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This Mid-East pud is very good

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Move over lokshen pudding, you are about to be replaced on the Jewish dessert table by a lighter Middle Eastern dish. Mahlabi is a creamy pudding flavoured with rosewater and topped with nuts and it enjoyed pride of place at the launch of the new edition of Linda Dangoor's Iraqi Jewish cookbook, Flavours of Babylon last week.

A mahlabi contest between Linda and Eran Tibi, chef of JW3's Zest restaurant (won by Linda) was judged by restaurant critic Giles Coren and Alan Rosenthal, founder of Stewed! ready meals. A third judge had failed to arrive, so into the breach stepped 23-year-old Rosie Bambaji, who has a job the sweet-toothed will envy; she is a dessert buyer for Tesco.

Rosie told me that she had been sampling a mahlabi or two in the course of researching ethnic desserts for her work and she had visited Paloma, the new Israeli restaurant. I wouldn't bank on supermarket mahlabi just yet, so best buy Linda's cookbook.

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