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.
Hello storm, you’re wild and angry, violent and reckless and I don’t seem to like you! I’m nothing like ready for cold obviously; a powerful storm with violent winds and heavy hail and rainfall is ripping through Lebanon leaving me with limited desire to step out.
Meantime schools are shut and my daughters are, with all the kids of the neighborhood, celebrating the happy occasion. My doorbell kept on ringing, kids in kids out, …well if I look at it from the bright side, it was a good exercise for me especially that I skipped gym this morning;-)
So it was almost lunchtime and I still haven’t decided on what to cook! I went roaming in the kitchen when my sight fell on potatoes. Since I didn’t have enough of gold potatoes to make a large dish of gratin enough for guests and us, I added sweet potatoes! Results were gorgeous and crunchy. Yummm!
I have decided to eat more vegetarian food during January and I proudly add this recipe to my meat-free repertoire. I added a dash of curry to it while the cream was simmering and some parmesan cheese on the top before baking, that I don’t mention in below recipe, but now that I reveal it you may want to try it with curry or even chili for some spicy flavor.
2 kg potatoes (half sweet potatoes and half gold), sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup cheddar cheese
½ cup Emmenthal cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Butter a shallow ceramic baking dish.
Pour the cream in a large saucepan, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer half of the potatoes, layer them and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Top with the remaining potatoes; pour the cream mixture and sprinkle with the Emmenthal cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until gorgeous and golden on the top.
Popular restaurants and catering companies get more than a 100 orders of turkey each on 24 and 25 December every year. They start baking turkeys weeks before and store them in freezers. On same day, it’s stuffed, plated and delivered. No wonder I never liked it!
The secret to a juicy and flavored turkey is to be cooked on same day. It’s not complicated at all. It just takes time in the oven. It’s an easy recipe and is always a hero dish for main events like Christmas.
I like to use a lot of fruits in my recipe to flavor the turkey; it blends nicely with sautéed peas, carrots and sweet potatoes. Delicious!
If you buy a frozen bird, allow at least 24 hours to thaw. And when you take it out from the oven, remember to let it stand for about 30 minutes before carving.
Happy holidays to all!
1 (5 to 6kgs) turkey
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 apple, cut into wedges
6 dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried sultanas or cranberries
2 sticks of cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots chopped
1/2 cup of parsley
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup of white wine
1/2 stick (50g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
1 oven bag size Large
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
In a small saucepan over medium heat stir 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cinnamon, the bay leaves, the onion, the carrots and the parsley, until the onion is cooked and the carrots are tender. Discard cinnamon and bay leaves and set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
To make the turkey: Start with discarding neck and giblets. Rinse the turkey with the wine (or apple juice) over the sink. Don’t rinse with water.
Mix the oregano, salt and pepper to the butter. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin.
Put one tablespoon of flour in the oven bag and divide the remaining ingredients (orange, lemon and apple wedges, apricots, sultanas, rosemary and onion mixture) to place some in the main turkey cavity and some in the oven bag.
Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. Put the turkey inside the bag and seal in. Place the turkey inside a roasting pan and position the pan on the lowest rack in the oven. Put 3 cups of water in the pan.
Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 175 degrees C. And then cook again for about 21/2 hours or according to the weight of the turkey and the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove from oven. Take off the turkey of the bag and return it to the pan. KEEP THE LIQUID TO MAKE THE GRAVY.
Pour 1 more cup of water into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey about 1 hour longer or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 75 degrees C to 80 degrees C or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.
To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with mustard, salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.