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.
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Cranberry Stollen

Stollen.jpg

I love our Christmas family gatherings and all the good food that comes in between. This year I wanted to change from my ginger cookies giveaways and made cranberry bread instead. What’s better than a Stollen recipe!

The origin of this bread is German and traditionally baked during Christmastime. Sweetened with honey and packed with dried fruits, this recipe contains no sugar. I wrapped each loaf with Christmas papers and twines, the presentation and the taste were amazing.

Merry Christmas to all and happy baking during the holidays!

Follow me on Instagram @oryanmaya

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dried raisins

¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 tbsp cointreau        

 

1 tbsp active dry yeast

¼ cup lukewarm milk

2 tsp honey

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

½ cup/100g unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup honey

1 large egg, beaten

1 tbsp grated orange zest

½ cup peeled, slivered almonds

3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

 

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Preparation

  1. Place the dried fruits in a bowl and drizzle with orange juice and liquor. Stir the mixture to coat and set aside.
  2. In another bowl sprinkle the yeast with warm milk and wait until it rises and makes a good head of froth (about 10 minutes). Add honey and flour and set aside for another 15 minutes.
  3. In the mixer bowl, add the cranberries and raisins, the yeast mixture, butter, honey, egg, orange zest, almonds and salt. Start mixing adding the flour gradually, half cup at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and elastic.
  4. Wrap the dough in an oiled plastic film and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
  5. Knock back the dough and divide into 2 portions. Shape each portion into an oval; alternatively roll the dough in one large loaf without dividing it. Glaze with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, place carefully the dough, cover with tea towel and leave again to rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C/ 365 degrees F for 10 minutes. Place the dough in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. If using thermometer the internal temperature of the bread should reach approximately 90 degrees C (190 degrees F).
  8. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.

Freekeh, A Festive Recipe

Freekeh-MayaOryan

Just when I finally learned how to regularly incorporate quinoa in my cuisine, another new grain starts surging in popularity, loaded with nutritional and healthy benefits, containing more fiber and double the amount of protein as rice. I’m talking about FREEKEH!

Freekeh, (frikeh, fah-reek or farik) is obtained from wheat that is harvested while the grains are still green, soft and immature. They are gently roasted so only the chaff burn and not the seeds. After roasting the wheat is thrashed and rubbed -thus the name in Arabic fareek, which means rubbed. Grains inside are too moist to burn and the result is a smoky, nutty wheat with a distinct taste.

Recipes passed from one generation to another, have always a special place in our hearts especially if it brings along all the wonderful souvenirs from our childhood.

My dad’s hometown is Jdeidet Marjeyoun, located in the south of Lebanon, where freekeh is part of the town’s culinary heritage. He cooked us meals using Freekeh only on special occasions. For a long time I somehow forgot about this grain, until recently I started to use it more often, and just like my dad “on special occasions”!

This festive recipe brings joy to my guests and family, tasting delicious and looking outstanding. Can easily combined with your favorite chicken recipe, beef or lamb. I chose today to cook it with vegetables and top it with salmon.

The wait is over, time to knock out old recipes and try something different and bedazzling, this Christmas!

Vegetables and Smoked Salmon Freekeh

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium size white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frikeh, washed and soaked at least 1 hour
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • ¾ cup carrots, diced
  • ½ cup artichoke bottoms, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thyme leaves (optional)
  • Smoked Salmon, to garnish

Directions:

1.In a medium saucepan, heat oil and sauté the zucchinis, the carrots and the artichokes until cooked. Season with salt.

2.In a separate heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter and add the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft and transparent. Add in the freekeh and cook, for 2 minutes.

3.Add wine to the softened onions and cook until the liquid has evaporated off.

4.Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat this process until freekeh is thick and creamy; the freekeh should still have some chew to it. Season to taste.

5.If the freekeh is still hard. It has to be cooked with additional boiling water.

6.Once the freekeh is cooked, mix in the vegetables and finish with 1 cup of stock. Let simmer a couple of minutes until it is entirely absorbed.

7.To transfer this meal into a festive dish, put freekeh in a small serving bowl and top it with thyme leaves. Cover the bowl with a dinner plate and flip it swiftly upside down. Decorate it with smoked salmon and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

 

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

ChocolateCaramelCheeseCake

We had guests over few drinks last evening and the main topic of the conversation was my husband’s Harley Davidson collection. The same Vroomvroom talk went on and on until it was time for dessert… and all of a sudden the Vroom tone changed to Mmmmm Mmmmm Mmmmm.; My super hero Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake was served and made its way triumphantly to everybody’s thinking to change the subject from biking to baking.

I sat on my throne watching the last slice disappearing, and thinking I can’t be any happier!

This super easy “No Bake” cheesecake recipe is delicious to the eyes and to the taste buds as well. It is fabulous for parties or events. I hope you will try it and bedazzle your guests the way I did.

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham biscuits, ground
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
  • 1 cup chocolate spread (like Nutella)
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce
  • Chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chunks

Preparation

  1. Mix the biscuits, the butter and sugar until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press into a 20cm round cake and refrigerate.
  2. Beat together 1 cup of the cream cheese, chocolate spread and 3 tablespoons of the icing sugar until well combined.
  3. Top the biscuit base with the cheese mixture and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
  4. Beat together the rest of the cream cheese, the whipping cream, and the milk until smooth. Add the rest of the icing sugar and the caramel sauce and continue beating until combined.
  5. Top the chocolate layer with the caramel cheese mixture and place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
  6. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chunks and serve chilled.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Thyme & Feta Quiche

RoastedTomatoes&FetaQuiche

ONE OF MY FAV’ OF ALL TIME…

May I just start by saying you’re not going to mess this up! This quiche will definitely make it to my Christmas table this year as part of the starters menu; It’s a star dish. I don’t remember how our love story started but I confess an affair. Classy, sexy, elegant, and yes I’m still talking about the quiche, it’s one of my favorite of all time.

The tomatoes become flavorful once roasted. So please do not skip this step. You will love love love the contrasting tastes of the sweet roasted tomatoes, piquant balsamic vinegar and tangy Feta cheese. You may also need to check the tomatoes while cooking because the time of roasting may vary depending on their ripeness and the oven temperature. Use any aromatic available herbs while roasting; oregano, rosemary, basil or bay leaves. Make sure that you strain the tomatoes before you top the puff pastry, or you will end up with a mushy crust.

Many friends have requested this recipe, I’m so happy to finally publish it and with a worthy picture of it. Enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (230g) puff pastry
  • 800g (around 60 pieces) cherry tomatoes, cut in 2
  • Oregano (or basil),  to sprinkle
  • 200g Feta cheese, diced
  • 1 cup fresh thyme leaves, washed and picked
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Place the cherry tomatoes in a shallow roasting pan, (choose a large pan, where tomatoes are not too crowded), sprinkle with salt, coarsely fresh pepper, oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer to a pre-heated oven and roast for about 20mn or until they are wilted and the skin starts to wrinkle. Transfer to a colander to drain.

2. Meantime, roll out dough on floured surface and transfer to a rectangular (12cm x 35cm) tart pan. It is also possible to make the quiche in a round tart pan. Pierce crust all over with fork.

3. Top crust with Feta, thyme and tomatoes. Combine balsamic vinegar, sugar and olive oil. Whisk vigorously and stir over the tomatoes.

4. Bake quiche in the middle of the oven, for about 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden. Transfer to rack; Cool 10 minutes.