mjaddarah: a taste from home away from home

Mjaddarah (مدردرة – مجدرة), the “hungry man’s food”, is a simple yet very rich dish that is relatively popular in the Arab world and a food enjoyed by everyone. Classically served with yogurt and mint, Mjaddarah is a true delight.


Reminding me of home, Mjaddarah has always been a favorite dish that I would delightfully have anytime, anywhere. And lately, I have been nostalgic and missing my mum’s cooking and so, naturally, have been craving this dish often. And I’m not ashamed to admit that, despite my love for this dish, I failed to make it a few times before. So being finally able to prepare it not only makes me happy knowing I can enjoy this dish whenever I want, but also give me a certain sense of pride.


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parsnip soup: a flavour of simplicity


Autumn is quite an interesting season. Not only is it the season of beautiful colours, but is rich in many vegetables and fruits that are quite interesting. And while living in Dubai currently means approaching the beginning of a season that resembles a beautiful summer rather than autumn, we are lucky to still be able to enjoy the rich produce of the season that arrives in from different regions.

Parsnips which are best eaten cooked, enjoy an earthy flavour that is typical for most of its root vegetable family, such as carrots. Yet parsnips are special for their distinct spicy flavour reminiscent of nutmeg. So if you are not a big fan of earthy flavours, my guessing would be you won’t be appreciating this soup. However, if you are, I say give this soup a try and enjoy some unorthodox flavour that is both rich and healthy at the same time.


For the Recipe


2 tbsp olive oil
25 g butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
about 500 g parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 – 3 cups water
Salt and pepper, according to taste

for garnish:
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped

  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan put over medium heat.
  • Once butter has melted, add the onion and sautée for a couple of minutes before adding the the garlic and spring onions. Sautée for a few minutes, stirring often, before adding in the chopped parsnip. Lower heat and continue to sautée for about 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Pour the milk and 2 cups of water into the pan. Increase heat to medium, once the soup starts to boil. Lower heat again, cover the pan with its lid, and cook for about 30 minutes later, or till the parsnips soften. Add some water if you feel the need to. Season with salt and pepper, according to taste.
  • Once the parsnips have cooked through. Remove pan away from heat, and purée the soup using a hand-held food blender.
  • Return to cooking the soup over medium to low heat, just for a few minutes further. According to the desired soup thickness, add water to make it thinner, or cook further to make it thicker.
  • Once done with cooking, pour the soup into the serving bowls and garnish with some walnuts and spring onions and serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

c for carrot & coriander salad

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This incredibly simple yet yummy salad will be on my daily salad menu very often as it is a pure version of freshness and deliciousness. Of two distinctive tastes, this sweet (carrot) and sour (lemon) salad is very easy to prepare and can be ready in no time, almost 🙂


about 300 g carrots, peeled & shredded
a generous handful of green coriander leaves, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice, according to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, according to taste

Mix the ingredients in a medium bowl, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

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


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!

green lentil salad

Green lenil salad 2

Rich in nutrients with the ability to last for years when stored properly, lentils are among the most ancient staples known in history, and they constitute a very important component in the pantry of different civilisations / nations. Lentils come in different colours, and even shapes and their taste and texture and even uses vary accordingly. And there seems to be endless possibilities for dishes that can be prepared using them.

I’ve shared a few delicious lentil recipes before, and always feel tempted to share some more. Lentils are just so delicious!

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Today, I share this totally yummy green lentil salad, which is a beautiful, light and healthy snack. It is so easy to prepare and is full of simple freshness! As is the case in most kind of salad, it should be eaten fresh once prepared.
For the Recipe


1 cup green lentils (washed, and soaked in water for about 10 minutes then drained)
3 celery stalks, washed, trimmed and chopped
12 – 15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, according to taste

Cook the lentils over medium heat in a medium pan covered with 2 cups of water, for about 20 – 25 minutes. Drain the lentil to get rid of any excess water. Set aside to allow to cool before making the salad.
In a medium to large serving bowl, mix the lentils with the other ingredients. Give the mixture a good stir and your salad is ready to go 🙂
Serve and enjoy fresh!

Bon Appétit!

petit peas soup


Soup! Who does not love soup! Other than my kids, that is 🙂 Well, unfortunately it is true and they are not all that crazy about soups. But when not left with much other choice, my little ones might tolerate having some soup for dinner. But I do (if that is of any importance to you :)). And I intend to share soup recipes more often, now that the beautiful weather in Dubai makes us fancy more and more soups.

Inspired from the Portuguese cuisine, this most delicious soup is quite simple and straight forward to prepare (with one main ingredient, I can’t see where this soup can go wrong). And, it is elegant and can make for a perfect entrée to a beautiful dinner. The soup is ideally served with garlic and coriander bread, but served on its own, it would make for a beautiful and rich gluten-free dish.

For the Recipe


1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed & chopped
500 g frozen peas, thawed
salt & pepper, according to taste
3 cups water

a generous handful of fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp butter, room temperature
1 garlic clove, shredded
some baguette bread slices to be served with the soup (optional)

Heat olive oil and melt the butter in medium pan. Sauté chopped onions for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic then celery and cook for about 2-3 minutes further. Add the peas. Sauté for about 7 – 10 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the water onto the pan increasing the cooking heat and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes.
Using a hand held food blender, process the pea soup till it turns into a beautiful smooth and consistent soup.
Prepare the bread slices by toasting them (optional), then spreading them with some butter and a light sprinkle of garlic and coriander.
Divide the soup among the serving bowls, sprinkle with some chopped coriander leaves and serve along with the garlic and coriander bread.
Bon Appétit!

Sometimes, all you need is a Harira Soup

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Harira Soup شوربة الحريرة

Originating from Andalusia الأندلس, Harira حريرة is a heart warming soup that made its rich journey all the way to North Africa, namely Morocco and Algeria, to become yet another magical flavor of the exquisite North African Cuisine.  

Widely prepared during the month of Ramadan, and during the winter season (which is far from being the case in Dubai), this beautiful food brought me comfort and peace after a few stressful and busy weeks. And it was one of those kinds of dishes that fill your home, and heart along, with beautiful aroma. 

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Harira Soup

This soup takes some time to prepare (mise en place of the ingredients). But once you start bringing this soup together (mainly when adding the saffron to your soup basic mixture and having the magical smell of oriental spices invading your kitchen), you realize that this soup is so worth the work and that it just cant go wrong.

I have to admit though that it would normally be more interesting to work with dried chickpeas (about half a cup chickpeas soaked in water overnight), but I went for the road more taken and thus took the easier option (canned peas). Sorry! 

For the Recipe


2 tbsp olive oil

40 g butter

1 large brown onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 cm fresh ginger, grated

1 ½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

½ tsp saffron threads

1 tsp salt, or to taste

350 g lamb meat, diced

1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

½  Ltr chicken stock

1 ½ Ltr hot water

½ cup green lentils, washed and drained

½ cup white basmati rice, washed and drained

a generous handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus some extra leaves for garnish

zest of 1 lemon

juice of ½ lemon

  • In a large saucepan and over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil, till butter has melted, sautée the onions, celery, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 5 – 7 minutes, till onions start to soften. Add in the ginger, cinnamon, pepper, and saffron. At this magical moment, the smell will tell you you are on the right way to heavenly food. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the diced lamb meat. Sautee for about 5 minutes stirring continuously till meat is brown. add the chickpeas and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Pour the chicken stock and water into the the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let cook for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the lentil and cook for another 15 minutes before adding in the rice. Cook further for about 10 – 15 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and add the lemon zest, juice and coriander. Give it a stir before serving the soup garnished with coriander leaves.

         Bon Appétit!     

The Smooth World of Chocolate Mousse

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Chocolate Mousse

Smooth, rich and intense, chocolate is basically a beautiful & magical ingredient that turns everything into, well, chocolate! And for this mousse recipe, I combined milk and dark chocolate. But feel free to use either of the two chocolates on their own (I would recommend dark chocolate in this case), and indulge, diving into the smooth world of chocolate mousse!
Just keep in mind, that the mousse is best prepared one day ahead so it gets enough time to set and be ready for serving the day after.

For the Recipe


1 tsp vegetarian gelatine
2 tbsp water
250 g mascarpone cheese
120 ml double cream
50 g caster sugar
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
50 g milk chocolate
50 g dark chocolate
A handful of pistachio, roughly chopped

  • Mix the two chocolates and melt them in a heatproof bowl over a double boiler. Leave aside.
  • Sprinkle the gelatine over the water in a small heatproof bowl. Stir the gelatine, then stand the bowl in a small pan of simmering water. Keep stirring till gelatine has dissolved completely. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla using a hand held electronic mixer. Once mixture is smooth, beat in the double cream. Stir in the gelatine followed by the melted chocolate. Stir till mixture well combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 – 6 small serving cups (I used small oriental tea glasses), then sprinkle with pistachio.
  • Refrigerate over night and keep refrigerated till ready to serve.
  • Enjoy!
            Bon Appétit!

Fruit & Date Mini Tarts

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Today I’m sharing a very simple recipe that I experimented a while ago and which turned into the most wonderful and extraordinary tart, a Fruit Date Tart with Custard Cream filling. 

The tart shell is rather soft and not crusty, as it would normally be. And if well stored, you can keep the tart shells for a few days, which means they can be prepared ahead of time. And while you can prepare any filling of your choice, I opted for a light and delicious custard cream filling that suits the tart perfectly. As for the fruit toppings, they can be any of fruit of your choice, but for me, Raspberries, Blueberries and Pomegranate seeds felt to be the perfect choice. Not only they are wonderful companions of custard cream in general, but they also taste great with this particular tart, and they provide the tart with beautiful and balanced vivid colors.


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For the Recipe:


Tart Shells

75 g shelled pistachio

75 g almonds

200 g stoned dates, 

1 tbsp olive oil, plus some extra oil for working the tarts


1 cup milk

1 tsp good-quality vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

75 g caster sugar

2 tbsp corn starch 

80 ml double cream

Fruit Toppings

About 400 g fruits of your choice

  • For the tart shells: pour all ingredients, in a food processor. Process untill mixture becomes ground and crumbly. Using the extra olive oil, grease the base and sides of 6 10-cm spring tart tins. Then divide the date mixture among the tart tins making sure to spread the mixture as smoothly as possible to cover the base and sides of the tin.
  • For the Custard Cream filling: Mix the milk and vanilla extract in a small pan, over medium heat. Stir continuously. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
    In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch using a hand-held electric mixer. Keep whisking till mixture is smooth and pale in color. Pour the milk gradually over the egg mixture stirring continuously.
    Pour the mixture into a clean pan put over low heat. Continue to stir till custard gets a thick and smooth texture. Remove from heat and pour into a clean bowl. Cover the custard with cling wrap and refrigerate till ready to use. When ready to serve the tarts, whip the double cream till it becomes light and fluffy. Add the whipped cream to the custard and stir gently till custard cream is smooth. 
  • Gently remove that tart bases from the tart tins. Divide the custard cream among the date tarts. And top with your choice of fruits! Indulge!
    Bon Appétit!