This is the broad beans season in Lebanon and prices have dropped to less than 1000LBP per kg. In Lebanese currency this is really cheap. So we ate “fül” (broad beans) with beer, we cooked some as a stew with cumin and oil, we put a stack in the freezer. What else?
A salad! This salad makes a refreshing side dish. People enjoy most the combinations of fresh thyme and lemon zest that brings a burst of brightness to the rice. It is done with Basmati rice, but I like to mix my basmati with black forbidden rice, I’m not sure if I do it because of the flavors or because of the name. Forbidden rice or “emperor’s rice” earned its name because it was once reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity, and forbidden to anyone else. It is gaining popularity for its high levels of antioxidants and superior nutritional value. I used today a Tilda Basmati Rice & Wild Rice pack, it contains 2 kinds of rice in 1 bag.
Like any salad, other ingredients of your choice can be added like dill, red onions or yellow pepper. “Who knew Rice Salad could be so good!”
Lemon Rice Salad
1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
2.5 cups water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup thyme leaves
3/4 cup fresh broad beans, skinless
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, soaked in water and peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Bring water to boil, then pour in rice. Cook rice until tender and water is all absorbed. (I used a mix of white and black basmati).
Place cooled rice in a salad bowl and stir in lemon zest, thyme, beans and pistachios.
Combine dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the salad. Toss to well combine.
Hello pasta lovers! Aren’t you numerous? Sometimes I really feel you don’t need a recipe to cook pasta. You throw it in the pan with any ingredients you have on hand and voilà! A fabulous meal is ready and bellies and taste buds are satisfied.
Spaghetti Bolognese is one of the meals that when I cook, I don’t have to worry about who doesn’t eat or who will whine about lunch because it’s everyone’s favorite. A meal I can cook with my eyes shut and my focus off.
Let’s do that!
1 pack / 500g Spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g minced beef
¼ cup red wine (optional)
400g fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Cook spaghetti in boiled water according to package instructions
In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until golden.
Add meat and cook for 2-3 minutes, drizzle with wine and continue cooking until browned on all sides.
Add tomatoes and cover with water. Add tomato paste. Season with basil, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and rich.
Drain cooked spaghetti and add to the pan with the Bolognese sauce. Toss well and serve with parmesan cheese.
Axel my daughter turned TEN 2 days ago, despite the confinement because of coronavirus, she still deserves a nice table decoration set by “MOMMY” i.e myself. Axel loves these cookies and they are super easy to make. To color them, you just split the dough in 3 parts and add 3 drops of food color to each. The result is a batch of fluffy Crinkle Cookies with a dash of lemon flavor.
Springtime Crinkle Cookies
Makes 32 cookies
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Lemoncello
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup icing sugar
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add in eggs and lemoncello until fully incorporated.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add into batches.
Split the dough into three portions and color with food color of your choice.
1. In a blender, place beet and milk and blend until smooth.
2.Add egg, vanilla, sugar and oil. Blend to combine.
3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt Pulse a few times to combine.
4. Transfer batter to bowl.
5. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Grease with butter and laddle 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, same as you cook pancakes. Repeat to finish all batter.
6. Pile the pancakes up to form a cake and decorate with icing sugar, fruits, sprinkles, … or serve separately like you do regularly. Bon Appétit!
FRIENDS… and not the TV show! Friends that we have, from school, work, clubs… and friends we make through our children later in life. How many times while dropping your child at a new friend and when waiting for the door to open, you start wondering about the mom… Is she nice? Fun? Warm? Chatty? Psycho? Does she give a lot of sweets? And how many of them ended to be a keeper and became one of your closest friends. I am blessed with few of them, actually many, and we share a lot; we take trips together, we volunteer for school projects and we sometimes bake together.
The Honey Almond Slices is a new recipe for me. Axel, my daughter, had tasted it at her friend’s house and at pick up time she begged me to bake some for her. The funny part is that the mom bought her bars at the market and doesn’t even know what it was called. Thanks God for Pinterest where I combined few recipes and made my own with less butter and less sugar but still I thank my friend for the inspiration. My eagerness is boundless to try new recipes, especially that belongs to the dessert section.
For the base:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup ground almond
1/2 cup light brown sugar
120g butter, melted
For the topping:
½ tsp salt
¼ cup honey
2 cups sliced almonds
25 cm x 25 cm pan
To make the base Combine flour, ground almond, brown sugar and melted butter until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press mixture into a brownie mold or tart tin and bake for 12 minutes at 170°C / 335°F.
To make the filling Inside a saucepan, on low-medium heat, place butter to melt, add sugar, honey and sliced almonds. Stir to well combine.
Spread mixture to top evenly the base and return to oven to bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and slice into squares or rectangles and serve.
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.
Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake
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
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and flour your cake pan and set aside.
Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer.
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and beat.
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.
Add yogurt, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in the strawberries.
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.
Remove pans to rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and allow to cool completely before slicing.