Monday, December 14, 2015

gingerbread cookies

his is what my dear nephew sand when he saw these crispy spicy gingerbread cookies i  used king arthur flour recipe with little tweak

 Ingredients (  from king arthur flour with little tweak)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups  All-Purpose Flour
  • In a saucepan set over low heat, or in the microwave, melt butter, then stir in the brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices.
  • Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, and beat in the egg.
  • Whisk the baking powder and soda into the flour, and then stir these dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.
  • Divide the dough in half, and wrap well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out several baking sheets; there’s no need to grease them, though lining with parchment saves effort on cleanup.
  • Once the dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like; for slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly.
  • Use flour under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap over it as you roll, pulling the plastic to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour. For soft dough, or dough to be rolled extra-thin, you may choose to roll right onto the ungreased back of a baking sheet.
  • Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, cutting them as close to one another as possible to minimize waste.
  • Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets (or, if you’ve rolled right onto the parchment, remove the dough scraps between the cookies). Bake the cookies just until they’re slightly brown around the edges 8 to 12 minutes, or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Decorate the cookies and i used Betty’s ready-made icing 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

tuna salad sandwich with walnut and celery

when I’m not in the mood to cook something i usually make tuna salad .. this easy yet delicious recipe adapted from ” the kitchen in foodnetwork”

1 can tuna, drained
2 tablespoons chopped capers
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons very finely diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
olive oil to taste ( i didn’t use it)
1 tablespoon  vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced black olives
2 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley ( i used tabbouleh mix w/ bulgur)
juice of 1/2  lemon
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
to serve:  crackers, or toasted bread
Combine the tuna,onion, capers, celery, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, olives, parsley and lemon juice in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Top the crackers with the tuna mixture and serve.
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Jordanian kebab " Kfarat Kebab"

This month recipe for our facebook cooking group " Arabic Flavour"  by Hanan Smadi from Jordan - November  2015th as she described it 
Since it is olive picking season, I've decided to go with a recipe that is famous among the tribes of Kfarat villages of Jordan, an area that is famous for its pure and richly flavoured & colored olive oil.
This easy and quick recipe is considered healthy due to the process of steaming the kbab rather than frying them. It became very popular among the Kfarat villages to the extent of being referred to as the "dynamite" recipe!
Measuring its ingredients is volumetric; meaning that each cup of minced meat needs around 1 cup (or less) of
bulgur, 1 onion and some water and olive oil.

- 2 cups(700 gm) minced veal meat (fat free)
- 1 chicken breast , boneless and finely minced
- 2 ½ cups fine bulgur (dry, NOT presoaked)
- 2-3 medium onions, finely minced using a food processor with a little bit of water
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water for mixing the dough, salt & pepper
-2 tsp ground cumin
-5 tsp ground anise
- 1 tsp allspice (I personally add a pinch of ground cardamom and ground ginger only)
- Salted warm water to cook kebabs
- Mince onions in food processor with a little bit of water in to guarantee finesse.

- Combine minced meat and minced chicken in a bowl and mix very well, add bulgur then minced onions and continue mixing. You can use a kneading machine for a faster result in this step, but the traditional way is to knead by hand. Add spices, salt and pepper while kneading. 

- Add a little bit of warm of water gradually, one spoon at a time, until you get a well combined dough that can be easily shaped. Stop adding water once you get it.
- Add olive oil (keep some aside till later) and continue mixing. 

- In a deep cooking pot, preferably Tefal or thick based stainless steel, add the remaining olive oil.
- Rub your hands with some oil and start forming the kbabs into thick flat patties, hand palm size, place them at the bottom of the pot. ( i did shape them all as round shape and shallow fry them with oil in both sides)
- Place the pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until you hear the sizzling of oil.
- Add salted warm water gently covering the bottom layer only.
- When it starts boiling, lower the heat, cover the pot and let it cook for 30-45 minutes or until water dries out.
- When you hear the sizzling sound and smell the kbab, turn off heat. Make sure to monitor the drying out process.
- Wait a few minutes then flip the pot upside down into a serving plate.

- Serve alongside yogurt and salad
Bon appetite

Friday, November 20, 2015

tartar sauce

صلصة الترتار
 you don't need a jar for this easy tasty sauce...I'd like to serve it with seafood 
this is my go to recipe for 3 small boats as in the picture
5 tablespoon mayonnaise 
2 tablespoon dill pickles , finely chopped 
1 tablespoon white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped dill 
juice of half lemon
1 /2  teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, November 1, 2015

morrocan harira soup

Harira soup

Moroccan Harira Soup made with quinoa instead of legumes  (just replace the legumes with tri- color quinoa from the original recipe)  presented by Ihsan Nuri from Morocco the host of Arabic Flavour for October with traditional recipe . Since the winter season is at the door, she specifically choose a soup recipe that suits the cold weather. This authentic Moroccan soup is very popular; which I believe most of you have already heard of!
The Harira of “Amazighi” origins dates hundreds of years back. It has various ways of preparation, and evolved overtime within the different regions of Morocco. For example, there is the “Marrakechi Harirah” in reference to the red city of Marrakech, and there is also the “Wajdiah” of the city of Wajda, and the “Fassiyah” from the city of Fas. Despite time; this soup is still considered a staple in the Moroccan cuisine, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
It is known for its high nutritional value, as it is rich in vitamins and animal and plant proteins; which makes it a complete meal.
Harirah soup is so popular; it is served in almost all top restaurants and hotels of Morocco, and since it is one of Ramadan’s main recipes; it is usually served with dates and “chebakia” dessert, yet it is served with hot bread and boiled eggs in some areas of Morocco.
#Moroccan_Harira_Soup #Arabic_Flavour #الحريرة_المغربية #نكهة_عربيه
1 medium onion (grated)
2 tomatoes (grated)
1 cup celery (chopped)
1 cup parsley and coriander (chopped)
200 grams of meat (cut into small pieces)
1 cup of chickpeas (soaked overnight)
1 cup of lentils
1 cup of dried fava beans (optional)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons rice or vermicelli pasta
1 cup flour
Salt according to preference
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (according to preference)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
Pinch of saffron
3 tablespoons ghee or butter, or 3 spoons of olive oil
3 liters of water.
– Soak chickpeas in water overnight. (Keep or remove skin according to preference) skip this process if using only quinoa

– In a cooking pot, add ghee or oil, onions and meat and stir fry for 3 minutes.

– Add celery, coriander, parsley, beans, tomatoes, saffron, salt, pepper and dry fava beans (optional). Mix and keep stirring for another 3 minutes.

– Add 3 L of water and let it cook until meat and chickpeas are tender enough.

– In a separate bowl, mix flour and water until you get a slightly thick and smooth batter. Leave a side.
– Make sure the meat is cooked through. Add tomato paste to the soup and mix well.

Monday, October 19, 2015

ELBA .. Kuwaiti flan or custard pudding

      Elba  is a traditional dessert from Kuwait .. they used to make  with Colostrums  (also known as first milk ) of cows or goats  because of  its benefits and the amount of protein it has ( poor baby ) but nowadays we’re using regular milk to make it , I prefer the dried kind  and it should be full fat milk otherwise  creme fresh or thick cream ” gaimer ” should be added to the recipe
This is my mom recipe and it so easy ,so affordable and so tasty
    ” some recipe called for caramelized sugar in the bottom of  the pot  ” as Crème caramel ” other called for nigella seed or ” ḥabbat al-barakah”
You can substitute the condensed milk with the same amount of sugar or  stevia

All you need:
6 large eggs
1 cup condensed milk
2 cups of powdered ( dried ) milk
5 cups of water
Ground cardamom & saffron to taste
How to make it
So easy .. preheat the oven to 200-210 c
mix all ingredient
Pour it in ramekin or pyrex or any container  with a lid   then place it in water  bath  ” bain marie” in the oven for hour and half

Let it cool completely in the fridge before serving ( preferably overnight)   :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

the not ( barefoot) contessa fish pasta

باستا مع سمج
I love fish , I love pasta but never cooks them together… I did serve them side by side but never cooked them together until i make this recipe and O’boy what have I missed all these years
I found this recipe in one of my favorite cooking sites in the web " food52" .. love their recipes and their photos
which something i should learn since my 6 years nephew knows how to take a decent picture more than i do
back to the recipe
i used Hamour filet which is similar to cod-fish but any firm white fish will do .. i add one small chopped onion ,chili flakes ,fresh thyme and can of chopped tomatoes
here’s the recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion , chopped
6-10 oil cured olives, chopped
1 pound white fish,cubed
2 teaspoon salted capers
1 can diced tomato Italian style
2 big and fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 packet linguine or spaghetti , fresh
1/2 cup of pasta water
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped roughly
salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes up to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
heat the oil and saute the garlic and chili flakes .. sprinkle salt and pepper to the fishes
add the fish and stir until golden then add the onion and keep stirring carefully until softened and try not to break it up
add both kinds of tomato and cook it until softened( about 10 min)
in the meantime boil and drained the pasta ( keep 1/2  cup of pasta water )
add parsley , thyme , olives , capers , pasta water to tomato sauce , reduce the heat and let it thickened
add the pasta to the sauce and stir carefully then serve

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Emirati machboos ” rice and chicken pilaf”

Our recipe for today is one of group "Arabic Flavour" hosts from U.A.E Chicken Machboos, meaning “mixed”, because all the ingredients are mixed together. I really hope you will like this easy, quick and delicious recipe
‪#‎ChickenMachboos‬ ‪#‎Arabic_Flavour‬ #مجبوس_الدجاج_الاماراتي #نكهة_عربية


– 1 kilogram whole chicken cut according to preference
– 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice washed and soaked in water for 10 minutes then strained
– 2 chopped tomatoes
– 1 large onion, julienned
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 2-3 Cups water
– 1 Cup chopped coriander
– 4 dried limes (black lime). use lemon juice if not avaliable
–  Spices: 3 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 4 cardamoms pods and 5 bay leaves
– 1 small teaspoon turmeric powder
– Salt (according to preference)
– Whole black pepper (according to preference)
– 1 tablespoon Arabic spices powder: (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground red pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds powder, 1 teaspoon cloves powder ,1 small spoon ginger powder).
– 1 small spoon ginger paste
– 1 small spoon garlic paste
– Green chili pepper (optional)


– Heat oil in a cooking pot. Add the onions and stir until the color tends to light brown.
– Add the whole spices (cinnamon، cloves, cardamom and bay leaves).

– Add the ground spices then the chicken pieces and stir lightly for ten minutes till browned.

– Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, coriander, garlic, ginger and dried lime, then stir until the tomatoes become soft. Add the green pepper (optional).

– Add  chicken and let it sit for 5-10 min

-Add coriander and water until chicken cooked through.

– Remove the chicken and place it in the oven under the grill to give it a lovely brown color.

– Cook the rice by adding the right amount of chicken broth to cook it (each cup of Basmati rice will take 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cup of broth).

– When the rice water evaporates, we return the chicken on top of the rice and close the lid for another 25 – 30 minutes on very low heat till it's completely cooked.

Nigella Lawson cookies

I'm sold for any cookies recipes that require cold eggs and melted butter :). .  i made these yesterday and if you like cake-y cookies you'll love these
I've get approximately 2 dozen cookies .

ingredient :  (  recipe )

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  •  cup soft light brown sugar
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs fridge-cold
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 326 grams packet milk chocolate morsels or chips

pistachio biscuits

Eid sweet is a must ..enjoyed the whole 3 days festival  between ma'moul , qouriaba , dates rings , baklava ..etcthis recipe makes small green cardamom infused cookies that served in Eid and any day actually

ingredient : ( for 45 small biscuits / cookies)

1/2 cup castor sugar (or confectionery sugar )
3/4 cup butter 
1 1/2 all purpose flour ,sifted ( you can use brown flour)
1/2 cup pistachio powder/ flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla liquid
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 drop of green food color  (unnecessary)
Pinch of salt
Pinch baking  powder
Pistachio slices for garnish


  • whisk butter with sugar approximately 7-10 minutes until the mixture get creamy
  • add the vanilla and food color, pistachios, cardamom, salt and flour then fold everything together and do not over mix
  • let the dough rest a bit in the refrigerator
  • heat oven to 160C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
  • shape the biscuits / cookies into small balls 
  •  press the pistachio slice into the biscuit ball a little to take the circular shape
  • bake for 8-10 until the edge get golden " it will be soft " , let it cool before eating
bon appetit

Thursday, September 3, 2015

kushari ...(Egyptian Rice, Lentils and Macaroni with Spicy Tomato Sauce "Daqqa")

as a member of " Arabic flavour" cooking group ..we choose a secret recipe " mostly Arabic tradition recipe" every month host by one of the members 

August project was the famous Kushari by Aya Kiwan from Egypt.

she used her mother-in-law recipe and she described the dish by

I'm overwhelmed with joy for being this month's host for Arabic Flavour. I shall introduce to you an authentic Egyptian dish that is very dear to my heart, and gives me joy every time I prepare it.
Kushari.. despite its Indian origins, the Egyptians turned it into a culinary masterpiece; which eventually became a staple in the Egyptian cuisine. Aside from being prepared at home, it is also served at roadside stalls and  restaurants all over Egypt, specially in Cairo.
Before getting into details, I would like to mention that there are several ways to make this dish, but this is my mother in law's recipe and I consider it the tastiest of them all. This recipe calls for cooking the lentils and rice each separately, not together in the same pot like in most recipes, the thing that distinguishes the flavour of the dish I'm presenting today. Preparing this dish takes a good amount of time, but if you follow my steps thoroughly with a pinch of multitasking skills, you will be able to cut the time in half.

since i am allergic to legumes i swap the lentil with quinoa and didn't use chickpea

Ingredients: ( i used half of the ingredient )

- 2 cups Egyptian rice or any short grain rice 

- 250 grams brown lentils, soaked over night ( i used 2 cup of brown quinoa )

- 250 grams brown lentils, soaked over night

- 100 grams spaghetti pasta

- 100 grams elbow pasta (small sized)

- 3 white onions, chopped julienne style

- 1/2 cup corn oil

- 1 Tbsp tomato paste

Tomato Sauce ingredients:

-750 grams tomatoes, crushed 

- 2 garlic cloves, crushed

- 1 tsp cumin

- salt

Daqqa ingredients: "chili vinegar dressing to add to tomato sauce"

- 1/4 cup hot water

- 2 Tbls vinegar

- Juice of 2 lemons

- 2 garlic cloves, crushed

- 1 green chili pepper

- salt, according to preference


- Drain the soaking water of lentils and chickpeas, rinse thoroughly then replace with fresh boiling water and bring to boil.

- Heat oil on high heat in the pot you intend to cook the rice in. Fry onions till brown and crispy, preferably white onions for their extra crunch, sprinkle with salt while frying. Fry in two patches and set aside in a wide dish to maintain crunchiness. Bare in mind that you will use the onions frying oil in many stages of preparing this dish, so if you feel you will need more oil then make sure to add more at this stage.

- After boiling the lentils for 10 minutes, wash, strain and add salt and some of the onions frying oil. Set aside.

- As for the chickpeas, drain the water as soon as it starts boiling, wash then replace with fresh boiling water again. Add the tomato paste spoon to it and let it boil till cooked. When cooked, strain, add salt and set aside.

- To make the tomato sauce, in a pan add 3 spoons of the fried onions oil, minced garlic, crushed tomatoes, cumin and salt then let it cook till it starts simmering. Turn off heat.

- At this stage you should be doing the above mentioned steps all at once on the stove top to cut the preparation time in half.

- Cook both types of pasta separately according to package directions, strain, add some of the friend onions oil to coat. Set aside.

- Cook rice as you usually do but by giving it a fry with the remaining oil of the fried onions first. Cook till its done.

- Meanwhile, you will also prepare the "Daqqa" to add to the tomato sauce by mixing hot water, lemon juice, garlic, green chili pepper and salt in an electric mixer. Add the mix to the tomato sauce and cook until sauce thickens and oil rises to the top. Finally add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.

Assembling the dish:

In a wide serving dish, layering should go as follows..

1- Rice

2- Lentils

3- Spaghetti pasta

4- Elbow pasta

5- Tomato-Daqqa sauce

6- Chickpeas

7- Crunchy Onions

If you wish to have an extra spicy sauce, you can fry some dry chili flakes or chili powder in some of the fried onions oil, then add a big spoon of the tomato sauce to it. Beware that this can be extremely spicy, so it's not recommended for people with allergies to consume.

It is very common in Egypt to serve milk pudding as a dessert after having Kushari.

Bon Appétit

English text by Maei Junaidi