Homemade marrons glacés

Marron glacé. This is a treat I had to accustom my palate to.  All my life up until 3 years ago I assumed I did not like marron glacé! Why? Because as a child I tried it and hated it and so I grew up thinking I didn’t like it.

My mother, on the other hand, loves it and always has. Three mother’s days ago, I decided to change the routine and make her marrons glacés instead.

When I had my BDesserts business I got some of my supplies from a local company that imports French products called FAMECO and they sent out recipes on a monthly basis and one of them was how to make marrons glacés. It seemed fairly easy and it was. This is when I had my first bite as an adult and fell in love with it.

I made it again yesterday and this what you need: Continue reading

French onion soup

Ever since I was a little girl, French onion soup has been a favorite. So when I fell upon the treasure of a cookbook (my mother’s 70’s edition of the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook) when still young and learning to cook, naturally the first soup that I would attempt was the French onion soup. Simple and basic, it’s easy to make and tastes great. Of course, as I learned more about cuisine, I began to add French herbs, some wine (de-alcoholised in our case) and proper gruyere cheese. This weekend, I made it for my visiting sisters that have been craving it for a while. But this time, I added a new ingredient that I learned of from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking. The addition of egg yolks gave the soup a new dimension and a subtle creaminess that we loved. Thank you Elizabeth! And now for the soup:

Continue reading

Experiment 5: Pumpkin ravioli with butter sage sauce

Pumpkin + sage = a true marriage in heaven with the inclusion of butter well then you would just reach nirvana!

My cousin who is on her spring break wanted to make ravioli together. My usual filling for ravioli is ricotta cheese mixed with shredded parmesan and dried oregano and I would serve it with  roasted tomato sauce. I love this combination but I wanted to try something new.

My sister as a way of shortcut once made pasta with cubed pumpkin cooked in butter and and sage until very soft and ever since I tried that I had fallen in love with this idea. So I wanted to translate this idea into ravioli…

Well first I had to make the pasta which is honestly the easiest thing. Continue reading

oranges, cinnamon, almonds and mint!

I recently discovered a fabulous, fabulous salad…

A delightfully, refreshing Moroccan orange salad with sugar, cinnamon and mint! And my addition of roasted thin shavings of almonds!

While I was leafing through my copy of Flavours from Arabia, published by Thames and Hudson,  I found this simple orange salad recipe. I got my copy from our al-Maidan Cultural Centre shop in case you want to grab a copy of your own!

First you need to prepare the dressing:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cinnamon stick

Bring all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan and heat until you reach a simmer. Leave the dressing to simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.

Peel 6 oranges using a sharp small knife. I’m in love with my ceramic knives. They do a fantastic job! Then cut the oranges into thin slices and arrange in a deep platter.

Grab a handful of sliced almonds and lightly toast them in the oven for a few minutes.

When the dressing has cooled, spoon it oven the oranges and then add the almonds. Using a sifter or ideally a shaker, sift both cinnamon and icing sugar over the oranges.

Wash and dry a handful of mint leaves and roll them up. Taking a sharp knife, cut into thin strips (julienne). Scatter over the oranges and enjoy it as a starter for your next gathering or have it as an afternoon treat!

pumpkin stew/curry

Sometimes when I’m hungry (and in the mood), I pop into the kitchen and see what’s available. I usually give up within 5 minutes but when I’m really in the mood, I’ll see what vegetables are available and make up something.

That one day, I saw pumpkins, actually butternut squash, and they were already peeled! It was calling for me. I took them out and starting chopping them into small pieces. I still had no idea what I was doing. Pumpkins and sage is marriage made in heaven so I took a few dried sage leaves. I took out a pan. I also saw an already chopped onion and grated garlic and ginger. I fried about half an onion in olive oil for a few minutes, until browned and then added a pinch of mix of grated garlic and ginger and fried it for one minute.

I crushed the  dried sage leaves and mixed it with a few cumin seeds and fried it with the onion and garlic mixture for about a minute also.

I added the chopped pumpkin and poured some warm water. Keep adding water until you have a thick sauce consistency and the pumpkin is soft.

This took me about 30 minutes.

You can have it with warmed pita bread (خبز لبناني) or brown rice. And there you go! A filling sweet soulful dish!

Mom’s Carrot Cake

This has become quite the hit wherever my mother takes it. It’s a no-fuss cake that you enjoy with your morning or afternoon tea.

Many people have asked for its recipe so here it is! Of course this will make my dear mother quite happy as she is already excited that her famous shakshouka is on my blog!

Mom’s Carrot cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C
  2. Beat eggs until frothy and then mix in the sugar until thick (ribbon-stage). Add oil and mix.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture gradually.
  4. Mix in the orange zest, cinnamon, walnuts, shredded carrots and orange juice.
  5. Butter and flour a 10 or 12-inch cake pan and then pour the batter.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Prunes by Guest Blogger

I am taking a break and allowing my Guest Blogger (who also happens to be my sister) to take over today…


During Ramadan, one of the local TV channels presented a daily show on which celebrities were invited to cook a dish while being interviewed.  It was interesting observing people you would normally see performing their celebrity-yielding professions handling food.  But I could hardly claim any of the dishes that were presented during the month-long show as inspiring.  Only one dish intrigued me.  Stuffed prunes presented by Nabila Al-Anjari.  While watching the show, I wasn’t able to write down the recipe or take note of the cooking method.  Fortunately, a dear friend happens to know the celebrity guest and I asked her to kindly get the recipe.  The request was passed on, and I got a surprise call from Continue reading

Express: Shakshouka

Shakshouka: A North African dish that consists of vegetables sauteed in olive oil and a poached egg cracked on top.

My mother introduced this dish to me years ago! My parents lived in Libya in the 70s so my mother learned so many North African dishes from her friends and neighbors (lucky for me!). Continue reading

Express: Rice noodles with vegetables

As many of you have requested, I will start posting dishes that can be made in 30 minutes or less, the express section.

Today’s post took less than 10 minutes from start to end: Rice noodles with vegetables.

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So let me tell you how this dish came about… Continue reading