around the table with family and friends, knowing exactly where it came from and that your loved ones had a direct hand in bringing it lovingly to life.

“Autumn is also when preservation, known as mouneh, comes into its own to help extend the cherished bounty into the harsher winter months. Mouneh is a big part of our culinary identity and this ancient technique is used to preserve tiny eggplants stuffed with walnuts and garlic, among other dishes. Autumn, for me, is also when warming stews and hearty dishes start to reappear and I always find myself yearning for fresh, crisp green beans cooked in a rich tomato and olive oil sauce (loubieh b zeit) and other autumn favourites.”

 

I started my blog to…

“Share my recipes and experiments, which I’d been saving in a Word doc.”

 

The must-cook recipe on my website is…

Star anise yoghurt mousse with fig compote.”

 

I can’t wait to go back to…

“Lebanon and eat kibbeh nayye [raw minced lamb with bulgur and spices].”

 

My current food obsession is…

“Salmon heads ­­– I can’t believe people waste these.”

 

“Eating… mujadarah [lentils and burghul] takes me back to my childhood.”

 

Nugget of cooking wisdom…

“Keep it real and unprocessed.”

 

I learnt to cook from…

“Watching my grandmother, father and aunties, and practising from memory.”

 

When I go back to…

“Beirut, I’m usually gagging for a chicken and garlic-laden crisped wrap from Lala Chicken. When in Baskinta, our home in the mountains, I visit the local butcher for the freshest raw sheep’s liver.”

 

Friends always ask me to cook…

“My kebbeh, seeyadeyeh [spiced rice and fish pilaf] or cherry kebabs (from my cookbook).”

 

I always have…

“Pulses in my pantry; preserved meat and preserved lemons in my fridge; and frozen man’ousheh [Lebanese pizza] dough and stock in my freezer.”

 

The most difficult food to shoot/style and make look tasty is…

Mujadarah [lentils and burghul]. It looks like a big pile of you know what.”

 

Beyond my own blog, some of my favourites reads are…

“Greg and Lucy Malouf’s cookbooks, Claudia Roden’s books, Sally Butcher’s Veggiestan, which is absolutely terrific, and David Lebovitz’s blog and cookbooks.”

 

Top picks from Dirty Kitchen Secrets

 

1. Rustic hummus with cumin and pine nuts (hummus balila)

2. Baked kibbeh (kibbeh bil sayneeyeh)

3. Green bean stew (loubyeh b’zeit)

Loubyeh b’ zeit or green beans in olive oil (although, technically, it’s tomato sauce) is a Middle Eastern vegetarian one-pot dish.

4. Star anise yoghurt mousse with fig compote

 

Blog Appétit Editor Yasmin Newman

Blog Appétit is our curated list of go-to food blogs we love, with a focus on high-quality photography, trusted recipes, strong editorial themes and a unique voice and personality. View previous Blog Appétit entries.