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aubergine & kashk

Having prepared this recipe, or a few others before, definitely does not qualify me as an expert in Persian cuisine. However, i can call myself, with much confidence, a big fan of this beautiful cuisine. The rich and diverse ingredients tell the story of the historically and culturally enchanting times the Persian cuisine must have gone through and i’m  looking forward for more adventures preparing other recipes in the near future (i’ve already got a short list of the food that i would like to try).

Kashk is a type of a traditionally sun-dried yogurt used in the Persian cuisine as well in other ones, sometimes with a different name. And when i first came across this aubergine and kashk recipe, the sound of it reminded me a lot of a beautiful appetiser dish that we used to love eating at a small Turkish restaurant back in Dubai. So i was intrigued to try this one out. And not only this recipe did not disappoint, it simply exceeded my expectations for it is so delicious that i can’t even wait to prepare it again real soon. And i can tell you that i’m so happy to share it with you today, and i do hope that you will give it a try.

It is just worth noting that, being me, i lightly modified the ingredients and method of preparation from the ones in the original recipe in a way that made more sense to me, but i kept the original spirit and the great taste of the dish untouched.

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warm eggplant and capsicum salad

Cold winter days call for soul warming food. And with the beautiful, yet cold, winter that we have been living since a few weeks now, I find myself craving warm dishes, that taste a lot like home.
This warm eggplant and capsicum salad is quite easy and straightforward to make. It is an excellent vegetarian choice and can be prepared in very little time.

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date dark chocolate cake

I had created this decadent moist date dark chocolate cake some time ago and ever since have been meaning to share its recipe on the blog. So here it is today. I can assure you that this easy-to-make cake is here to impress. Wishing you a happy & relaxing baking!

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sesame & tahiné bites for unorthodox Christmas truffle cookies

 

سمسم [simsim]: For centuries, the heavenly seeds of sesame have constituted an indispensable ingredient in the pantry of the levantine household. Let it be seeds, paste (tahiné) or oil, with a light nutty flavour to them, sesame seeds are an important component for the making of many of the levantine dishes.

The famous tahiné, which is made out of sesame seeds, is a wonderful thick and rich runny paste used for the preparation of different levantine dishes varying from sweet to savoury. Tahiné is a traditionally versatile ingredient, and so, while it can work its magic in sweets, it is also a wonderful companion of savoury dishes such as fish and meat.

And besides all the magic that comes along with tahiné, it happens to be one of my favourite ingredients to use in the preparation of different kind of foods. And I can tell you our pantry never runs out of tahiné, things are that serious! 🙂

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celebrating St Barbara’s with a hearty Burbara

 

 

St Barbara’s day is celebrated by Christians in the Levant countries of Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, on the eve of the 3rd and on the 4th of December in honour of St Barbara, one of Christianity’s first martyr saints.

St Barbara’s legend, which is commonly believed to have originated in Baalbek – Lebanon, tells the story of a 3rd-century daughter of a rich pagan who against her father’s will converted to Christianity. Defying her father brought suffering and pain upon her. And in her attempt to hide from her father, Barbara had to disguise wearing different masks. The legend tells of wheat growing around her to help her hide from her father who eventually was the one to behead her.

To commemorate St Barbara’s legend, people put on masks and grow wheat seeds on this special day. They also prepare a beautiful wheat pudding for the occasion called Burbara.

Burbara recipes might differ from one region to another but it is basically cooked wheat that has aniseeds, cinnamon, and sugar added to it. Its topping can vary but usually consists of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pomegranate and dried fruits such as apricots and raisins. This heart warming dessert is a beautiful celebration of history, values and tradition.

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burgul-à-humus: topped with sautéed garlic & coriander and served with goat yogurt

 

The last few months of our life have been totally crazy; we moved homes, countries, and even continents; we left an extremely hot weather to live in an opposite extremely cold weather; we left everything we knew and set on a journey full of the unknown far from those closest and dearest to our hearts, into a world where we hardly knew anyone.  All the changes, uncertainties, disappointments and emotional ups & downs that came along have been challenging and what has felt as the bravest thing we’ve ever done as a family with two kids felt at times as the craziest thing ever…

Our adventurous journey is still at the very beginning , but we have come a long way in learning how to embrace the little wonders and joys that our new life has to offer…after all, there is some foolishly romantic charm in not knowing where exactly you are heading…

And on this note, I’m hoping to be able to charm you with this simplest of all recipes; a beautiful dish that consists mainly of bulgur and chickpeas topped with a heavenly delicious قدحة – [qadha], which is coriander and garlic sautéed in olive oil, and served with some yummy goat yogurt (goat yogurt has a different yet particular taste to it, and I do believe that once given a chance, goat yogurt will become an all time favorite).

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pear almond torte

pear & almond tart0026

Pears and almonds are a match made in heaven. They go so well together that it is almost impossible to get the flavours wrong. Add cinnamon to the formula and well, what more can I say?

To be quite honest, I was not planning on making any tortes this week but since we had far too many pears, delicious ones, at home, I was worried they would perish before we get the time to actually eat them, it felt bad to waste these precious fruits when there was a torte that could be baked 🙂

Ingredients are simple and recipe is super easy to follow.

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MINCED MEAT MAKHLOUTA SOUP

Makhlouta, which literally means ‘mixed’, is a levantine traditional vegetarian soup that is typically made of a mixture of dried vegetables such as lentils and beans. With the addition of some meat, this beautiful soup is best enjoyed during the cold season of autumn and winter.

Recipe

ingredients:

about 100 g minced meat 2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
1 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1/4 cup rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup bulgur, washed and drained
2 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper, according to taste
4 – 5 cups water
Lemon juice & slices (optional)

preparation:

In a medium to large saucepan put over medium heat, sauté the minced meat for a about 7 – 10 minutes, stirring often. Set sautéd meat in a small bowl aside.
Using the same saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes stirring often. Add the lentils, rice, bulgur and stir frequently for another few minutes.
Add the cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour about 4 – 5 cups of water to the lentil and rice mixture. Couver the saucepan with a lid. Lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes.
Once the lentil and rice mixture has been thoroughly cooked, you can add the minced meat to it. Cook for a few minutes further.
Serve the soup hot with a slice of lemon (optional: add a few drops of lemon juice to the individual serving bowls).
Enjoy!

the olive oil banana cake loaf…

We all know that bananas and walnuts are two quite different ingredients that work  together beautifully. Now, imagine adding the magic of olive oil to them! It is when great food becomes divine.  A super easy recipe to a super yummy cake. Enjoy!

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tomato & zucchini soup

tomato & zucchini0064

Recipe

ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
2 small zucchinis
1 garlic clove
2 large tomatoes
a handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 – 3 tbsp laban (sour yogurt)
salt & pepper, according to taste
1 cup water

preparations:

  • Give the onions, zucchinis, garlic, tomatoes, and coriander leaves a quick chop.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized sauce pan.
  • Add the onions, zucchini and garlic and sauté them over a medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, and coriander. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook further for about ten minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Pour all ingredients into a food processor and grind them till as smooth as possible.
  • Return the ingredients to the sauce pan. Add the laban and whisk well till all of the soup is well mixed and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Return to heat and cook for a few minutes further till desired soup thickness is reached (If you wish a thinner soup consistency, then gradually add some water, while stirring till desired consistency is reached. Then cook for a few minutes further).
  • Your soup is ready to be served 🙂. Enjoy!