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Sadly for Australian readers, the best of British spring/summer seasonal food has, via the markets, gripped my imagination, so recipes like this one (not nearly as exciting in an Aussie winter) may just need to be saved for a few months. Sorry.


Ingredients (makes 4 serves)

  • 1kg very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green and 1 red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sherry or wine vinegar
  • 100g (4 slices) day-old white bread (crusts removed and soaked in water for an hour)
  • a pinch of cumin (to taste)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 glasses of water
  • salt & pepper


  1. Put the tomatoes, peppers and cucumber in a large bowl.
  2. Add the garlic, oil and vinegar. The correct amounts of oil and vinegar make the difference between good and delicious gazpacho, and you must use extra-virgin olive oil for the perfect flavour.
  3. Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add it, stirring the ingredients together.
  4. Pour into a blender and mix gently.
  5. Once you have a smooth consistency use the back of a ladle to push the soup through a sieve, and if it’s too thick add water – as gazpacho is eaten cold it should taste light and refreshing and have a liquid consistency.
  6. Add the cumin and salt, cover and refrigerate until cold.
  7. Serve with small bowls of the soup ingredients to garnish to taste


  • This recipe is lifted from here, after seeing it in yesterday’s Observer Magazine  – it is from Elena Meneses de Orozco, the wife of the Spanish ambassador. She says, in theinterview with Laura Potter:

“When we were little, my sister and I used to help my mother make gazpacho. Every household in Spain has a slightly different version, but my mother taught me this one and I’ve passed it on to the embassy chef, Rafael Perez. The traditional recipe was just water, bread, vinegar and garlic (poor vineyard workers ate it while working). The tomatoes and peppers were added when Columbus brought them to Spain in 1492. Now, summer isn’t summer without gazpacho – every family in Spain eats it every day for three months.”


I have been neglecting the food blog for ages, despite some plodding, but have been inspired by my friend Felicity’s zeal for and Alexandra’s kind word of mouth referrals. This is a bit of a favourite over the last few weeks as it is easy, keeps well and is healthy/cheap/delicious. This recipe is based on this one, with a range of modifications after some testing.

Zucchini Slice

Ingredients (makes 5 serves as main, 15 as snack/canape)

  • 5 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 375g / 2 or 3 large zucchini, grated (I prefer a fine grater)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100-200g ham or rindless bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm lamington tin – I use two strips of baking paper that can later act help you lift it out – overlapped in a cross shape.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined, sift in the the flour and beat until smooth.
  4. Add zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and oil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and chilli if using to give it a kick.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Slice into squares and serve warm with a salad/vegies. Delicious cold the next day – reheats well.


  • Variations have included – leeks with the onion, both pre-cooked. Leeks worked well, and pre-cooking for a few minutes meant I could use oil and juices from the pan in place of the 1/4 cup above.
  • Can also scatter some cheese on top before or during cooking.

My sincerest apologies to everyone who waited for this recipe, promised ages ago (both of you!) Note that I’ve updated my header image to celebrate it’s delayed release.

Also, I need to make a confession from the outset – I’ve been eating the second recipe with my M’judrah since I learnt to make it, and so am not really a professional Loubia B’Zeit cook yet – other readers with more experience with this dish should feel welcome to comment below. Even though I’m now a more learned cook of this dish, I have eaten different versions of it many times, and had made my own version based on them, but then in research for this posting found out it’s a thing that other people have been doing for, well, thousands of years.

So here’s three versions:

  1. the most authentic,
  2. the version I’ve served many people before, and
  3. a combination of the three.

(i) Loubya bi Zayt

Ingredients (all recipes make 4 serves)

  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, diced or 1 tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt & pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until very soft, around 10 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, beans, salt and pepper and any dried herbs (if using – see note below), and saute for on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or till the beans started to wilt.
  3. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice, then bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and cook over a very low heat until the tomatoes form a thick sauce – around 45 minutes.
  5. Season with fresh herbs or salt & pepper here if using them, but delicious as is.

(ii) Lebanese Green Beans (with Tomatoes)


  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)


  1. Boil/steam the beans until they’re relatively soft – some people like the beans almost falling apart, but they can’t be too firm or they won’t absorb the dressing properly.
  2. While the beans are cooking, mix up the olive oil, lemon juice and salt to make the dressing .
  3. If you want to use tomatoes, dice them here too.
  4. When the beans are ready, drain in a colander, return to pot. Using a serving size spoon, press the dressing into the beans (and tomatoes if using) and mix well.
  5. Can be served hot or cold – I like to eat with m’judrah.


  • This dish doesn’t obviously doesn’t have a tomato sauce, but instead I sometimes (before I saw the light and found so many recipes) I just added diced tomatoes with the dressing. I’d prepare these first, along with the dressing, so that they both could be ‘pressed’ into the warm beans. As a general cooking tip, read about mise en place.

(iii) Vee’s ‘Skip’ Loubya bi Zayt

This method quickly boils/steams/microwaves the beans first, then uses the pot to make the tomato mixture which the beans can be added to.


  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp (to a generous glug) EV olive oil
  • 1 – 2 large brown onion(s), finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt


  1. As with recipe 2 above, boil/steam the beans until they’re tender.
  2. While the beans are cooking, saute the chopped onions, garlic and some salt in olive oil until very soft.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until heated through.
  4. Once the beans are ready, mix the lemon juice and oil and pour over the drained beans.
  5. Add the dressed beans to the tomatoe mixture, cook futher if the mixture needs to be reduced.
  6. Serve with m’judrah and Lebanes-style yoghurt.


  • This version as I cook it now is most like Spanish versions of this recipe, known as Judías verdes con tomate, see here.

General Notes

  • This was the best blog entry I found for this dish – it explains the cooking method well and has several useful links.
  • Lots of Lebanese recipe sites, and my friend Katherine who taught me this dish (who learnt it cooking with her family), all have a particular method of trimming and preparing the beans: break the ends of by hand and then break into halves or thirds by hand. Probably more authentic, and a reminder this dish is some more peasant food that doesn’t require OTT preparation with a ruler or sharp knife.
  • This dish, has thousands of variations- I think it is called Zyetinyagli Fassolakia, Fassulya or Fasulye in Greek (similar in origin to Fasolada I guess?) and the Internet reveal endless variations from across the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterrainian. Some ideas you may want to try:
    • several sites, particularly Greek ones suggest boosting this dish with some finely sliced/diced potatoes or carrots – these would need to be either sliced finely enough to cook in the oil, or pre-boiled with the beans to a similar softness. There is a demo of a Greek method here.
    • This really good Lebanese recipe site features mint in with their green beans – something I love, so will try and update this when I do.
    • One of the more exotic variations was this Algerian recipe, including walnuts and several spices, but no tomatoes.
    • Lots of dishes include several spices, including cinnamon, all spice (go easy there), cumin, paprika or even a little cayenne. Experiment with your favourite spices, or to match another dish from the general region.
July 2018
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