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  1. The Greatest Basbousa with Vermicelli It’s here! Super soft, dense, and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Ingredients 1 Cup Semolina 1/2 Cup Coconut 1/2 Cup Milk Powder 1/2 Cup Sugar 1 TBSP Baking Powder 170 Grams Cream 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil 1 Cup Water Pakistani Vermicelli Sweetened Condensed Milk Pistachio, chopped Directions 1. In a bowl add semolina, coconut, milk powder, sugar, baking powder, cream, vegetable oil, and water. Mix the ingredients well. 2. Grease a Pyrex tray with vegetable oil. 3. Pour mixture in the tray. 4. Cover Basbousa completely with Vermicelli. 5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C (390 F) on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 6. Pour sweetened condensed milk all over the basbousa. The condensed milk should soak in, in a few minutes. 7. Allow to cool then cut into squares. 8. Garnish with pistachios. Serve.Check out my blog for more recipes
  2. Stuffed meats and vegetables, combined with freekeh, take centre stage at family gatherings By Mai Kakish Arab cooks take much pride in their dishes, especially those prepared for a special occasion or celebration. Stuffed meats and vegetables take centrepiece at family gatherings during the holy month of Ramadan, using ingredients which are often seasonal and fresh. Few Arab family meals are as popular as chicken stuffed with freekeh (a green roasted wheat). Delicious and nutritious, the freekeh pilaf is topped with toasted nuts and chewy sweet dried fruits to further sweeten the taste. This version features chicken but can work with other cuts, such as a leg of lamb. Serve any of the leftover freekeh stuffing on the side or turn it into a salad for the following day. Recipe Serves: 4-6 Preparation and cooking time: 2.5 hours 1. Ingredients The stuffing (freekeh) 450g (1lb) freekeh that has been picked over, rinsed a few times and drained (or try hashweh stuffing - recipe on my blog) 1l (4 cups) chicken or beef stock or water 4 tbsps olive oil salt and pepper to taste 1 tsp allspice ¼ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cardamom a few grates of fresh nutmeg 1 bay leaf 450g (1lb) of ground meat, either beef or lamb. Minced meat is optional Nuts and dried fruits 75g (½ cup) assorted dried fruits such as apricots, figs, and currants, chopped into bite-size pieces 150g (1 cup) of assorted nuts such as almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios Chicken 1.4 - 2.25kg (3-5lbs) chicken, patted dry with a paper towel 3 tbsps olive oil, plus more for roasting 2 tsp all spice ½ tsp nutmeg ½ tsp cardamom 1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp garlic powder salt and pepper ½ tsp cinnamon 2. Method The nuts and dried fruit 1. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes until they are fragrant - look for a light toasty colour. Don't burn them or the taste will be bitter. 2. If you are using an assortment of nuts, toast them separately as they have different oil content and cooking times. 3. Set aside to cool. The freekeh 1. In a heavy pot, heat the oil, add the meat and saute, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. It should take about 8-10 mins until it’s browned. 2. Add the cleaned freekeh, spices and bay leaf. Toss with the meat for 5 mins until it’s slightly toasted. 3. Add the stock or water and bring the mixture to the boil, adjusting the seasoning. 4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 40-60 mins until all the liquid has absorbed and the freekeh is cooked through. The freekeh shouldn’t be crunchy but naturally chewy and al dente. It also needs to hold its shape. 5. Fluff with a fork. Add the dried fruits and nuts and fluff gently to combine. 6. Set aside while you prepare the chicken. The chicken 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). 2. In a small bowl, mix all the spices and olive oil together. 3. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and inside the cavity 4. Note: You can prepare this step the night before, with the chicken in plastic wrap, letting the spices and salt marinate the chicken - but don't worry If you don’t have time. You can also cook the chicken there and then, it’s not a problem. 5. Spoon the freekeh mix into the cavity of the chicken. 6. Cross the chicken legs and tie them with a twine. 7. Place the chicken In a roasting pan and drizzle all over with olive oil - about a tbsp. 8. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190°C (375°F) for another 40-60 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the juices run clear. 9. Allow the chicken to rest, covered with foil, before carving. 10. Serve the stuffing along with a piece of the tender roasted meat: usually it is presented with a savoury yoghurt and a simple cucumber and tomato salad. Mai is the editor, writer, cook, and grocery shopper behind the blog Almond & Fig. She grew up in Palestine, and now lives in Chicago with her husband and kids. You can follow her on Instagram at: @almondandfigCheck out my blog for more recipes
  3. Makrouta combines layer upon layer of flaky dough and sweetness By Nur Ashour I have an obsession with maamoul, a date-filled biscuit, which ranks as my favourite thing about Ramadan and Eid. Every year I’d help my mom make it. We’d gather around the living room table at night and each have a certain task. The best part was that after a long day of fasting I could enjoy the delicate maamoul that came out of the oven. But it was just so time consuming - so imagine my excitement when I was introduced to makrouta. Makrouta is just as good as maamoul but so much easier to bake. It consists of layers of flaky dough and sweet dates, with a touch of crunch coming from the sesame seeds, anise seeds and nigella seeds. You can also store it for up to one month in a sealed container. This makrouta holds a special place in my heart because it’s one of the first things I made after getting married and moving. It was new to me and a tradition I could make my own. Recipe Servings: 1 sheet pan Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour 1. Ingredients 500g (4 cups) flour 165g (1 cup) semolina 70g (½ cup) sesame seeds 45g (½ cup) nigella seeds 55g (½ cup) anise seeds 3 tbsps baking powder 1 tbsp yeast 120ml (½ cup) vegetable oil 115g (½ cup) melted butter 235ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil 235ml (1 cup) warm milk 2 x 13 oz packs of dates 2 tbsps olive oil or ghee 2. Method 1. Mix the flour, semolina, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, anise seeds, baking powder and yeast. 2. Pour the oils and butter on top of the flour mixture, and slowly begin mixing the dough until it’s evenly distributed. 3. As you’re mixing, slowly add the milk and let the dough come together. 4. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. 5. While the dough is resting, knead the dates and 2 tbsp oil together. 6. Split the dough in half. On your baking tray, spread half the dough on to the sheet pan. It’s easier if you drop small amounts onto different areas and then spread till they all join up. 7. On a silicone baking mat or wax paper spread the dates into a thin layer, ensuring it is the same size as your baking sheet. (A silicone mat is easier to work with.) 8. Flip the sheet of dates onto the layer of dough in the sheet pan and remove the silicone mat or wax paper. Just slowly peel it away. 9. Spread the second half of dough on to the silicone mat or wax paper and then flip it onto the layer of dates in the baking tray. 10. You now will have a layer of dates inbetween the two layers of dough. 11. Slice into little diamonds or squares. 12. Bake at 175ºC (350ºF) for 30-35 mins until slightly golden. 13. Allow to cool completely and serve it with tea. You can follow Nur on her Instagram: @catastrophiccook or her blog. This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.Check out my blog for more recipes
  4. Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hour 30 mins Serves 10 Serves 10 Good source of iron Ingredients 500g lean diced Quality Mark lamb 1 tablespoon oil 1 onion, peeled and diced ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon paprika 1 carrot, peeled and diced 12 dried apricots, diced 300g can chickpeas 1 cup reduced-salt beef stock or ½ tsp reduced-salt beef stock powder to 1 cup water Method Pre-heat oven to 160oC. Heat oil in a frying pan and brown diced lamb well. Place in a casserole dish. Add the onion*, cumin* and paprika* to the pan and cook in the residue oil until lightly brown. Scatter over the lamb. Add carrots, apricots, chickpeas (including liquid from the can) and stock. Place casserole dish in oven and cook at 160oC for approximately 1½ hours until the lamb is tender. Serve with seasonal vegetables and mashed potato or couscous.Check out my blog for more recipes
  5. An unusual combination of sweet rosewater-scented savoury minced lamb or beef and spiced pilaf-style rice makes these simple ingredients into something just a little bit exotic - and wonderfully delicious - in next to no time. Prep: 25 mins Cook: 30 mins Serves 4 Serves 4 Low Fat Excellent source of iron Low Sodium Ingredients 350 grams Quality Mark lean beef or lamb mince 2¼ cups long-grain rice 1 tablespoon rosewater ½ teaspoon saffron threads ½ teaspoon sugar 1 onion 4 cups chicken stock 2 teaspoons Baharat spice mix (recipe below) ¼ cup sultanas, raisins or diced dried dates ½ cup whole almonds or pistachio nuts, toasted Sugar glazed pears 2 pears, cut into sixths 1-2 tablespoons sugar Baharat Spice Mix: ¼ cup black peppercorns 2 tablespoons coriander seeds 2 tablespoons cassia bark 2 tablespoons whole cloves 1/3-½ cup cumin seeds 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds 2 whole nutmegs ¼ cup ground paprika Method Preheat the oven to 190°C. Soak the rice in plenty of water and set aside for 20 minutes. In a jug, stir together the rosewater, saffron and sugar and set aside. Heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 10 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Drain the rice well and add to the pan with the stock and the rosewater mix and stir well. Reduce the heat so that the stock just murmurs and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the stock. Heat a dash of oil in a seperate pan and brown mince over a high heat, breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Stir in Baharat Spice mix sultanas, raisins or dates and cook for 1 minute further. Toss the mince and almonds or pistachio nuts through the rice and serve with glazed pears and a little melted butter to drizzle over the top. Garnish with fresh rose petals if wished. Sugar-glazed pears Pan-fry pears in a generous knob of butter, turning until golden on all sides. Sprinkle over sugar and turn over a low heat until tender and glazed. Baharat Spice Mix Grind together peppercorns, coriander seeds, cassia bark, cloves, cumin and cardamom seeds. Finely grate both nutmegs and add to the ground mix with the paprika. This recipe is courtesy of Allyson Gofton's cookbook, Good Food Made Simple, photography by Alan GillardCheck out my blog for more recipes
  6. 0:45 Prep | 0:20 Cook | 6 Servings | Capable cooks Pide [Pee-day] is a Turkish bread traditionally cooked in hot clay ovens. INGREDIENTS 500g (3 1/3 cups) plain flour, sifted 1 teaspoon (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water Olive oil, to grease 2 teaspoons Masterfoods Sesame Seeds 1 teaspoon nigella seeds 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon olive oil METHOD Step 1 Combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add water. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined, then use hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Step 2 Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with oil to grease. Place dough in the bowl and lightly coat with oil. Cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Step 3 Place a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 230°C. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Flatten slightly with hands. Place each half on separate pieces of floured, non-stick baking paper. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes. Step 4 With floured hands, stretch each piece of dough into an 18 x 40cm rectangle. Leave on non-stick baking paper. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes. Combine sesame and nigella seeds. Step 5 Whisk egg yolk and oil in a bowl. Brush the top of each pide with egg mixture. Use floured fingers to make indentations on top and sprinkle with seeds. Remove tray from oven and slide 1 pide onto tray. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with second pide.Check out my blog for more recipes
  7. The tastiest and most delicious baked kafta bi siniyyeh with Potatoes and tomatoes. It is best served hot and with white rice. Ingredients Meat seasoning: Minced meat: 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) Onions: 2 ,finely chopped Garlic: 4 cloves, finely chopped Tomato: 2, finely minced Parsley: 1 cup, finely chopped Tomato paste: 3 tbsp Hot sauce: 1 tbsp Lebanese 7 spice blend: 1 tsp Salt: 1 tbsp Potato dressing: potato: 4 ,cut into circles Vegetable oil: 2 tbsp Pinch of salt Pinch of black pepper For decorating: Green Hot Pepper: 3, sliced into half's Green Hot Pepper: 1, sliced ​​into rings Tomato: 2, sliced into circles Directions: 1. In a deep dish, mix well the meat, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, chili, Lebanese spice blend, and salt. 2. Put the potatoes in a wide dish and season with oil, salt and black pepper. 3. Prepare a medium-sized oven tray. 4. Arrange the potatoes at the base of the tray. 5. Spread the meat mixture over the potatoes. 6. Decorate the tray with hot pepper and tomato. 7. Preheat oven to (465 F, 240 C) and bake uncovered on lower rack for about one hour then transfer to upper rack for 3 minutes. 8. Decorate with parsley and serve with rice or pita bread. Check out my blog for more recipes
  8. 0:15 Prep | 0:50 Cook | 4 Servings | Easy These tasty Moroccan drumsticks with minted couscous is a super easy mid-week meal that the whole family will enjoy. INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 800g kent pumpkin, unpeeled, cut into 8 wedges 3 baby eggplant, halved lengthways 1 lemon, thinly sliced 230g jar pitted Sicilian green olives, drained 1 cup couscous 1 cup boiling water 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds Plain Greek-style yoghurt, to serve MOROCCAN CHICKEN RUB 1 1/2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning 1cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated 4 garlic cloves, crushed 8 chicken drumsticks (about 1.2kg) METHOD Step 1 Make Moroccan Chicken Rub. Place seasoning, ginger and garlic in a freezable airtight container. Add chicken. Rub to coat. Cover with lid. Refrigerate for 2 hours, if time permits (or see note). Step 2 Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Step 3 Place chicken on 1 prepared tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Step 4 Meanwhile, place pumpkin, in a single layer, on remaining prepared tray. Drizzle with remaining oil. Bake in oven with chicken for 40 minutes, adding eggplant to tray for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Add lemon slices and olives to tray for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Step 5 Meanwhile, place couscous, boiling water and lemon rind in a heatproof bowl. Cover. Stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork to separate grains. Stir mint into couscous. Season with salt and pepper. Step 6 Transfer vegetables and chicken to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve with couscous and yoghurt.Check out my blog for more recipes
  9. 0:15 Prep | 0:15 Cook | 4 Servings | Easy This delicious dinner idea is perfect for nights when you just want quick-and-easy. INGREDIENTS 2 large Coles RSPCA Approved Australian Chicken Breast Fillets, halved crossways 1 tbs Moroccan seasoning 2 tbs olive oil 1 medium cauliflower, leaves removed, coarsely chopped 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/2 cup chopped mint 1 cup (160g) pomegranate seeds 1/2 cup (50g) walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped 2 radishes, thinly sliced 1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice 1 cup (280g) Greek-style yoghurt 1 1/2 tbs tahini METHOD Step 1 Place chicken, Moroccan seasoning and half the oil in a bowl. Toss until well combined. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken for 5 mins each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Step 2 Process the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 mins to soak. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Season well. Add the parsley, mint, pomegranate seeds, walnut, radish, half the lemon juice and the remaining oil. Toss to combine. Step 3 Combine the yoghurt, tahini and remaining lemon juice in a small bowl. Step 4 Slice the chicken. Divide cauliflower tabouli among serving plates. Top with chicken. Drizzle with yoghurt mixture.Check out my blog for more recipes
  10. This delicious lamb zurbian from the old Arabian Gulf cuisine is a good dish for a feast. Your family and friends are going to love it! 2.2 (1 kg) lamb with bones 2 large potatoes 1 large onion, sliced 1 large tomato, peeled and diced 10 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 cup yogurt 1/3 cup oil 2 1/2 liters water 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp Lebanese 7 spice mix 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp hot red pepper 1 tbsp salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tbsp saffron 1 tbsp lemon juice 4 cups basmati rice, washed several times and soaked for an hour 1 piece of charcoal (and oil / for evaporation) For garnish: 1 cup onions, fried Method 1. In a deep saucepan, add the oil and fry the onion and stir until golden brown. Transfer fried onion to a dish, put aside. In the same oil, add the meat, all the spices, lemon juice, yogurt, cinnamon, Saffron, garlic, half the amount of fried onions and chopped tomatoes. Stir well until the meat boils for 5 minutes. 2. Add hot water on the meat and leave until it boils again. Cover the pot and leave to boil for an hour. Add potatoes and salt and let it boil for 30 minutes. 3. Strain the rice and put it on the meat (for each cup of rice you need 1 1/2 cup of broth). When the rice boils, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. 4. Burn the charcoal. Add some oil in a small deep dish. Put the small dish on the surface of the rice and put the burned charcoal in it. Cover the pot immediately and cook over low heat until rice is totally cooked. 5. Turn the rice over a large serving dish, garnish with fried onion and serve Check out my blog for more recipes
  11. YIELD: Makes about 5 cups, serving 8 to 10 ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus overnight soak Ingredients 1/2 pound dried chickpeas (about 1 1/4 level cups; 225g) 2 teaspoons (12g) baking soda, divided Kosher salt 1 small onion, split in half 1 small stalk celery 1 small carrot 2 medium cloves garlic 2 bay leaves 1 sprig rosemary (optional) 1 to 1 1/2 cups (235 to 350ml) Tahini Sauce With Garlic and Lemon 1/3 cup (50g) minced flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving Za'atar, paprika, toasted pine nuts, and/or chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional) Warm pita bread, for serving Directions 1. Combine chickpeas, 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda, and 2 tablespoons (24g) salt in a large bowl. Cover with 6 cups (1.4L) cold water. Stir to dissolve salt and baking soda. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse chickpeas thoroughly. 2. Place chickpeas in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add remaining baking soda, 1 tablespoon (12g) salt, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary, if using. Add 6 cups (1.4L) water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover with lid slightly cracked, and cook until chickpeas are completely tender and nearly falling apart, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Check on chickpeas occasionally and top up with more water if necessary; they should be completely submerged at all times. Let cool slightly. 3. Discard onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and rosemary. Drain chickpeas, reserving their cooking water. 4. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup (235ml) tahini sauce with about one-quarter of the cooked chickpeas and blend until very smooth, with a thick but pourable milkshake-like consistency. Thin with a little of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary (but be careful not to thin too much at once; you can always thin more, but can't remove liquid once it's added). Season with salt. 5. In a mixing bowl, combine tahini mixture with remaining chickpeas and parsley. Stir until thoroughly mixed and chickpeas are coated in a creamy sauce. (If you prefer the sauce thinner, gently work in a little more of the reserved cooking liquid.) You can refrigerate the hummus at this point; it will become thicker in the refrigerator. 6. Spoon onto a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, and top with garnishes of your choice. Serve with warm pita bread.Check out my blog for more recipes
  12. Total: 55 mins Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 mins Yield: 1 tagine (3 to 4 servings) Tagines are usually the main dish in Morocco, but this vegetarian version works equally well as a side to meat or poultry. Chickpeas and carrots are stewed with piquant, aromatic seasonings including ginger, cinnamon and the exotically flavored ras el hanout. A touch of honey adds complementary sweetness. When a recipe calls for chickpeas, the vast majority of Moroccans prefer to start with dried chickpeas rather than canned. If you want to follow suit, allow additional time for soaking the chickpeas overnight, then cooking until tender. This may be done well in advance, as it's perfectly fine to freeze cooked chickpeas until needed. You have plenty of flexibility as to how to season the tagine. To add heat, throw in a chili pepper or two. For a sweeter presentation, increase the honey and include the optional raisins. Using half broth instead of all water will add depth of flavor, but be sure to watch the salt. Although tagines are typically served with Moroccan bread for scooping everything up like a dip, you can break tradition and serve the chickpeas and carrots over a bed of rice or couscous. From The Spruce Eats Ingredients 1 large onion (chopped) 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped or pressed) 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon turmeric 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Optional: 1/8 teaspoon Ras el hanout (or more to taste) 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro 4 or 5 peeled carrots (cut into 1/4-inch thick sticks) 1 cup water (half vegetable or chicken broth, if desired) 2 to 3 teaspoons honey (or to taste) 1 to 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (drained) Optional: 1 or 2 small chili peppers Optional: 1/4 cup golden raisins Garnish Optional: Additional parsley or cilantro Steps to Make It Gather the ingredients. In the base of a tagine or in a large skillet with a lid, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat for several minutes. Add the salt, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ras el hanout, parsley or cilantro, carrots, and the water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then continue cooking, covered, until the carrots are nearly cooked to desired tenderness. In a skillet, this may take up to 25 minutes, in a tagine a bit longer. Stir in the honey and add the chickpeas and optional chili peppers and raisins. Continue simmering until the chickpeas are heated through and the sauce is reduced and thick. Taste, adjust seasoning if desired, and serve garnished with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy! Tips - If cooking in a clay or ceramic tagine over a heat source other than gas, you'll need to use a diffuser between the burner and tagine. - Instead of cutting the carrots into sticks or planks, they may be sliced on the diagonal or into rounds. - Be sure to remove the core if it's dry and woody. - A tagine will double as your serving dish. When adding the carrots, arrange them in a pattern for a prettier presentation. - Harissa may be offered on the side as a condiment. Or, you can stir a little bit into the tagine in lieu of adding a chili pepper or cayenne pepper.Check out my blog for more recipes
  13. 0:20 Prep | 0:10 Cook | 4 Servings | Capable cooks This clever plate of lamb and tahini is perfect for sharing with whoever happens to drop in. INGREDIENTS 600g lamb leg steaks, thinly sliced 1 small brown onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground allspice 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 large pieces Lebanese bread, torn into triangles Fresh mint sprigs, to serve Sweet paprika, to serve Lemon wedges, to serve TAHINI SAUCE 130g (1/2 cup) Greek yoghurt 95g (1/3 cup) tahini 2 garlic cloves, finely grated 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon warm water METHOD Step 1 For the tahini sauce, combine the yoghurt, tahini, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl. Gradually add the water to loosen the mixture. Season. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until required. Step 2 Combine the lamb, onion, garlic, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Season. Step 3 Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Fry bread, turning, in 2 batches, for 1-2 minutes or until crisp. Use tongs to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Step 4 Reheat the oil in the pan. Cook the lamb mixture, in 2 batches, for 3 minutes or until golden. Arrange the bread, lamb, tahini sauce and mint sprigs on a plate. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve with lemon wedges.Check out my blog for more recipes
  14. At Eid, this dough delight comes into its own. By Sura Al-Qassab and Nuha Al-Qassab If Iraq has a national cookie or biscuit then it has to be the kleicha. No Iraqi can mark a special occasion, religious or otherwise, without this smooth date paste, wrapped in richly spiced dough. At home it used to come into its own near the end of Ramadan, as our mum prepared them ahead of Eid. It didn't matter if we were welcoming 10 or 100 guests, she would still lovingly make the same quantity (although those biscuits would never hang around long for understandable reasons). Unlike maamoul, its more famous cookie cousin from the Levant, kleciha dough does not contain semolina. It can also be stuffed with fragrant nut-sugar mixtures such as walnut, sugar and cardamom or even coconut and sugar. Traditionalists use carved wooden moulds to shape the dough but it can also be rolled and sliced as I have done here. This recipe makes a substantial amount (about 50 pieces). They are good for a week in an airtight container or can be frozen once baked and then de-frosted at room temperature. Traditionally, kleicha are served with hot tea or Arab coffee: sit back, relax and try to stop at one. Recipe Makes: About 50 Preparation and cooking time: 2 hours 1. Ingredients For the dough 420g (3 cups) plain flour 250ml (1 cup) vegetable oil ¼ tsp salt 2 tbsp butter 1 sachet dried yeast 1 tsp hawaij blend (this can be substituted with a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and nigella seeds) water For the filling date paste or stoned dates ¼ tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp oil (only if using fresh dates) 1 tbsp milk (only if using fresh dates) 2. Method Making the dough 1. In a stand mixer, add the flour, butter, vegetable oil, spices, yeast and salt. 2. Mix the ingredients on a low setting. 3. The dough will be very crumbly so add water gradually, until it starts to come together. It should have a moist, not wet, consistency. 4. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it with your hands for a few mins. Don't worry about getting a perfectly smooth ball of dough. 5. Cover with a damp clean towel to prevent air getting to it. Leave to rise for 45 mins. For the filling If using date paste: Place in a bowl and add the cardamom. If using fresh dates: 1. Chop into small pieces and place in a frying pan with a little oil. 2. Warm over a medium-low heat until the dates soften and the mixture starts to stick together as a bit of a ball. 3. Add the ground cardamom and add as much or little of milk as needed (depending on the softness of the dates to begin with). 4 Mash the dates with the back of a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, but still thick and sticky, mixture. 5. Leave to cool completely. Baking preparation 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). 2. Oil some baking pans very lightly. 3. Set aside. Rolling the dough 1. Using your hands, shape the date paste into long, thin rolls. 2. After the dough has risen, move it to a work surface and divide it into small balls. 3. Roll out each dough ball into a rectangle, with the longest sides parallel to you. Roll until you have a thickness of approx ¼ inch (half a centimetre). Filling the dough 1. Using your hands, roll the date paste into a long oblong and place along the long edge of the rectangle (it’s easiest to start from the bottom edge and work your way up). 2. Press the date paste down on the dough and start to roll the dough upwards. 3. Cut the rolled dough into pieces about 1 inch (about 2.5cm) wide and dock/"Naughty Word" each with a fork about 2 or 3 times. Arrange in a pan. 4. Continue making and filling the rest of the dough. If using moulds 1. Form small balls of dough. 2. Stuff each ball of dough with the date. 3. Roll the ball so the filling is fully coated with dough. 4. Put the dough inside the wooden mould and pack well. 5. Turn the mould over and give a quick tap to unmould. Baking 1. Once finished, brush all the kleicha with a beaten egg. 2. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 20 mins, until they are golden brown on the top and on the bottom. 3. Cool completely on cooling rack. 4. Serve immediately. Sura and Nuha are two sisters of Iraqi origin who want to create, showcase and champion the Middle Eastern food they grew up with. They have started Babylon Bakehouse, a London-based business, where they plan to showcase their dishes and provide catering services. You can follow them at @babylonbakehouse on Instagram or www.babylonbakehouse.comCheck out my blog for more recipes
  15. PREP 10mins | COOK 20mins | TOTAL 30minsYou can buy your own hummus or make our simple hummus recipe. It only takes about 10 minutes and tastes better than store-bought. Basically, we add tahini, lemon juice, spices and chickpeas to a food processor and process until ultra smooth. This recipe can also be adapted for ground lamb, chicken or turkey.Makes approximately 6 servingsYOU WILL NEED2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 pound lean ground beef1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1/2 teaspoon ground coriander1/4 teaspoon ground allspice1/4 cup chicken or beef stockSalt2 cups hummus, see our homemade hummus recipe5 to 6 mint leaves, choppedHandful crumbled feta cheeseDIRECTIONSHeat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, press it down into the pan then cook, without disturbing it until browned on one side, about 8 minutes. Break the beef up then stir in the cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, coriander, allspice, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.Pour in the chicken stock and cook until reduced and beef is cooked, about 5 minutes. Spoon hummus into a bowl and top with spiced beef, feta cheese and the chopped mint leaves.AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher, Inspired TasteCheck out my blog for more recipes
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