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Walnut and cinnamon kataifi

Categories: Friday feeling

A baklava-esque treat of Ottoman origins from Arabica

One looks for many different things in a good Friday feeling: comfort, a sudden sugar rush, an element of surprise and the sweet anticipation of a treat you have enjoyed before. If there is one thing for which we would never look, it’s shredded wheat.

Not in Friday feeling—nor in anything else for that matter, now that bircher muesli and avocadoes have kicked boxed breakfast cereals into the long grass they invariably tasted of anyway. So when we elected to try kataifi, a baklava-esque treat of Ottoman origins, we were dismayed to hear Majd at Arabica describe it as shredded wheat.

"Shredded wheat?" we exclaimed, "As in the stuff you don’t eat for breakfast?" Majd laughed: “No. It’s a type of pastry, common in Greek and Middle Eastern shops.” It might look healthy, but fear not: this is butter and flour, shredded like angel hair, rolled around a sticky mix of walnuts, cinnamon and more butter before being baked and then soaked in lemon-scented syrup. It is, without a doubt, a bona fide Friday feeling.

Golden shards and lemon scents
It is comfort: its golden shards and lemon scents recalling verbena-strewn villa terraces overlooking sunlit cathedral spires. It is, like baklava, a sugar rush in the extreme. In the soft, warm sweep of cinnamon, subtly balancing the walnut’s creaminess, it has the surprise note of sweet spice, before descending into the lush butteriness only pastry can offer us. It is, says Majd simply, his favourite thing.