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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.

parnsip-soup-0085

For the Recipe

Ingrendients

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!

slices of an unorthodox Palestinian Moussakhan

Mussakhan bites-0087

One of my favourite and most beloved dishes is the Palestinian Moussakhan. A flavour-rich dish that is traditional to the Palestinian country-side. And with only a few but very rich components, the Moussakhan, prepared with a traditional type of nan bread (taboun), olive oil, onions, chicken, and the yummy and lemony soummak spice, has been a source of pride to many many people of the Palestinian countryside as it reflects at once, their generosity and the rich produce of their sacred land: olive oil.

And even though I truly believe that there is no better way to serve this dish than the traditional authentic way, I’m sharing with you today an unorthodox way to prepare it in the hope that soon, I will be able to share the real thing 🙂

Recipe

Ingredients

Onion Topping:
2 medium onions, halved & sliced
4 – 5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soummak
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper according to taste

Chicken Topping:
400 g of boneless chicken, cut into rather small pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soummak
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper according to taste

a few slices of country bread
3 tbsp olive oil
a few parsley leaves to garnish with

Onion topping: pour the olive oil in a medium frying pan put on medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté, stirring often, for a few minutes till all onions have been sautéd evenly. Lower the heat and the soummak and stir to mix well with the onions. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice for a more lemony taste to the soummak. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sautéd onions in a well-sealed container to keep it warm.
Chicken topping: using the same pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat before adding the chicken pieces and sautéing it for a few minutes till they all have cooked thoroughly. Remove from heat. Add the soummak, lemon juice and season with salt & pepper according to taste.
Toast the bread slices. Then, using a food brush, spread some olive oil on the bread (and remember the more oil, the better :)). Top with the sautéd onions followed by the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley leaves and serve right away!
Tip: Optional, sprinkle with some roasted almonds and / or pines for a richer taste.

Bon Appétit!

fresh coriander meatballs & sauce

Meatballs 1

Fresh Coriander Meatballs & Sauce

Fresh Coriander Meatballs & Sauce

Meatballs in Coriander and Pinenut Sauce
I remember when I was a kid, I used to get confused between fresh coriander (cilantro) and parsley as their leaves look very similar, despite the very distinctive flavour and aroma of coriander. Of course that is no more the case (fortunately!), but now I find it amusing to ask my kids to tell the difference between them when we go grocery shopping.

But the truth remains that till about a decade ago, I was never in love with coriander. And it was only after I met Ali, my husband, that I discovered my hidden love for this most amazing herb. For the way he finds pleasure in adding fresh coriander to different kind of dishes intrigued me and made me want to do my own discoveries.

Now, obsessed with coriander, I not only add it to as much recipes as I can, but I even find myself creating recipes with coriander as its main ingredient. However, it seems I’m not the only to have (or to ever have had) a crash on coriander. Most probably native to the Mediterranean basin, this herb and its seeds seem to have been the obsession of different civilisations, like the Pharaohs and Greeks, for both their culinary and medicinal uses.

Meatballs 2

Meatballs 3
For the Recipe:

Ingredients

Meatballs:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
500 g mince meat
2 1/2 tsp sweet spices
Salt & pepper, according to taste

Coriander Sauce:
4 cups fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp pine nuts
Salt & pepper, according to taste

1 cup meat stock
To prepare the meatballs: in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil then sauté the chopped onion for a few minutes stirring continuously till onion has browned a bit and soften. Add the garlic and chopped coriander and sauté for one minute further. Pour the mixture into a large bowl then add the meat, sweet spices and season with salt & pepper. Mix well using your hands, then shape the mixture into bite-size balls (about 32 – 36 small balls). Using the same frying pan, cook the meatballs over medium heat, stirring often, for about 8 – 10 minutes (or till balls are golden brown). Remove the meatballs from the pan and keep in an air-tight container to keep them warm while preparing the coriander sauce.

To prepare the sauce: still using the same pan, sauté the chopped coriander and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding in the pine nuts. Season with salt & pepper and cook further over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Return the meatballs to the frying pan, add the meat stock and cook further over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Serve right away with plain white rice or with some nice fresh pita bread!

Bon Appétit!