July 13, 2011 § 9 Comments
It’s been a long time since I cooked anything, let alone blog about it, but the past 2 weeks where a rough journey for us, coping and adjusting to the fact that a family member is missing.
I’m one of those people that hate to see any kind of food go bad in front of me, and I guess this thing runs in our family, my mom and sister are worst cases.
Recently my daughter has become such a picky eater and running out of control snacking on crisps and chocolates the whole time…. so those two reasons brought together the birth of this recipe.
Its a delicious sugar, and egg free banana chocolate muffins made with whole grain spelt flour. I didnt expect my 18month old to like them but she’s munching on them happily. Other than the fact that it got chocolate in it.. it’s quite healthy! If you use good quality chocolate you don’t have to feel guilty eating them at all.
I have been experimenting with different kinds of flour and so far all the outcomes are amazing, the reason behind this is the book “Good to the Grain“ by the amazing Kim Boyce. Her book really did give me a different prospective with cooking and baking. Why are we so attached to the plain all purpose flour, you get so much more flavor using different kinds of flour! And it became easier to get them in grocery stores recently here in Dubai.
Try out this Recipe and I hope you like it.
makes 5-6 large muffins
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons butter, oil or margarine
- 1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
preheat oven to 175C and line or grease a muffin tray.
In a small pan over low heat melt the butter with the honey and vanilla, take it off the heat and mash in the bananas and mix well.
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and the chocolate chips. Add in the wet ingredients and mix gently with a spoon.
Pour the mixture in the muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Instead of the chocolate chips you can add any kind of nuts you have on hand (almonds, walnuts or cashews)
- or add 1/2 cup of quick oats or cooked steel cut oats, will give it extra crunch on the top and nuttiness.
July 1, 2011 § 6 Comments
Yesterday was a blur, I woke up after a night I didn’t have much sleep in, which passed with tears and blank staring into the ceiling. I was hugging my daughter the whole night, not able to imagine how my cousin feels. She lost her son. A 13yr old boy that was an angel to everyone around him.
His death was a shock to everyone! He was well and active with a long history of childhood Bronchial Asthma, which he was on treatment for. He had a sudden severe attack that took him away from us.
I pray for him and for his mom that Allah gives her the power and will to get over this loss, for there is no greater loss than a parent to burry their child.
I woke up today needing a sort of comfort that I knew I’ll find in chocolate.
I had lost my appetite since I heard the news. Wanted to make some hot chocolate but coffee was more needed to help me get through the day.
My mother in law was in the kitchen prepping for a cake, I was praying she would pick the can of cocoa powder a sign she’s making chocolate cake, and she did!
When I went to eat some later I saw the cake toppingless… No sauce no ganache no frosting!
I ran to the kitchen to make some. I get to the pantry, no chocolate chips, OMG!
I remembered my sister making a chocolate sauce out of things we normally had in the pantry. I try to remember, imitate, and voila a brilliantly good sauce was born! It is perfect over dry choco cake, fruit or ice-cream.
My easy chocolate sauce:
3/4 cup yoghurt
3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 table spoons sugar
A nob or two butter
Heat all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and cook till the raw flavor goes away (few minutes). Adjust the flavor to your desire adding more or less cocoa and sugar.
Enjoy warm over anything you fancy.
Your prayers for my cousin and her lost son (Abdullah)
June 29, 2011 § 10 Comments
A few weeks ago a jar of salty caramel, that I made for my brother in law’s birthday “salty n sweet” chocolate cake, was sitting in the fridge staring at me with a sad glance mumbling “use me, pweez before I go bad”. I pitied it every day wondering what I’m going to do with it… I cant make that torturous cake again!
The first idea… “macaroons! I can put it in chocolate macarons!!” I imagined the flavor and started drooling,” yum! That’s it I’m making macarons. But wait… I never made them before!”. hhhmmm. From what I read they need certain skill and practice, and there’s lots of ways, fresh meringue, italian meringue… oh dear…
I immediately relied on the food bloggers group I joined recently, FIA(famished in arabia) “ask the FIA bunch! of coarse a few if not all know how to make macarons.”
I posted the question on the Facebook group and got my answer almost immediately with the best macaron recipe, saved me some research and experimenting. Radia sent me the recipe and we decided to turn it into a hands on training day! My sister and Yasmin , fellow food blogger joined us.
Telling my husband the macaron date I set up his facial expressions changed.
“do you know those people well? are you sure they will not turn out to be some weirdos or sociopaths??”
“Its a group of food bloggers! they blog about food!! we share an interest, of coarse they are not!”
While deep inside I was wondering why i didn’t ask myself this question earlier.
Well, despite mine and my husbands fear they seemed to be the most sweet and kind hearted people I ever met! clear and simple.
It was a wonderful get together and a play date for our kitchenaids! (I stole Radia’s line :p )
We chatted for hours non-stop talking about our families, food and living in Dubai. And to my surprise both had the same reaction from their families about meeting someone you barely know over the internet!!
I found in common between me and Radia something more than the love of food. We were both doctors!!! Doctors that have put their careers on hold to peruse a greater cause, ya greater than saving a life, its being a full time mom! not only to our children but our husbands too. I finally found someone who understands my point of view.
Radia was THE mentor, and I think the God Mother to macarons, her knowledge and skill was amazing! We kept staring at her trying to devour every step she’s making, asking questions along the way and her patience for answering was so motherly. She told to us how room temperature and humidity can affect the outcome, and how one stroke can make or break a good macaron. She also explained about the shell, the dome, and the feet that a proper macaron should have.
It was such a pleasure to meet the ladies and even a bigger one to be taught how to make macarons from a pro. But it was so sad they had to leave before trying the macaroons.
Radia was fearing the outcome because of the high level of humidity that day but to our surprise they came out good for a first time try in a new oven.
Our outcome was:
- chocolate macaroons with salty caramel
- green tea macaroon with white chocolate ganache
- plain pink macaroon with strawberry rose jam
- saffron macaron with cardamom white chocolate ganache
Here is the Macaron recipe Radia sent me, it was from Dessert Magazine:
100g egg whites
50g granulated sugar
200g confectioners’ sugar
110g blanched almonds, whole or ground
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue.
2. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse if you use already ground almonds (that you have ground ground yourself separately.) It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. If you use whole almonds, pulse thoroughly for a minute or so.
3. Add them to the meringue and start to give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: If the tops flatten on its own, you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple more folds.
4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe a small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets.
5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 10-13 minutes, depending on their size. Let them cool completely before filling.
6. Pipe or spoon some of your filling on one shell and sandwich with another one.
June 24, 2011 § 12 Comments
First of all welcome, to my new blog this is just an extension of what I started on Fatmazkitchen. Baby steps as they would say.
I really wanted to start an official food blog a long time back but being a full time mom really does take all your time! I also wanted to start this blog with my amazing sister Mai, but she is busy getting married (good luck sis!) I hope she joins in later as her talent in food, photography and anything crafty is just amazing.
Trying to find a new name for the blog was so hard! most of the good ones where taken and I really wanted to capture the essence of an emirati arab woman cooking. Obviously the current name doesnt capture it entirely but after lots of brain storming and googling this was the best I (the not so creative of my siblings) can come up with.
I finally found the time to finish up the final touches and write a new post to launch the new blog on a vacation at our Prutting home in Germany. We love being here. Its a very small, tranquil, and quite (very bavarian) village in the province of Rosenheim, where every one is so sweet and simple. I feel away and free from all the hustle and bustle of Dubai.
Although this vacation is not perfect since its the first time for me away from my Hubby in almost 4 yrs. Habibi if you are reading this you are terribly missed.
Coming here I was so excited as it is summer and my daughter would have so much fun playing out in the garden, going to wild parks, and picking strawberries at strawberry farms, but unfortunately this past week was so cold and raining most of the time.
None the less this did not stop me from making the most delicious jam ever! It is summer and strawberries and roses do peak at the same time. The strawberries were brought from the market but the most fragrant roses I have ever smelled were from our the garden. I have to admit although i adore rose jam this heavenly combination was not my idea… I found a jar of strawberry rose jam from Waitrose at my dad’s which I loved very much and was the source of this inspiration.
Just in case you didn’t make the link, Rosenheim means “roses home”. Here you can find all kinds of roses during the summer, the view and smell is just divine walking between the houses or even the streets.
As usual I didn’t stick to a recipe doing this jam but I found a great recipe in a blog. I did use the same ingredients in it but I went with my own quantities. I personally don’t like my jam to be too sweet so I used 2:1 fruit to sugar, and for the health part i also used brown sugar which did give it extra fragrance.
Strawberry-Rose Jam from Dans la cuisine food blog
- 2 quart baskets very ripe, fragrant strawberries
- 4 c. sugar
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- Petals from 2-3 organically grown, very perfumed roses
Makes enough to fill 4-6 half-pint jars, depending on the pectin content of your fruit and how long you need to cook it to reach the jelling point.
Hull the strawberries and cut them in half, dropping them into a conserve-making pot (which is very wide and relatively shallow) or other large casserole. Use a pot with the largest surface area possible. Toss with the sugar and put over medium-high heat, bringing to a boil and stirring frequently to prevent scorching. At the boil, reduce heat to medium.
Meanwhile, put a saucer in the freezer for testing the doneness of your jam, and put your clean jam jars upside down in a large pot of water. Put this on to boil to sterilize the jars. If your water is hard, add a dash of vinegar to the water to prevent unsightly mineral deposit on the jars. Bunch the petals of each rose together in your left hand, and cut off the base of the petals as you cut them from the calyx. The bases of the petals have a bitter taste, and you don’t want to include them in your jam.
Skim the foam from your jam as it cooks. When it seems slightly thickened, start testing it for doneness by placing a drop on the cold saucer and returning it to the freezer for a minute. Remove it and touch the jam drop. If it wrinkles slightly when you touch it, and clings in a sort of thread as you draw your fingertip away from it, it has reached the jell point. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the lemon juice and rose petals. As soon as it returns to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to a barest simmer. Fill your hot sterile jars with the hot jam, leaving 1/4″ headroom if you are sealing them immediately. screw the lids on and cool at room temperature before storing.
June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
(previously posted on fatmazkitchen)
Cracking the code to the famous “Baker & Spice“‘s Shakshooka:
Last week I had breakfast with my two best friends (my sisters) at Baker & Spice souq albahaar, downtown Burj Khalifa. Although I’m not a big fan of their menu, which was disappointing on several occasions, I opted for the highly raved about Shakshooka.
It was brought to the table family style, in a big frying pan to share in the middle of the table.
It is not the usual middle eastern Shakshooka that we are used to, where the eggs are mixed into the spicy tomato sauce, but rather eggs poached over the tomatoes.
The tomato sauce was perfect, spicy tangy and sweet tomatoness oozing out of it. The eggs perfectly sitting on top of the sauce waiting for you to scoop out!
Point is, for the first time I truly enjoyed a dish at Baker & Spice.
A couple of days later I open the pantry and a jar of Arrabbiata pasta sauce is screaming at me… “It was me it was me!” I’m not crazy I swear.
I opened the jar took a sniff, it’s a close one. Tasted it, well it was indeed the same sauce used for the Shakshooka!
I placed the bottle in the fridge, saving it for the weekend, and this morning, waiting for it eagerly, I made the Shakshooka. It was YUMMY!
Although my 17month old didn’t let me enjoy it to the most but nonetheless it was good.
I used Marks and Spencer’s Arrabbiata pasta sauce seasoned it with salt & pepper and added fresh chopped coriander. Switched my broiler on high. Heated the sauce first in a frying pan and cracked the eggs into it, once the eggs started to get opaque on the bottom I transferred the pan under the grill to cook the top part. A few seconds later it was ready. Steamy spicy and the smell was amazing!
We dunked pita bread into it and savored the joy of my triumph.
June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
(previously posted on Fatmazkitchen)
Cooking out of my BumbleBox take#2
To whoever is reading my blog, if you do exist… sorry for not posting my promised daily recipes out of my BumbleBox(organic veggies) throughout this week, but I have been extremely busy!
Buying this box not knowing nor expecting what comes in it and trying to cook it off, not to waste your money, is extremely fun!
My go to source for this week’s recipes is Jamie Oliver’s book “Jamie at Home”. Jamie Oliver is one of the reasons I got more involved and passionate about food. I still remember the first time I met him…. Just got home from uni, tiered and hungry, switch on TV and flip through the channels to see, on BBCFood at that time, a rather interesting quirky young man cooking in such an appealing way that you cant resist smiling while looking at him! It was the “highland fling” episode from the Naked Chef show and love at first sight (hubby if you are reading you are a different deeper love :p)
Back to my cooking.
Bruschetta is one of my favourite things to eat, get a good loaf of bread grill it, garlic and olive oil and you’ll never be disappointed no matter what you put over it.
Last night I made two kinds of bruschetta, tomato chili buffalo mozzarella and grilled bell peppers.
They are both basic and simple, since I got fresh flavorful organic veggies, you can play and add flavours as you feel like that day.
My basic bruschetta recipe:
- good loaf of bread sliced, i got Eric Kayser’s plain baguette
- clove of garlic, whole
- olive oil
I was told from by italian once that the bruscheta should be grilled then drizzled with oil not vice versa. So since then that’s what I do.
I turn my broiler on high and place the oven tray on the upper rack. and grill my slices of bread till brown on both sides. the minute I get them out I rub with garlic and drizzle with olive oil on one side. top with what your heart desires.
- Any selection of tomatoes you fancy, sliced, chopped or just cut up in half in case of small cherry tomato
- Red chili, finely chopped
- Fresh Basil
- Lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh mozzarella, buffalo or cow
Place ur tomatoes on a plate scatter with chili and teared basil all over, drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
slice or tear your mozzarella over the tomatoes. serve over warm bruschetta.
Grilled Rainbow Bell Pepper topping:
- colorful selection of peppers
- balsamic vinegar (or pomegranate molasses and a squeeze of lemon juice)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grill your bell peppers on high heat till the skin bubble and get charred. place in a bowl and cover with cling film till it cools. tear the skin off the peppers and slice thinly.
drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season to taste. serve over warm bruschetta bread.
June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
(previously posted on fatmazkitchen)
I got my first BumbleBox© today from the Dubai Garden centre, it was full of lovely fresh organic veggies!
I was really impressed with the work Becky and Sonia (founders) are putting into it. Sourcing local producer not only organic but to reduce carbon footprint from importing the produce.
So back to the veggies, as soon as I went through the box I started brain storming recipes for the week! Although each week the box comes with a recipe for the veggies in it ( this week purple capsicum couscous salad with feta) I decided to post a series of recipes out of the box through the week.
The veggies in there were: runner beans, tomato (plum, cherry, beef), basil, baby leeks, yellow onion, carrots, red beetroot, cucumber, lettuce, capsicum (yellow, purple and red), and potatoes.
Fasoolya Bel zeit (green beans in oil) with brown rice
The dish is originally Lebanese and my lovely big sis Mai used to always cook this for us. So this is dedicated to her, luv u sis x.
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of green beans cut up into 2 or 3 peices
- 5 large ripe tomatoes cut up into 1 1/2 inch squares
- Olive oil to fry
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
In a medium sauce pan fry the onion and garlic over low heat till golden, throw in the beans and toss for 1-2 mins. Add the tomatoes and season, cover and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 mins.
Check every few minutes to see the consistency of the sauce it shouldn’t be too dry, add water if needed.
The beans should still be crunchy to bite when done.
Add the lemon juice just before serving.
Can be served hot or cold, traditionally with white rice but I luv it with steamed brown basmati rice.
It just feels healthy writing about it! Going to have a second plate… Adios!