Chestnut Banana Bread

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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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Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

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Don’t you hate when you invite guests over and hear them cheering, drinking, having a blast while you’re stuck in the kitchen, running in all directions, heating dishes and making sure everything is perfect?

Thinking of this makes me have second thoughts about how much I truly love (or not) Christmas!

This is exactly the time when, I appreciate recipes like that. Recipes that can be done entirely the day before and requires minimum manipulation on the day of the event.

  • This tart requires no baking.
  • If using a round tin, then 20cm would be required.
  • The base can be done with Chocolate Oreo or Speculoos biscuits.
  • Crush biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin.
  • As for the filling, semisweet chocolate can be replaced with dark chocolate and two more tablespoons of sugar, or use milk chocolate and omit the sugar.
  • For coffee lovers: caramel sauce can be replaced with 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder.

Merry Christmas food lovers!

Caramel Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

For the base

  • 32 chocolate biscuits or Oreo Biscuits, crumbled
  • ½ cup / 50g butter, melted

For the filling

  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 25g corn flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  1. To make the base In a food processor, pulse biscuits, butter and salt until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press biscuit mixture into a tart tin and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  2. To make the filling In a saucepan, on low-medium heat, pour the chocolate chips and the cream and stir until the chocolate melts. Add sugar, caramel and salt. Stir to well combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk corn flour and milk together and, off the heat, add to the chocolate mixture and mix. Return sauce over low heat and keep stirring 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens. Leave to cool 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the base-lined tart tin, pour the chocolate mixture evenly on the top and return it to the fridge to chill overnight.

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.

 

 

Loubieh Bi Zeit or Green Beans in Oil

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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

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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

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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.