melting pot

melting pot

Sophie Streeting

Format: 18 x 27 cm
Number of Pages: 170
ISBN: 978-3-903861-67-1
Release Date: 14.10.2021
'melting pot' is a moving collection of stories and recipes from the migrants and locals on the island of Lesvos by Movement On The Ground, an organisation working with and for people on the move and local host communities impacted by the European migration crisis.
We discovered that if you spoke with people about food – who taught them how to cook, what they enjoy cooking and their favourite recipes – they would immediately light up and open up. Food in the camps and on the island of Lesvos is not only a life source but a way of communicating – finding common ground, sharing, and making others feel comfortable. It’s a universal language. Cuisine is a vital part of people’s identity. Having the freedom to cook in the camps on Lesvos is hugely important for the residents, and they shared the dishes from their homelands with great pride. It made us realise that the comfort of cooking and sharing with others your favourite dish can give you a sense of belonging, even when you are far from what you know. As one Syrian mother told us: “It is all I have left from home.”
Food has a distinctive power to unite because, no matter who we are or where we’re from, we can all break bread together. Food should be used as a tool to learn, connect, and engage with each other. With this in mind, we would like people to take inspiration from the kindness, hope and resilience demonstrated by both the migrants and the local islanders of Lesvos.
Since we travelled to Lesvos to make Melting Pot, Moria camp has been destroyed in a fire, leaving the almost 13,000 residents of the camp once again without shelter. The money raised from this book is more important than ever in helping Movement On The Ground work with and for people on the move to create dignified living conditions for the new “temporary” camp on the island. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone involved in creating Melting Pot. The overwhelming power of community, collaboration and care shown by both locals, people on the move and volunteers – which enabled us to make this book – shows us that there is hope and beauty everywhere, if you are willing to look. The book will allow the individual voices and personalities of those featured to be heard and seen, and all the money we raise will go towards Movement On The Ground’s mission to enable the communities of Lesvos to thrive, together towards dignity.


This family from Syria does not have much to say, not because they don’t remember, but because they don’t want to remember.

Youssif & Emel

Youssif has difficulty in sharing the details of this journey. They were forced to leave Aleppo with their children, travelling to Turkey, where they stayed for seven months. Eventually they found a smuggler that would give them a “visa” to Europe.
In the beginning, he is reticent and sceptical, as to be expected. He has been watching us for a while as he prepares the outdoor fire where he will fry the kubba.  Confidence comes later, as, together with the smiling Emel and their children, they create a small party. They have invited friends and neighbours, each person having their own part to play in the preparations. They even want to fry fish for us as a welcome gesture and symbol of hospitality. The table is set with a black plastic trash bag for a tablecloth and a large colourful salad ready and waiting. We all say “Shukran,”* as we sit down to enjoy our meal. Their young son translates for us in fluent English and tells us that his family is really happy to have the chance to show us something from their country. This dish was particularly special for them, mainly because it was made with real nostalgia for home and in the spirit sharing. They have been living in Kara Tepe camp for several months, where families and vulnerable groups of refugees are housed. They have made a small home in the container given to them on the central “street” of the camp. It is compact and simple but impeccably tidy. Everything from the way the blankets are folded, to the dishes stacked in the corner and the little teddy bear adorning the bed, shows a desire for structure and normality. Children are running around, while old people are discussing matters of the world and watching the chef with scrutiny. He prepares the meal slowly, with confidence and care. Emel fills the kubba and their Iraqi neighbour translates to English while the pregnant Afghan woman who lives in the adjacent container finds common ground with her own cuisine. They all laugh and share stories of their own seemingly absurd reality. Youssif wants to rent a house in the city and get a job. He is a cook by trade, and he knows how to do it well! After such a long time waiting for their lives to continue, they have no preference for their final destination, “Wherever, as long as we are safe.”
“Shukran” means “Thank you.”

Kubba is another name for kibbeh, kobeiba and içli köfte.
This showstopping Levantine meatball, despite the effort that goes into its creation, is a favourite in Emel and Youssif’s family. During the preparation, every member of the family has their own role. Whether served as a starter or a main dish, it gets the taste buds going.

Bulgur croquettes stuffed with lamb
erves 12

2 kg fine bulgur (dried, cracked wheat)
1 tsp. allspice
1 tbsp. cumin powder
1 large onion cut into thick slices
4 large Arabic flat breads torn into pieces

1 ½ kg lamb mince
3 onions, finely chopped
300 g walnut, roughly copped
1 tbsp. hot paprika powder
½ cup pomegranate molasses
½ cup oil and as needed to fry the kubba

To prepare the dough, soak the bulgur in a medium sized bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Remove and drain. Place into a food processor and combine with allspice, cumin, one large onion, salt, and Arabic flat breads, adding water until a dough-like consistency is achieved.
In a frying pan, sauté the chopped onions and mince in hot olive oil. Brown the ingredients for around 30 minutes until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the paprika, then stir in the pomegranate molasses and walnuts. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Take an egg-sized amount of the bulgur mixture and form into a ball. With your finger, poke a hole in the ball, making space for the filling. Insert the filling and then pinch the top to seal. You should then have a lemon shaped ball with a point at either end.
Fry in batches in hot oil on a stovetop, or in a deep fryer until golden brown. Accompany with tabbouleh salad or a mixed salad with cucumber, tomato, lettuce, fresh onions, spearmint, parsley, hot paprika, and the juice and flesh from one lemon. Once shaped, but before frying, kubba can be stored in the freezer.


“My mother taught us how to cook when we were kids,” says Radja. “She left for work and the food had to be ready when she returned home. Cooking is the
only thing that will make you survive
anywhere, she used to say.”

Radja & Hamza

They grew up near the banks of Lake Tanganika in the Province of Rumonge, Burundi. Most of the time, you could find them fishing or playing hide and seek in the dense vegetation on the banks of the lake.  They could never imagine that one day they would arrive at a destination like Moria camp. They have both been on the road since November 2018. They left their country with thousands of others due to problems faced with the political situation, climate change and the major economic issues that run riot through the country.
As Hamza speaks to us, we can see the longing for his hometown on his face. “We have no one waiting for us back home. I hope we can find our own new base – our new home someday.” Together, after many stops from Africa, they travelled through Iran and later Turkey. They see it as a miracle that they were able to get that far without being able to communicate with anyone.
Upon arriving in Turkey, they were sent to prison as they didn’t have the necessary travel documents to continue their journey.
After being released, they were forced to find work where they could in order to scrape up the fare needed to make the treacherous crossing.
“My mother taught us how to cook when we were kids,” says Radja. “She left for work and the food had to be ready when she returned home. Cooking is the only thing that will make you survive anywhere, she used to say.”
Both friends worked as cooks in their home country for years. While staying in the camp, the friends are both members of the refugee football team and spend their time planning their future. Radja wants to go to England to play football, while Hamza would like to cook wherever he feels safe without the threat of any prejudice around him.

This fantastic dish is the pride of Burundi. Mukeke and Ndagara are fish traditionally used in this East African food. They are caught in Lake Tanganyika and are extremely difficult to acquire anywhere else around the world. During their stay in Lesvos, the two friends cooked this dish with Aegean mackerel. “Fish is expensive stuff, and we cook it only when there is enough money or when we have a celebration. Sometimes we prepare it with chicken
or beef instead.” The fufu, on the other hand, is their famous and most common accompaniment to almost everything – meat, fish,
or vegetables – and is eaten all across Africa.

Fufu with fish sauce
Fish stew from lake Tanganyika with semolina puree
Serves 15-20

2 kg fine semolina
or cassava flour
4 ½ litres water

Fish sauce
3 large, round oily fish,
(we used mackerel) scaled and gutted
4 sliced ​​onions
15 garlic cloves chopped
½ a bunch of fresh coriander without the stalks, coarsely chopped
1 green chili pepper
(African bird’s eye chili), coarsely chopped
1 green pepper thinly sliced
6 medium tomatoes, grated
200 g tomato paste
The juice of 1 ½ lemons
Olive oil for frying

To prepare the fish, cut it in half width ways and score
the skin. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry the fish on both sides until skin is crispy and golden.
In a very hot saucepan, pour a little oil and fry the onions until light brown, then add garlic, coriander and the chili pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes. After this, pop in the tomato paste and fry for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the fresh, grated tomatoes and cook for around
10 minutes.
Once the sauce has reduced a little, add the green peppers and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the fish
to the pot, then the salt and lemon juice. Cook for 15 minutes
on a medium heat.
For the fufu, heat the water in a pot. Once the water is boiling, add 750g of the semolina and stir on a medium heat until you have a smooth, lump free mixture. As soon as the semolina absorbs all water, add the remainder of the semolina and season. Stir until fully incorporated. It should resemble
a thick mash potato consistency.
Remove from the heat and serve it the traditional way, with the fufu and the fish sauce in two separate dishes. We ate this “Burundi style,” with our hands. You can store the fish sauce in the freezer if you want to use it for another occasion.

Michopo is usually made with beef or goat, but can also
be prepared with fish (when available). After frying
the fish and before adding it to the sauce (see previous recipe), Radja and Hamza kept some pieces of fish aside
to prepare this brilliant but simple hors d’ oeuvre.
They finely chopped 3 onions and sprinkled them with salt, rubbing them between their hands to soften and draw out the moisture. They then added the juice of 1 lemon.
The fish was sandwiched between the onions in a deep food container. Ten minutes later we had a delicious, juicy,
salty, onion appetizer to share.

A quick appetizer with fried fish and onions


When the dish is ready, they give
a plate of food to the next-door tent.
Fekura shares the little they have
without wanting anything in return.

Fekura Gabash

Molokhia are the leaves of the plant corchorus olitorius, commonly known as Jew’s mallow. It has been used since ancient times as
a medicine for the stomach. However, when it was discovered how exquisite its bitter taste was, it was used in the preparation of a very popular Middle Eastern soup, whose rich flavour was held in such high esteem that it was named “melukia” – an alteration of the world molokhia, meaning royal. During her stay in Kara Tepe camp,
Fekura prepares this hearty dish with dried molokhia found in
a grocery store in Mytilene.

Fish stew from lake Tanganyika with semolina puree
Serves 4-6

1 kg skinless chicken fillet, diced
200 g dried molokhia, soaked in water for 2 hours and well drained
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 bulbs of garlic
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
The juice of 2 lemons
½ cup sunflower oil

Brown the chicken in a pot with hot oil.
Add the molokhia, one bulb of roughly chopped garlic, coriander, salt, and the stock.
Simmer with the lid on for 40 minutes.
If necessary, add a little bit of water to reach
a thick sauce consistency.
In a mortar, crush the second bulb of garlic and add to the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes without the lid, remove the dish from the heat and add the lemon juice.
It is traditionally served with rice.


Kostas has saved hundreds of people
from the sea, mainly children and Syrians, who although having escaped from the war, they since fell into the trap
of the smugglers and the sea.

Kostas Pinteris

The life of Kostas Pinteris, a fisherman from Skala Sykamnia, dramatically changed in 2015. Kostas came out of his peaceful microcosm to help tackle the refugee crisis by taking his small fishing boat to pull women, men, and babies from the icy Aegean waves. His boat has since become a universal symbol of life, freedom, and hope as he sacrificed his livelihood to save people in desperate need. His selflessness is an outstanding example of altruism and humanity. One that is to be greatly admired. He has memories and stories to tell that have changed him as a human being. Amongst the turmoil of everyday life with pleasant and unpleasant moments, Kostas has had to deal with the sudden “publicity” that his bravery has incurred. Neither the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, nor the interviews with the paparazzi have changed Kostas. He is always willing to aid every journalist, documentarist and anthropologist who wants him to share his story of becoming the big hearted “saviour of refugees” in Skala Sykamnia.
“The refugee problem is not over yet nor is it going to be unless the war is over,” he explains simply, as if he has entered the story himself and knows it first-hand. “When your fellow man looks at you and without speaking you understand he is crying for help, you must help, by any means and at any cost.  It is a matter of conscience; it is a matter of love.”
Kostas has saved hundreds of people from the sea, mainly children and Syrians, who despite having escaped from the war, have since fallen into the trap of the smugglers and the sea. These people are alive thanks to Kostas. Even today, when he goes out with his boat, he keeps a vigilant eye; “You never know.”  His own port and his home remains Skala Sykamnia.
“We are not made for big stuff,” he says, with a heart-breaking modesty. I look at his big hands and I think: with those hands Kostas pulled souls from the sea making safe those whose fate had been forgotten. 

A generous slice of salt cured fish served with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil, sliced onion and olives. Kostas won our hearts and our tastebuds when he introduced us to lakerda, a simple and easily prepared appetizer, perfectly complimented by a glass of chilled ouzo. Lakerda is a savoury delicacy worth an early start to purchase the fish straight off the boats. While lakerda is a treat all year round, the locals advise that the bonito fish is most delicious from October through December. The locals instructed us; “the fresher the better.”

The emblematic lightly-salted fish of Lesvos

1 large bonito fish / Kosher salt / Olive oil (or vegetable oil)

Put one big bonito fish gutted in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours until
it becomes firm to the touch but not frozen solid. Once firm,
cut the head and tail before slicing the fish into 1.5-2 cm thick slices. Use a toothpick to withdraw any marrow from the central bone. Wash the slices, using sea water if possible.
Place kosher salt on a tray and use your hands to coat all sides
of the prepared slices. Place them on a piece of newspaper and wrap the fish slices into a parcel. The newspaper will absorb all fluids and help the salt curing process.
Once wrapped, wrap the parcel in a plastic bag. Keep it in the fridge for 2 days. Unwrap the fillets, wash them with fresh tap water, and let them drain. Place into a food storage container, cover them with olive oil or vegetable oil, seal the container with its lid and place it in the fridge. You can keep it for up to 10 days
in the fridge or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
5 Stars
26000 - 17.05.2022


5 Stars
26000 - 17.05.2022


5 Stars
Caring with food and love - 30.12.2021
Mary Blake

The title says it all. The huge diversity of the countries of origin and the similarities in some of the food bringing people together to care for one an other. The stories these people tell are so interesting and compel us to realise they are our sisters and brothers and should be treated as such.

5 Stars - 04.12.2021

The perfect book for our time. Melting pot melts barriers away and reminds us what truly matters in life; cooking and caring and loving. The perfect gift to make a real difference at Christmas and all year round. Fabulous recipes too!! Thank you author Sophie Streeting and brilliant team at Movement on The Ground for this brilliant cookbook!

5 Stars
Must have cookbook  - 27.10.2021
Simon Willson-White

This book is so diverse and the passion for flavours and taste is tangible throughout. Beautifully put together by Sophie and her team. Highly recommended!

5 Stars
Exactly what you need - 16.10.2021
Takis Bardis

Amazing photos, easy to follow and experiment recipes, fantastic idea and very well executed by the author.

5 Stars
The love the idea of behind the book  - 16.10.2021
Tawab Khairkhaw

Beside how well done is the book and the delicious recipes, there is something unique about it which is the stories behind each recipe and those who participate on it, I was honoured to help with making this book and see every bit of it shaped! Food is one of many mutual daily routines and that’s the best way to show our solidarity to the people who are in this book

5 Stars
Absolutely amazing! - 16.10.2021

A book where cultures, smells and tastes are mixed and offer us the best result! Must have in every bookcase!

5 Stars
Great cause, tasty recipes  - 16.10.2021

The perfect Christmas gift for 2021 that supports an important cause!

5 Stars
Great cause, tasty recipes  - 16.10.2021

The perfect Christmas gift for 2021 that supports an important cause!

5 Stars
Great cause, tasty recipes  - 16.10.2021

The perfect Christmas gift for 2021 that supports an important cause!

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