About Maya Oryan

Food Stylist, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer

Honey Tahini Cookies -(feat.video tutorial)


I always wanted to post one of my recipe videos but kept on postponing thinking that it might be boring; until today, I was watching this recipe with my little daughter when she told me “this looks super easy, lets make some straight away!”

Not only I was happy that it took her only once to watch the video and wanting to try the recipe out, but also I was encouraged to upload my video and not to be nervous anymore about it.

If you love Halawa (Halva) you will love these cookies. They are both crisp and chewy and totally easy to make. The combination of Tahini and honey tastes like Halawa and who wants to resist this flavor.

These cookies will be your new favorite!

Honey Tahini Cookies

Makes 30


  • 1 stick / 100g butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup tahini (I used Al Wadi Al Akhdar tahini)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the tahini, honey and orange blossom water.
  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour to tahini mixture, combining well until forming a dough.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 170°C or 350°
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands, take a walnut size of dough and shape into balls. Arrange them on the cookie sheet at least 2 inches / 5cm apart. Dip the tines of a fork in flour and gently press a crisscross pattern into each ball. Dip fork in flour after every cookie to avoid sticking.
  7. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies begin to show cracks.

Meatballs, Potatoes and Rice – Daoud Bacha w Riz

Daoud Bacha and Rice - Photo by Serge Oryan

Daoud Bacha and Rice – Photo by Serge Oryan

If I were ever granted one superpower, I’d want the ability to manipulate time. Forward. Stop. Rewind.

It would come in helpful to forward insignificant days, zap undesirable phases, lap disappointing circumstances.

If I can stop time it will enable me to do all the things I want and I will never miss a deadline. How many times you wished for a moment to never end, for a pleasure to prolong in measures you never reached before, for those thrilling feelings to last longer.

If I can rewind time, I will have perfect control over my destiny. Not only I’d use this ability to catch back opportunities I never thought they were important, but also to run through again memories and time that touched my heart.

If you were granted one superpower, what would it be?

Last time I did meatballs, my friend Carole who lives in Dubai came over for lunch with her beautiful daughters, we sat all around the table and enjoyed a meal together and laughed. How I wish right now to rewind this day and live it as is all over again:)

Meatballs, Potatoes and Rice


  • 450g beef ground meat
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumb
  • 3 tbsp Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Pine nuts, toasted (optional)


In a small bowl, sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper and parsley, add the egg, flour and breadcrumbs and mix. Make small balls.

Heat oil in a large pot and add the meatballs to cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.

In same pot, add oil and drop in the onions and garlic to fry until golden. Add potatoes and tomatoes and mix gently. Cover with water and let it simmer on medium heat. Spoon the tomato paste in and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve with rice on the side.

About Last Night

“I promised Wael to join him at the spinning class this evening, but I think I’m going to take a rain check, as I really don’t regret any of the calories that made their way –amusingly- to my hips through my sophisticated palate, over dinner last night. It will be like cheating on your husband with Jason Statham, will you really regret it? Naa!”.

1 day earlier

My husband and I left the car with the valet and entered RARE, a charming restaurant, nestled in Ashrafieh.

For its 10th anniversary the menu has been re-invented by The Chef Cynthia Bitar, daughter of Nazira Bitar, and graduated from Chef Paul Bocuse school in Lyon. The new menu features an indulgent selection of starters and main courses accompanied by a rich wine list and an exemplary service.

Our host Wael Haddad recommended I try the oven-baked tomato and goat cheese tart as a starter. It was impossible to resist this flavorsome piece of heaven, lay on a crispy golden pastry and served with a delicious side salad. A star dish!


As for the main course, he suggested I have the oven-baked sea-bass with black rice calamari and chorizo. OMG! I it was so delicious I could lick the plate clean. What a creative combination of ingredients, a delectable choice worth every bite.


While clinking glasses with Cedric and Rania, -our friends- who joined us over this beautiful occasion, I stared with eyes wide open at Wael coming our way showing off with a banoffee pie, guaranteed to impress. Thumbs up!

I always wanted to eat at Rare restaurant, but was always postponing it, well in case there are other procrastinators out there looking for a one-of-a kind-meal, stop searching and book your table at Rare.

Below recipe was among my first posts and I proudly share it back!

Banoffee Pie Verrine Style



  • For the base: 60g butter, melted
  • 250g digestive bicuits
  • For the caramel: 100g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 can of Condensed Milk
  • For the topping: 4 bananas, sliced
  • Cocoa Powder, to dust
  • Chocolate curls, to decorate
  • Whipping Cream (optional)


  • Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter and stir. Divide the mixture into 12 small glasses and press into an even layer. Chill the base while you make the filling.
  • In a non-stick saucepan place the butter and sugar. When the butter melts and the sugar dissolves add the condensed milk and stir continuously. Bring gently to the boil. As soon as it thickens, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Spread the caramel on the biscuit base evenly and chill for about 1 hour or until firm.
  • Slice the bananas, dust liberally with cocoa powder and layer over the caramel.
  • Finish with whipping cream and some grated chocolate. Serve.

White Beans Salad

White Beans Salad

Hello World! Isn’t it a beautiful day or is it just me! Kids are at school, which makes it much more easier for me to concentrate on blogging and to stare at my screen and finish typing one whole sentence without being interrupted.

As much as I look forward for the school bus arrival in the afternoon, I SOMETIMES look forward for its departure the next morning. I must sound like a terrible mom, but it’s only when they’re at school that I enjoy my time guiltlessly! I can sense a lot of like-mindedness here, yes?

I can train 2 hours at the gym instead of 1, and when I go with Serge, I know that in between the reps we can leisurely chat, make plans or even exchange stories about Kaia and Axel.

Yesterday’s main topic was “beans”! Since meat is not right up my alley, Serge makes always sure that I’m at least having my share of pulses instead.

It’s kind of obvious, with so many healthy recipes on my blog, that I love healthy food, such as beans. They are very popular in my kitchen especially around this season with every grocer I visit, displaying elegantly his Aysha Khanum beans boxes. As the summer comes to a close, Aysha Khanum or shell beans (a.k.a Cranberry beans) are harvested. Beans inside the pods are now ready and plump. One variety is white while the other is white and blotched with red color; for the record, those red spots disappear once the beans are cooked.

During the last days of summer, I buy a lot of fresh shell beans, divide them in portions and freeze them for winter. It’s so easy to do; the pods open right up, releasing four to five beans each, I place all uncooked in freezer bags. The advantage is that they cook much faster than dry beans and taste much better.

My kids favorite white bean recipe is Fassolia bi Lahme, kind of a bean stew cooked with red sauce, meat chunks and served with rice on the side. I prefer the white bean salad, that probably you don’t need a recipe to make it, but I couldn’t help but share, especially after gazing at this gorgeous photo that I enjoyed styling while Serge was setting his camera and lightings. While on the surface this dish seems so simple in reality delivers some serious flavor!

P.S My Instagram account is @oryanmaya

White Beans Salad


  • 2 cups / 450g white or cranberry beans
  • or 1 can 450g of cooked white beans (washed and drained)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, to garnish


If using fresh shell beans, place them in a pressure cooker and cover with water (the water should come 1 to 1½ inch above the beans level). Cover and lock the lid. Let it cook over high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for further 10-15 minutes. Release the pressure and wait for the cooker to cool entirely. Open carefully and drain. Alternatively use regular saucepan, cover with water and cook until beans are soft and tender.

If using dry beans, soak overnight and cook as per previous instructions inside a pressure cook, but for about 50-60 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and drizzle over the beans. You can adjust the dressing to taste.

Garnish with parsley and serve with Lebanese pita bread and spring onions.

Watermelon Granita and a memory shared from summer

MayaOryan-Watermelon Granita

No matter what, I anticipate the summer’s arrival with equal measures of happiness and zeal. I plan each week significantly making sure not a single journey goes wasted. While filing the past couple of months pictures earlier today, I smiled and thought what a great job I did!!

Pictures of relaxed family meals and get-togethers, cheerful wedding parties, fun-filled friends gathering and beach barbecues, carefree night clubbing, leisurely kids playdates and park visits and lots of family selfies!

Well my favorite album is the one about the road trips we take during the weekends. Lebanon offers much to see. Our culture has been shaped over the years by a strategic location and intense historical events to spread worldwide and inspire so many. I try to show my kids the beauty that their seven thousands years old little country holds.

Sadly, many of my friends and my children’s friends have been to Louvre but never to Beirut National Museum, where visitors can admire a world class collection ranging from Prehistory to the 19th century AD. I sure want to travel the world with my daughters, but I also have a keen desire to show them as well all the Lebanese regions and traditions.

And what is a better way than having this over a fabulous event and lots of traditional food. This year marked the 25th anniversary of Mymoune. Mymoune produces all-natural specialties such as jams, preserves, syrups, seasonings, flower waters and other refined products made the traditional authentic way, in a small village called Ain-El-Kabou, at the foot of Mount Sannine in Lebanon and where the event was held.

The invitation was sent in a beautiful hamper full of goodies from Mymoune and a thyme plant smelling like heaven.

Mymoune Invitation

As soon as we arrived we were overwhelmed with a sumptuous outdoor venue, set in a fragrant garden surrounding an authentic Lebanese mansion where Mymoune has preserved a great history of Lebanese traditions. The stone house has an arch topped by a steep, red tiled roof, overlooking mountains and valleys. Tables were decorated with a centerpiece of seasonal yellow wildflowers (wezzal) and guests, were entertained by a live band playing local music. An array of traditional food was served, from bite size saj manakeesh, to lavish pork shawarma prepared by Michelin-starred chef Greg Malouf using Mymoune products. We drank Mymoune’s Mulberry Syrup & Arak cocktail, and finished it off with Lebanese style areesheh and candied pumpkin.

Our host Amine Ghorayeb made sure we leave with another goody bag from Mymoune products that I placed fondly in my kitchen next to the rest of the range.

The ideal way to beat the heat this week was a watermelon granita using Mymoune orange blossom water. A fresh recipe and a fun bite worthy of most any celebration. I hope you love it!

2015-06-07 12.06.16

Watermelon Granita


  • 6 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp Mymoune Orange Blossom water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Mint, to garnish (optional)


In a small saucepan, warm water over medium heat, add sugar and whisk until it has completely dissolved. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat and wait to cool.

Process watermelon chunks in a blender to a slush. Mix in the sugar syrup and the orange blossom water.

Pour into a shallow or a baking pan and freeze mixture for 1 hour. Rake mixture with fork and freeze for another hour. Repeat the procedure and freeze for one more hour.

Scrape vigorously into icy chunks and serve immediately in individual cups garnished with mint leaves.

Your Lebanese husband will never tell you that your food tastes better than his mom’s

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam by Maya Oryan

Photography Serge Oryan

I have to admit, that no matter how hard I try, it’s never better. It happened to my mother before me and to her mother before. For some reason most of the men will never give their wives this pleasure. There’s always GOOD… BUT… – you could have added more saltor reduced saltthe pieces of vegetables are too bigit’s not juicy enough it’s still crispyI prefer short grain rice, etc. My friend made a whole list and a calendar to keep a track of her husband’s daily comments and she is one of the best cook I know;-) So why men can never make an exception to a couple of meals and let their wives enjoy this privilege!! I know my husband will never do that. He goes bragging telling everybody that my food is delicious, but when it comes to one of the recipes that his mom cooks, then the best I can do is a tie for first place. A compliment for him is when he tells me, it’s not better, it’s same. WE ARE EQUAL IN THE CONTEST! I have to say that I’m writing this blog and laughing out loud, because deep inside I know that the apricot jam I did last week finished in 5 days, and here I am doing my second batch. While my mom’s in law apricot jam jars “who happens to be the same taste” are still lying on the shelf waiting for mine to be exhausted first. So in my dead heat struggle somehow I managed to share the recipe with you with the exact amount I used, nevertheless I’d like to highlight the following:

  1. Any traditional apricot jam recipe uses at least 600g to 900g of sugar for each kilo of fruits. I never use this much especially if the apricots are ripe and sweets. Also because I always make a little quantity to consume within the next couple of weeks.
  2. I learnt that French warm the sugar in the oven for 7-10 minutes and throw it warm on the fruits; you may want to try that.
  3. Most of the recipes uses 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, so feel free to add it if you like.
  4. Some housewives crush few pits and add the kernel inside to the confiture while boiling.
  5. Remember, to make a good jam, use nice firm ripe fruits and not green or overripe fruits.

Apricot Jam Yield: 3 jars, 370g each Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh ripe apricots; cut in half and pits extracted
  • 450g / 2 cups brown sugar

Preparation Place the apricots in a big salad bowl and cover with sugar. Let it rest for 7-10 hours, preferably in the fridge if the weather is hot. In a heavy based saucepan transfer the apricots and bring to boil for 10mn. Reduce the heat to low and remove any scum from the surface. Let it simmer for about 25mn or until a small amount of the juice gels on a chilled plate. Ladle carefully in jars and keep refrigerated. Consume within 3 weeks.

Maya’s Ingredients 4th Anniversary

MocchaDrinkbyMayaOryan Four years ago I started a blog thinking that this will be a great idea to document all my favorite recipes and have them all in one location. This idea developed since tremendously and instead of a cooking book, I ended up with an address book filled with contacts of friends from all over the world. I’m blessed to have so many followers and so many clients interested in my cooking and work as a food stylist. It’s this Blog that took me this far! I had people assisting me on shoots just because they know “Maya’s Ingredients”, I met fresh graduated photography students who knows my name because I was introduced to them as part of their course at college and I was invited to speak about Food Styling and Food Blogging at several events and TV shows because my Blog and website made it so easy for every one to find me and view my work. I’m thrilled, …no overwhelmed:) I’m happy and I will have a toast to you, thank you for passing by and hope to see you often. This elegant drink can be put together in 3 quick steps. Serve it in martini glasses or shot glasses and say CHEERS!

Vanilla Vodka – Espresso Drink Ingredients

  • 1 cup Vanilla Vodka
  • ½ cup Cold espresso
  • ¼ cup Tia Maria
  • Wedge of Orange
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of cayenne

Preparation Combine vodka, espresso and Tia Maria liquor into a shaker filled with ice and shake well. To serve, rub the rim of a martini glass with an orange wedge and dip into the cocoa cayenne mixture. Pour drink inside and enjoy. Cheers!