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Nowadays, lots of people in anyone’s entourage are obsessed with gluten-free diets. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I have done some research and even tried not having gluten for a full month, but I guess I still need more information to make up my mind as to when and to whom is gluten bad.

If you’re faithful readers of this blog, you’ll know that half of my heart lives in London, the city of my childhood travels and last student year. What’s more, is that my sister’s been living there for the last three years so I’ve been visiting frequently. Inspiration strikes when I’m there and we constantly find loads of things worth sharing. So if you frequently visit London for work or to visit family and friends, here’s a series destined to give you a glimpse of the city through our eyes. 

Fall weather is fast approaching. This means the movies are the best place to be. Here are 5 small and cozy cinemas in London.

Yesterday marked the first day of fall. Although the heat is still on and humidity is more stable than ever, this date instantly makes me think about cooler temperatures, fresh air and a light cardigan.

I’ve been looking at recipes lately and I find myself drawn to soups and comfort food. This year, I have come to the decision of making more and more one-pot dinners. I collaborated with Bibayti to create recipes for Happy – the supermarket chain. Here’s a simple and inexpensive chicken and rice (in one pot the whole time, I promise!). Stay tuned for warm food and new recipes throughout the new season!

It is particularly hard to work in an environment that doesn’t resemble you. Even though you still find colleagues with whom you develop affinities and become friends, the environment can still be bad for you. It usually is a bad environment when you feel like you don’t belong or like it doesn’t reflect your personality.

The idea of turning 30 was devastating to me a year ago. It was all about being “out” of the twenty-something group, being “old” and entering real adulthood. Little did I know this was going to be the most enlightening age to me yet. On the 19th of August, a little over two weeks ago, I gracefully turned 30. What I thought was going to be shocking to me was actually smooth and soothing.

Mykonos or any other Greek island for that matter 🙂

Last week, I had the most relaxing time in Mykonos with my aunt, mom and sister. It felt so refreshing to be on a trip where all we could do was laze by the sea and walk around a town full of happy people on holiday.

We basically perfected our tan, swam in the freezing, clear water of the Aegean sea and walked around the cutest and most preserved island town I’ve ever seen.

In the world of Therapy, cooking and having a positive entourage have always been recommended to boost serotonin levels and increase relaxation and happiness. Over time, I have found that baking cakes have the superpower of calming me down, bringing me to impressive levels of serenity – something I didn’t know I was capable of, being the anxious person I am.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

In the past year, I was lucky to make new friends who love cooking and food as much as I do. Since I’m prone to sharing my recipes and not greedily keep them in a secret notebook, I’ve engaged in a new venture: gathering people around our stove. I find it so much fun and gratifying to have friends over with their favorite ingredients and recipes to cook all together and learn from each other. Laughs are also guaranteed!

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Based on these good times and on the atmosphere of family meals and children wandering around the cook in the kitchen to learn and get a taste of what’s cooking, we had our first cook-off not long ago. Hisham from Cookin5m2, Sarah who owns Dulce n’ Banana, Maya who writes Playing With Fashion, Betty who’s the great photographer behind BetKet Photography, Sleiman who’s the one behind K-frame, and of course my husband and favorite Chef Jean, were all here to lend a hand in a meal we all had together. Hisham made a delicious chicken pot pie, Sarah made a special apple crumble and we all worked to concoct entrees of all flavors and genres.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Food has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s culturally, ethnically, or religiously, it brings people together. Baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing is a pure pleasure of life.

Cook-offs are not only meant to give a chance to meet new people, but also to discover food and ingredients that people might not have come across before. Also, everyone can leave with leftovers and a new recipe.

In the future, I’d love to bring experienced winemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, etc. to teach others tricks and techniques.

The main focus of cooking in group is on socializing, learning to cook and to cook together, learning about new ingredients and types of food, maybe even how to shop for food before learning how to cook it.

The cook-off affected all of our moods positively. Having this meal gave us greater satisfaction because we cooked it together.

Cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and intrapersonally. Physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in upper limbs for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping. Furthermore, sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects.

This is the therapeutic value noted by the University of Alberta.

Here are more photos of our cook-off if you’d like to see. There will be other cook-offs organized so if you wish to participate, all you have to do is send an email to: breadonbutterblog@gmail.com ! 🙂

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Photos were all taken by the great Betty from BetKet Photography.

Dining table and chairs from Dfouny Technotel  – available for rent

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter

Mother’s Day is fast approaching so it got me thinking about the kind of food my mom cooks at home. The first thing that pops into mind is her famous beef stroganoff. She knows how much I love it and surprises me with it when I’m having the worst days and pop by for a visit. I can smell it when I enter their house and it just makes the happiest girl!

Today, I was lucky to have lunch at home. Since everyone, including my mom, was busy, I decided to make myself a healthy version of beef stroganoff. I had some serious doubts at first since I decided to use yogurt instead of cream, but it turned out to be delicious and guilt-free 🙂 Here’s the recipe.

Healthy Beef Stroganoff

What you’ll need (for 2 persons)

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 500 g lean beef, sliced
  • 8 medium fresh white mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 g fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it

  1. Melt the corn flour in the warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the canola oil (on low heat).
  3. Add the diced onions, beef and sliced mushrooms. Toss until the meat is cooked while seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside in a bowl or plate.
  4. In the same pot, add the yogurt and melted corn flour and stir until it thickens.
  5. Add the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the mustard and tomato paste and mix until combined.
  7. Season with more pepper and chili powder, add the wine, and stir until you obtain the preferred thickness.
  8. Bring to the boil then let it simmer for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

And you’re done! You can choose to have it with brown rice or a fresh green salad (that’s if you want to cut carbs on that specific day).

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

Bon Appetit! 😉

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter

If you’re faithful readers of this blog, you’ll know that half of my heart lives in London, the city of my childhood travels and last student year. What’s more, is that my sister’s been living there for the last three years so I’ve been visiting frequently. Inspiration strikes when I’m there and we constantly find loads of things worth sharing. So if you frequently visit London for work or to visit family and friends, here’s a series destined to give you a glimpse of the city through our eyes. 

This week, it’s all about workweek lunch. Here are 5 places to grab a quick lunch in Soho/Covent Garden.

Grabbing a cheap and delicious lunch in soho / covent garden can be a bit of a struggle when you’re indecisive and looking for a good value and satisfying meal. The overwhelming choices and the fear of falling into a tourist trap can be paralysing (too dramatic?) next thing you know, it’s 2 pm and you still haven’t decided where to eat!
After months of exploring, we bring you 5 great places to eat a cheap (ish) and exciting lunch:

Koshari st (A small Egyptian shop on St Martin’s Lane which serves only a couple of dishes – perfect for a filling and cheap meal. Try the hot sauce which is not killer hot and will add flavour to your dish!)
Wellbeing kitchen (A low budget korean cafe in covent garden which serves a number of Korean favourites for a surprisingly low price. The chicken katsu curry is one of the best we’ve ever had. The free miso soup that comes with almost every meal is a real treat.)
Smack lobster (A small cafe style space on Dean street that serves a variety of lobster rolls and lobster chowder. The seven samurai lobster roll is a must. The buttery soft but slightly crunchy bun is heavenly)
Pepe (An all time favorite, also on St Martin’s Lane, serves a variety of italian food. Get a box with a combination of two different pastas and thank us later. Unless you’re on a diet, then we’re really sorry)
Tobiko (Although slightly on the more expensive side, this small sushi shop on Garrick street is well worth it. Their hand rolls are honestly the best, with a proper crispy seaweed wrap – as it should be! The crab and avocado hand roll is so good you’ll feel a bit sad when it’s over.)
Bon appetit!

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter

When we need an escape from our routine and a change of scenery, we immediately plan a trip to explore a new country. Yet, we more often than not stop right in the middle of that booking because we think twice about the budget.

What we rarely think of is a weekend away in our own country that has many places left to explore. Places you never thought existed a few kilometers away.

Last weekend, the lovely people of Via Mina Hotel in Tripoli, invited us over for a relaxing stay. Believe me when I tell you I woke up on Sunday morning not sure of where in the world I was. The old souks of Tripoli are the miniature reproduction of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The pubs we visited at night were the reflection of Rome’s laid-back Trastevere. The streets around Al Mina region resemble the Old Croatian towns. This can give you a clear picture of the mixed feelings you get during your two-day stay.

That weekend was a huge eye-opener on the possibility of things to do in Lebanon. Here’s what you can do during a weekend in Tripoli.

Where to Stay:

Via Mina Hotel. This refreshing and cozy Bed & Breakfast is all you need to relax and unwind away from work and busy Beirut. What was an old inhabited house became the coziest place to stay. Just that smell of organic green tea soap gives your mind peace the entire time.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

What to do:

Visit the souks in the center of Tripoli. You’ll get the same experience as visiting the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul if you’ve been. Make sure you go to “Khan el Saboun” (i.e. the soap market), where you’ll find loads of organic soaps.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

Take a walk along the Mina. If you’re staying at the Via Mina Hotel, the Mina is a three-minute walk away. If you’re an early riser, you can visit the fish market  where people place bids on the freshest fish. You can also walk around the Mino area in the morning and witness fresh bread-making, live foul and hommos cooking and a joyful atmosphere.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

In the evening, there are pubs two minutes away from the hotel. Timmy’s is one of the crowdiest. Its architecture is also something you don’t see every day.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

If you’re craving for a nice seafood meal, Borj El Samak (which is right next to Via Mina) is a good choice.

Lately, I’ve been pessimistic about Lebanon and long to travel the world.  The most important lesson I learnt that weekend is to never make up your mind about something before you experience it yourself. We all have our made-up ideas about certain places and it’s easy to get influenced by the media, our parents’ anxieties, and even our own stubbornness.  But I promise myself, here and now, to be more positive and appreciate what we have.

Thoughts? 🙂

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter