I love it when my family comes to visit.  I know some people get 18 shades of stressed at the thought of family coming to stay for a week, but nothing makes me happier for a number of reasons.  The obvious one is that I love my family and don’t get to see them enough, living an ocean apart.  The less obvious one is that it gives me a chance to take care of them for a change.

You see, I am the youngest of three.  And not just the youngest, but the youngest by seven years (for my brother) and nine years (for my sister).  That means that, regardless of the fact that I’m now 40 (mumble-mumble) years old, they still see me as their baby sister who needs looking after.  Plus, since I’m only home once a year, everyone makes a big deal about my visit and puts on a big spread or takes the mister and I out.

So, when they come here, I get to spoil them and cook for them and take care of them.  From the moment their tickets are booked, I start thinking about what we’ll do and where we’ll go … but most of all, what I’ll cook for them during the week.  Yep, for months, I work on menus, trying out recipes and filing away the things I think they’ll like.

This is one of those dishes that both my brother and sister raved about when they were here.  It’s another dish that is perfect for summer barbecue season – serve it with some grilled chicken, or – even better – some grilled lamb!  A little pita and hummus on the side and you’ve got yourself one tasty dinner!

Fattoush Salad

  • 2 cups each flat leaf parsley and cilantro, roughly chopped (they are the bulk of your salad)
  • 1 cup mint leaves (no stalk), chopped slightly more finely than the parsley and cilantro
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 punnet cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons (a little less if they’re extra-juicy)
  • 1 tsp Lebanese sumac
  • 3 or 4 pita, split and toasted

Toss the chopped herbs, cucumber and tomato together, then dress with the olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper.  Crumble in the toasted pita – don’t crumble it fine, keep the pieces 1-2″ large – then toss again.  Lastly, sprinkle the sumac over it and give it one last toss.