About Maya Oryan

Food Stylist, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer

Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Avocado Frikeh Salad

Freekeh is a young chewy wheat, with a nutty flavor. Containing twice as much protein and fiber as quinoa, freekeh is nutritious! Try this combination of antioxidant-rich pomegranate, beetroot, avocado, herbs, seeds and watch those health benefits add up!

Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole grain freekeh, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup beetroot, grated
  • 1 cup fresh purslane leaves (bakle)
  • 1 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano

Directions

  1. In a salad bowl, combine freekeh, beetroot, purslane, thyme, pomegranate avocado and seeds.
  2. To make the dressing, mix together all ingredients and shake well.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.

 

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Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Rice Salad LRGrade 3 class at my daughter’s school are preparing for International Day next month and they chose Argentina to represent and talk about. Part of the celebration, they proposed to serve a rice salad on that day, with Chimichurri sauce. Since I always volunteer to help with the food, I came up with my own version of the recipe and took a picture of the end product. I’m super happy to document it in my blog and share it with you, hope you will like it.
If you like to add more ingredients, my advice is to stay away from juicy ingredients and stick to solid ones like chorizo, ham, pickles, green onions, …

Ensalada De Arroz Con Chimichurri
Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 3 cups long grain rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple vinegar
  • Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.
  2. In a small mason jar combine all of the dressing ingredients; shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake

Valentine Strawberry cake2.jpg

I got this heart shaped pan on Mother’s Day few years ago, I’m so happy for Valentine day to find an excuse and use it again. This cake is spongy and smells gorgeous. The texture is close to breads so don’t hesitate to bake it in a loaf pan if desired.

Gifts, flowers and cakes are all expressions of love and celebration, most important of get-together. I wish you all love and happiness and a lot of cakes to bake.

Maya

Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and flour your cake pan and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and beat.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the cream cheese mixture, beating just until combined.
  5. Add yogurt, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in the strawberries.
  6. Transfer batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove pans to rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Chestnut Banana Bread

Chestnut Banana Cake.jpg

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas to me without a lot of recipes with chestnut on the table.

I have a home-made chestnut cream that I did last week, so I decided to bake my regular banana cake recipe and add it to it, the results were simple and delicious.

I know this recipe is a keeper and definitely worth to share with you.

Chestnut Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose-flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, diced
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 small mashed ripe bananas
  • 3 tablespoons chestnut cream
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, continue beating about 3 minutes.
  3. Add bananas followed by chestnut cream and beat until combined.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Beat in milk.
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  7. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

Chocolate Tart PinkLR.jpg

Don’t you hate when you invite guests over and hear them cheering, drinking, having a blast while you’re stuck in the kitchen, running in all directions, heating dishes and making sure everything is perfect?

Thinking of this makes me have second thoughts about how much I truly love (or not) Christmas!

This is exactly the time when, I appreciate recipes like that. Recipes that can be done entirely the day before and requires minimum manipulation on the day of the event.

  • This tart requires no baking.
  • If using a round tin, then 20cm would be required.
  • The base can be done with Chocolate Oreo or Speculoos biscuits.
  • Crush biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin.
  • As for the filling, semisweet chocolate can be replaced with dark chocolate and two more tablespoons of sugar, or use milk chocolate and omit the sugar.
  • For coffee lovers: caramel sauce can be replaced with 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder.

Merry Christmas food lovers!

Caramel Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

For the base

  • 32 chocolate biscuits or Oreo Biscuits, crumbled
  • ½ cup / 50g butter, melted

For the filling

  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 25g corn flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  1. To make the base In a food processor, pulse biscuits, butter and salt until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press biscuit mixture into a tart tin and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  2. To make the filling In a saucepan, on low-medium heat, pour the chocolate chips and the cream and stir until the chocolate melts. Add sugar, caramel and salt. Stir to well combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk corn flour and milk together and, off the heat, add to the chocolate mixture and mix. Return sauce over low heat and keep stirring 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens. Leave to cool 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the base-lined tart tin, pour the chocolate mixture evenly on the top and return it to the fridge to chill overnight.

Sweet Chestnut Dip

Sweet Chestnut Dip .jpg

Ingredients

  • 250g chestnuts, roasted and peeled and cut in 2
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml / 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or Irish Cream liqueur

Preparation

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir with a spoon until sugar dissolves.
  2. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until chestnuts have softened.
  3. Off heat, blend the mixture until soft and smooth.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or until firm and serve with apple slices or your favorite crackers.

 

 

Grilled Kibbeh with Thyme Goat Labneh and Walnut

Kibbeh Qrass

Kibbeh is considered as one of the national traditional Lebanese dishes. There are more than a dozen adaptations of this recipe including options for vegetarians. The one constant and main ingredient is cracked wheat (burghul / bulgur or fine ground durum wheat).

Kibbeh is almost everyone’s favorite Lebanese dish. The variety ranges from starters to main course, depending on the size and the filling or sometimes no-filling at all.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a specialty of the villages in North Lebanon, in particular Zgharta, because this recipe for many Lebanese is known as Kibbeh Zghirtaweeyeeh

Preparing this recipe for the first time might be a long and delicate process, but it is also a true art revealing the devotion put into cooking since always.

I still enjoy mixing it manually and pounding the filling with a mortar and pestle, but the ghee traditionally incorporated isn’t something my heart desires, therefore I changed the filling to a healthy version inspired from my dad’s recipe. Hope you will like it.

Ingredients

Kibbeh Bowls (Kibbeh Qrass)

  • 1kg lamb or beef ground meat
  • 3 cups fine light or dark cracked wheat (burghul), rinsed and dry
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground sweet pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Option 1- Traditional Filling

  • 2/3 cup sheep ghee
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Option 2- Maya’s Ingredients Filling

  • 150g goat labneh, crumbled
  • 4 tbsp / handful fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Chunks of walnut
  • Olive oil, to drizzle

      •  Vegetable oil, to brush

Extra tools

  • Plastic film
  • Small glass bowls x 6

Preparation

1.Combine kibbeh bowls ingredients to get a dough-like consistency. This can be done in a large bowl and wooden spoon or using a food processor.

2.Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3a.Meantime prepare the filling. For option 1, combine onion, parsley, mint, salt and pepper. The ghee should stay solid and set aside.

3b.To make the filling option 2, pound the sesame seeds, thyme and sumac in a pestle and mortar. Spoon over crumbled labneh. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chunks of walnut if desired.

4.To form the bowls shape kibbeh, wet a plastic sheet (cling film) and place it inside a small bowl. Press the meat dough flat, 1/3 inch / 7mm thick inside to take the shape of the bowl. Repeat, wetting your hands with cold water as you work.

5.Each 2 molds will make one piece of kibbeh. Stuff one half with your preferred mixture and place it on the palm of your hand (after pulling away the plastic film), place the second half over it and seal the rims together. Brush with vegetable oil.

6a.If using the traditional filling, just spoon the onion mixture inside followed by the pieces of ghee.

6b.If using my filling, spoon the labneh mixture, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, before joining the 2 molds together.

7.Carry carefully the kibbeh bowls and bake over charcoal on both sides until cooked thoroughly. Serve with green salad.