Lemon Rice Salad

Lemon Rice SaladBlog3

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt

Preparation

  1. 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).
  2. Place cooled rice in a salad bowl and stir in lemon zest, thyme, beans and pistachios.
  3. Combine dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the salad. Toss to well combine.

 

 

 

 

Foul Mudammas

Foul Meddamas -Blog

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.

 

Serves 1

Foul Mudammas

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, place the broad beans with water and bring to heat.
  2. Add lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and cumin. Reduce to desired consistency.
  3. Return beans to plate and top with tomatoes, green (or spring) onions and parsley.
  4. 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.

 

 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Blog

Hello pasta lovers! Aren’t you numerous? Sometimes I really feel you don’t need a recipe to cook pasta. You throw it in the pan with any ingredients you have on hand and voilà! A fabulous meal is ready and bellies and taste buds are satisfied.

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of the meals that when I cook, I don’t have to worry about who doesn’t eat or who will whine about lunch because it’s everyone’s favorite. A meal I can cook with my eyes shut and my focus off.

Let’s do that!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1 pack / 500g Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g minced beef
  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  • 400g fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan

 

Preparation

  1. Cook spaghetti in boiled water according to package instructions
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until golden.
  3. Add meat and cook for 2-3 minutes, drizzle with wine and continue cooking until browned on all sides.
  4. Add tomatoes and cover with water. Add tomato paste. Season with basil, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and rich.
  5. Drain cooked spaghetti and add to the pan with the Bolognese sauce. Toss well and serve with parmesan cheese.

 

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.

 

Beef Steaks in Herbed Marinade

ImageGrilled steaks are perfect deals when I have little time to spend in the kitchen. Especially when I have them marinated overnight. The juicy flavor of the meat is enhanced with a marinade of Mediterranean herbs and olive oil.

And here below how I make it! It’s no more a secret recipe:)

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces / 200gms beef steaks
  • Pam spray

Marinade

  • 1 cup / 250ml olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grape vinegar
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 2 more for garnish
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh lemon, cut in 4 wedges
  • 1 tsp salt

In a shallow dish, combine all the marinade ingredients and soak steaks inside. Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours.

On a medium-high heat, oil a stovetop griddle or a grilling pan and place the slices of steak to grill. Cook around 5 minutes per side or to your liking, turning once only. Move to a serving plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Garnish with rosemary and serve with salad, potato mash or grilled vegetables.

Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza

During the last few years, Milan has been an addictive destination to me! No matter where I wanted to go in Europe, it has to be via Milano. Partly is for the shopping of course but mostly is for the bounties of Italy. I’m in love with this country, the nature, the culture, the traditions, the walks and obviously the food!

Last week I was there with my dear friend Nidal. We had a blast! We enjoyed every bit of our stay.

On our last day, we drove north to the town of Como. We walked around the small streets then went to see one of the top travel destination in Italy, lying between Milan and the border of Switzerland, the Lake Como. Wow! Beautiful! I think my heart has stopped beating for few seconds.

After Como we crossed the Swiss frontiers visiting Lugano, where we had lunch, bought Gruyere cheese and Swiss chocolate and walked the stretch along the Lake Lugano. I was surrounded with breathtaking scenery! I stared at the deep blue water, the mountains and the white peaks in disbelief, thinking this is all I wanna do, everything else can wait!

Zap to reality, to Lebanon, with its never-ending political issues and stressful events bursting every now and then.

Inspired by my trip and all fused with my passion for Italian cooking, I decided today to bake a Pizza.

This recipe uses fresh onions, garlic, mushroom and scented thyme. I sprinkled fresh garden basil over the Mozzarella and the Gruyere cheese, to give it a little extra flavor and fragrant.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best shot I have on my website, next time I make the same recipe, I’ll try to take a better picture.

I would be lying if I say that I make Pizza often. It’s so easy to prepare, but for some reason I always manage to forget about this recipe. And when I do it, I’m always proud of my achievement, which earns me big smiles from my hubby and girls!

Mushroom, Ham and Cheese Pizza

Ingredients

 The dough

  • 400g all-purpose flour (strong flour Tipo “00” is recommended)
  • 100g semolina or ferkha
  • 1tsp salt
  • 7g/2 ¼ tsp/1 sachet active dry yeast + 50ml hand-hot water
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin oil

Filling

  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce or passata
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 200g sliced ham
  • 100f fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp pizza seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a jug, dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour and semolina together. Add salt.
  3. Make a well in the middle. Add oil to the yeast mixture and pour it in the centre of the well. Start mixing, bringing the flour from the edges to the middle. Add water and keep kneading to form a springy large ball with the dough.
  4. Cover the dough with an oiled sheet of cling film and return to the bowl. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise about ½ an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  5. To make the topping: In a saucepan heat oil and sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, ketchup and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with oregano or pizza seasoning and salt and pepper.
  6. Off the heat add the thyme and the olives and mix.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on a floured surface to form a rectangular shape. Place it in the mold pushing out the edges evenly. For thick dough, it should be no more than 1cm.
  8. Brush the dough with the tomato Passata sauce and spread the topping evenly over the pizza base and sprinkle with Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated oven 200°C for 20-25 minutes or until the dough rises and turns slightly golden.