Monthly Archives: September 2013

making makloubeh…


So food and cooking are truly wonderful things and learning about new dishes is one of the nicest things about living with people from other countries. Been meaning to post about this for a while…this is Makloubeh, a Palestinian kind of upside down rice and chicken affair…

the small stop-motion film shows the crucial moment when the Makloubeh is tipped out…usually its cooked in a ceramic dish to avoid sticking…

I amended slightly this recipe from here, and am assured by a Palestinian friend that it is authentic:

Chicken – 1 Whole (1.5kgs)
Potatoes – 3-4 medium size
Aubergine – one large
Onion – 1 big
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Olive oil – 2-4 tablespoons
Vegetable oil for frying
Rice – 750g
Spices for the chicken:
Cinnamon ground – 1/2 tspn
Cardamom ground- 1/4 tspn
Coriander ground – 1 tspn
All spice ground – 1 tspn
Seven spices ground – 1 tspn
Cumin – 1 tspn
Turmeric – 1 tspn
Spices for the rice:
Salt and pepper- 1/2 tspn each
All spice – 1/2 tspn
turmeric – 1 tspn
1. De-skin the chicken, cut into 12 pieces at the joints.
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a big pot and add the diced onion.
3. When the onions sweat a little add the chicken to the pan followed by the spices and mix well. Keep turning over and brown the chicken in the pan.
3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water and let it cook for sometime till the chicken is done.
4.Slice the aubergine and potatoes separately.
5. Deep fry them separately or if you want a less oily version you can bake them till soft.
6. Boil water in another pot. Add the rice. When the rice is 80% cooked, drain well, then add the spices to the rice, mix well and set aside.
7. Take a round ceramic oven proof dish and grease it with some butter (1tspn) on the inside. Then sprinkle a little of the spiced rice at the bottom.
8. Now spread a layer of the chicken pieces (reserve the cooking liquid) on top of the sprinkled rice.
9. Then spread a layer of baked/fried aubergine and potatoes on top of the chicken.
10. Finally add the spiced rice on top. Press the rice with a lid and then pour the reserved broth on top of the rice. Close the lid and put it in the pre-heated oven (at 350 degrees) for 15 mins till you see the steam rising as you open the lid.
11. Keep a round serving platter ready. Remove lid and replace it with the upturned serving platter.
12. Put your oven gloves on and turn the ceramic dish on to the serving platter
13. Let this rest for 2 mins. Take a serving spoon and tap the dish on the top and all the sides slowly to release the makloubeh from sticking to the dish.
14. Uncover the the dish slowly. You should have the whole makloubeh with the chicken on the top like a cake.

other foody posts on this blog:

tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

some of the mushrooms may be radioactive…

I love a bit of foraging me, but have always avoided mushroom hunting as it seems to be really the territory for someone who REALLY knows what they are doing…i mean potential liver failure and/or death just for eating the wrong kind of wild mushrooms…well it’s really not worth it…and the Xerocomus, badius – below were labelled radioactive!

wild mushrooms from Biella

wild mushrooms from Biella

So i was kite flying amongst the clouds in the local Bielmonte mountains (this will be another post) and i found this marvellous display in front of one of the eateries up there…all from the Biella area. Click on the thumbnails below for a better look:

Anyway for now my lack of expertise does not stop me from enjoying looking at them and one day i hope to go wild mushroom hunting with an expert…until then i will merely enjoy the view.

if you only have 120 seconds of your life, what story would you tell?…

There is still time to submit to the FILANDO BIELLA International 120 second Film Festival 2013 (see earlier post).

DEADLINE is extended up to the 25th of September:


Deadline Extension

halu halo


Halu Halo is a Filipino summertime favourite food…imagine layers of tropical fruit, coconut, beans, avocado, milk, condensed milk, ice, ice cream, bean paste…and a lot of other stuff…for me it sounds pretty unusual but it does works…though you are pretty full afterwards…Richard explains the layers in the video below…

rolling the ball…

Ok, so i like this work, Ayed Arafah is interested in the concept of playing and how we tend to lose this capacity as we become older…he rolls a sphere made from plastic waste bins around Biella, encouraging people to join in and play with it…


So Biella is a tough crowd, it’s not always so easy to engage and involve on the the street but this work, works. People constantly ask what it is, why, they join in and push, they even get out of their cars to push…and mostly they smile. It’s a simple thing but not so easy to do and for a little while creates a common language that has nothing to do with speaking English, Italian or Arabic…


…a family plays with the ball for ages…and here is where this kind of intervention is nice, you actually start to talk to people, rather than just existing in the same space with them…

P1070698“guarding” the sphere while the artist buys chips…photo by ayed arafah

P1210601sphere and pigeons

…meanwhile Ilaria swaps cotton candy for aluminium…but that’s another post i think: