About the Author:

Salma Hage, now into her 70s has been a natural cook since the tender age of 5 years old. As the eldest of 12 children, Salma has always had a love of food. Salma’s enormous family lived on a farm in Mazraat Et Toufah which translated means ‘apple hamlet’ due to the abundance of fruit in that area.

Salma’s culinary education came from watching her grandmother and mother preparing daily meals for her large family.

“I learned quite a bit from my grandmother as I spent a lot of time with her while growing up. My mother had her hands full with so many children. Then I learned a lot from mother-in-law and from my sisters-in-law. I had five sisters-in-law who were all wonderful cooks. I learned so much from them” Salma says in the introduction of her cookbook ‘The Lebanese Kitchen

There were no written recipes in Salma’s home, when cooking, they relied on conversation and their senses. In 1967 Selma emigrated to London with her husband Heni, and their son Joe. She started as a kitchen hand in her 20s and then slowly worked her way up to head chef of an English Catering company. Now living thousands of miles away from her beloved Lebanon, Lebanese food was an intricate part of their lives. Her many years of working in London kitchens taught her an appreciation of English cuisine and enabled her to add her own Lebanese touch to classic English dishes, such as her boiled eggs with Za’atar soldiers recipe.

Salma had this to say when asked about her English culinary influences: “I’m a professional English cook. I went to college and worked for over 30 years as a cook, but at home… I cook Lebanese”

Click here to see what Salma has to say about her book ‘ The Lebanese Kitchen’.

Although all her relatives have now moved away from Lebanon, once a year they all travel back to their home land to remember the life they once lived together there.

About the Book:

With over 500 recipes and the size of a large doorstop the “The Lebanese Kitchen” may seem slightly intimidating at first. However from the very first page, with a comforting layout and clear and concise instructions, one gets the feeling that Salma herself is sitting with you in your kitchen taking you through her beloved cookbook.

The Lebanese Kitchen ‘s introduction is a brilliant breakdown of what every cook should know about Lebanese food, as Salma explains the basic ingredients one needs in their pantry for Lebanese cooking, many of which are already there. Starting from the very basics of Lebanese cooking the natural flowing recipes turn a novice cook into a Lebanese expert with every turn of the page. In each section of her book, Selma gives us many variations using the basics which we learn in the beginning, including 8 variations of hummus alone, for example hummus with beet as well as hummus with pumpkin and cilantro.

There is something for everyone in ‘The Lebanese Kitchen’. Salma covers almost all uses of meat with recipes ranging from Lamb manakish, a Lebanese take on a pizza, to Lebanese Lamb burgers. However ‘The Lebanese Kitchen’ is not just a recipe book for meat lovers. A large section  is dedicated to vegetables and vegetarian meals, showing the many ways that one can cook vegetables in a delicious and nutritious way.

Salma’s experience in English cooking is also evident in this recipe book as she adds a Lebanese twist to a few classic English dishes. This has made ‘The Lebanese Kitchen’ appealing to a far greater audience.

Salma’s main love however lies with breads, pastries and sweets as she shares with us her recipes for phyllo and nut baklawa and ma’amoul cookies, along with many traditional pastries, many of these include the fragrant essences of roses and orange blossoms, perhaps the most distinctive of all of the items in the Lebanese pantry.

Between these amazing recipes, beautiful photographs provide an insight not only into Salma’s life but into the daily lives of traditional Lebanese families, telling  stories of their own.

The Lebanese Kitchen’ is a must-have recipe book for anyone with a love of unique and delicious food, and at Wickedfood Cooking School we will definitely use it as a constant reference for our future Lebanese Cooking classes.

Interested in buying this book? Visit – Red Pepper Books – The South African online bookshop, is able to offer you great prices on any book you are looking for, and they deliver to your door. Pay only R460 for this book (Recommended Retail Price = R538)  Red Pepper Books is offering Wickedfood Cooking School an EXTRA 10% off this book. Simply type in the promotional code WICKEDFOOD on the shipping page of the checkout process and your purchase will be reduced by a further 10%, a total saving of R78.

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference. Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients. We’ve just launched a new and exciting class, Wickedfood Master Cook. Think Master Chef with a fun twist.