Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

I recently came across Ottolenghi’s Semolina-Lemon Syrup Cakes, and it reminded me of my grandmother’s semolina cake; she used to make it for me all the time when I was growing up!

Inspired by Ottolenghi's recipe, I added rosewater to simple syrup for a Middle Eastern touch to this cake. The cake, paired with candied lemon slices and drizzled with rosewater simple syrup, has a coarse texture, making it a wonderfully versatile dessert. Whether you want to eat this with a scoop of ice cream or with a cup of coffee for breakfast, this lemony cake will be your new favorite!

Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Serves: 8 - 12 slices


Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal

  • 1 cup semolina flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 lemons

  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Rosewater Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Candied Lemon:

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Sift together the almond flour, semolina flour and baking powder on a medium bowl. Add salt to the mixture and whisk everything to combine.

  3. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk oil, sugar, and lemon zest from 2 lemons together, about 3 minutes. With motor running, gradually add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and juice of 1 lemon and whisk everything to combine, about 1 minute.

  4. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place the cake on the middle rack, and bake until golden brown, approximately for 60 minutes. Lightly press the top of the cake to test — it should feel lightly springy when done. Let cool for 20 minutes or so in pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.

Rosewater Simple Syrup & Candied Lemon:

  1. In one easy step, combine water, sugar, juice of 1 lemon, and rosewater in a pot. Cook it over medium-heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add thinly-sliced lemon to the simple syrup, and cook it on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes until the lemon is tender.

  3. Transfer candied lemon to a wire rack.


  1. Drizzle rosewater over a cake. Garnish the cake with candied lemon slices on top.

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Kibbeh is an essential dish to lebanese cuisine. There are various different forms, and techniques used to make kibbeh. You can bake it, fry it, or grill it. Make it into balls, stuffed and baked, or crispy and flat. During my last trip to Lebanon I learned how to form the kibbeh balls. They look like footballs - I might not be an expert yet but I tried!

The beet yogurt steals the show - it is refreshing and delicious, complimenting kibbeh so well. Use it as a dip for your next mezze spread! 

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 5-6 people


  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur

  • 1 onion, peeled

  • 2 tbsp buharat-7 pepper seasoning (cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper)

  • 1 lb lamb, ground

  • 1 lb beef, ground

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds, roasted

  • 1.5 tbsp kosher salt

Beet Yogurt:

  • 2 cups greek yogurt

  • 3-4 roasted or boiled beets

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt



  1. Preheat your oven to 450F. 

  2. In a medium size bowl, soak the bulgur with lukewarm water for 10 minutes.  

  3. Place the onion and 1 tbsp of buharat in a food processor and pulse for 60-90 seconds or until well-minced.

  4. In a large bowl mix the ground beef and ground lamb with the onion mixture, the remainder of the buharat, salt, drained bulgur, and sesame seeds.

  5. Mix well and until fully combined. 

  6. Drizzle olive oil on a sheet tray and form footballs with the meat mixture, by pinching the ends. Put the finished, football-shaped mixture on the sheet tray.

  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

  8. Serve with the beet yogurt dip.

Beet Yogurt:

  1. In one easy step, add all the ingredients into a food processor and mix well until well combined! Taste for salt – and adjust seasoning.

  2. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

  3. Cheers!

Mini Man'oushe

Mini Man'oushe

The traditional and best way to start your morning in the Middle East is with a man'oushe in hand. A man'oushe is a flatbread that is normally made with zaatar, and finished with fresh veggies rolled up and eaten like a sandwich. If you get it at the right place, fresh out of the oven - it is to die for. Crunchy, simple and delicious. I decided to make this breakfast essential into a mini hors d'oeuvre to add to my spring menu! With different toppings and sauces this can be catered for any event or client! 

The dough recipe is from David Lebovitz' website !!

Enjoy the recipe - comment below and let me know if you try it out!

Photos by Edouard Massih

Total Time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Serves: 4-5 people


  • 1 cup tepid water (slightly warmer than room temp)

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2.5 cups (350g) AP flour

  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Za'atar Topping:

  • 1/4 cup za'atar

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

Pizza Topping:

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • 1 cup shredded cheese

  • 6-8 sliced mushrooms


Dough Making:

1.    In a stand mixer bowl, activate the yeast by sprinkling it over the water along with the sugar. Let sit in a warm place until the yeast starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. 

2.   Using a dough hook attachment, stir in the olive oil, flour and salt. Mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes - until the dough becomes a smooth ball, but is sticky when touched by your finger. The dough should start pulling off the edges of the mixing bowl.

3.   Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume - about 1.5 hours. 

4.    When the dough has doubled in volume, roll it out onto a lightly floured countertop, and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece of dough out, until the dough starts to resist. Cut the dough into small circles with a circle cutter. Then roll again to stretch the mini circles. 

Topping & Baking:

1.      When ready - preheat the oven to 450F. 

2.     Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil, and start lining up the man'oushe circles the parchment paper. 

3.     In a small bowl, mix the za'atar and extra virgin olive oil to make the za'atar spread

4.     Spread the za'atar mixture on half of the man'oushe circles, and spread tomato sauce on the other half.

5.     Finish the pizza man'oushe with a little cheese, and a slice of mushroom. 

6.     Bake the man'oushe for 5-7 minutes or until golden, and crispy. 

7.   Serve warm, or cool down and freeze for later use. 



4 Go-to Toast Recipes

4 Go-to Toast Recipes

Toast toast toast - the easiest fastest snack or go to meal. You can start your day with it, have it as a midday snack, or end up forgetting to eat dinner and substituting a toast instead. My 4 recipes are a variety of my go to's they are simple, delicious, refreshing, and healthy. 

2-Way Ricotta Toast

Total Time: 15 min
Serves: 4 people

Ricotta Toast:

  • 1 loaf bread, sliced

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced

  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp sea salt


  • 1-2 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals

  • 1 pint mushrooms, sauteed

  • Sea Salt to taste


  1. Toast bread to your desire

  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, and salt. Whip together until well combined.

  3. Start by smearing the toast with 3-4 tbsp of ricotta.

  4. To make it sweet - top it off with a drizzle of honey and rose petals.

  5. To make it salty - top it off with sauteed mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt.

  6. Enjoy!

Labneh & Zaatar Flatbread

Total Time: 20 min
Serves: 4 people


  • 1 pack naan or pita bread

  • 1 quart roasted garlic labneh or greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup zaatar

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 each cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 2 each radish, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch mint

  • sea salt to taste


  1. Heat a large skillet on high heat.

  2. Brush the naan with extra virgin olive oil.

  3. Crisp up the naan on both sides until golden brown, 5-7 minutes.

  4. When ready place the naan on a large plate.

  5. Start layering the toppings, starting with the roasted garlic labneh. Spread 2-3 tbsp on each flatbread.

  6. In a small bowl mix zaatar with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle all over flatbread.

  7. Arrange the cucumber, and radish as desired.

  8. Scatter the mint, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, and finish off with a sprinkle of sea salt, and Enjoy!

Curried Fish Toast

Total Time: 15 min
Serves: 4 people


  • 1 loaf bread, sliced

  • 1 cup white fish, cooked - this is a great way to use leftover fish

  • 1/2 cup celery, diced

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, or greek yogurt

  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder

  • Pickled red onions

  • Cilantro, chopped

  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Toast bread to your desire

  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine white fish, celery, mayonnaise, curry powder, and 1 tsp salt. Combine all the ingredients, until fully incorporated.

  3. Smear the toast with 1/4 cup of the white fish salad.

  4. Garnish with pickled red onions, cilantro, and sea salt to taste.

  5. Now munch and crunch away!

Double Honey Dutch Baby


In high school I participated in a german exchange program. My host mother showed me a whole new side to modern housewife. Every morning the fresh bread was delivered, and the table was set for a feast. Eggs, sausage, sliced salamis, cheese, fruit! Everything you could ask for. One day she made something different - Pfannkuchen - with fresh, and cooked berries, freshly whipped cream, and mint. That is when I fell in love! All the ingridients are in your fridge - so go make it and fall in love!

 Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 25 min
Serves: 4 people


  • 1/2 cup AP flour

  • 3 eggs

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Salt

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 lemon, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees. In a blender combine flour, eggs, milk, honey, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.

  2. Blend together until combined, and foamy about 90 seconds.

  3. In a large cast iron skillet, or nonstick casserole - melt butter, and pour batter.

  4. Bake until the cake is golden and puffy, about 18-20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!

  5. Finish off with honey and a fresh squeeze of lemon.

  6. Slice and dig in <-- right away!

You can serve this with any seasonal fruit, berry, or do a plot twist and throw some sunny side eggs and bacon on there!

Cold Brew for the addicts

Cold Brew

This is what gets me going every morning. Slurp down a large glass of cold brew in the hot steamy shower. This shit is more addicting than instagram!

Total Time: 10 min
Serves: 2 quarts
Yield: 8 cups


  • 2 cups coffee, course ground (Pick your favorite - mine is Stumptown Hairbender)

  • 10 cups filtered water

  • Coffee filter, or cheesecloth


  1. In a large jar or container, stir together the ground coffee, and 10 cups of cold filtered water.

  2. Cover and let it brew in the fridge overnight, or for 12 - 36 hours.

  3. The longer it brews the stronger the coffee is.

  4. Strain through cheesecloth (easier), and store in desired jug or container.

  5. Fill a glass with 4 - 5 ice cubes, and equal parts of coffee concentrate and water.

  6. Taste the mixture and adjust the water and concentrate parts for desired taste.

  7. Add cream, milk, or simple syrup to taste.

Let's be honest only a New York hustler can take it black
(Am I right or what?)



This is the ULTIMATE most epic TASTIEST flavorful OUTSTANDING BRUNCH EVER! No but really this is the best crowd pleaser. It's hearty yet healthy and delicious. Shakshuka is a Moroccan breakfast food. This my way of making it. You can make this meal vegetarian by easily switching the sausage to vegetables like mushrooms or spinach! So invite a few friends over and make a homemade brunch for once! 

Video + Photos by Sean Fagan

Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 people


  • 1 tbsp EVOO

  • 1 large onion, peeled + sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled + finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp aleppo pepper (or paprika)

  • 3 sausages, casing removed

  • 1 can diced tomato

  • 2 large tomato, diced

  • Salt + Pepper

  • ¾ cup, goat cheese ½

  • 5 eggs

  • 6-7 parsley leaves (garnish)


1.    Preheat oven to 400F.

1.    In a large cast iron skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over high heat.

2.     Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it translucent and changing color. 

3.     Add garlic, cumin, and aleppo pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

4.    Add the sausage, and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes.

5.    Stir in the canned tomato, and fresh tomato. Season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tomato juiced have thickened up.

6.   Crumble ½ cup of goat cheese, and mix with tomato sauce.

7.    Crack eggs on top of tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

8.    Bake for 8 minutes.

9.    Garnish with crumbled goat cheese, and parsley!

10.   I normally enjoy this with a side of greek yogurt, pita bread, and cold brew! Cheers!!!

Basic Granola

Basic Granola

Sometimes basic is good, you can use this granola on anything, salads, parfait, crumbles! It adds a crunch to your day!

Photos by Carmen Ladipo

Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6 people
Yield: 1 large bag


Basic Granola:

  • 2 cups organic whole wheat rolled oats

  • 1 cup raw almonds

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds

  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup dried fruits (raisins, apricots)

  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

  • 3 tbsp lavender honey (optional)

  • 2 tbsp Aleppo pepper brown butter (melted)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Sea salt to taste

Yogurt Parfait:

  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

  • 3 segments grapefruit, cleaned

  • 4 segments clementine, cleaned

  • ½ cup basic granola


1.     Preheat oven to 350F.

2.     In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

3.     In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, honey, and melted butter together.

4.     Drizzle the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. 

5.     Mix well.   

6.     Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, drizzle olive oil.

7.     Spread the granola mixture on the cookie sheet, bake for 35-45 minutes, by checking and stirring the granola every 15 minutes.

8.     Pull the granola out of the oven when it's brown and crunchy.

9.     While it's still warm, stir in the dried fruit.

10.  Let it cool down, and become crispy!

11.  You can eat this granola as is, jar it up for the week, and use it on anything from parfait, to salad, or even chicken salad sandwiches.

Yogurt Parfait:

1.  Assemble the parfait by starting off with the Greek yogurt, topping it off with granola, and citrus.

2.  Eat up, and stop being hangry!