Crumpety pancakes | Yemenite lachuch

The first time I met Irit, she was running around her tiny hole-in-the-wall caff, blistering aubergines and squeezing oranges, chopping salad and plonking plates onto tables. All the while screeching Hebrew greetings and orders to her customers (most of whom she knew). Her long grey hair was scraped into a messy bun and she wore a

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Pig head soup anyone?

Just a quick note to raise a glass and say hello and happy Christmas to you all! This is me pretending I’m still drinking cognac in Armenia, when really I’m sat on my mum’s sofa not doing much. Please indulge me for just a moment. Coming home from a six-month trip across the “wild east” has

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Salvage and save

It’s with a heavy heart (read: heavy stomach) that I left Georgia this week. What an incredible, colourful country that one is. And I chose this pic because I think it epitomises the way Georgians cook and eat, reuse and repurpose so well. I took it in Tbilisi, the capital, where cooperative shops are a

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Georgian beef flatbreads

I’ve been meaning to give Nora a proper intro for ages now so, finally, this is she. Hello Nora. Reasons given are: she’s a great cook, a firm farmhand and a good soul. She also has a toothless smile, a grip to cripple you and the ability to make kubdari (Georgian flatbreads stuffed with spiced beef or

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Stuff and roll: Armenian pasus tolma

Armenia. What a beauty.  We’ve arrived in the south after getting a straight three-hour ride to a roadside in the middle of nowhere. The sun is shining, turning arid landscape golden. Some men sell potatoes. Me and my new travelling companion, Cina, are trying to get to a village, some three kilometres from here. We

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Armenia, walnuts, tea

Check out these walnuts! These are whole unshelled walnuts, soaked and cooked until the hard shell becomes soft and edible. Bite into one and you can see how the shell encases the whole walnut inside. Who knew? In Armenia, popoki murabba appears on the table with breakfast or a pot of tea; whole glistening black

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Svaneti, Georgia

Mornings in Svaneti, high up in the Georgian mountains, follow a slow rhythm. It’s a purposeful rhythm, but unhurried, methodical, each person with their job to do. Chabu chops wood, old Nora stokes the fire, Zaza brings in the eggs and a bucket of potatoes, the cows are milked, coffee made, the ducks and piglets

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Breakfast in Bosnia

Steaming pans of scrambled eggs and fried chanterelles, piles of eggy bread with lashings of creamy cheese and ajvar, doughy bread fritters with sweet jam and – my favourite – oozy, rich cicvara (pronounced seets-vuh-ruh)… Bosnian breakfasts are meant to be approached with an empty stomach and the willingness to fill it. They are, much

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A national obsession

I’ve fallen in love with Georgian khinkali. Soft, juicy, wonton-like dumplings, with a thick, doughy outer layer encasing herby ground meat, potato or cheese. It seems the entire Georgian population share this obsession. You can eat khinkali everywhere. But go into the northern mountains that surround the villages of Kazbegi and Pasanauri where they say they taste best. Probably because

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