06 Sep 2018
Joudie Kalla, best-selling author of Palestine on a Plate, made a guest appearance at Quarto's Old Brewery offices on Tuesday, to judge a cook-off held by its employees. The recipes were taken from Joudie's new book Baladi (Jacqui Small), which introduces readers to more of the Middle East's best-kept secret – Palestinian cuisine.
Over fifteen dishes were brought in for Joudie and her mother to sample and many other members of staff joined in the culinary feast. With so many impressive recipes for Joudie to choose from, it was difficult to declare a winner.
"I was thrilled to be at Quarto's offices this week to sample the fantastic array of dishes made by its employees. The culinary skills of the group were outstanding and it was refreshing to see the originality of the dishes, all unique in their own way. Choosing a winner was incredibly difficult as I enjoyed all the recipes, as did my mother – who is the real judge! It was rewarding to see the team experimenting with my recipes and a real pleasure to witness the enthusiasm for traditional Palestinian food that I love so much. Well done to all of those that took part."
Among the dishes made were:
Salatet Baba (Smashed lemon potatoes with spring onions and chilli)
Spicy sujuk puffs with sesame seeds
Auntie Majeda's Daoud Basha (lamb meatballs)
Salamoun bi dibs al-rumman (salmon skewers with pomegranate marinade)
Mshaat m'a dagga (Cauliflour fritters with a spicy tomato sauce)
Pistachio, courgette and lemon cake
Salatet bateekh ma' feta (Watermelon, feta and red onion salad with mint)
Muttabal shamandar (Roasted beetroot with chilli, yogurt and dill)
Muttabal kousa (Smashed courgettes with chilli, yogurt and mint)
Batata bil leymoun wa bassal akhdar (Lemon, spring onion and dill potatoes)
Apple and pistachio jam
Ghraybeh biscuits (Pistachio biscuits)
Hala's knafeh cheesecake
Hummus bil shatta (Hummus with spicy shatta)
Sabanekh (Spinach, sumac and onion pasties)
In the end it was the fantastic Salamoun bi dibs al-rumman (salmon skewers with pomegranate marinade) made by Campaigns Manager, Melody Odusanya, and the amazing Apple and pistachio jam, made by Publishing Operations Manager, Caroline Guest, that came out on top.
Joudie also gave a special mention to the delicious Daoud Basha (lamb meatballs) made by Quarto's UK & Europe Sales Director, Andrew Stanley and the tasty Pistachio, courgette and lemon cake (made with seeds instead of nuts) from Senior Campaigns Manager, Jessie Sullivan. Editor Charlotte Frost pulled all the stops with her incredible Hala's knafeh cheesecake - surprising Joudie who was impressed to see it so beautifully replicated!
Digital Marketing & Communities Executive, Megan Winter-Baker, who organised the event, said:
"It was a privilege having Joudie and her mother here on Tuesday to taste our attempts at her wonderful recipes. Over fifteen employees brought in their Palestine-inspired creations to be sampled, a fantastic effort from the teams! I'm sure those of us that spent time making one of Joudie's creations would have caught a small glimpse of Palestine for a few moments. Many thanks Joudie for bringing to life your heritage and sharing these incredible dishes with us."
Baladi is available for purchase from 18 October 2018. Copies of the book are available now for pre-order on Amazon.