Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps


I wasn’t meant to blog about this lunch. It kind of just happened. I had some leftover ingredients from a shoot, ingredients I don’t normally cook with on a daily basis. Bean sprouts, pickled ginger and mountains of baby cos lettuce. 


Then this happened, a beautiful lunch of leftovers. These kind of lunches are my favourite. Lunches that come together in less than half an hour, lunches that are colourful like a child’s painting, lunches that clean out your fridge. That’s the kind of lunch this was. An unplanned lunch. 


And you know what’s even more amazing? I ate this today, I photographed it today, edited the images today and wrote this post today as well. That has never happened before. There is always something that stops me from hitting the publish button- recipe not written down whilst cooking, food not photographed before it is eaten. A lot of the the time I’m unhappy with the images. And the biggest issue has always been that the words just don’t flow. Often, all I want to write is- Eat this, it’s good. That’s all!


But I’m really glad it all came together for this post. I really love this recipe that is heavily inspired by a meal I had at a popular American chain restaurant. It’s a recipe where every member of the family finds something they like and can enjoy. And something to dislike as well. 

Hassan only ate the noodles with carrots and cucumbers. He kept wanting to lick the peanut butter sauce even though it was so spicy. The expression that followed was priceless. Maryam devoured the noodles and bean sprouts on her lettuce leaves. I as usual, had a bit of everything. I do hope you will try this and that everyone in your family will find something to like about it. 

Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:
125 ml crunchy peanut butter
200 ml coconut milk, warmed in the microwave
4 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
3- red chillies (deseeded if you want to decrease the heat)
1 tbsp honey
500 g chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch strips
2 tbsp sunflower oil

20 g rice noodles
200 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

2 spring onions
handful cilantro
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 clove garlic
1 tsp honey

To serve: 
4 baby cos lettuce, stems removed
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, deseeded and cut into strips
105 g pickled ginger, cut into strips (optional)- you can drain the pickling juice or add it to your spring            onion sauce
75 g bean sprouts
handful coriander leaves
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients until well incorporated and season with salt. Marinate the chicken strips with 3/4 of the marinade, leaving aside the rest to use as a dipping sauce (the sauce may thicken after a while so just use hot water to loosen as needed). Heat oil in a skillet on high heat. Grill the chicken on both sides, turning, once, until cooked through (about 3 minutes). Set aside.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain and set aside. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk. Once it comes to a simmer, add the curry paste and the rest of the ingredients. Add the cooked noodles and season well with salt. Set aside. 

Make the cilantro dipping sauce by blending together the spring onions, cilantro, tamarind paste, garlic, honey and season with salt. You may use a little bit of water to loosen the paste. 

To serve, layer the ingredients as follows. Lay the lettuce leaves on a platter, Top with the noodles followed by the chicken strips. top with the carrot and cucumber strips followed by the pickled ginger if using. Top with beans sprouts, coriander leaves and sliced chilli. Drizzle over the cilantro suace and peanut sauce and serve immediately. 

Serves 6-7.




Continue Reading 30 Comments

Peach Melba Trifle


Trifles was one of the first desserts I ever ate. Or made at home. My mom would only make them in the months of Ramadan. I remember waiting in anticipation as she assembled the different layers. First she would make the jelly layer and pour into a white and blue ceramic platter. A platter she still has to this day. One I may need to steal on my next visit to Dar.


I would poke the jelly in the fridge every few minutes and lick my finger, pink tell tale signs on my pointing finger to give away my crimes. Of course, if the jelly had set, my mom would never be surprised to find holes where I’d been poking around. 


She would then put a layer of cake, my most favorite part. I would always make sure to take a scoop from the edge where she would hide the extra cake scraps. Then the thick creamy canary yellow custard would be poured on followed by chopped apples and bananas. She would leave all this to soak from morning and by night, the custard would have partly penetrated the cake. Those soggy parts were my absolute favourite. 


That was her way. This is mine. Lots of cake soaked with raspberry jam and raspberries. Juicy peaches topped with dollops of creamy custard. And a generous helping of cream. But a few things remain the same. Thick luscious custard and moist pudding like cake. Some things never change.

Peach Melba Trifle

Ingredients:
100 g raspberries
60 g raspberry jam
40 ml pineapple juice
330 g Madeira cake, sliced
4 saturn peaches, sliced
500 ml thick custard
280 ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
chopped pistachio nuts for garnishing 

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the raspberries, jam and pineapple juice. Use a fork to muddle the berries slightly. Arrange the sliced cake at the bottom of the trifle dish. Top with berry mix followed by the sliced peaches. Pour the custard over the fruit and chill in the fridge for a few hours (2 hours at least for the cake to soak up the berry juices). Whip the cream with icing sugar until stiff peaks form. Top the custard with cream when it’s time to serve and garnish with pistachios. 

Continue Reading 21 Comments

Banoffee Pie Popsicles



When Maryam was 6 months old, I decided I needed to go back to work. At least part time, to give me some sanity, adult conversation and take a break from being a mommy for a few hours a week. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved being a mom and Maryam was a dream child, still is. She slept all night, ate everything on her plate and never cried. I always joke that the amount Hassan cries in a day, Maryam has probably cried in a lifetime!


I had a lovely nanny to look after Maryam, one I could really trust and I excitedly entered the workforce. But things didn’t go as planned. On my first day back, I just couldn’t concentrate. My shift was only 4 hours but I called home a total of 30 times. What time did Maryam wake? Did she finish her breakfast? What is she doing now? What snack did she have? Did she nap? How long for? Did she finish her lunch? The questions in my heart didn’t stop, nor did the phone calls.



That night, as I held her tight and put her to sleep, brushing her tiny curls behind her ears that we fondly called her whiskers, I made the easiest decision I have ever made. And the hardest, if that makes sense. But the best decision as well.  I could not work outside the home whilst the children were small. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bare the thought of not being there everyday to see her evolve, to see her growing, be there to capture her firsts in my heart. Listening to her as her speech changed, her favourite toys changed, building her first lego tower and holding her hand through it all. 



However, I also quickly realised that I wasn’t the mom that loved to play. Whilst I could manage 15 minutes building a lego tower, another 10 baking a pretend pizza, I was never going to be the mother that played all day. I’d rather take Maryam to the park and push her in the swing or let her discover the slide and flowers and weeds and dewy grass beneath her feet. I’d rather be in the kitchen baking that real pizza. 



And so that is exactly what we did. Every morning, I would strap her tiny pudgy body into the bouncer and place it on our kitchen table, positioning her perfectly yet safely so she had the best view. I would go about creating recipes and havoc in the kitchen, describing my every move to her. As though I was a teacher and she my student. Sometimes I’d even pretend I was hosting a cooking show on tv and she was my audience.

At times she fell asleep and I’d feel deflated but as she grew older her eyes grew more curious, her actions more animated. Sometimes I’d catch her playing with the flour that danced along with the light coming through our kitchen window. When she started to crawl, this opened up a whole new world of possibilities in the kitchen for her. Pots and pans were her favourite toys and emptying out the pantry was the best part of the day for her. 


That was then. And look, this is now. Her apron sits right next to mine behind the door, her step stool has its own place in the kitchen. She would rather crack eggs and play with flour over her toys any day.   She proudly knows where all the cake tins and muffin pans stay and she can probably name most spices in my pantry.

I love that we can spend quality time together, both of us doing what we love. I love that I can nurture her love of cooking and baking. I love that she helps to decide our menu for the week. I love that she is willing to try anything, at least once. I love that face of anticipation and curiosity as she watches dough rise or batter cook in the oven. I love that excitement when she wants to decorate anything and everything pink, with ‘springles’ of course. 


As she wanted to do with these banoffee pie popsicles. She wasn’t too pleased when I thwarted her plan to cover them with pink shiny sprinkles. We settled on chocolate sauce instead. With her favourite biscuit in the whole wide world. Mine too- Digestives. The inspiration for these comes from the one ingredient banana ice cream posted by The Kitchn. We put our own twist to it and had such a fun afternoon decorating popsicles and photographing them.

Banoffee Pie Popsicles

Ingredients:
1 can condensed milk
4 large bananas
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
40 g digestives, crushed
80 g chocolate, I used half milk and half dark

Directions: 
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Take any paper packaging off from the condensed milk tin and place in boiling water so that it is fully submerged in water. Allow it to simmer on medium heat for 2-3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker your dulce de leche will be. Add water as necessary, making sure the can is always covered in water. Use tongs to remove the can from the water and cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Peel and halve the bananas. Place the bananas on a baking tray greased with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and roast for approximately 20 minutes (You can skip the roasting part if your bananas are already ripe). Allow to cool before freezing for 2 hours. Blend the frozen bananas until smooth, scraping the bowl whenever necessary.  

Fill your molds with a little bit of the banana mixture followed by a bit of the dulce de leche. Keep repeating until you have filled you popsicle molds completely. I used approximately 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche per mold. You can refrigerate the rest of the dulce de leche for other uses. Cover molds with foil paper and insert a wooden popsicle stick in the centre. Freeze overnight till solid. 

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in a steel bowl placed over hot water. Spread the crushed digestives on a tray. Unmold the frozen popsicles and roll them in the crushed biscuits and drizzle the chocolate over it.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 large popsicles. 


Continue Reading 23 Comments

Strawberry Cheesecake


Baking has become a much sought luxury in our house. With temperatures searing, the last thing I want to do is cook, let alone turn the oven on. Besides, we just moved this weekend. For the 10th time in 12 years. I think I’ve become good at it, requiring only 3 days to unpack all my boxes. My mother in law has been kind enough to feed us during this time. 

Such a luxury it is to not have to cook sometimes. However, when it’s a tiny 4 year old with hungry eyes looking up to you and asking for a treat, you have no choice but to oblige. Last week, Maryam decided she wanted to fast. Seeing her enthusiasm, I didn’t want to say no. To the fasting as well as the cooking.


Besides, I think it’s a good thing for her to become religiously aware so I agreed for her to fast till 1pm. I promised her a present and a menu decided by her. She chose a Minion Rush model, a water gun and a Hello Kitty puzzle. And to top that she also had her menu set out. Chicken nuggets with jelly and a strawberry cake. 


Thus began the task to bargain, on presents and menus. We debated whether she really needs three presents for a half day fast. Apparently, at four years of age, she does. After much debate, we whittled it down to a water gun. Perfect for the current weather. Of course, Hassan needed one too, fast or no fast.


On to menus, turning the oven on was not an option. I kid you not when I say the temperature was 46 degrees Centigrade. ‘How about doughnuts? Strawberry doughnuts with springles’ as she calls them. Hmmmmm. It seemed the theme was strawberries….and pink! 


So we settled on this cheesecake. Well, it was a cake, it had strawberries but best of all, it required no baking. Maryam happy, mummy happy. The cheesecake was light, yet satisfying. The lemony freshness went harmoniously with the strawberries. And there were hints of pink and red. Trust me when I say everyone was satisfied. 


So proud of my little lamb! She now wants to fast again so she can get her Minion Rush model!

Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:
250 g digestive biscuits
100 g butter, melted
300 g cream cheese
120 g sour cream
125 g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
300 ml double cream
420 g strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp water 

Directions:
Butter and line a 9 inch springform or loose bottom baking tin with parchment. Put the biscuits into a bag and pound with a rolling pin until crushed to crumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix with the melted butter until thoroughly incorporated. Tip into prepared tin, pressing down gently, and refrigerate until firm. About 1 hour. 

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the double cream and beat for a further minute or so until well combined. The mixture will thicken slightly but you don’t want to over beat the cream (the consistency will be like cake batter). Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base, making sure there are no gaps or air bubbles. Smooth the top using a spatula. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature before unmoulding. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and slice all the way round the tin in one smooth action. Open the springform and slip the cake from the base (it will slide easily because of the parchment) to a platter. You can also slide the parchment paper off if you wish. 

Combine the strawberries with icing sugar and let it sit whilst the cheesecake is coming to room temperature. When ready to serve, blend half the strawberry mixture with water until smooth. Strain and pour over cheesecake. Top with remaining strawberries and serve immediately. 

Notes: The amount of icing sugar in the strawberries will vary depending on how sweet your berries are. Make the strawberry puree on day of serving. 

Prep time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Serves: 6-8 people




Continue Reading 15 Comments

Prawn Cocktail


Woah. What a few weeks it has been. Maryam finished school, I went to London, came back at the start of Ramadan and in between all that, I’ve been shooting images for various projects non stop. And loving it! It’s been a dream come true to collaborate with so many creative forces.

But today I wanted to tell you about my trip to London. My beautiful London. It was my first trip without the kids. My first without a camera attached to my neck (so no London photos!). My first time to attend Food Blogger Connect. My first time walking the sunny streets of London on foot, eating the best local strawberries and visiting offbeat London flea markets. A holiday where I didn’t have a care in the world, for the first time.

My first time in London where the sun showed its wrath all week. The first time I didn’t use an umbrella. That first moment when you meet someone at FBC that you have been chatting away with for eons over Twitter. So many firsts and so unexpected. What a beautiful week.

It was also my first time visiting Brixton, a part of town I had never frequented in my 7 years of living there. And what a find for both me and the lovely Simone. It was packed with off beat restaurants and the whole vibe of the place struck such a chord. I wish I had more time to explore. To eat the luscious food. I’ll surely be visiting again. 

And this prawn cocktail. Well, it was a first for me. Not to eat but to make myself at home. One of those meals you think is hard to cook but really, comes together in minutes. So cool and refreshing. Wouldn’t have been out place eating this packed in a picnic box under a tree in Hyde Park. 

I already have plans to visit again. Roll on October! You can find the recipe for my watermelon and feta salad and more in the June issue of Spinneys Food or online.
Prawn Cocktail


Ingredients:
16 tiger prawns, shell removed and deveined
125 ml mayonnaise
2 tbsp ketchup
splash of tabasco
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
salt to taste
8 romaine hearts
1 tbsp chopped coriander 

lemon wedges to serve 

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Put the prawns into the boiling water and when it begins to boil again, drain the prawns. Set aside and cool. In a bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients and season with salt. To serve, place two romaine hearts in a bowl. Place four prawns on top and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve immediately with a wedge of lemon. Repeat with remaining 3 bowls. 

Serves 4 



Continue Reading 14 Comments

Raspberry and Coconut Summer Cake




Early in May of this year, I travelled to Morocco for a blissful ten days. As with any holiday, if my room is good and I can find traditional and authentic food to fill my belly, I can rest assured that my holiday will be a success. 


After much searching, we settled on the boutique Riad el Fenn, a  charming boutique riad nestled in a bustling corner of the old medina. It did not disappoint. When we first arrived, I was a little concerned by the looming dark entrance. But once inside, it was an oasis of tranquility. The art filled retreat was beautifully decorated in the most saturated shades of terracotta and turquoise. 



Each room was filled with quirky details, eclectic art, local decor. I only wished I had gotten to stay in a different room each night. Every morning, we would be greeted by hot tea placed outside our room. This would be accompanied by a small tray of home baked Moroccan sweets. Perfect start to the day, no?



Lazy breakfasts of berber pancakes and cinnamon porridge were had on their rooftop terrace which had views of the Koutubia mosque and it really was the most perfect spot to catch the sun setting every evening. They even had a family of turtles housed in the courtyard that kept both kids highly entertained. 




One of my favourite things to do was recline on the large oversized cushions in the courtyard and gaze up at the overgrown citrus trees. Full of ripe oranges and lemons, their heady scent filling the air. Bright pops of orange and yellow against the blue spring skies. Every morning, Maryam would count how many had fallen to the ground and proceed to collect them. 



What Maryam and I, even Hassan, looked forward to most was chomping away at the home baked cakes and pastries every afternoon with a steaming cup of mint tea. Every afternoon, the treats were different and all housed in a beautiful bird cage. There was a pear tart, a luscious orange scented cake, baklavas and some dainty coconut crusted concoction. 



Ever since we have returned back, Maryam has constantly asked what ‘cake’ we would be having after her nap. Every single afternoon without fail. And so I thought it would only be fair if I made her one to remind her of the fun afternoons spent in the riad’s courtyard. This version has lots of coconut which pairs beautifully with the tart berries. 

Now if only I was sitting in in orange scented courtyard with a local cup of freshly brewed mint tea in hand and listening to the distant hustle and bustle of the city of Marrakech!

Raspberry and Coconut Summer Cake

Ingredients:
225g butter, room temperature
225g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
175g all purpose flour
pinch salt
1 1/12 tsp baking powder
100g unsweetened shredded coconut
100ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g raspberries

Extra raspberries, icing sugar and creme fraiche to serve

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade and butter and flour a 10 inch baking tin (I used two 7 inch pie tins and had extra batter leftover for 4 cupcakes as well).

Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and frothy, about 7 minutes and on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl now and then. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and shredded coconut in a separate bowl. Mix together the coconut milk and vanilla extract in a jug. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour and coconut milk alternatively. Pour the batter into the prepared tin (or pie tins) and top with raspberries. Bake for 40 minutes if using the 10 inch baking tin (25 minutes if using 2 pie pans) or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack. 

Decorate with more berries and a sprinkling of icing sugar and serve with creme fraiche on the side. 


Continue Reading 30 Comments

Classic Beef Burgers


I photographed these burgers in February. I had my fuzzy grey socks on with a hole where my little toe sticks out. Maryam likes to play ‘this little piggy’ with it when I wear it. It was just overcast enough to naturally diffuse the sunlight but I had to work fast to race against the dying light though. All it wanted to do was play peekaboo with the clouds. 


That evening, we had an early dinner in the garden. The kids ate their burgers whilst digging for diamonds in the sandpit. Hassan buried his lettuce in the sand and I’m guessing we probably had an apple crumble for dessert- still sat in the garden of course. 


I made these again last week in honour of them appearing in the May issue of Spinneys Food magazine for which I contribute their suppers ideas each month. We ate them in totally different circumstances though. The French doors to the garden were bolted shut and we sat on the dining table, ruefully watching the sheer curtains dance against the air conditioning drone. Hassan had no choice but to eat his lettuce this time. 


Summer is finally here in Dubai! One thing remained the same though. These burgers still tasted just as good as they did in February…..anytime burgers really. 



Recipes for Chicken Satay, Green Fish, Herbed Omelette and Asparagus Pea and Tomato Tart with Parmesan can be found in the May issue of Spinneys Food or online soon. 

Classic Beef Burgers

Ingredients:
800 g beef mince
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
oil, for grilling

To serve: 6 burger buns, sliced red onion, sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves and tomato relish

Directions:
Mix together the ingredients for the burgers until well incorporated. Season well with salt and pepper. Form 6 round equal sized patties. Place on parchment paper and chill for 15 minutes. 

Pre heat a grill pan over a medium heat. Brush with oil and when it begins to smoke, grill the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through to your liking. 

Serve on a bun with slices of red onion, tomatoes and lettuce leaves, topped with relish. 

Serves 6

Continue Reading 19 Comments

Blackberry Custard Tarts



   
 
 
She comes every year, yet I cannot get enough of her. She’s like the house guests we always look forward to, making sure to lay clean crisp sheets on the bed for them and lavender bags in the cupboard. After a few days we grow tired of them and crave to have our house back in order.
 
 
This time was no different. When she arrived, her bags were bursting at the seams. She brought with her berries and currants. Zucchini and cantaloupes. I loved seeing the layers upon layers of gems that slowly came out of her suitcase. My heart was giddy and my brain throbbed with menu plans.

 
To fill her days, we would go for a swim to cool down. Of course, a popsicle had to follow. She loved having us devour melon with sea salt and nibble on cherries. She beckoned us for picnics under the shade.  My most favorite thing about her though is the visitors she brought with her. Whilst she was here, my nieces visited. Then there was Akber’s brother. Finally, friends from far away graced our humble abode.
 
 
Every morning, she welcomed us with beams of golden light darting through the lace curtains. Every morning…..without fail. Even when she was sad, she never threatened rain. She was our alarm clock to wake, our cue to put the kids to sleep when she set.
 

Towards the end, she unraveled treasures of ripened peaches, dusky plums. We ate them over the kitchen counter, their juices trickling down our elbows. Then, unashamedly, we licked our elbows. She didn’t judge. Just when we thought that was the last of her bounty, she surprised us with one last present. Little nuggets of sweetness. In different shades of red, ruby, crimson. Tomatoes. We made soups, roasted them with honey, ate them as is.
 
 
This time though, She behaved and didn’t outstay her welcome. Gave us enough to savor but also had us begging for more. So until next time. Summer……we will miss you. But before she bid us adieu, she let us in on a little secret.

 
‘Shortly, someone very special will visit you- her name is Autumn. Someone that will bring you the smells of fall, cinnamon and nutmeg. She will have boxes upon boxes of apples and pears. She will entice you to wear your best angora sweaters and to dance to the pitter patter of gentle rain. You will know she is here when you see an envelop of fog in the morning.
 
 
Don’t forget to make her a warm cup of flavored tea when she arrives. And in exchange she will lay a carpet of leaves for you- rusty shades of orange and red to thank you with. However, don’t be so fickle and forget me. I am sure to return. As I always do, year after year.’
 
We will miss you Summer. You are always welcome, anytime.


Blackberry Custard Tarts

Ingredients:
Pastry Crust:
200 gms butter, room temperature
100 gms sugar
1 egg
300- 350 gms all purpose flour
 
Custard filling:
300ml double cream
1/4 cup + 1 tbs sugar
3 egg yolks, lightly whisked
1 vanilla bean, deseeded and stick discarded
1/2 cup blackberries, halved
 
Directions:
To make tart bases, cream the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment on your mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in 300 grams of flour. If the mixture doesn’t clean the sides of the bowl, keep adding more flour a tablespoon at a time until it does. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
 
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Grease your tart bases and roll out the tart dough using minimal flour to a 1/4 inch thickness. Fill the tart bases and use your fingers to mould tart dough into shape. Pierce the tarts with a fork and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
 
In the mean time, make the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together until incorporated. Fill tart shells and with custard filling and place 5-6 blackberry halves into each tart. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until custard is set.  
 
Can be eaten immediately but we refrigerated ours and ate them cold.
 
Filling enough for 8 tarts. Leftover dough can be frozen

Continue Reading 47 Comments

Pasta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Breadcrumbs

 

Well hello September. Whilst you haven’t brought with you any lull in heat or humidity (yet), I’m excited for cooler climes to come. Schools will commence soon, baking will take precendence, open windows will be embraced. The air will become crisp, apples and cinnamon will take over kitchen counters. Yes, I’m hopeful.


But before we bid a final adieu to summer, here is a recipe that uses the best of summer’s produce. It can even be bottled up for enjoyment throughout the rest of the year.

 
Although we tend to get most produce all year round, there has been so much tomato goodness floating around the web and I was most intrigued by this recipe from Saveur. I have always added a touch of sugar to my tomato sauce to cut the acidity but have never experimented with maple syrup.


I have a experimented with both maple syrup and honey. Both transform the cherry tomatoes into little nuggets of richness. The caramelised juices at the bottom of my baking tray made the most wonderful salad dressing. I blended the roasted tomatoes and spread it on a crunchy baguette topped with thin parmesan slices and a generous shower of herbs. One recipe and so many uses.


And then there was this pasta for dinner. I quickly roasted some breadcrumbs tossed with some garlic, thyme and parsley. Stirred this golden goodness with spaghetti and some of the leftover sauce. Finally, I crowned it with the roasted tomatoes. A beautiful mess of a meal.

 
And then there was a tiny bowl left for breakfast the next morning. Cold of course. Tell me I’m not the only one to eat cold pasta for breakfast?

Pasta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Breadcrumbs

Ingredients:
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves peeled garlic
2 tbs honey/ maple syrup
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tbs red chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste.
400 gms spaghetti (or four servings)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbs parsley
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 clove garlic
grated parmesan to serve

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade. Line a tray with baking sheet and place tomatoes cut side up and garlic. Mix together honey, olive oil, thyme, chili, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the tomatoes and bake for 3-4 hours until tomatoes are half dried. Baste once in a while during this time. Blend half the tomatoes and any leftover juices on baking tray.

In the mean time, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions and set aside. In a frying pan, heat olive oil. Add to it breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and garlic. Keep stirring till golden.

Toss the cooked pasta with the blended roasted tomatoes and herbed bread crumbs. Serve with the remaining whole roasted tomatoes and grated parmesan.

Serves 4.

Honey roasted tomato recipe adapted from Saveur.





 

Continue Reading 56 Comments

Tabbouleh Salad with Chickpeas


I can’t believe we’re coming to the end of August. Soon, schools will reopen, traffic will build up and the weather will begin to get cooler. I can’t say I’m not relieved. It was a hard summer of trying to entertain a spritely three year old indoors and fending off questions about why we won’t be going to the beach in the near foreseeable future.


I am so ready for the new school year to start. For Maryam, it will be a new school, a new environment, new friends and lots of new adventures. I am so excited for her and so is she. We are both looking forward to this new journey and settling into a routine.


Routine. Something I thrive on. Something that has been missing on this blog of late. My intention was always to blog once a week but it seems I have been apologetic on numerous occasions for not being able to as often as I’d like. I do think about it often though and have a whole notepad  full of ideas and recipes begging to be tried. 


But today I bring you something that I’ve been making for the past five years. That’s right- five. I’m surprised I haven’t blogged about it before. This tabbouleh was one of the very first Middle Eastern dishes I learnt to imitate when I first moved to Dubai.


The abundance of parsley and torn specks of mint  not only make it vibrant but the perfect palate cleanser when paired with meats and poultry. Recently I have been eating it on its own as lunch and to make it a bit more hearty and satisfying, I added chickpeas (you can omit this if you wish to be more authentic).


On a separate note, I have finally joined Pinterest, although sometimes I almost wish I hadn’t! So many beautiful things like this ceramic cake stand. And wouldn’t you want to live in this house? Oh and I’ll definitely be making this cake soon.


Tabbouleh Salad with Chickpeas

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fine burghul (cracked wheat)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 tomato, finely chopped
few torn sprigs of mint

Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt to taste

Directions:
To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jar and shake vigorously. Set aside until ready to serve.

Add the lemon juice to the burghul and let it sit for ten minutes. Use a fork to separate the burghul. In a bowl, put in all the salad ingredients including the burghul. Drizzle the dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Note: Make sure the parsley is completely dry before chopping (do not use the stalks). Chop with a knife and do not use a food processor as this will bruise the herb.





Continue Reading 22 Comments