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Holiday Festive Food with Sue (Tayta)


To celebrate the festive season, we’ve partnered with some of the very best home chefs in Australia to show you how they do family celebrations in delicious style.

Meet Sue, a talented cooking school teacher, mother, grandmother and a proud member of the Lebanese community in Australia. We went to Sue’s lovely home in Sydney to chat about her family’s favourite festive recipes, how food has helped make happy memories and what she loves about cooking.

I was born in beautiful Lebanon and spent my early years there, living in a very happy, loving environment with my family and friends.

I migrated to Australia in 1970 with my family. It was a bit hard at the beginning because I was young and raising four young children without support, as my family were all overseas. However, with a positive outlook and being grateful to have the opportunity to make a life in beautiful Australia, l grew strong and was determined to make it work!

I’ve always been a strong person that doesn’t give up easily. Australia being very multicultural certainly was an advantage, as we made friends easily.

Some of Sue’s favourite festive foods include Kibbee and Tabbouli.

Kibbee is Lebanon’s national dish. It’s made for any celebration or functions because it’s done in so many ways as mezze or main meal. I remember my mother, grandmother and great grandmother used to pound the meat in a large stone mortar and wooden pestle you can hear across all the neighbourhood when you make this delicious dish.

Tabbouli is another Lebanese favourite, in summer we make tabbouli salad at least twice a week, if not more. Tabbouli is the world’s healthiest salad! It’s not only delicious, but it’s good for you too.

When you make tabbouli, you always look forward to eating it. Your mouth will be watering in anticipation. I was very young when my mother showed me how to pick the parsley and mint from our garden and how to chop them very finely.

When I was young. My family used to go to our summer house in the Lebanese country for a three-month holiday. The village was our playground, we’d walk up to the mountain, drink fresh water from the stream and pick fresh fruit and vegetables for our mothers. We’d also picnic with friends and cook and bake with our grandmothers, these are the best memories from my childhood.

The best time our family spends together is around the table where everyone is eating, sharing stories, and enjoying the day’s activities. I believe food, cooking and baking bring family and friends together. We always share food with family, friends and neighbours.

I teach my grandchildren how to cook and eat Lebanese food hoping they will continue with our Lebanese traditions. I also wrote two cookbooks hoping that not only my family will cook and eat Lebanese, but that the majority of the community will try some of my recipes too.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but we are lucky we live in this country. For our end of the year holiday break, we’ll enjoy spending time with family, cousins and friends, catching up on what we missed out during this year.

Sue’s Tabbouli Recipe

Tabbouli (Tabbouleh)

Tabbouli is not only tasty—it’s also good for you. It can be served as a mezze or a salad with barbecued meat.

Ingredients

¼ cup burghul (crushed wheat)

5 cups of flat-leaf parsley (about 2 bundles), finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

A handful of mint, finely chopped 

3 spring onions, finely chopped 

3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

1 small Lebanese cucumber, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of salt, or season to taste

½ teaspoon of black pepper

½ teaspoon of Lebanese mixed spices 

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of lemon juice.

Instructions

Wash the burghul in cold water, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. In a bowl, combine the burghul, parsley, red onion, spring onion, tomato and cucumber. Add the salt, black pepper and spices, then the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well and serve with your favourite meat or cos lettuce.

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