Achtalye (Milk Pudding)

There is an amazing wide variety of Middle Eastern desserts. Some of these desserts are very complicated and require a lot of ingredients and preparation, like baklava, knefe and others. On the other had, some of them are simple, easy and quick to made, like the Achtalye I prepare today. This dessert can be found in Lebanon and in Palestine, and is similar to a dessert to Mhalabiyye, a kind of pudding made out of milk and cornflour. It is very high in calcium so its good for growing children and babies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powder milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornflour + 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon mastic, grounded
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1/2 cup pistachios for decoration
  • sugar syrup

Preparation:

  • Mix the cornflour with a half cup of water until it all dissolves
  • In a casserole place the powder milk, water and the cornflour and mix well
  • Place the casserole on a fire and let it boil, stirring constantly until it thickens
  • Add the mastic, remove from off the fire and pour the orange blossom water
  • Put this pudding into small individual bowls, allow to cool then refrigerate
  • To serve, decorate with pistachios and pour sugar syrup over

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT. BON APPETIT ūüôā

Rice and Chicken (Lebanese Way)

Arabs love this dish! If you have an Arab friend, make this dish when you invite them over; it will guarantee to make them smile ūüôā Every Arab country has their own variation of it and is generally¬†cooked during special occasions. The combination of the rice cooked with chicken stock and the fried nuts spread on the top of the plate gives it a special flavor and texture in your mouth. Some people like it covered in gravy but personally, I like it with yogurt. Try it both ways, tell me which way you prefer ūüôā

Ingredients: for boiling the chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (about 1 kilo)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • few bay leaves
  • 1/2teaspoon whole cardamon
For cooking the rice:
  • 200 grams minced meat
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil

For the decoration:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • handful of each: halved almonds, pine seeds, pistachios, cashew
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Place the chicken in a large pot, cover with about 2 liters of water, place on fire and let it boil.
  • Skim the white foam. Then put the salt, cinnamon stick, clove, cardamon and seven spices and let it boil until tender (in pressure cooker it will take 15 minutes)
  • When boiled, drain the chicken from water (but keep the stock) and tear the chicken meat from the bones and keep aside
  • In another pot, heat the oil and fry the minced meat until brown, season with salt and seven spices
  • Add the rice and cover with 4 cups of chicken stock, cover the pot and let it simmer on a low fire until the rice is cooked
  • In a saucepan heat the butter and fry the nuts until nice golden, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning then place on a kitchen towel
  • To serve place the rice in a large plate, put the chicken pieces on the top, sprinkle with cinnamon then cover with the fried nuts
  • Enjoy eating with a side salad (and yogurt or gravy, whatever you prefer)

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!

Meghli (Flavored Rice pudding)

Meghli is a kind of sweet traditionally prepared to celebrate a new born baby in the family. The word “Meghli” means boiled, probably named such because it is boiled for a very long time. It is said to be very good for the baby and mother especially during breast feeding as it supposedly promotes breast milk production. In some villages, they make it on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It has a refreshing taste of cinnamon and with coconut added on top, is a perfect treat to cool you off in the summer heat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice powder
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground caraway
  • 2 cups sugar
  • for decoration: almond, pistachios, whole nut, shredded coconut, pine seeds and raisins

Preparation:

  • In a pot, mix the rice powder with cinnamon, caraway then the water. Mix and keep stirring until it boils
  • When it starts boiling, add the sugar and continue stirring until the mixture thickens
  • Pour in small individual bowls and allow to cool
  • Cover each bowl with cling film and place in the fridge
  • When serving, decorate each bowl with shredded coconut, bleached and halved almonds, whole nuts, pistachios, pine seeds and raisins¬†(according to your preference; my son likes it with just some shredded coconut)

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!¬†HAVE A NICE WEEK END¬†ūüôā

Ghraybe or Sanioura

This sweet is very famous in Lebanon especially in the south area, where it is found in all the Lebanese pastry shops in Saida. There it is called Sanioura. They can also be made with a filling of pistachios. Whatever you name it, it is the kind of sweet you want to have at all times and in all occasions!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams flour
  • 500 grams icing sugar
  • 375 grams ghee ( or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • some pine seeds and (or) pistachio for decoration

Preparation:

  • Sift the flour with icing sugar and add the baking powder and baking oda
  • Mix by hand with the ghee until you have a soft dough
  • Cover with a cling film and refrigerate for half an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 220 C
  • Shape the dough in circles or diamond shape and place a pistachio or pine seed in the center
  • Bake for 7 minutes, leave it in the tray until completely cold

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT..ENJOY:)

Maamoul

 

 

 

As Easter Sunday nears, most people will be preparing to get together with their families to celebrate. They will also make sure that they have colored their easter eggs, bought their chocolate eggs and most importantly their traditional Maamoul sweet. Maamoul is a wonderful sweet made of very simple ingredients and stuffed with either nuts or dates. Most people don’t have time to make their own Maamoul these days, but they will make sure to get some for themselves or for when they visit someone else’s home on Easter. And I have to say that the Muslims also love to make this sweet during Ramadan and the Eid.

In our family, it is an important part of our tradition to get together to make our own Maamoul. I have used this recipe for many years and my daughters have always helped make them when we are together. And recently with the new additions to our family, my grandchildren are also now involved in the process. As I mentioned before, the Maamoul is stuffed with pistachios, walnuts or dates, but I always make sure to leave one of each shape without any stuffing. The person who gets the empty Maamoul is considered lucky.

The molds and one tong            The mixed butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo semolina
  • 1/2 kilo butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp mahlab (wild cherry tree)orfenugreek
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp dried instant yeast
  • 1 cup milk (more or less depending on the type of semolina)
The butter and semolina mixture
The dough ready
Preparation:
  • Place the butter large mixing bowl,mix it until it becomes fluffy
  • ¬†Rub with semolina using your fingers until all the semolina has absorbed the butter. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight
  • Preheat the oven to 180DegC
  • The next day, add the instant yeast and sugar and rub well again. Add the milk gradually until the dough is well-combined
  • Form a small ball using the dough, ¬†flatten the ball. Then stuff with your choice of stuffing as described below. Place in the mold and slam down on your hard work surface to release the Maamoul
  • Place the Maamoul on a baking tray and continue until all the dough is complete
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until the top is light golden in color
  • Leave in the trays until completely cold
  • Dust the Maamoul stuffed in nuts with icing sugar, for the date ones you don’t need too because they are sweet enough
Stuffing with dates                   Put in the mold

The fillings:For the date stuffing:

– If you cannot find dates puree, bring dates, remove seed and skin, in a small saucepan melt one tablespoon of butter and add the dates, mix until puree. Sprinkle with a pinch of ground nutmeg. when they are cold, make them into small balls.

The dates shaped like balls    The walnut filling                   The pistachios filling

 For the nut filling:( pistachios or walnut)

-Ground roughly a cup of nut of your choice, mix with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon rose water and two tablespoons of orange blossom water

Nota Bene: if you cannot find the mold you can shape the balls of Maamoul with your hands then design with a tong, like the one on the picture above.

ET VOILA… HAPPY EASTER.:)

Madeleine with Pistachios

I love to have always some desserts ready at home to have them with tea or coffee, especially when I receive friends. Of course, my favorites desserts are home made. The madeleines  are easy and quick to prepare, within half an hour they are ready; this is why I use to make them when I invite my friends over. One good  friend of mine who lives now in another country recently told that she misses the madeleines I made and asked me for the recipe. So I decided to make her happy, and to share this recipe with you today. I hope you will enjoy it as well.

It is recommended that you have the special mold for this shape of madeleine.

Ingredients: for about 14 pieces

  • 2 eggs
  • 70 gs of butter+ one tablespoon soft butter
  • 3/4cup of icing sugar
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1and a half teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped pistachios
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven on 200C, and grease the madeleine’s mold with the soft butter
  • In a bowl mix the eggs with the sugar
  • Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the mixture
  • Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well, and at the end put the pistachios
  • Fill each of the molds with some batter, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Don’t let the madeleines be over cooked
  • Remove ¬†from the oven, and let it set for a few minutes in the molds, then remove it and let it cool on a wire rack.

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT:)