Recipes

Spinach Stew (VG/V). سبانخ و رز

This is a very simple winter dish that will last you a few days in the fridge. Less cooking is always a bonus, right? This can be made with minced meat or without. I replaced minced meat with minced quorn instead since we are veggie 80% of the week.

Ingredients

– Frozen spinach bag (otherwise you will need like 5 fresh bags of spinach that you will have to wash and chop)
– 2 onions (thinly sliced)
– 4 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
– Big handful of coriander (finely chopped)
– 1 teaspoon of lebanese 7 spices
– Sprinkle of salt (taste it obviously to see if it needs more)
– 1 whole juice of a lemon

مكونات

– سبانخ مفرز
– ٢ بصل مقطعين رفاع
– ٤ثوم مقطعين زغار
– كزبرة
– ملقعا كبيرا من ٧ بهارات
– رشت الملح
– ١عصير ليمون

Method
Fry the onions and garlic together in olive oil. Add the chopped coriander once you see the onions and garlic have turned into a golden colour, add the minced quorn (or minced beef if you want this option).
Add the bag of frozen spinach with the spices and salt. I added like a small mug of water and let it simmer for 20 mins. Taste it and see if you want to add more salt. Pour the lemon juice, mix and its should be done! I like mine lemony so I squeeze more lemon on my plate but that’s up to you and your preference.

Serve with rice (or quinoa if you are avoiding carbs).

Sauerkraut

A while back when this was a trend to make in the kitchen, I watched endless videos on Youtube of people making Sauerkraut. I love pickles and anything pickled so I was intrigued by the process and interested in the benefits.

The origin of Sauerkraut goes back to China but is known to come from Germany. It is a fermentation process of freshly chopped cabbage. The fermentation process is what makes this side dish good for us; it is full of microorganisms that promote probiotic growth. This bacteria is super good for your gut health as it helps digest food and help your gut absorb vitamins and minerals.

How To Make Sauerkraut
You might see that for a cheap vegetable, a jar of this stuff is pretty expensive in the supermarket.

Buy 1 fresh cabbage (purple or white), slice it into thin strips. Place in a big bowl and sprinkle lots of sea salt (10g of salt for every 1 lb). Cover it. Then with your hands mix it all together and leave for half an hour then mix again and leave for another half hour. The Brine process has begun. Do not drain the brine, my first time making this, I drained the brine for some reason and was only left with a little bit of liquid. Grab a recycled jar (I hope you keep jars, i have a cupboard of recycled jars lol) Pour the brine into the jar. Now, time to add the spices.

Spices for that juicy eye rolling feeling

– 7 cloves of garlic (chopped)
– 1 tbsp mustard seeds
– 1 tbsp caraway seeds

Start adding the shredded cabbage into the jar and press it down with your knuckle, and pour the rest of the liquid on top. Leave in a dark cupboard right at the back for two weeks and then you can eat. The longer you leave the better.

Once the jar of sauerkraut finishes; don’t pour the liquid out. Keep for the next cabbage and a bit more of the spices if needed to be stronger.

Yemeni Kabsa

Another great recipe coming your way. I’d like to point out that I am not from Yemen and never made this before but my husband is originally from Yemen and he said that it was the best Kabsa he has ever had. And trust me when I say this; my husband doesn’t hold back to tell me if the food i’ve cooked that day taste shit or good lol.

Your choice of meat is up to you, I would recommend to use oxtail or lamb because I love that juicy fat on the bone that that particular meat comes with. But you can have chicken, beef, lamb whichever. This meal can feed 4-6 people.

Ingredients I used:
– Oxtail
– 1 onion
– 2 Tomatoes
– 2 cups of rice
– Coriander
– Spring or red onion
– Pine nuts and cashews

Spice mix I used:
1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds, 1 1/2 tbsp black pepper, 1 tbsp salt (add more depending on taste), 4 bay leaves, 1/2 tbsp of black cloves, 1 tbsp of cumin, 4/5 cardamon, 2 black limes, 5 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.
I put all these mixes in a pestle and mortar, beat them until powder form.

Method:
If you have a pressure cooker this shouldn’t take long, but I slow cooked the meat to get out all the goodness from the gelatine and fat on the bone. As oxtail is highly recommended to use as a bone broth. Chicken and other type of meat shouldn’t take as long as it took me with the oxtail.


I boiled the meat for 15 mins to get all that goo out and then drain the water and wash the meat from that froth. I then added rapeseed oil to the pot of meat and allowed the meat to glaze and go golden brown flipping them over equally. I add fresh water again and let it boil. The water should cover the meat completely. You can eyeball it with water. I didn’t use specific measurements. Add the spice mix from above and let it boil for a couple of minutes before letting it simmer for a couple of hours. Again you can speed up this process with a pressure cooker, or if you have chicken it won’t need couple of hours.
Add one whole peeled onion and 2 chopped tomatoes or 1 can of chopped tomatoes. You can wait and give the meat time to infuse with the spices by checking in on it, taste it, does it need more time? more salt? Check the meat if its soft and ready.

Rice time: Wash 2 cups of rice until the water runs clean and strain the water out. Then from the water that the meat has been cooking in, you will take that spiced up water full of beautiful flavour and natural fat from the meat to cook the rice in. 2 cups of rice can take 4 1/2 (or 5) cups of the water from the meat pot.

Once the rice is ready, I lay the rice out on a pyrex tray and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Then I bring that back out and lay the meat on top of the rice pouring over more broth juice from the meat over the whole pyrex and back in the oven for 5 minutes. In the meantime, chop up some coriander and red onion/spring onions to garnish the dish with. Fry the pine nuts and cashews in butter until golden. Take the pyrex out and decorate with the nuts, coriander and onions.

There you have it! It is also good to have a salad on the side and yoghurt. Traditionally, there is also a homemade chilli sauce to go with this, but I didn’t make it this time round. But chilli sauce does make the dish even more amazing! Give it a go :).

Creamy salmon & king prawn pasta

There’s so many recipes out there for this fish but I guarantee you this is the one. I’ve tried a lot but this one was the one. It’s quick and super easy to make.

Ingredients; 7 cloves of garlic (minced/grated), large knob of butter, 284ml single cream, pasta (of your choice, I used the shell pasta to catch the sauce), grated zest of 1 lemon, salmon and/or king prawns, black pepper and salt to taste.

Method; first cover the filet of salmon in black pepper, salt, some chilli flakes if you like it a bit chilli and put in the oven. Then mince the garlic into small pieces, add it to a pot of melted butter, i like to add big pinch of black pepper & a sprinkle of salt. Then I add some dried parsley and mixed herbs. Sauté for a couple of minutes then pour in the cream. If you like it saucy get the big single cream pot. Grate 1 zest of a lemon. Let that simmer for 5/7 minutes. Whilst that is cooking, I bring half a mug of lukewarm water which I add a tbsp of cornstarch until it dissolves. This is what will thicken the sauce nicely. Pour into the pot, taste. If it needs more black pepper/salt go ahead and add. Cook the pasta, I like it al dente. Use some of the pasta water to add to the sauce to create more thickness and sauce.

Add the fish. take the salmon out and flake off chunks of it into the sauce pot. Also add the prawns. Start adding the pasta as well and mix

Serve on a plate with Parmesan & chopped parsley to garnish. Enjoy! I’m sorry for the lack of pictures but you know when you’re so hungry you just want to eat anything. Yeah that!

Lebanese Qatayef

I like to make this traditional Lebanese dessert for special occasions or if I’m really craving it and can be bothered to go through the effort. This is because it can be really tiring and just looooong in the kitchen. However, it really does taste great homemade if you follow this recipe ;). I read up a lot on this recipe online but couldn’t really understand the method, every site had different ashta (white filling) ingredients etc so I just called my mum and she gave me the best recipe and its super simple. You just have to be patient as it takes time. The following measurements are a lot and they are to be dished out around your family homes, friends, or given in charity.

Ingredients for the ASHTA (Ashta is the white filling (it’s like clotted cream)): 1 litre of whole milk, 300ml of double cream, 1 tbsp of sugar, and 5 tbsp of cornstarch. AND 1 tbsp of orange blossom and rose water.
Method: Pour milk first until warm. Grab a whisk. Add the sugar and cream. Then take some of the warm milk in a cup to melt the cornstarch (this is done so that it doesn’t clump when you add it straight to into the pot). Keep whisking and whisking until it becomes thick and your arm starts to hurt. Right at the end, add the orange blossom and rose water. Take off the heat. Whisk for another couple of minutes. Pour into a bowl to let it cool down and put it in the fridge. This should take around 30-35 minutes. Just keep going until the ashta is thick thick.

Whilst this is cooling in the fridge, we can prep the batter mixture for the mini pancakes.
Ingredients: 4 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of Semolina (smede), 4 and a half cups of water, 1 sachet of yeast and 1 tsp of Baking Powder.
Method: in the above order add the dry ingredients, then just mix until all combined. I used a hand blender to stop lumps from happening. 10 minutes before you pour the mixture onto a non-sticky pan you ADD the Baking Powder. During this 10 minutes; I left this to set in the fridge. The consistency is meant to be watery like pancake batter. It literally is like pancakes but mini.

Okay lets get to work. Now, heat a non-sticky flat pan and rub it with a tissue soaked in vegetable/sunflower oil or whatever oil. Using a jug to pour the pancake mixture to get a non messy perfect circle. Do a trial and see how long it takes to bubble and let it get golden on the bottom. I like them small to medium sized pancakes. Small are really cute and I usually count to three when I pour the batter. Once the pancake bubbles fully, remove it onto a clean towel and cover them with another clean towel. Do not flip the pancake, I repeat DO NOT. Just cook one side. L Do this until you’re fed up lol; or until the batter mixture is finished. I had a lot leftover so I put it in the fridge to make over the next couple of days.

Now that you have your mini pancakes, grab a seat and the ashta from the fridge and get to filling. Grab the pancake in your hand and a tablespoon in the other to fill it with ashta. Cup the pancake from one corner and pinch to close all the way to the middle. You don’t close it fully (you can if you want). Line them up on a nice platter/plate whatever you have in the kitchen. Then sprinkle some grounded pistachios on the ashta et VOILA. You have your QATAYEF. Repeat until you’re once again fed up, or done with the mixture.

We make a sugar syrup called ATER. This is 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of orange blossom and rose water. You can also drizzle honey instead of this sugar syrup or nothing at all if you think this step will be too sweet for you.

If you want to be adventurous or do your own thing you can add your favourite nuts with the ashta such as walnuts, almonds, raisins. If you want to continue and close the whole pancake up you can. Do what you want… there are no rules to this! We put some dark chocolate spread in a few of them and it tasted amazing.

This dessert goes well with arabic mint tea or peppermint tea. I tried to explain this step by step and I hope it was clear enough. If not leave a comment and I will get back to you. I hope you love it and enjoy this traditional Lebanese dessert. Apparently it looks like cannoli. We can call it Lebanese Qatayef Cannoli.

The perfect salad for a spring weekend

This is super green and super delicious. I made this spontaneously and randomly it came out perfect. Here is the simple recipe for two people.

For the dressing (Put this all in a blender) :1 ripe avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice, a handful of fresh coriander, half a chilli or sprinkle some chilli flakes, 1 tsp of English mustard or American mustard, drizzle your fine olive oil, 1 tsp of black pepper and a sprinkle of salt. AND BLITZ TO A CREAMY PASTE.

I prepped the dressing whilst the pasta was cooking, you can literally use any pasta you have in your cupboard. Also, chop up 1 small red onion, some leafy greens you have in the fridge, open a can of tuna of your choice add all this including the dressing once the pasta has been drained and cooled down. Mix it well to eat or leave in the fridge for later.

And enjoy! You can take this to a picnic, a bbq, a gathering, lunch, after a dip in the sea, it’s so filling and yummy. I hope you make this and like it as much as I did.

My Auntie’s Orange cake Recipe

During my lockdown I was craving my aunties cake and remembered the memories we shared as a family when we ate her cake in the summers I spent with them in Lebanon. I messaged her and she sent me the recipe. By the way, I’m not good at baking because I dislike precise measurements and no matter what I do my cakes always come out flat and tasteless. BUT, before you log off this one turned out so good and I’m so proud of myself.

Here is what you need to do; 5 eggs, 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, 1 whole grated orange zest into a bowl and mix

Then use the same mug for these ingredients; 1 & 1/5 cup of sugar, 3 cups of flour, 3 tsp of baking powder, 1 & 1/5 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/5 cup of rapeseed oil, 5 tbsp of water. Add one ingredient at a time and mix.

Pre heat the oven at 180 Celsius with your desired baking tray. Then brush with butter and sprinkle sugar around the tray. This gives the cake a nice sticky mix but it shouldn’t stick to the tray.

Pour the cake mix and into the oven for 45 mins. I have an electrical oven. Everyone’s oven is different and you know your oven better than me so gage how long you will leave the cake in the oven for. I hope you like it. I loved this and I have a slice with my cup of tea every day🥰.

The finalé. I flipped it onto a plate after it cooled down.

The perfect Avocado Pesto Pasta for Spring (Nut free)

This dish is so fresh and yummy. It has such spring vibes. It’s super easy; quick; and minimum dirty dishes.

Serves 2-4 people. Cooking Time 15 mins. Pasta of your choice; I used spaghetti and fuisilli because during this time we can’t find pasta anywhere and this is all I had in the cupboard. If you want to make it vegan use zucchini spaghetti, spinach pasta, or whatever alternative out there for you lovely vegans.

I boil the pasta whilst I’m prepping the sauce. So go ahead and do that.

Sauce ingredients in a blender/chopper: 1 ripe avocado, a bunch of basil, a few sprigs of coriander, 1 lemon juice, a sprinkle of dried tarragon, 5 cloves of garlic, 5 large mushrooms and virgin olive oil (I eye measured this but I would 7 tbsp). BLEND!

1) Strain the pasta but keep some of the boiled water in the pan; add your delicious sauce to the pasta and mix. ADD salt, black pepper and a handful of Parmesan. By now you should switch off the heat and give it a good mix.

You may now serve. The mushrooms is used instead of nuts as it maintains that rich flavour and texture nuts can give & is very ideal alternative for pasta sauce. Please note if you like less garlic then add less and vice versa. If you want lemony go ahead add more or less. This is how I made it for my husband and I and we ate 3 full plates!!!

Hope you like this one, let me know what you think. I hope your staying safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic.

My Delicious Salmon Marinade

I love my salmon to be juicy, zesty, chilly, and garlic-y. One night I just thought let me try all these spices and juices together and let me tell you, when I ate that salmon after it came out the oven…I rushed to my phone to write down what I added before I forgot.

Here is what I added for two fillets of salmon;
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 2 tbsp of soy sauce
– grated ginger (around 3cm)
– 2 grated cloves of garlic (or 3 cloves, if you love garlic go ahead ADD MORE!)
– Fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes (whatever you have, and you can add as much or as little as you like depending on you chilli tolerance)
– Sprinkle of salt & Black pepper
– Sprinkle of Tarragon or any dried herb you have in the cupboard. Coriander or parsley would go just as well too.

I put this in my pre-heated oven for 10-15 mins et voila. Alongside some greens and a salad. I drizzled some olive oil too on my plate for some extra juice-ness.
I would recommend if you have time to marinate this in the morning or a couple of hours before and keep it in the fridge for dinner. You will get a stronger flavour.

Enjoy this one guys! Let me know what you think.

A delicious bone broth recipe and some beneficial facts.

At our house, we eat at least once a week a home cooked lamb/beef bone broth. This nutritional dense dish is so amazing for your body. I know there isn’t much research to prove that this dish helps collagen production or any scientific facts that reveals facts about this dish however, it is an ancient recipe used back when every part of the animal was used.

I remember my mother would make us a chicken broth whenever we were sick with a cold or the flu to open our airways and reduce inflammation. As well as being packed with immune boosting amino acids such as arginine, glutamine, and cysteine.

Nowadays, the majority eat the muscle of the animal neglecting the other parts that usually goes to waste which contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals.

Picking the right piece of bone that is full of collagen is best alongside vegetables that will give you maximum nutrition. For example; feet (contains a LOT of gelatine), oxtail, marrow bones, joints, knuckles (preferably from a trustworthy butcher and grass fed meat).

The Health Benefits

– improve joint health
– boost your immune system
– great for treating a leaky gut (collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal openings in the gut lining where there are gaps that allows undigested food particles to seep through)
– great for the digestive system (helps the growth of probiotics)
– supports skin, nails and hair
– decreases cellulite (due to the lack of connective tissue which causes skin to lose its firmness, bone broth will help in this area too)
– anti-inflammatory

There are 19 essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids in bone broth that our bodies can absorb and use to restore our protein blocks that start to break down as we age as well as supporting our digestive system, immune system, bone health, and joint health. Also, gelatin is very important for us because as we age our bones and joints deteriorate and are more prone to not having that glide effect in-between our bones. You will see when your broth sets in the fridge, the broth turns into a gel which is just rich in gelatin. This protects the bones and seals mucosal lining of the GI tract.

Eating a bone broth is the best way to obtain natural collagen. As the bone simmers on the stove, collagen is extracted and along with other ingredients that will help restore / support collagen peptide formation in our bodies. You’re going to get incredible healing properties from arginine, glutamine, proline and glycine.

You will get glycosaminoglycans (GAG) from a bone broth, this includes, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. GAG role is to maintain and support collagen and elastin formation in between bones and various muscle fibres.
Glucosamine: you need this to support joint health.
Hyaluronic acid: you need this to support skin, promotes healthy ageing and skin firmness.
Chondroitin sulfate: fights inflammation and supports cardiovascular health.

My Recipe!

  1. I wash my meat with water, I always use oxtail, its meaty and has plenty of collagen.
  2. I blanch the meat for 20 minutes before to remove any nasty bits to achieve a clear broth later.
  3. Add meat to a deep pot, then pour hot water with 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This is on high heat.
  4. Then add spices; 1 tbsp of cinnamon, 2 tbsp of ground mix spices (lebanese 7 spices), 4/5 cardamon, 2 black limes, 1 tbsp of himalayan salt, 3 bay leaves, a whole (uncut) peeled onion poked with black cloves all round.
  5. I reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 10-12 hours. If you have a slow cooker pot, you can use that too.
  6. I then prepare the veg I want to add for later on.
  7. Veg I add one hour before end cooking time are; carrots, mushrooms, pepper, leeks (all roughly chopped). You can also add whatever veg you have in the kitchen if you want.
  8. I also like to add egg noodles or rice noodles.
  9. I like to squeeze 1 lemon and add the juice before I pour the broth to eat.
  10. Et Voila!! Sprinkle some spring onions and herbs if you have some like coriander/parsley…Enjoy. There will definitely be leftovers, so you can strain the broth and store stock in the fridge (if you are going to use it within a week otherwise freeze it) for you to use in the future for when you make soup, rice etc.
  11. Don’t throw away the veg and meat leftover, you can use that for tomorrow’s dinner with rice and yoghurt.