Hello world! On my side of the continent, temperatures have been very low and our constant search has been lately exclusive for comfort food and soups. My curry recipe is very versatile. The version I’m sharing today is the one that my entire family approves, but I remember cooking this recipe sometimes for lent, using vegetable stock and coconut cream and omitting chicken, (which obviously makes it also vegan). I sometimes add, after blending, boiled cauliflower, pineapple pieces or unsalted cashew nuts. I also like sometimes to have it as a soup by adding one extra cup of stock before blending to have a thinner texture. It not only tastes delicious but it is also very aromatic and can be served on special occasions.
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
200g pumpkin, diced (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 banana, ripen and sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups cooking cream or coconut cream
In a large pot, drizzle oil and place chicken pieces to cook. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Continue to fry until fully cooked. Remove chicken pieces and set aside.
In same pot, coat again with oil and add pumpkin and onion. Sauté until soft.
Stir in ginger, curry powder, cumin and turmeric and continue to sauté for about 1 minute then add tomatoes.
Stir in the stock and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until it starts to simmer.
Add banana and apple pieces and cook for another 10 minutes.
Off heat, blend the mixture with hand stick blender or by transferring it to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Return mixture to the pot with the cooked chicken and add the cream to heat just few minutes, without bringing it to a boil.
Garnish with sesame, seeds or shredded coconut, and serve with Basmati rice.
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.
Although Lebanon is a small country but over the course of history many civilizations settled here bringing their own culinary creations and passing it on to us. Ottoman and Levantine cuisine has great influence on Lebanese kitchen and similarly, most dishes use olive oil, garlic, parsley and lemon. I love how Lebanese are rooted in traditions but also easily embrace modernity and move abreast. They developed an eclectic mix of food and made dining the center of every get-together, no matter what the occasion is. I wonder if this is gonna be ever the same after the confinement because of the covid19 virus. I can’t imagine Sunday without family reunions and summers without sunset drinks on the terrace.
Breakfast also includes marvelous options. From the savory list like manakish, kishik, balila or the sweet list, like knefeh, sahlab, honey areesheh cheese; Food here is taken seriously. Lebanon’s fertile soil grow flavorful produce, I think one has to taste it locally to really understand what I’m talking about. I was so happy with my foul mudammas this morning that I have been itching to share the recipe with you.
1 x 400g cooked broad beans or canned foul mudammas, drained
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 olive oil
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 stem green onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, place the broad beans with water and bring to heat.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and cumin. Reduce to desired consistency.
Return beans to plate and top with tomatoes, green (or spring) onions and parsley.
Taste and adjust seasoning if desired and serve with bread.
TIP: I think spring onions or onions are essential in this recipe and don’t forget to drizzle with extra olive oil before eating.
Many 5 stars hotels in Turkey greet you with a cup of Sahlab or Salep at arrival. This drink was introduced to Lebanese by Ottomans. Originally it consists of milk and orchid flour, but now many cafés prepare it with milk, sugar and cornstarch. I personally use Sahlab mix, they are available in many brands in Lebanon and all over the world. You just mix it with hot milk and ready in a-snap-of-a-finger! Some add orange blossom water or honey, others top it with pistachios and shredded coconut, but I like it the way dad used to make it, sprinkled with cinnamon and served with kaak on the side.
This thick creamy drink has higher demand on cold winter days, just perfect to snuggle on the sofa with. but I love that during summer it can be found among ice cream flavors.
Sahlab is popular throughout the Middle East, and heard from my vegan friends that it can be done with soya milk.
If you can get Sahlab -Salep- fine powder, here below the recipe!
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp ground sahlab
pinch (or a bit more) of ground mastic
2 tbsp sugar
Dissolve the mastic in 1/3 cup warm milk. Set aside.
On a medium heat, pour the rest of the milk and bring to boil. Add the Sahlab by sprinkling gradually and stirring. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
Add sugar and stir. Transfer the mastic milk mixture and stir to form a thick creamy milk.
Serve hot sprinkled with cinnamon and with your favorite brioche or kaak.
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!
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.
Mimosas are astonishingly, ridiculously, exceedingly, embarrassingly easy to make. Not that simple doesn’t taste yummy and easy won’t add the sparkle you’re looking for:) The flavors are splendid! I promise you a cool drink that will deliberately take care of the mood.
Merry Mimosas everyone!
6 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 cup cranberry juice, chilled
1 (750ml) bottle champagne, chilled
Rosemary sprigs, to garnish
Fresh cranberries (optional)
Add 1 tablespoon of grenadine syrup in each flute.
Combine cranberry juice and champagne together and fill up the flutes almost right to the top. Garnish with rosemary and drop the berries right before serving.
Apple – Cranberry – Clementine – Cinnamon… These are the necessary key words to make you want to bake this elegant Christmas cake.
Nothing beats a smoothly frosted cake semi-naked look, I promise you it’s so easy to prepare anyone should give it a chance.
I couldn’t resist, but taking photos from different angles and post them on all of my social medias accounts.
I have tried many recipes for the festive season. I hope I’ll get the chance to share them all, since all of my spare time lately has been spent on Christmas shopping hearing Georges Michael and Mariah Carrey songs on repeat.
APPLE CRANBERRY CAKE WITH CINNAMON FROSTING FLAVOR
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 ½ cup sugar
4 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup Clementine juice
¼ cup dried cranberries
1-2 red apples, cored and sliced (skin on)
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
To make the frosting, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the whipping cream and whisk on high speed for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 175° C. Butter and flour a cake pan.
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Pour Clementine juice gradually while mixing and scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Turn off the mixer and fold in the cranberries.
Pour the batter in the cake pan and decorate with the apple slices arranging them close together and overlapping on top of the batter.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the apples. Drizzle with limoncello liqueur (or lemon juice).
Bake for 45-55 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.
Frost the cake with your chilled cinnamon icing. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Decorate with cinnamon sticks, kumquat and fresh cranberries, if desired.
Hello hungry people:) I have good news for you, this cake recipe is so simple that even the most amateur cook may bake it. And with the almond crumble that tops it, you will end up with a celebratory treat to serve on ceremonial occasions like Christmas.
What makes this cake looks fabulous is the Bundt pan and the glaze. So if you are tempted to try this recipe please don’t skip these two steps, especially the topping.
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¾ cups all-purpose-flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries
For the topping
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons almonds, broken or sliced
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C. Grease and flour a 12-cup pan.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add gradually to butter mixture. Beat until well mixed, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
Fold in lemon zest and blueberries and transfer to pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before trying to remove it from the pan.
To make the topping, combine flour, sugar, oat and almonds. Add the butter and rub the mixture with your fingers to make small clumps. Spread the mixture on a baking tray and cook in oven for 7-10 minutes. Let cool. To make the glaze,whisk together icing sugar and lemon juice. To finish,drizzle the glaze over the cake and immediately sprinkle with the almond mixture and wait for the glaze to dry before serving.