Despite being a big fan of more well-known Lebanese foods like falafel, hummus and tabbouleh, I must sheepishly admit that I know very little about real Lebanese cuisine. The reality is that I don't really eat Lebanese food very often - not because I don't like it, but rather because it's just not the first thing that comes to mind when we go out for something to eat.
There is something quite extraordinary about pastry. I find it truly amazing that a simple mixture of butter, flour and water can magically transform in the oven into a light, airy puff, or develop a multitude of flaky layers. There are so many desserts that would be amiss without pastry. What would the world be without the 'pie' in apple pie, the buttery crust of a lemon meringue tart, or the light softness of a chocolate éclair?
If you asked me as a child what my favourite cuisine was, my answer would have been Italian. I still adore pizza and pasta. I remember when dining out used to be all about enjoying simple, honest food. This was particularly so when we frequented our local Italian restaurants, which dished up home-cooked favourites free from the garnishings, ellusive dish names and ambiguous menus that seem to be so popular today.