Jordan Roundup: What I ate

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Well, how do I begin? What didn’t I eat? (chuckles*). Eating is a big part of Jordanian culture and when you hang out with your family there’s a good chance there’s going to be food involved. At least for my family! The spread above is dessert of fruit and kanafeh at the top for about 20 people. Dig in!

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For breakfast on the first morning we had mana’eesh which is dough topped with za’atar (a spice) – though I always have the cheese version. And in my sleepy state I may have taken a (huge) bite or two before I remembered to take a photo.

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And after many years, I finally learned the source of all the cheese we eat over there. It’s sheep cheese that is preserved in water, salt and poppy seeds. It’s very salty when it comes out of the (giant!) tin so you have to soak it for a day or two in water.

I’ve always eaten similar foods when I visit but this year I finally noticed how much this cheese is used in cooking over here. You fry it to have with breakfast (or even just have it straight from the bowl), it’s on mana’eesh, used in countless desserts like kanafeh and qatayef (see below) and it’s used in so many savoury dishes it makes my head spin. I’ve now discovered where my love of cheese originated!

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These sweets are always in my bag to take home with me – the office loves them! They’re called Ma’amoul and are biscuits with fillings. Blue is walnuts, red is dates and green is pistachios. My favourites are the date filled ones. They come in different shapes and sizes and are popular to give to your guests that come to visit for Eid.

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This main meal is called M’sakhan. Roast chicken served on flatbread with onions. Usually eaten with your hands. I don’t because I’m a rebel. My family always laughed that my brother and I ate with a knife and fork but this year so many of them did the same. My cult is growing!

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I seriously want to eat this entire plate. Qatayef is mainly served during Ramadan so the last time I ate some of this was when I last came to Jordan during Ramadan. About 13 years ago. That is way too long to go without this sweet treat. It’s comparable to a pancake filled with sweet cheese. The same cheese as above in fact. So versatile!

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And a meal is not complete without a baby cup of mint tea. This and arabic coffee is my rocket fuel!

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It’s been awhile but we finally returned to The Bake House which I haven’t visited since 2012. I had the lemonade with mint again. Always a favourite with me.

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And I had the banana and strawberry pancakes which were amazing.

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Now a trip to Amman isn’t without venturing out and sampling some new food. Firstly, this frappachino type thing from Nestle Toll House. The name I am familiar, the fact that they have coffee shops, I didn’t know! Well anyways it was diabetes in a cup and it was freaking delicious.

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We also tried an Italian place called Little Italy at Taj Mall with some of the family. My uncle likes to order the entire starter menu for everyone to share so I got to try loads of new things. Most of which I have no idea what they were exactly. But delicious, yes!

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I decided to be adventurous today so I tried things I have never tried before. This is lemonade with basil. IMG_3020

Followed by a truffle risotto. I love risotto but have never had truffle anything (does chocolate count?) so gave it go. Quite nice but I still prefer my usual seafood risotto’s.

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Afterwards we were all lured in by the gelato stand outside so indulged in a cone. I tried strawberry balsamic which was pretty tasty.

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And this was only a peek of the many things I ate while I was there. Now I’m hungry. But that’s all the indulgent food for me for now. I’ve got 2 months until I eat the world in Florida and I need to fit into my shorts!

What’s tickled your tastebuds recently?

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