Lebanese Lentil Soup – Aadass bi Hamod

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Lebanese lentil soup is a meal in itself, packed with lentils and potatoes and often enjoyed with the addition of toasted bread. A hearty, healthy and warm bowl of this soup is the perfect solution on a rainy and cold day.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

Serves 4 • Preparation Time 20 minutes • Cooking Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 450g / 1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard, washed and chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil, to taste

Preparation

  1. Bring a medium size pot, of 1L, of salted water to a boil and add lentils to half cook.
  2. Add potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add chards and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  4. Heat oil and sauté coriander and onions in a separate skillet until wilt. Add to lentils.
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add lemon juice off heat and while soup is still hot. Serve.
  6. This is a healthy and tasty vegetarian soup that can be served with toasted Lebanese bread (pita), if desired.

Beef Steaks in Herbed Marinade

ImageGrilled steaks are perfect deals when I have little time to spend in the kitchen. Especially when I have them marinated overnight. The juicy flavor of the meat is enhanced with a marinade of Mediterranean herbs and olive oil.

And here below how I make it! It’s no more a secret recipe:)

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces / 200gms beef steaks
  • Pam spray

Marinade

  • 1 cup / 250ml olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grape vinegar
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 2 more for garnish
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh lemon, cut in 4 wedges
  • 1 tsp salt

In a shallow dish, combine all the marinade ingredients and soak steaks inside. Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours.

On a medium-high heat, oil a stovetop griddle or a grilling pan and place the slices of steak to grill. Cook around 5 minutes per side or to your liking, turning once only. Move to a serving plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Garnish with rosemary and serve with salad, potato mash or grilled vegetables.

Hello 2013

Wow! Is 2012 really finishing? What a year! It was one of the best years of my life on many levels, especially the professional one.

I got the chance to be on national TV several times. The highlight of my appearances was as a judge on TOP CHEF – Middle East season 2.

I gained more than a thousand fans on my Facebook page and hundreds of followers on my blog. This month I was nominated  for 3 blog awards.

1-The Super Sweet Blogging Award by http://carlasueeatsweet.wordpress.com/

2- The Liebster Award by http://jeleff2014.wordpress.com/about/

3- The Very Inspiring Blogger Award by http://cupcaketravels.wordpress.com/

super-sweet-blogging-award21w6451 VIBthe-liebster-award For each nomination I have to answer few questions, I promise to do it next week. I just wanted to write a quick post before the year ends (in exactly 4 hours) and run to my guests who are waiting for me, at my house, in front of the fire place.

I’ve experienced great pleasure and success with blogging this year and expanded my clients list and worked on new amazing brands. To name a few Zaatar w Zeit, Al Wadi Al Akhdar, Pain D’Or, Knorr, Maggi, and many more.

I worked as a food stylist on more than a cooking show and have plans to be part of more than a cooking show next year. I’m so excited for the upcoming year!!

I wish you all and your families  a very happy new year and a lot of delicious food:) May God grant all your wishes.

With love / Maya

January 14, 2013: My daughter is back to school and I’m ready to start the year with a whirl of energy and a long to do list.

Top on my list is to thank, one more time, all my fellow bloggers for their nominations. It took me a while to write this email and I’m honestly not sure if I have met all the rules. I don’t think I need another stress in my life, please ignore any deviations to the rules I make:)

I start with Carla Sue from Eat Sweet by Carla Sue and the Super Sweet Blogging Award, for that I think I have to answer 5 questions and nominate 5 bloggers.

1. Cookies or Cake?  Cake (no frosting, icing or whatsoever).

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate (proudly).

3. Favourite sweet treat? Chocolate.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?  In the afternoon.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? It’s easier to give others a sweet name. I don’t know what would I be! Brownie? Caramel?

Lucky bloggers are:

  1. Cook Book of Trial and Error – http://cookingrookie.blogspot.com/
  2. Petit4chocolatier - http://petit4chocolatier.wordpress.com/
  3. Life is a moment – http://2dois2be.com/
  4. Profiteroles & Ponytails – http://profiterolesandponytails.wordpress.com/
  5. Karista’s kitchen – http://karistaskitchen.com

I would like to thank again Jillian for his Liebster Award nomination and nominate another 5 friendly blogs.

  1. Farmgirl school - http://farmgirlschool.wordpress.com/
  2. Tonette Joyce Food Friends Familyhttp://tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily.wordpress.com/
  3. Cat Chat – http://opcatchat.blogspot.com/
  4. Bucket List Publications - http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/
  5. 5-Danielle Khairallah Sarcasmaniac – http://daniekh.wordpress.com/

For my last nomination for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award I am bound to link back to the blog that nominated me http://cupcaketravels.wordpress.com/, I’m not sure if for that I have to nominate anyone too:)

Cheers!

Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza

During the last few years, Milan has been an addictive destination to me! No matter where I wanted to go in Europe, it has to be via Milano. Partly is for the shopping of course but mostly is for the bounties of Italy. I’m in love with this country, the nature, the culture, the traditions, the walks and obviously the food!

Last week I was there with my dear friend Nidal. We had a blast! We enjoyed every bit of our stay.

On our last day, we drove north to the town of Como. We walked around the small streets then went to see one of the top travel destination in Italy, lying between Milan and the border of Switzerland, the Lake Como. Wow! Beautiful! I think my heart has stopped beating for few seconds.

After Como we crossed the Swiss frontiers visiting Lugano, where we had lunch, bought Gruyere cheese and Swiss chocolate and walked the stretch along the Lake Lugano. I was surrounded with breathtaking scenery! I stared at the deep blue water, the mountains and the white peaks in disbelief, thinking this is all I wanna do, everything else can wait!

Zap to reality, to Lebanon, with its never-ending political issues and stressful events bursting every now and then.

Inspired by my trip and all fused with my passion for Italian cooking, I decided today to bake a Pizza.

This recipe uses fresh onions, garlic, mushroom and scented thyme. I sprinkled fresh garden basil over the Mozzarella and the Gruyere cheese, to give it a little extra flavor and fragrant.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best shot I have on my website, next time I make the same recipe, I’ll try to take a better picture.

I would be lying if I say that I make Pizza often. It’s so easy to prepare, but for some reason I always manage to forget about this recipe. And when I do it, I’m always proud of my achievement, which earns me big smiles from my hubby and girls!

Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza

Ingredients

 The dough

  • 400g all-purpose flour (strong flour Tipo “00” is recommended)
  • 100g semolina or ferkha
  • 1tsp salt
  • 7g/2 ¼ tsp/1 sachet active dry yeast + 50ml hand-hot water
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin oil

Filling

  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce or passata
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 200g sliced ham
  • 100f fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp pizza seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a jug, dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour and semolina together. Add salt.
  3. Make a well in the middle. Add oil to the yeast mixture and pour it in the centre of the well. Start mixing, bringing the flour from the edges to the middle. Add water and keep kneading to form a springy large ball with the dough.
  4. Cover the dough with an oiled sheet of cling film and return to the bowl. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise about ½ an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  5. To make the topping: In a saucepan heat oil and sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, ketchup and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with oregano or pizza seasoning and salt and pepper.
  6. Off the heat add the thyme and the olives and mix.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on a floured surface to form a rectangular shape. Place it in the mold pushing out the edges evenly. For thick dough, it should be no more than 1cm.
  8. Brush the dough with the tomato Passata sauce and spread the topping evenly over the pizza base and sprinkle with Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated oven 200°C for 20-25 minutes or until the dough rises and turns slightly golden.

French Lentil Salad

Is that for real that 3 months have passed since my last blog or it’s just my eyes! Gosh! What a busy summer… and how fast it finished!

Every year before the Holy month of Ramadan I get very busy with food styling jobs and this year as usual I got the chance to work on numerous brands I love. I had photo shoots every week since June.

But work is not the only reason to blame my disappearing, yes you guessed Vacation!

This year we went to beautiful Mallorca and sunny côte d’Azur. Delicious Paella and original Niçoise Salad! On our last night, we booked a table at La Petite Maison restaurant in Nice where they serve the best lentil salad ever and where my inspiration is for this recipe.

I fell in love with Nice! Maybe because there are a lot of similarities in their nature and our’s in Lebanon (they both lie on the Mediterranean sea) or simply maybe because I needed a vacation so much that I enjoyed every moment I spent there.

I’m sharing few pictures with you!

Ingredients

For the lentils:

  • 1 ½ cup red lentils or French green Lentilles du Puy
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 bell pepper orange or red, diced
  • 1 red apple, peeled and diced
  • 5 small radishes, diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in 4 each
  • 1 sprig of green onion, finely chopped (only the green with a little of the white bulb if desired)
  • Parsley, to garnish

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup tbsp red wine vinegar apple vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard

Preparation

1. Wash the lentils. Transfer to a saucepan with boiling water, add salt and cook until the lentils are tender (about 20-25mn). Do not overcook. When ready, drain and set aside.

2. To make the vinaigrette whisk all the ingredients together.

3. In a salad bowl, mix together the lentils, the vegetables and drizzle with the sauce. Decorate with parsley and serve,

Serve at room temperature.

The cafés – Nice

At the beach – Nice

Mallorca’s blue sea

Mallorca – August 2012