Peach Frangipane Tart

Photography Serge Oryan

Impress family and friends with this popular French dessert. Combine almonds and peaches to make one of the most iconic summer treats. This tart is perfect when fruits are seasonal and tasty.

INGREDIENTS

For the pastry:

  • 100g / 1 stick butter, cut into cubes
  • 225g plain flour
  • 25g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling:

  • 150g soft butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • Canned or Fresh peaches, peeled and sliced.
  • For decoration:
  • Runny honey or peach jam, melted and sieved, for glaze
  • 25g untoasted almonds, peeled, flaked or halved

PREPARATION

In a processor, combine butter cubes, flour and icing sugar and process shortly like few pulses only. Pour in the beaten egg and pulse again until the dough starts to form a ball.

Wrap with cling film and chill. Sometimes the dough is immediately manageable, pending on the temperature of the butter or the room and you can skip the chilling part.

To make the filling in the same processor, cream the butter and sugar together, then gradually add the beaten eggs.

Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract. Process for a few seconds until well combined. Place the mixture in the fridge, while you prepare the base.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to fill in a 25cm tart mold. Use the rolling pin to level the edges. Spoon the filling over the base and decorate with halved peaches.

Baked Mac and Cheese

You’ll love this simple version of this classic recipe. I’ve seen versions of it with ham added, or vegetables, or béchamel sauce, … but NO! More ingredients mean more comments! My kids and their friends “and my friends” love it, just like that; a simple pasta recipe mixed in a creamy cheesy sauce and topped with chunky buttery Panko.

The “yumminess” lies between your choice of the rich cheddar cheese, the Panko coated with butter and the BAKING, to make all flavors blend together in its most delicious way.

Ingredients:

  • 500g macaroni (I used maccheroni)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cooking cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Mozzarella, shredded

Topping:

  • ¾ cup Panko (or breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Preparation:

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C
  3. Butter a 9”x13” rectangular baking dish and spread cooked pasta inside.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with cooking cream. Mix.
  5. Stir cheeses together and layer over the pasta.
  6. In a small bowl pour the melted butter over the Panko and mix until well coated. Use it to top the macaroni and cheese.
  7. Bake for around 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Home Made Pesto

Photography Serge Oryan

Making your own pesto might sound extravagant, but in fact it’s super easy and will sure make you win your friends impression. It can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge, just make sure that it has a decent layer of olive oil on the surface to make it last for longer period of time. Pesto is not only tasty with spaghetti, but is brilliantly combined to Turkey Panini or grilled Chicken and many other dishes.

I enjoy more making the pesto myself when I know that the basil leaves have been freshly picked from my garden, the pine nuts are sourced from my mother-in-law –they have 20,000sqm of pine nuts trees around their house in Baskinta– the olive oil is from the south of Lebanon –39% of the regional distribution of olive groves in Lebanon comes from the South- The outcome is fabulous!

Original Easy Pesto Sauce

-50g Fresh Basil (or 2 big handfuls of fresh basil), chopped
-1tbsp pine nuts
-6tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Sea Salt and Pepper
-25g Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

Directions: To make the pesto, in a food processor blend basil, pine nuts and Parmesan around 30 seconds or until you have a smooth paste (Though, if you like it coarse, using your food processor click the pulse button very quickly maybe once or twice). Add the olive oil to the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you don’t have a food processor you can use a mortar and a pestle.

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram @mayasingredients for daily ideas.

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.

 

Blueberry Cake

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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.

Happy Baking!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 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

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C. Grease and flour a 12-cup pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Fold in lemon zest and blueberries and transfer to pan.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

 

Bamia w Riz / Lamb and Okra Stew

MayaOryan-Okra with Rice

The Taste of Marjeyoun is a cookbook by Dina Bayoud Kohl and published by Tamyras. I was lucky enough to meet the author last October and purchase my signed copy of her book.

My dad’s lifelong love was his hometown Marjeyoun where he was born. Despite the fact that he moved to Beirut with his parents at a very young age, he always speaks fondly about his town, the people, the culture and the food.

Dina’s recipes are so authentic and easy to apply. They are like many Lebanese recipes exquisite and rich with healthy ingredients from pulses to vegetables to aromatic herbs like thyme, parsley and mint. I enjoyed trying many of them and results were always successful.

I particularly felt in love with the beef and okra stew recipe, healthy, refined and simply delicious. I may have changed a couple of steps on how Dina Bayoud Kohl makes it, but stayed loyal to the ingredients.

I’m reliving my dad’s tasty food with every bite I take! Live Love Marjeyoun:)

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp vermicelli
• 2 cups long grain rice
• 800g Frozen Baby Okra
• 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
• 5-6 Garlic cloves, crushed
• 500g Lamb meat, cubes
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• 450g tomatoes, crushed
• 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
• ¼ tsp allspice
• Salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Sauté the vermicelli in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the rice and cook according to package instructions.
2. In a large bowl drizzle lemon juice over okra and set aside.
3. In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until wilted and golden, stirring constantly. Add the meat and cinnamon and brown for about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes over low-medium heat and 1 liter of water and let it simmer.
5. Add the okra, tomato paste, allspice and salt and cook covered for about 20 minutes or until the okra is cooked through. Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes and until the sauce slightly thickens. Serve with vermicelli rice.

Loubieh Bi Zeit or Green Beans in Oil

Maya Oryan - Loubieh Bi Zeit.JPG

Loubieh Bi Zeit literally means “green beans in oil” and is a Lebanese traditional vegetarian dish. Many local dishes use olive oil I think because Lebanon produces fine olive oil and combined to many ingredients result into absolute indulgence.

I prepare this dish using fresh beans, tomatoes, garlic and onions. I love this old-fashioned simple version, I change nothing add nothing!

This meal is refreshing, tasty and healthy, the combination of ripe tomatoes and green beans gives it a sweet flavor with a bit of acidity.

Classic!

Ingredients

  • 1kg flat green beans (a.k.a helda beans), washed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 400 g ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp Lebanese seven spices
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh herbs for garnish

 Directions

  1. Top and tail the beans and cut into even-sized pieces.
  2. Fry the onions over medium-high heat until golden. Add the whole garlic, the flat beans, the pepper and the salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the beans are a vibrant green.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
  4. Cover with water and simmer on low-medium heat for about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and add the tomato sauce. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes form a thick coating around the beans.
  6. Garnish with parsley, coriander or mint and serve at room temperature with fresh onions and flat bread.

 

 

Apricot Jam Crumb Tart

Tarte Em Tony IMG_0613

Isn’t something to have a recipe after your name? Fettucini Alftedo,  Béchamel sauce or cake Savarin! I wonder if these people knew that one day their name would be remembered and taught for hundred years later.

Most of us have special recipes passed to us thru our parents, relatives or neighbors. Recipes that are famous in the family and even sometimes in the neighborhood! But how is it possible to make a recipe internationally recognized and adapted for the next generations?

I invited my friend Carole to spend the day with us. She got us with her a box filled with apricot crumble tart cut in squares.

I tasted one and it was the best buttery shortbread-style cookie ever with a soft crumbly texture that just melts in your mouth. Totally delicious! And when I asked for the recipe, Carole answered with confidence: “Tart Em Tony” (translated from Arabic to Tony’s mama), as if I was supposed to know what does that mean and what’s inside. She continued: ” Everybody on the block knows Tart Em Tony. That was our favorite dessert when we were kids”.

My face turned pale, it must be jealousy! Who on Earth is Em Tony and has a recipe after her name? A recipe that all the neighborhood shared at a time when food blogger wasn’t even a word.

I requested the recipe and instantly Carole whatsaped it to me. It was a picture from a recipe book handwritten just like the old days. How many of you remember his mom writing all her recipes in an old agenda notebook. The trend was to copy recipes into our books, while now we take snapshots with our smart phones and share digital copies effortlessly with friends or on the Whatsapp family group.

EM TONY tart

I know that many of my recipes have been tried all over the country. I know that my pumpkin sweet potato soup is a hit and have been passed to many people on the five continents, but would I ever have one recipe that will outlive me? A recipe recognized as the Oryana recipe, and for decades from now? I will call that an achievement!

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup apricot jam

Preparation

Grease or line a 9-inch square pan. In the bowl of the stand mixer cream the butter and the icing sugar on medium speed. Beat in the egg and vanilla and mix further until light and fluffy.

In a separate bow, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add it slowly to the butter mixture, mixing until the dough comes together.

Push half of the dough into the pan so it covers it evenly. Let it chill in the fridge along with the other half of the dough for about an hour.

Take it off the fridge and spread the jam on the top.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

To make the crumble topping, grate the remaining dough over the jam to cover it all.

Bake the tart in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let it cool completely before cutting.

It can be sliced into squares using a knife or cut into circles using a cookie-cutter.

The Roof at Four Seasons Beirut

The RoofA.jpg

What I love the most about Beirut in summer, is to watch the sun slipping below the horizon, with a frosted drink in one hand and cool music playing in the background.

With sweeping views of Downtown Beirut and the Mediterranean sea, “The Roof” perches on the Four Seasons Hotel’s 26th floor, offering a unique menu of tapas and an impressive cocktail list.

This chic rooftop lounge is a great spot to chill out enjoying some local glamour and lounging around with an A-list celebrity clientele and a live DJ spinning tracks.

Yesterday, I woke up craving for their Asian-inspired tasty bites so in the evening I slipped into one sexy dress and headed there with Serge and some friends. As soon as we arrived, we ordered a refreshing bottle of rosé to start with, while our eyes focused on that world-class sunset. We were lucky to have the manager Rita Bou Antoun on duty to visit our table and recommend a concoction from The Roof tailored menu, to inspire appetite and generate fun conversations.

Everybody around seemed to have fun, even though the venue is more of a lounge area than a party place, nevertheless some guests were swinging and dancing on the live tunes of DJ David Maouad. He was so good that turned the setting into one high-end playground for rich and famous hanging there and transforming an ordinary summer day into a terrific evening.

Finally not only the views were sensational but also the ambiance, the refined delights and the fascinating dessert. Thank you The Roof for making every night out here a most treasured experience. Can’t wait to go back!

Le Choux A La Creme

MayaOryan-IMG_9842-RLast week I came back home to find a beautiful gift from POLYGEL HOME BAKER waiting for me on my desk office.

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A jam-packed goody bag has always an enjoyable impact on me, especially when it’s from a brand that I love. I rummaged through the bags to find many baking accessories, party items, 65% dark INAYA chocolate from Cocoa Barry ideal for my ganache, Spanish almond flakes and a lovely cake mould that I will try soon. But the one item I was thrilled about the most was the star cream, which is a ready mix to make crème pâtissière. I’ve been craving for a choux a la crème for a while and this came handy at the right time.

I love choux because the dough on its own is not too sweet so it really goes with any flavor you fill in. It can be catered to your liking. The most popular is to have a custard cream inside, but some recipes include caramel, coffee, strawberries, banana,… so the options are really unlimited.

The choux a la crème and éclair dough are the same, they are just piped in a different way. I prefer the choux pastries because it’s a bite size treat picked up and devoured in a single mouthful. These little sweets dole out an irresistible dose of rich flavor and will soon become your next favorite treat.

As per the rest of the items found in my goody bag, I know now I have few weeks worth of testing and evaluation. Checkout Polygel Home Baker website, many of their fabulous products can be ordered online.

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The recipe for: Choux a la creme

Makes around 50

Ingredients:

  • 100g / 1 cup butter, diced
  • 300ml water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. In a medium size pan, melt the butter with water and bring to simmer.
  2. Add the flour and the sugar, whisking constantly and remove from the heat and continue beating until the mixture forms a paste that doesn’t stick to the pan. Let the paste cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time and beat until you have a glossy smooth dough.
  4. Using two teaspoons (I prefer piping), place blobs of the dough onto the lined baking sheet, leaving space between them as they will puff up. If you use a piping bag, dip your finger in water and flatten down the little tips on the top.
  5. Bake the buns in the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Leave to completely cool on a rack.
  6. To make the filling, mix 350g of Laped Starcream Vanilla (crème pâtissière) with 1 liter of cold milk and whip for 3 minutes until glossy and fluffy or use the whole pack (400g) with 1 liter of water and whip vigorously.
  7. Fill the choux pastries with the chilled mixture of crème pâtissière and dust with Laped Powdered Sugar, ideal for usage in pastries and decorations.

 

Note: Alternatively, you can fill these choux with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or any other filling of your choice.