Lebanese and probably Turks and a few others please leave the room….


I suspect I have done something profane. The recipe said ‘lamb’ and lamb is horribly expensive here and the beef was on sale and what can I say?

So, we start off with a Malouf recipe. How lucky was this, picking up Saha for a song at a Geneva book market when I’d been looking that very day at buying it for lots.

My eye was taken by ma’ahani Spicy Sausages with Pine Nuts.

1 teasp cinnamon
” ground ginger
” sweet paprika
” nutmeg
” ground black pepper
half teasp ground cloves
1/2 teasp mahlab (crushed cherry seeds)
splash of red wine
40 gms pine nuts
500g minced lamb shoulder neither too lean, nor too fat
oilve oil for frying
lemon juice to squeeze
lemon wedges

In essence you mix everything together up to and including the lamb. Leave in fridge overnight. Form into little sausage shapes and fry in olive oil.

Okay. I thought mine were rubbish. I’m not saying that isn’t because I used beef – and beef of highly dubious provenance, I imagine…10CHF a kg. Well, it isn’t really going to be beef, I guess. And I’m not saying it’s because the mahlab was missing. But even if I’d done what the recipe required, I suspect these would have been on the bland side.

Take two:

Little Lebanesey Pies by me.

Take the mixture from above. Add dried sultanas, freshly chopped mint, some yoghurt for moisture and to bind. Mix thoroughly.

Get some premade pastry from the supermarket as it is much better than mine.

Make lots of little pies, eating as you go along. Mmmm. Much improved in my opinion!

To me, this is just a couple of hours out of my life when I potter about while doing this. If that’s going to make you huff and puff, does this make it worth it: I’m going to freeze most of them after they are cooked, I’m going to take them out just a tad early before they are too brown. At the drop of a hat, I have a lovely starter for any meal, serve with a little chutney or a yoghurt and mint dip. Or take them on a picnic. I’ve got guests coming for dinner next Sunday and these will be perfect.

my Lebanesey pies

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