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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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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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date & nut balls

 

Sometimes, all we really need is an old fashioned recipe that is easy to make yet rich in taste and texture (oh well, maybe in calories too!). And these beautiful date & nut calls are exactly what is needed today.

I first came across the idea of date balls many (and I mean many) years ago when I was still a student in elementary school. Only then I remember the teacher calling them “Hnayneh”, or something like that, and they contained butter-sautéed bread crumbs instead of the nuts. Till this day, I still remember how tasty they were.

Unfortunately however, I don’t know where these beautiful little bites originate from as it seems this recipe, or variations of it, can be found in different Arab countries. (more…)

almond and pistachio coated chocolate truffles

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The Recipe

Pistachio coated dark chocolate truffles:
160 g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
4 tbsp double cream
1/4 cup shelled pistachio, finely chopped

Almond coated milk chocolate truffles:
160 g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
4 tbsp double cream
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped

To make the pistachio coated dark chocolate truffles:

  • Mix the chocolate and double cream in a heat-proof glass bowl placed over a double boiler. Stir the chocolate and cream often till chocolate has completely melted and has well combined with the cream.
  • Once chocolate has melted, pour the mixture into a smaller bowl and allow to cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating for about 2 hours. By then, the mixture would be bit firm.
  • Take small amounts of the mixture, about a teaspoon, and form them into small balls. Dip the chocolate balls into the chopped pistachio before placing them on a tray covered with baking paper.
  • Once you have prepared all the truffles, refrigerate them for about half an hour before serving them. Or you can keep them refrigerated for a few days, in an airtight containers, till ready to serve.
  • Allow the truffles to set at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving them.
  • Apply the same steps to make the almond coated milk chocolate truffles. Enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

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orange & almond pudding

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This most refreshing and delicious orange recipe is quite easy and quick to prepare. Literally, it just takes minutes to make! And seconds to devour 😉

Despite the few and simple ingredients of this dessert, there is something quite enchanting about its oriental taste. And I do hope you get the chance to try it.

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For the Recipe

Ingredients

400 ml fresh orange juice
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground almond
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp pistachio, roughly chopped
Pour most of the orange juice (keeping about 1/4 cup aside) and sugar into a medium saucepan and place over medium hear stirring often till sugar dissolves entirely.
Add the ground almond and stir often till the mixture starts to simmer. Lower heat.
whisk the corn starch into the remaining orange juice before adding it to the mixture in the pan. Cook till the pudding becomes to get thicker.
Divide among individual serving bowls and allow to cool before serving the pudding sprinkled with some pistachio.

Bon Appétit!