Spring Rice Salad

Today my son has a long day at University, which means I will have lunch by myself. Cooking for myself alone is not very tempting. This is why I decided to make a salad as a one dish meal. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I believe salad is a very free plate, something you should have fun with. So, I decided to prepare a salad with rice to be consistent and light meal.

Simple and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tomato, cut in medium sized pieces
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup mix of olive oil and apple vinegar, a dash of hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper for the dressing salad
  • 1 small onion sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan, place the rice with water, salt, curry and vegetable oil and bring to boil
  • Reduce the heat, stirring from time to time, cover and let it simmer until the rice is cooked
  • Place rice in a plate and let it cool to room temperature
  • Add tomato, carrot, green pepper
  • Season with the dressing and garnish with onion and dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Moussaka and Versatile Blog Award

The first time I taste this Greek plate was in a nice restaurant in Cyprus, where I spend the summer 25 years ago. I loved it, and the moment I came back home when I still have the taste in my mouth I tried to make it. Since me and my children love the “gratin food” with cheese melting with white sauce, we all loved it. Today I felt nostalgic about Greece and her lovely food, which is, with many dishes, is similar to our Lebanese Cuisine. So, I prepare the ingredients, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, minced meat, went to the kitchen and prepare it. Maybe the recipe is not the traditional Greek way, but I assure you it is delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium size, about 500 grams
  • 5 potatoes, about 500 grams
  • 200 grams minced beef
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Ingredients for the white sauce:

  • 100 grams butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 cups mils
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere cheese (or any other kind you like)

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Peel and slice the eggplant and the potatoes
  • Put the olive oil in a baking tray, place the eggplant an the potatoes in the tray and place the tray in the oven for 40 minutes, turning the vegetables in the midway of cooking. I use to fry them but I found that this way it is less oily
  • In the meantime prepare the meat sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a small pot, fry the onion until nice golden color, add the meat to the onion and cook gently, add the crushed garlic, season with salt and seven spices
  • Peel and dice 1 tomato and add it to the mixture of onion and meat, let it cook gently on low fire, then add to tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water, cover and let it simmer on a very low fire
  • Prepare now the white sauce: in another small pot heat the butter, add the flour and mix well together, add slowly the milk stirring constantly with a whisk until it thickens, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and the nutmeg
  • In an tray place one layer of eggplant, then potatoes
  • Slice the remaining tomatoes and place one layer of tomatoes over the potatoes
  • Place now half of the meat mixture, then half of the white sauce
  • Repeat the process with one layer of eggplant, one layer of potatoes, tomatoes, the meat ssauce and the white sauce, and at the end put the grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the cheese turn nice golden.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Also, I had another pleasant surprise few days ago being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by dutchgoesitalian; it was especially nice for me because I admire her blog a lot! Please check it out.

Happy Mother’s Day

The 21st of March is he beginning of spring season, and in Lebanon and the Arab Countries , we celebrate Mother’s Day as well.

Mum, you’ve left us 10 years ago and I still miss you. I know you are in better place now. But I want to tell you that even now, that I am a grand mother I still need you. Rest in peace mum.

And I would like to wish a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all mothers in the world.

Fondant Au Chocolat

Have you ever tried a Fondant Au Chocolat in a nice restaurant or coffee shop with a scoop of ice cream? The hot chocolate melting in your mouth, contrasting the cold of the ice cream and wished you can eat it any time you want at home? I did. I love the texture of this creamy chocolate and cannot stop myself from eating it even after a heavy dinner. I’ve tried so many recipes to find the perfect one that can satisfy my craving, until a few years back, I found a nice one in an old french magazine and I’ve tried it and I said “that’s the one I am looking for”!! It was perfectly delicious. My children also love it. I made it again today to share this lovely recipe with you. By the way you should be very careful about the cooking time, if you leave it one minute extra in the oven, you will not have the melting chocolate oozing out from inside the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of flour minus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 eggs+2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of icing sugar minus 1 tablespoon
  • 100 grams butter
  • 100 black chocolate
  • pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 210C
  • In a saucepanPlace the chocolate with the butter and the pinch of salt and let it melt on water bath for 5 minutes stirring continuously
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs with egg yolks until pale yellow
  • Add the flour to the eggs and mix well
  • Add the icing sugar now
  • Pour the mixture of chocolate-butter over the eggs and flour
  • Grease 6 small molds ( the cup cake ones will be perfect) and divide the mixture into them
  • Bake in the oven for 9 minutes,( you now it is done when the top of the cake is  not soft anymore
  • Eat while it is still warm. Or you can reheat them on the microwave for few seconds only

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT. BON APPETIT!

Mjaddara (Lebanese Way)

For a long time, Mjaddara has been considered food for poor people because the ingredients are very cheap and easy to get. Lentils, onion, rice and some spices. However, nowadays  due to increased interest in healthy food containing proteins, iron, and vitamins we find Mjaddara being increasingly served at lunch or dinner parties. Did I mention that it is also one of our many Lebanese mezze dishes? Yes, it is. We can have it as a side dish, and even as a main dish. So here is the recipe I learned from my mother 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of lentil of broad white lentils
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Egyptian rice ( small grains)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the lentils in 2 litre of salted water, it will take about 30 minutes. Then drain it from water
  • In a pot heat the olive oil and fry the onion until light golden color
  • Wash the rice and add it to the onion with one cup of water, leave it ten minutes on a very low heat, until the rice is half cooked
  • In the meantime, put the cooked lentils in a food processor and puree them
  • Add the puree of lentils to the onion and rice, if you find the mixture is too thick, add a little water
  • Season with salt, seven spices and cumin, stirring always the lentils until the rice is well cooked
  • Pour the Mjaddara on a plate and leave until it is completely cold and set
  • Serve it with salad and pickles.

Sometimes I may boil excess lentils and after they are well cooked I’ll put the remaining in the freezer until I need them again.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Coconut Balls

My sister in-law invited me to an afternoon gathering with her friends yesterday, and she asked me to make cheesecake to bring over with me. Knowing how much she enjoyed it the last time I made it, I obliged. I felt guilty leaving my son without a dessert for him to snack on so I decided to surprise him by preparing these coconut balls. I know how much he likes them, and I wanted to do something to cheer him up after a long day at university. It certainly did the trick 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup  less 2 tablespoons semolina
  • 1 cup less 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • one lemon’s zest
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • icing sugar to cover the coconut balls (optional)
Preparation:
  • Whisk the eggs with sugar, vanilla and the pinch of salt until the mixture becomes light and fluffy
  • Add the lemon zest, semolina, baking powder, coconut and the melted butter and mix well
  • Preheat the oven to 180c, prepare the baking sheets for the oven by lining them with wax paper, no need for butter
  • Roll the dough in palm-sized balls and roll in the icing sugar (you can choose not to roll in the sugar, either way is yummy)
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they turn light golden color
  • Leave in the trays until cool

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Green Beans in Oil (Loubiye Bilzeit)

Today while I was writing my post I had the nice surprise to be nominated for the Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers Rocksalt. I thank you very very much for appreciating my blog and nominating me.

Today’s dish is a basic traditional Lebanese food, one found in the mezze section of every Lebanese restaurant. This is one of the first recipes I learned to cook as a newly wed, and I believe that its the same for most young Lebanese women as well. When I used to live in Abu Dhabi, back when it was still a newly developed city, I remember that it was difficult sometimes to find fresh beans; I resorted to buying the frozen variety to cook this delicious meal but it just didn’t taste the same. Luckily, fresh green beans are easily found in Lebanon, and now I can make this dish with the freshest beans.

This is a side dish, and it works well with almost anything.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of fresh green beans
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 red tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Cut the uppermost and bottom-most parts of the bean and wash
  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic until they have a nice golden color
  • Add the beans, lower the heat and cover the pot, stirring and flipping the beans over from time to time until they wilt. This will take about 15 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, season with salt and spices and mix the ingredients together
  • Cover with about one cup of water and let it simmer on a very low heat with the cover on
  • While waiting for the beans to become soft, keep an eye on the water level in the pot. If it becomes too low, add a little bit more (you don’t want to make a soup so small amounts at a time)
  • Once the beans are soft, you’re ready to eat!

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Shrimp With Curry

I lived in Abu Dhabi for twenty years. The United Arab Emirates is a very diverse country, with many peoples from all around the world living and working there. One of larger communities there was the Indian community. Having come from a strictly Lebanese upbringing, I wasn’t accustomed to the large variety of tastes and smells in their cuisine. When walking along by the markets and restaurants, the strong smell of curry was prevalent and a bit pungent to my young, inexperienced nose. I had thought then that I would never eat anything made with curry, let alone any Indian dishes.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago: my son invited me to a nice Indian restaurant here in Lebanon. My children had grown up in Abu Dhabi and were familiar with international cuisine at a much younger age than I had. My son, for instance, loves spicy foods and he made me taste a plate of shrimp cooked in curry for my very first time. I was afraid it would taste spicy for me, but they had mixed it with fresh cream to cool it. I was so impressed with the dish that I hurried home to try and recreate it. After a few experiments, I found the perfect recipe that suits my slightly more delicate palette. Those of you who aren’t a fan of foods made with curry will find this dish to be delightfully smooth and mild.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of precooked and peeled shrimp (you can use frozen ones)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red apple, peeled and grated
  • 250 ml of fresh cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of curry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onion and garlic until light golden color
  • Add the carrot to the onion and garlic, leave for 3 minutes
  • Add the grated apple to the mixture and leave it to cook for 2 minutes
  • Place the shrimps in the pot and add salt for flavor
  • Mix the curry with 1/2 cup of water and pour it over the shrimp
  • Cover and let it cook until the carrots are tender
  • Add the fresh cream cover, lower the heat and stir gently for 3 minutes

Serve it with cooked rice.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Baked Kibbe (Kibbe Bilsaniya)

Kibbe is a famous Lebanese traditional food. It is made out of meat and bulgur with stuffing inside it from minced meat onion and spices. There are many ways to cook it: it can be baked in the oven, or rolled into balls with the stuffing inside it then fried and even cooked with yogurt. All these recipes require the same ingredients to make the Kibbe mixture and stuffing, however there are some variations. For instance, there is a vegetarian form of Kibbe made from pumpkin.

It’s a bit complex to make this dish, so I tried my best to simplify it for today’s post. Don’t be discouraged and feel free to post any questions in the comments if you need some clarification on any point, I’ll answer as soon as I see it. Together, we’re going to make Kibbe like rock stars! 😀

1.For the Kibbe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of fine brown bulgur
  • 600 grams beef meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices

Preparation:

  • Wash the bulgur and drain it from water
  • Grate the onion until very fine
  • Mix the meat with bulgur, add the salt and seven spices with the grated onion
  • Place the mixture in a food processor a bit at a time and keep blending until the mixture becomes creamy and all the meat and bulgur is used

Now your Kibbe is ready, put it in the fridge until you prepare the stuffing.

2.For the Stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams minced meat (better fresh not frozen)
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1/2 cup pine seeds (this is optional, but it is traditionally added and enhances the flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • In a large saucepan,  heat the oil and fry the onion until golden brown
  • Add the meat and fry with the onion for about 15 minutes
  • Now add the pine seeds, season with salt, seven spices and the grenadine molasses
  • Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pine seeds becomes golden color

Let the stuffing cool. Now you have all the ingredients to make the Kibbe in the oven. All you need to do now is assemble them.

3.Putting it all together:

You’re going to need one more additional ingredient: 1 tablespoon of corn wheat.

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a baking pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of corn wheat with 1 cup of cold water. Wet your hand in this corn wheat solution when handling the Kibbe.
  • Take enough Kibbe and spread it on the bottom of the pan to make a thin layer. (Remember to keep your hand wet with the corn wheat solution when handling the Kibbe!)
  • Add enough of the stuffing on top of the Kibbe to just cover it.
  • Afterwards, add another thin layer of the Kibbe over the stuffing, the same way you did for the bottom one. With your hand still wet from the corn wheat solution, press gently down on the top layer with the palm of your hand to flatten (not squish) it
  • Divide the tray into four equal parts with a knife (go through each of the layers)
  • With the knife still in hand, lightly make diagonal lines on the top layer to form small diamonds. This adds texture to the dish and also helps it bake properly
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the upper crust. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until you see it become a nice brown color
  • Serve it with plain yogurt, or yogurt salad: crush one clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and mix it with yogurt. Peel and dice 5 cucumbers. Mix with 1 tablespoon of dried mint.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Kreativ Blogger Award


While working on my blog yesterday, I had a very nice surprise: I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by Laura of the blog “cook to love”, a lovely blog about healthy food and gluten free recipes. You should check it out. This nomination actually made me very happy, because people are enjoying Lebanese Food I am making and sharing with them. Thank you very much to all of you for supporting me, and especially to Laura for the nomination. When I started the blog a month and a half ago, I never thought that I would interact with so many nice people from around the globe.

So in accord with the “Rules of Conduct” for bloggers who are nominated for this award, I will do the following:

  • Thank the blogger who gave me the award and provide a link. Thanks again Laura!
  • List 7 interesting things about myself that my readers might find interesting.
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and let them know.

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME:

1. I am a mother of four lovely children, two girls and two boys. My daughters are married and each have two children of their own. This makes me a grandmother of four beautiful grandchildren.

2. I have a master’s degree in French Literature. I learnt the English language from my children 🙂 Til now they help me everytime I write the blog.

3. I’ve worked in media for over 12 years. I was the editor-in-chief of a Lebanese magazine about Economical and Social issues. I did over a thousand interviews with people from all over the world.

4. I love to tavel and enjoy exploring new countries; my last trip was to France three months ago.

5.J’apprends toujours” is a quote from a French essay, and it literally means “I always learn”. Indeed, every day I learn something new, in cooking, dealing with people or life in general.

6. I love Lebanese Cuisine, but I’m also very playful and I enjoy experimenting with all sorts of cuisine, making my own inventions. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Me and my youngest son have been looking for the perfect Baba au Rhum recipe, trying over 10 recipes a few times each. We still haven’t found the perfect one yet, and I’ll continue to perfect it (and I’ll share it with you when I do!)

7. Finally, whenever I’m cooking most dishes, I don’t measure the ingredients scientifically, except for desserts. I usually work by measuring with my eyesight. When I started this blog, I began to document the measurements for each recipe and I made an effort weighing and measuring the ingredients 🙂

MY SEVEN FAVORITE BLOGGERS:

First I have to say that it was really hard for me to choose only seven between so many talented bloggers.

1. Home in Greece: Heidi is an American lady married to a Greek man, living together in Greece. She shares her experiences and some delicious recipes as well.

2. Dutch goes Italian: Explore the real Italian life and lovely recipes with this blog.

3. Sugared Pecan: Donna enjoys cooking and baking all kinds of desserts. She shows an interest with arts and crafts, and also has an eye in photography.

4. Danny’s kitchen: Very creative meals and stunning photos.

5. Rocksalt: Carole has a very pleasant blog with a witty sense of humor.

6. Foodimentary: This blog always has some information about a food’s history, a very interesting read.

7. Sugardish me:  Tasty recipes made easy with step by step instructions for even the most inexperienced cook.