Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orange Cupcakes with Nutella



I am back with something sweet this time :) Yes, I have decided to improve my baking skills :) This recipe is adapted from 2 different places: Orange cake from the digital magazine Sweet Paul (which I really like!): www.sweetpaulmag-digital.com I used the muffin tins instead of the cake baking pan and the other one is from one of my favorite sites run by a sweet lady called Cherine: Chicho's Kitchen. I took her advice on adding Nutella to cupcakes and muffins and it turned yummy!!! I loved the idea that the cake was made with fresh oranges. The taste was wonderful!

So the main recipe for the cake from Sweet Paul is as follows:
Makes 2 cakes (3x6 pans) according to the original recipe. I got about 20 cupcakes from this batch depending on the size of the tin or paper cups you are using.
6 sweet oranges (I used 5 big ones)
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Nutella or any equivalent

Powdered sugar, for dusting (I skipped that)

Wash the oranges and place them whole and unpeeled in a pot filled with water.
Bring to a boil and let simmer for about two hours. Remove the oranges, let cool then cut in half and remove seeds. Place half the amount of oranges in a food processor and purée and set aside. Now, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange purée, vanilla then beat all well. Add flour, baking powder, almonds, salt and mix all until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease the baking pan, pour half the batter, add some Nutella then add the rest. This way the chocolate will be right in the middle. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. Stick a toothpick and if it comes out clean then it's ready. Transfer to a on a wire rack and let cool off.

Meanwhile for the topping:
Chop the remaining oranges and place in a small saucepan with sugar and water. Let all simmer until liquid transforms into a thick syrup (about 10 to 12 minutes or so). Let it cool. Then serve as the topping of the cupcakes.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving. (I skipped that step) but next time I would love to drizzle some melted chocolate instead.

Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the Winner is??????????


Hello everyone,
I would like to thank all those who participated in the CSN stores giveaway. The draw has been made today via random.org and our lucky winner is our THIRD participant: Maha from Even Sparrows Pray. I attached the snapshot photo of the result from random.org

Thank you all for participating :)
And Maha please contact me to claim you prize.

Friday, April 30, 2010

GIVEAWAY YAY!!!


Hi Everyone!!!
In my previous post, I talked about a giveaway. Well, here it comes! I have been contacted by CSN online stores www.csnstores.com and as soon as checked their websites I REALLY fell in love with a lot of the items they sell! I felt like I wanna order & order & order! What really thrilled me is their affiliate German site which I can also use here in Germany :)
Another thing that amazed me was the home bars, this is something that I myself consider to be a necessity for people who like to entertain a lot (like us) :)
I chose my giveaway from their other site www.cookware.com and it took me forever, because I simply could not make up on my mind easily :) but finally I did. My choice landed on this Le Creuset 6-Quart Stock Pot
I use Le Creuset and love their quality! It heats rapidly, really good for slow simmering, doesn't absorb odors or flavors and is easy to clean. Very elegant item.

So come on, residents of the US and Canada all you have to do is let me know if you like this item :) Then the names of all of you will enter the draw through random.org and the winner will be contacted to receive it! Soooooooo easy no???
I am waiting...

Last day to participate is Sunday May 16. Good luck to all the participants!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kibbeh Balls without Stuffing




I guess the craving for kibbeh is not over yet :) This time it's with meat but without the stuffing. The recipe of kibbeh balls appetizers with stuffing is already posted in the appetizers section. This time I had some kibbeh left and decided just to make balls and fry them without the stuffing for a change. I like to have them with a green salad and some fries.

Kibbeh ingredients: (or any leftover kibbeh)
1 pound/lb or about 500g of minced lean meat
2 cups of fine bulgur wheat
1 onion chopped/diced
1 teaspoon of allspice or 7 spices
Salt & pepper (about half a teaspoon of each)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil

Wash the bulgur and drain, mix with the lean meat, onions, spices, salt & pepper and place in the food processor on low or mix by hand until the ingredients combine together then place in a bowl. Make the balls and fry them in vegetable oil until cooked and golden brown. Serve with fries and salad or just salad. I suggest making sandwiches like Falafel style sandwiches or wraps with greens, pickles and the dressing of your choice.

Oh by the way! Stay tuned:
GIVEAWAYS ARE STARTING THIS WEEK! All YOU HAVE TO DO IS PARTICIPATE!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pumpkin Kibbeh - كبة يقطين


Pumpkin Kibbeh is one of my favorite recipes. It's very popular during lent. I personally like it all year long or even for Thanksgiving. This recipe can be made into Kibbeh balls and fried too. This time I decided to bake it in the oven. This vegetarian recipe is healthy and full of nutrients.

Makes about 5 servings (in a 9x9 inch baking pan):

For the kibbeh:
2 cups of cooked pumpkin ( I used the ready spiced canned pumpkin)
2 cups of fine bulgur wheat
1 cups of wheat flour
1 egg
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of allspice

For the filling:
2 cups of cooked spinach
2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup of pine nuts or chopped almonds
Some olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to rub the bottom of the pan (even if it's non-stick)

- Mix all the ingredients of the kibbeh and refrigerate for half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a skillet, add olive oil and onions and nuts let all cook for a couple of minutes or until the nuts start to brown a bit, then add the cooked spinach, then chickpeas, spices, salt & pepper. Cook until the ingredients combine together for like another couple of minutes.
- Get the kibbeh mix and divide in 2 parts and spread the first part in the baking pan, add the filling then add the second layer, making sure that the same thickness is applied, same as any kind of pie made.

Bake in a 400F oven until it's fully cooked and golden browned on top, which is from 30-40 minutes depending on the oven.

Serve with any green salad of your choice.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Msabbaha - مسبحة



Dear fellow readers and bloggers, sorry for disappearing again! I just got back from Lebanon! A little change from the crappy weather in Europe :( Now, seems like spring is in the air :) So I guess my energy is back, yes!
This recipe is very simple and very similar to the Hommus with tahini but with a bit more tahini and not as thick as the Hommus mix. So for this recipe you'll need:
- Prepare the Hommus recipe just like you normally do (or check my Hommus recipe if it's your first time) then add to it:
- Half a cup of whole cooked chickpeas, another small spoon of tahini sauce with half a cup of water, and add some cumin. Some chopped parsley for decoration and olive oil on top and voila!
Serve with pita bread and assorted pickles, or a plate of fresh cut vegetables (tomatoes, mint, cucumber, green onions and some radishes).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Artichoke with Lemon & Olive Oil Dip- ارضي شوكي بالحامض والزيت



Hello Everyone,
I have been lazy lately :( I guess the weather here in Germany has a lot to do with it. Snow and snow and nothing but snow! Low temperature and hardly any sun. That is effecting my mood and I didn't wanna let myself go and surrender to food. Therefore, I have decided to take it easy in the kitchen for a bit. At the same time I really don't wanna neglect the blog. Well, I have to reveal that I will be putting the content of the blog in a small book :) That is taking my time too. Yes, small, because I know how hard it is to travel with a lot of weight! Ok no more news about it until it's done ;))) Stay tuned!

Today, I've decided to make a simple healthy recipe, with hardly any calories. In Lebanon, this is considered as an appetizer and part of the mezze served in Lebanese restaurants. I personally can have this as a full meal. After I dip and eat the tip of the leaves of the artichoke, I clean the heart, put in in pita bread and dip it in the sauce and eat it.

Ingredients:
1 artichoke per/person
A pot of water, add some salt in it and a lemon cut into wedges.

For the dip:
Juice of 1 lemon, 1 small mashed clove of garlic, 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.

Rinse the artichoke(s) well and place in the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-high and let it cook until done. It's cooked when it's soft to taste. Just grab one and taste it, or stick the tip of the knife in the lower part of the artichoke. When it's done, place the artichoke upside down in a strainer to drain the water, then serve with the dip.
To eat: Take one leave and dip it and eat the soft tip. When you get to the flower, clean all the pointy hair-like that covers the heart which is very nutritious and tasty.
You can also, cut the tips and spread the leaves and drizzle the dip or dressing and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moroccan Couscous with Beef - Walima Cooking Club Challenge




Happy beginning of a new decade! This was the Walima Challenge for the month of December featuring the Moroccan cuisine, but due to the holidays and all, I am late, but it's never too late when it comes to good food ;) So here's the couscous with beef that I made.
The recipe is copied and pasted as given by the Walima site.
I skipped the squash, and the smen and replaced it with canola vegetable oil. I added a small bell pepper too. The couscous I found in the market had a sachet of mixed herbs and garlic that I added to and turned out to be very good. I made couscous with beef before but with more ingredients like turnips, cabbage, potatoes and eggplant. This recipe is pretty good and easy.

COUSCOUS WITH BEEF

Ingredients :
- 1 pound couscous
- 1 pound meat (beef), you can use chicken or lamb.
- 2-3 carrots
- 3 zucchini
- 3 tomatoes
- squash
- 1 big onion
- parsley & coriander
- chickpeas
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp turmeric, pinch pf saffron
- water
optional :
- 1/2 tsp smen (butter ghee)

Steps :
Heat the oil at medium temperature, add chopped onion and the meat.
After 15 min, add chopped tomatoes, parsley, coriander and the spices, let cook 10 min, add water, let cook 1hour.
To prepare the couscous :
Add some water and fluff it up with your hands, let it soak.

After the meat has cooked 1 hour, place couscous in the steamer pot and let steam 20 min.
Remove couscous from the heat, let it cool, add water, fluff it with your hands, add salt and oil, if you want, you can add smen (butter ghee).
Put couscous to steam another 20 min.
Add carrots to the meat, after 10 min, add zucchini, squash, chickpeas, let cook.
To serve, place couscous first, then the meat, the vegetables and the sauce.

If you don't have a couscous pot, you can follow the same steps using a microwave.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Walima November Challenge: Sheesh Barak - شيش برك




This month's Walima Cooking Club challenge is representing the Lebanese Cuisine.
We share this recipe also with the Turkish cuisine and with a little difference in preparation, they call it "mantee" or "manti" and the shish barak word that we use is I would say comes from the Turkish and Balkan word "burek". I used the manti this time in my recipe which is the dough filled with meat, it's the same except that it comes in a different shape. In Lebanon, we shape it (the Sheesh Barak) like tortellini.

Here are the ingredients as given by Walima Club founder Arlette from Phoenician Gourmet blog:

Lebanese Style Sheesh Barak

INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ kg of plain Greek style yogurt or home made
1/2 quantity of Ajeen or basic dough recipe
3 cloves garlic, crushed with a dash of salt
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (if fresh is not available use couple spoons dried)
½ kg (16 oz) ground meat (either beef or lamb)
3 medium sized onions, finely chopped
¼ cup fried pine nuts
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Basic Dough or Ajeen
(this is used in many savory pastries)

INGREDIENTS:
1 kg (32 oz / 5 cups) plain flour
1 ¼ cups warm water
½ cup olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

PREPARATION:
Sift the flour into a working surface.Mix in salt and sugar. Make a well in the center. Pour olive oil and vegetable oil in the well. Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid. Add water gradually. Knead the dough into a ball (if the dough is too stiff add some water). Knead the dough on a floured working surface until it is smooth and elastic this can be done in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, or in a food processor. Form the dough into a ball and put into a lightly floured bowl, covered with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

For the Cooked Yogurt:

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 kg of plain Greek Style Yogurt
or home made you can check my blog for home made yogurt (you can check my blog for homemade yogurt)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 cup water + 1 beaten egg (or egg's white)

PREPARATION:
Strain yogurt using a smooth colander into a pot. Add egg or egg's white. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 cup of water. Stir into cold yogurt for 2 minutes.Place on medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils.
Preparing the Sheesh Barak:

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1 cm thickness. Using a round cookie cutter (medium size), press over dough to get equal rounds.
Fry onion in shortening till color changes a little. Add meat, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Stir occasionally and fry for 7-8 minutes. Add pine nuts and Mix. Drain the mixture as butter would affect closing the pastries.

Spread the round a little with your fingers. Place 1 tspn of the filling on it. Fold over one end to make a semi-circle. Press edges down to seal. Take the two ends from the straight side, bring them together to make a small ring. Press well. Repeat till rounds are done.

You will have left over dough , (this is the best part) roll the remaining dough in thin rope and cut into diagonals. Place the stuffed dough and the cut pastries in a tray with parchment, Bake in a hot oven (400F) for 10 minutes or until golden. During this time prepare and cook the yogurt and when it starts to boil add the baked pastries to the boiling cooked yogurt one by one. Let it boil over low heat for 10 minutes or till pastries are cooked.


Note: The egg and the cornstarch are there as stabilizers so that the yogurt won’t separate.
Make sure to cook the yogurt on medium low heat , high heat could ruin the sauce.

In a separate skillet you’ll want to quickly sautée the garlic and mint in one tbsp extra virgin olive oil and add it to the Sheesh Barak. And cook for another 2 minutes .

Serve hot in bowls, or you can serve with it Lebanese Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet baked Potatoes & Orange Puree with Watercress Salad




I thought I could post something quick to serve on Thanksgiving table. A combination of an appetizer-salad or combined side. I reviewed quite a few recipes of potato purees I can try this one because it's quick and simple and can be pretty much used with fish or meat. I really liked the flavor of the sweet potatoes baked for few minutes inside the orange shells. Hope you like it too.

For the Potato Puree: (4 servings)
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cooked in boiled water until soft and ready
2 oranges cut in half and emptied (I juiced them, then scraped off the rest
2 tablespoon of orange juice (from those oranges I suggest)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Some chopped chives
Few drops of hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon of butter
Some salt, black pepper, garlic powder

For the salad:
Fresh watercress, some chopped onions, some tomato slices or wedges, some toasted pine nuts. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil for the dressing.

After the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and mash them. Add butter or olive oil, the spices, garlic powder, orange juice, hot sauce. Mix them all together then fill the orange halves with the puree and bake for about 12 minutes in a 375 oven. I baked them in the muffin tin because it hold the oranges pretty well. Put the salad together. Now serve the baked orange potato puree by sprinkling the chopped chives on top and some black pepper. Serve it on the side of the salad or in the middle.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!