Recipes

Sheesh Tawook Marinade

This is an all time summer Favourite. But can be eaten in winter too, I mean who makes up these rules except for us!! Gooooo enjoy that marinate guys!! Instead of grilling these baby skewers on a BBQ, shove it in the OVEN!

You can eat this with salad, in a wrap, with rice, grilled veg! It goes with everything. Sheesh Tawook is really popular in the Middle East. It originated in Turkey and spread all the way to the south.

The three key ingredients in the marinade are; garlic, lemon, and yoghurt.

With measurements you add;

half a head of garlic (or more if you love garlic)
1 squeezed lemon
3 tbsp of yoghurt
tsp of salt
2 tbsp of tomato pureé
1 tbsp of Black pepper
a drizzle of olive oil
dried oregano or thyme

I prefer diced chicken breast, but once again in the summer time I add this marinade to chicken legs and thighs.
Mix the marinade into the chicken breasts and cover to put in the fridge for cooking next day.

And there you have it guys. A sheesh tawook marinade. I love making my own homemade garlic sauce to go with this which will just make you lick your fingers after it (also for vegans). That recipe will be posted soon :).

5 essential spices you need to start your Spice Cabinet

Spices, what would I do without my spice cabinet!!! My husband and I have a huge cabinet full of whole spices that we grind up and use when we are marinating our dish.

I am here to give you guidance on the 5 spices you need to start building your spice cabinet into beautiful colours, intensity, and wide variety of flavours. You should all have at black pepper (BP) and salt in your cabinet so these will not be included in this list.

TIP: It is best to store large quantities of whole spices in the freezer (if you have space). Keeping whole spices (not ground yet) in a freezer will keep for up to 3 years and keep their flavour/colour for longer.

5 Spices I recommend you must have as a base in your spice cabinet;

  • Chilli flakes: can be added to any dish. Stew, meat, chicken, roasted vegetables. You can gauge the amount to add depending on how much you love you chilli. Adding a little sprinkle will not burn your mouth off but will just add that tinsie kick in your mouth that just goes well with all the ingredients. Adding more chilli will obviously be more hot and spicy but I personally love that fragrant taste in my mouth. When you add chilli in excess amount I feel like you don’t really taste the food anymore and it is just pure fire.
  • Turmeric (Curcumin): this might be an odd one but let me explain. Turmeric is so good for you. SO GOOD!! It is best absorbed by our body when you add it with BP or good fat (milk, butter, coconut oil, coconut milk). FACT: Our bodies struggle to absorb cur cumin directly into our bloodstream. Curcumin has a low absorption rate and our body needs to absorb all the amazing benefits it carries into the lining of our liver and stomach.
    So this can be activated with adding BP so the liver can make substances water soluble making it easy to pass through our systems which increases absorption up to 2000%. Eating turmeric with good fats it is more likely to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Turmeric is a vibrant spice that can be added to soup, curry, yoghurt, latte’s, chicken. It doesn’t have a strong peppery taste, it’s earthy and musky.
  • Seven spices (Lebanese): this just has everything you need, by the way this is already mixed for you I add this to everything, literally! you can find the ‘seven spices’ anywhere nowadays. This blend has all the spices you need to add full flavours. The spices are; pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and fenugreek. It is amazing to rub this into your meat, soup, broths.
  • Dried Oregano: I have chosen this leaf because when it is dry it is more flavourful than when it is fresh. It has an aromatic warm taste, and it’s intensity can be varied depending on how much you add to your dish. This added in a tomato soup, base of a pizza, sprinkled on salad, sprinkled on roasted potatoes with olive oil, and ANY pasta (literally dribbling right now) is soo GOOD. OMG I love this spice so much, it makes the meal hearty and brings me back to the mediterranean. Also, I love adding this to beef or lamb when I am marinating it for a BBQ or on the grill (recipe for that will soon be posted here) or a stew. It goes so well with these ingredients.
  • Bay Leaves: I have chosen this spice because I cook a lot of broths, stews, rice, stuffing it in chicken/turkey/leg of lamb and this spice is perfect for just that. There isn’t much of a difference in taste when you get dried or fresh bay leaves. There isn’t a distinctive taste from bay leaves however they bring out other flavours and spices in the dish you are making. A lot of people will say this is a pointless her and really doesn’t add flavour to my dish BUT when the leaves are infused with water they will add a slight bitter taste that stops the soup or stew from feeling too heavy. That is the best way I can explain it. It’s a whispering flavour that I believe is important for broths, stews, soups. You can remove the leaves before serving, as you can not eat them.

That’s all the talk about spice I can do for now. I hope this helps you guys build the base of your spice cabinet and we will obviously discuss more spice variety in the future! Thanks for reading :).

Is being a Flexitarian the New Trend?

I know the topic of eating less meat or converting to a vegan/plant based/vegetarian diet has become somewhat “trendy”. We speak about this topic to almost everyone from our family members, friends and strangers during social interactions. 

I want to focus on the term flexitarian and why the majority might like to adapt this kind of diet. I am not isolating the vegans and veggies or whatever other category is out there BUT, for some of us we want to incorporate some sort of meat intake in our diet on a balanced scale. 

Flexitarian is someone who eats meat occasionally. It’s for someone who doesn’t want to completely cut out meat from their diet but adding more plant food instead. For example, you can be veggie all week and when the weekend comes you allow to have fish, meat or chicken (which is what my husband and I have done). However, you can choose to have meat once a month, once every two weeks. It depends on what you are really trying to achieve. 

Before I get into the health benefits of eating meat occasionally, your diet should not be one where you continue to eat processed food with lots of added sugar and salt. The benefits wont be so great and if you are planning to lose weight being a flexi that won’t be beneficial either for you. 

We have all heard of the research that showed people who ate red meat are more likely to die from a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Why? Red meats (pork, lamb and beef) are high in saturated fat. Trans fats and saturated fats can increase your cholesterol and make heart disease worse. 

Having a diet where you eat meat (pork, beef, lamb) everyday that is processed, full of fat, with lots of carbs, high fat dairy food (cream, cheese, butter, margarine, lard), palm oil, processed snack foods (crackers, biscuits), fried food. Basically, everything that tastes good lol.

You are supposed to replace saturated fats with mono/poly unsaturated fats which is found in oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, trout and nuts (nut butter). Meatless meals consist of legumes, vegetables, wholegrains, and fruits, nuts. 

Mini Chemistry lesson (back2school): Looking at the chemical structure of saturated fat, it is fully hydrogenated. On every carbon atom there is a hydrogen atom. The molecule is very stable and hard to break up. In our bodies it is more likely to stick to cholesterol as it is difficult to break down because of its long chemical chain of single binding carbon (-C-C-C-C). Enzymes in our body are able to break down these chains in our bodies however, because of the chemical structure of saturated fats binding differently with our body they are harder to break down. 

The difference of unsaturated fatty acid is that there is one double bond (=) between two carbons (C=C) this reduces the amount of hydrogen atom bound to a carbon atom. So it is not as filled with hydrogen atoms as a saturated chain. They have kinks in the chain because of the double bond making it easier to break the molecules up for our bodies to digest. 

So over time, saturated fats clog our arteries which leads to a poor oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. If you think about it like this, there is limited room for oxygen to flow through our arteries hence the sleepy/lazy/can’t move-won’t move of the sofa/I need a fizzy drink type of feeling to burp this meal off. Eventually, this will lead to a stroke or heart attack. 

Back to being flexi: When you reduce your red meat intake to a few times a month, you are helping your body maintain weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure to name a few. 

Positive fact #1: Meatless meals are less expensive, offer a vast variety of health benefits.  

Buying leaner cuts of meat or eating more of oily fish will let your body flow with unsaturated fats which is easier to break down in your body. 

You are also helping the environment. YES, it’s true. The level of deforestation happening right now in the world to be replaced by farms. Not only that, but the amount of water used to water the crops for animals to eat is unbelievably high. I don’t know if you know this, but the earth is running out of water. FACT: 1,799 gallons of water for one cow, OnE cOw! The carbon footprint of the meat industry is the highest. So, reducing your meat intake will help save the world. LITERALLY! 

When it comes to choosing your meat; make sure it’s non-processed, organic from a local farm in your area (they raise animals more humanely, don’t use antibiotics or hormones). As long as its lean cut of meat there will be less saturated fat on the piece of meat. Also, you can give organ meats a try. I will be posting delicious recipes on liver, hooves, testicles, brain….the nutrient content is so high you won’t believe it! AND avoid high heat cooking. 

The benefits of eating meat are; 

  • Great intake of collagen (via bone broth)
  • Improve bone density and strength of our bones
  • Better iron absorption (meat contains heme-iron (20-30%) which our body absorbs better than non-heme iron from plants (5-15%))
  • Naturally rich in proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals (Vitamin B12, B6, Potassium, Zinc, Selenium, Phosphorus Magnesium and more)

What I want to achieve for my family and hopefully for you is a balanced way of living. That we can get the benefits from consuming the right meat every once in a while, and to have a diet that is rich in fibre, omega-3, unsaturated fats etc. The balance is key. For the environment, for our health, our way of living needs a few adjustments to align it back to the way our ancestors lived. Their meat consumption in back in the day was not this high. And they lived a healthy lifestyle with a low rate of people being diagnosed with cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. They consumed a lot of legumes and vegetables. When they ate meat it was for a special occasion only.

Let’s be balanced :).

Hello!

I’m Sara. I live in South West Wales, UK. With my little family (husband and my newborn daughter). I’ve created this space to share with you parts of my life and mostly what I cook up in the kitchen. Most of my recipes are made up on the spot. That’s my favourite way of cooking. I will write up a few recipes that have been passed down generation to generation in my family too! Cooking is just fun, and I have this habit of not tasting the food whilst I’m cooking. I will wait until it is served on the plate and we are ready to eat. I think I like to be surprised with whether it’s going to taste good or bad lol. Also, I like to see my husbands reaction which I then move onto asking him a million questions if I got it right.

Originally, I am Lebanese. However, I have lived in the UK for most of my life. My educational background is in Law. I finished my studies when I was 28, decided to have a baby instead of searching for a training contract to qualify as a solicitor. Now, all I want in this life is to have lots of babies and look after my family. I don’t think there’s a job out there that will fulfil me as much as being a housewife does.

I hope you enjoy my recipes and my Blog in general. I want to share more than just recipes with you about me becoming a mother and share more information that will hopefully help mamas/mamas-to-be about birth and pregnancy as well as general posts about life and health.