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September 1


Saint of the day:
Saint Simeon Stylites

Simeon Stylites' Story

As a thirteen-year-old shepherd of Sisan, Turkey, Simeon heard a Gospel reading of the Beatitudes that greatly affected him. Entering a nearly monastery, he learned all the Psalms by heart and began to manifest the extraordinary spirit of self-denial that was to become a hallmark of his spirituality. Thereafter Simeon lived as a hermit. In the year 423 he imposed on himself the unusual mortification of living atop a pillar only a few feet in diameter and about ten feet high. Later a much taller pillar over sixty-five feet high was built for him. The local bishops and abbots tested his virtue by commanding him to come down from the pillar, a command they immediately rescinded after the hermit demonstrated his humble willingness to obey them. One bishop even brought him Holy Communion. Simeon devoted himself to prayer, but also gave exhortations twice daily to those who gathered around the pillar to hear him. His words won the conversion of pagans in the audience. Simeon would urge his listeners to pray for the salvation of souls. Following his mother’s death, he offered particularly fervent prayers for her.






Church of Saint Simeon near Aleppo




We are celebrating with Syrian recipes because our Saint has ties to Syria.


Muhalabia – milk and orange-blossom pudding

Muhalabia is a classic and simple Middle Eastern pudding, similar to a blancmange in France or the Italian panna cotta. It is a very traditional dessert in Syria, and is often served in homes and restaurants. 



  • 1 litre of milk

  • 100g white sugar

  • a pinch of salt

  • 50g cornflour

  • 2 tbsp orange blossom

  • crushed pistachios


  1. In a saucepot, bring the milk, sugar and salt to a boil.

  2. Adding a little milk to the cornflour, mix it into a smooth paste before adding it to the milk.

  3. Add the orange blossom next, whisk vigorously and simmer for 10 minutes,
    stirring constantly until the milk thickens and properly coats the back of the spoon.

  4. Pour the thickened milk into ramekins or serving glasses
    and place them in the fridge for at least 2 ½ hours to set.

  5. Top with crushed pistachios, a little orange zest and serve.



Roast poussin stuffed with cous cous, served with a fennel salad, nigella flatbreads & yoghurt

I think that there is more than enough meat here to share for two, and we should all really be actively trying to eat more vegetables and less meat in consideration of both our health and the planet. This flatbread recipe will make a little more than you need. You can keep the dough in the fridge for the following day.



For the poussin (Chicken)

  • 1 poussin, with the wishbone removed

  • 125g cooked, giant cous cous

  • 50g raisins, soaked in water for 20 mins

  • 25g pistachio nuts, chopped

  • 20g chopped mint

  • 20g chopped parsley

  • 5g dried rose petals

  • 1 preserved lemon skin, chopped

  • 1 lemon

  • 5g chopped rosemary

  • 25ml olive oil

  • Salt, to taste

For the salad

  • 1 fennel, finely shaved

  • ½ pomegranate seeds & juice

  • 20 mint leaves

  • 20 flat leaf parsley leaves

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt, to taste

For the flatbread

  • 500g strong bread flour

  • 10g salt

  • 10g yeast

  • 350ml water

  • 25g melted butter

  • A good pinch of nigella seeds

  • Rock salt

  • Semolina


  1. For the flatbread, begin by crumbling the yeast into the flour, mixing thoroughly, and then add the salt and the water. Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, mix the dough for 10-14 minutes. When it is ready, the dough should come together and leave the bowl with clean sides. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth, and let it rest for an hour.

  2. To make the bread, preheat your oven to 240C/475F/gas 9 with a heavy roasting tray or ideally a pizza stone inside. Break off golf ball-sized pieces of dough from the main piece. As many or as little as you like, keeping the remainder of the dough for the next day. Roll the pieces to approximately 5mm thick, in any shape you like. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with the salt and nigella seeds. Place your bread on to a flat tray with no lip that has been dusted lightly with semolina. To cook, slide the tray into the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes.

  3. The poussin needs to be removed from the fridge 40 minutes before cooking. This is because the meat will cook far better from room temperature than it will when it is fridge-cold.

  4. Preheat your oven to 200/400F/gas 6. Mix all the other poussin ingredients together with your cooked cous cous in a bowl, holding back a pinch of both the pistachio nuts and the rose petals to garnish once the bird is cooked. Season the mix to taste with the olive oil, salt and lemon juice.

  5. Fill the poussin with the seasoned cous cous. Drizzle the remainder of the olive oil over the bird, then season with the chopped rosemary and salt. Cook the bird for 25 minutes, then cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

  6. For the salad, cut the pomegranate in half and hold it over a large bowl. Bash the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon, allowing the seeds and juice to be caught in the bowl. Add to this the finely shaved fennel, lemon juice, and season to taste with salt.

  7. Once happy with the seasoning, throw in the mint and parsley leaves. The key to this salad is that it is zingy and crunchy. So make it at the last minute just before serving.

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