Sonya & Brad
Sonya and Brad are originally from sunny Brisbane but had been living in the UK for around a year when I shot their lovely lunch. They've since moved back to Oz and are currently living in Sydney. When they were both in London Sonya was deputy editor at the wonderful Khoollect and Brad a policy offer for a cancer research institute.
They're both keen cooks and really enjoy experimenting with Middle Eastern flavours and find those flavours tend to work best with meat free recipes. They spent their Sunday with some of Sonya and Brad's friends from Oz as well as some other Khoollect friends cooking dishes from The Lebanese Kitchen & Lazy Cat Kitchen.
What’s your earliest memory of a Sunday Dinner and what did it entail?
For both of us, it would probably involve outdoor barbecues. Sunday dinners would usually include plenty of crispy, cold salads. Brisbane’s sub-tropical, so much of the year is about escaping the kitchen and avoiding any cooking that involves using the oven.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up on a Sunday?
The first thing on our Sunday agenda is always making a big pot of coffee; then we often Skype friends and family while they’re still awake on the other side of the world.
Who do you spend your Sunday with?
Sometimes the two of us will head to a museum or art exhibition together; other times we’ll meet up with friends or have some people over. And sometimes we’re travelling. But Sundays always start and end with the two of us.
What do you enjoy most about Sundays?
The pace! Sunday’s probably the only day of the week we take a little time to slow down. We both keep a little too busy, but Sundays are for unwinding. Sunday is about food and fun. We try to meditate everyday, to clear our heads, and sometimes if we’re feeling creative we might pull out the watercolours or a sketchbook. Sonya might do some writing.
On a Sunday evening, we like to end the day by crawling into bed with a good documentary. Sundays pose a great chance to catch up on some reading too, which is something we both love to do. Sonya reviews a book each week, so Sunday is a perfect opportunity to take a book to the park or to the couch.
Do you have any long-standing family traditions?
When we lived in Australia, we would usually drive to the bayside area of Brisbane to visit one or both of our families for dinner on a Sunday. Most weeks, dinners will be served outside while the sun’s setting, to the tune of cockatoos squawking in the trees nearby. And, the feast wouldn’t be complete without getting bitten by lots of mosquitos.
Do you eat the same meal every week?
We’re all about variety. We rarely repeat the same meal in a month. We get bored too easily!
What’s your guilty pleasure on a Sunday?
A delicious tipple paired with a good book, newspaper or magazine. And good music!
What’s on the menu?
Pumpkin kibbeh and mezze.
Who’s cooking the meal?
Brad and Sonya
Who are you sharing the meal with?
A small group of friends
Where are you eating the meal?
In our living/kitchen/dining room space.
Rinse the bulgur with water and place in a bowl. Pour over 2 cups of boiling water and and cover the bowl. Leave aside for 20 mins while the water absorbs.
Filling - method
1. Bake pumpkin until soft.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add and saute onion for a few minutes on low/middle heat until
3. Add the spice mix and stir around in the pan.
4. Add the pumpkin, chickpeas, walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
5. Season with salt, sumac and chilli. Fry for a few minutes and leave to cool.
Shell - method
1. Once the bulgur has absorbed all the water, add salt, spice mix and grated onion. Mix and
knead well with your hands until the mixture forms a dough.
2. Chill the dough in the fridge.
Bringing it all together
1. Keep a small bowl of water to one side to make sure you can keep your hands moist.
2. With wet hands, take a spoonful of shell mixture and press it into your hand - mould a cup shape. Place a teaspoon of the filling mixture into the middle and mould the dough around it. Close the shell and make sure there are no gaps.
3. Once you’ve finished, heat oil in a small pan on the stove. When the oil is hot enough add the kibbeh balls and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.
4. Remove the kibbeh with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
Recipe: Adapted from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage and Lazy Cat Kitchen.
300g fine bulgur
3 tsp salt
3 tsp Lebanese spice mix
⅓ cup plain flour
1 onion, grated
1 red onion, diced
1.5 cups of pumpkin, baked
½ cup of chickpeas, roughly chopped
3 tsp Lebanese spice mix
1 tsp sumac
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Oil for deep frying