Chapter Nine – “I don’t know it, but I like it”

Today’s cooking was conducted in four languages: the usual mix of English and Arabic, with everything repeated in German for Mohammed, who will shortly be joining the rest of his family in Berlin, and Spanish for Mohamad, who found out yesterday that he will be moving to Spain! Luckily, ‘pizza’ needs no translation and we set about perfecting the recipe from last week’s Pizza Friday, adding garlic and chilli powder (surprisingly, Nour’s idea) to the tomato sauce and thinly sliced aubergine, mushroom  and caramelised onions as toppings. We made six pizzas; by that we mean we stepped back and watched as the now experts rolled and topped their homemade pizza dough. What we will take the credit for, however, is having managed to fit all six (large) pizzas into just two ovens all at the same time (this is no mean feat and involves some serious tray balancing, but we’ve got it down). 

Alongside the six pizzas, we served a gigantic salad, inspired by the one that the ladies upstairs made us last night (recipe below) AND a somewhat confusing surprise sweet treat with the leftover pizza dough… 

Whilst people were finishing up the pizzas, we snuck downstairs to wash up. What’s nice about the kitchen downstairs is the lack of wifi, meaning that there are no distractions but that we also have to make do with the limited selection of music we have saved on our phones, namely Little Mix’s ‘Shout out to my ex’ which happened to be playing as we heard a tap on the doorframe. We were surprised to see sixteen year old Mahmood, a usually very quiet and solitary visitor to the OH and the very first person we met when we arrived. He had come to join us as he loves washing up but usually chooses to stay away from the busy kitchen. Luckily he wasn’t scared away by our horrendous singing and dancing and instead, when we hastily apologised for the terrible music choice, paused before concluding, to our surprise, ‘I don’t know it, but I like it’, which seems very relevant to all aspects of life at the OH. He stayed and helped us, chatting away despite insisting that his English was no good. 

The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur of language lessons, puzzle making and nail painting. As the day drew to a close, Kim, Nour and Mohamad gathered up surplus bags of toys to take to one of the nearby squats in Exarchia. Upon leaving the squat, they were each handed a jar of Shanklish – a ball of soft cheese, mixed with chilli flakes, coated with Za’atar and left to dry for ten days. They were told to add olive oil, parsley, onion, tomato and lemon and to leave for one week but we were too impatient and so enjoyed it for dinner tonight, figuring that this way we would have to try making our own sometime soon!

Just Salad Salad (served 25-30)

  • One red onion, ‘smooth cut’
  • 10 mini cucumbers, chopped small
  • 8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Big bunch o’ parsley, ‘smooth cut’
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Salt, pepper and accidental chilli powder 
  1. Put everything into a bowl
  2. Serve

Korosant chocolat war mo’oz (chocolate and banana pizza log*) 

  • Leftover pizza dough
  • 1 banana
  • 200g hazelnut chocolate (why don’t Greek supermarkets sell plain chocolate?)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  1. Roll out dough
  2. Slice banana and arrange down the centre with chocolate squares
  3. Fold over and seal
  4. Bake in preheated oven (200C) for 30 minutes or until hollow to the tap
  5. Slice, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and serve warm

* By the way, we don’t mean log in the elegant festive Yule log way, but in the literal sense of fallen piece of tree. 


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