Mistletoe Mimosas

Cranberry Grenade Mimosa.jpgMimosas 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!

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 6 tablespoons grenadine syrup
  • 1 cup cranberry juice, chilled
  • 1 (750ml) bottle champagne, chilled
  • Rosemary sprigs, to garnish
  • Fresh cranberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of grenadine syrup in each flute.
  2. 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.

 

 

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APPLE CRANBERRY CAKE WITH CINNAMON FROSTING

APPLE CRANBERRY CAKEApple – 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

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 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
  • 1tbsp limoncello

Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 175° C. Butter and flour a cake pan.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the batter in the cake pan and decorate with the apple slices arranging them close together and overlapping on top of the batter.
  6. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the apples. Drizzle with limoncello liqueur (or lemon juice).
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.
  9. Frost the cake with your chilled cinnamon icing. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Decorate with cinnamon sticks, kumquat and fresh cranberries, if desired.

Blueberry Cake

Bueberry Cake.jpg

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.

 

Spicy Hot Chocolate

SpicyHotChocolateIMG_9585.JPG

After skiing in the wind for five hours straight, I was chilled to the marrow and all I could think of was my special spicy version of hot chocolate.

This chocolaty monster will make you swoon! Think of the cocoa and all the spices that contains this drink that promote cardiovascular health and boost the immunity. It is rich, I know, but absolutely marvelous!

Feel free to play with the amounts of the ingredients to suit your own taste:)

Stay warm!

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

•2 cups milk (preferably almond milk)
•½ tsp ground cinnamon
•¼ tsp nutmeg
•¼ tsp chili powder
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•2 mini chili peppers
•3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
•¼ cup 70% dark chocolate, chopped
•Pinch of salt

Preparation
1. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and sugar to a boil.
2. Slit the chili pepper lengthwise and stir in.
3. Whisk in cocoa powder, chocolate and salt, let simmer until mixture is frothy.
4. Discard the chili peppers and divide drink among 2 cups and garnish with mini marshmallows or cinnamon sticks if desired.

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.

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!