Most people have a weakness for chocolate, my weakness is a pound cake. Add cream to it and I’ll walk away! There’s something about the lightness and freshness about a pound cake that makes me want to just keep cutting slices from it and eating it all! Perfect with a side of jam as well and a cup of Turkish my new found love.
I found a super easy recipe to achieve the pound cake taste and texture without all the extra unnecessary ingredients. I tweaked it a little by adding Orange Blossom water to it. You can add anything you want. I’ll be trying cinnamon next time since that’s my second weakness!
1 large orange squeezed and zested
3 large eggs
2/3 cup Butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pre heat over to 180C, blend egg and sugar till it’s a pale yellow and little thick. Around 3 minutes.
Melt butter and add to mixture and then sift the flour and b.p. together. Then add to bowl along with juice and end off with a stir of orange zest and 1 tbsp orange blossom.
So the season has moved from autumn to spring (almost non existent) and now summer. Because Ramadan is earlier this year, summer has really taken on a great taste for Arabic inspired desserts rather than the usual fruity stuff. This is a recipe for a pistachio cake from no other than my mother in law! The recipe is so easy. I would also like to report that I have taken up drinking coffee for the first time in my life, and not just any coffee but Arabic Turkish Coffee. I don’t even know if I said that correctly? It’s the dark one, you get it. The influence was my father in law. So this post has “in law” written all over it!
This cake is perfect next to it! I reduced the sugar by more than half and threw in some dates. Guys, it’s so good. You know how everyone has their “thing”? Mine definitely isn’t cakes with cream and icing. Mine is just plain, pound like style cakes so that I can give to kids as a snack whenever I want. They enjoy it and I don’t feel bad.
Extra important note: Ryan enjoyed the cake which means he ate pistachios. For all he knows he sees it green so it’s a ninja turtle cake apparently. ✔️
1/2 cup of pistachios. I blended mine so well to make sure Ryan (remember the extreme picky eater) doesn’t notice. Otherwise you can just pound them with an old school garlic mortar and pestle.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp rose water
1 3/4 cups flour sifted
1/2 sugar (original recipe says 1 1/2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup Milk
Pinch of salt
Mix everything together and then add…
10 dates pitted and torn into four small chunks. You can add more and stir.
For those who don’t know what Achta is and why I’m completely obsessed over it…what you need to know is… making real Achta is a long and lengthy process of watching raw milk boil till it curdles on the top and then scraping the curdled part in baby steps till you have a small plate of pudding (yawn).
My job is to take complicated recipes and make them simpler. I know it’s not traditionally correct but this is the closest you’ll get and I love that there’s barely any sugar in it AND my son, “Mr Food Snob” really enjoys eating this as a pudding. I have finally been able to replace those sugar infused processed puddings with this homemade option full of dairy and calcium.
What the heck is Achta? It is a popular Arabic pastry Cream used for many desserts, knafeh, atayef or even on its own with honey, fruit and nuts sprinkled on top. My son preferred it with no honey. We ate it on its own this time and I made a small batch of dried apricots stuffed with atayef. So easy to prepare and a nice treat to offer guests! How beautiful do all the colors look!?
Here is the recipe: Do as you please with it!
Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 5 -8 min
Resting time: 2 hours
7 slices white bread crust removed
1/2 cup corn starch with 1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp orange blossom water
Cut crust off bread and chop into squares. Don’t be a perfectionist here
Mix corn starch and milk till it’s a smooth liquid
Mix with a whisk the milk, cream, corn starch mixture and sugar till all incorporated
Put pot on top of heat (medium to high) and add the pieces of bread
Keep stirring all the time till mixture gets thick and then use a whisk to smoothen the mixture out
Once the bread has dissolved and mixture has boiled (2-4 min) you can turn the fire off and add the orange blossom and rose water.
Pour into a glass Pyrex and cover with cling film. This part is important: let the cling film touch the Achta and cover the mixture completely because it will keep it from forming a hard layer on top.
Cool down and place in fridge
Achta is ready to eat after two hours and ready to be filled in your recipes if you give it a mix so it clumps up a little.
I accidentally bought one too many packs of puff pastry. Never a problem, if anything that’s a good kind of mistake. The famous picky eater child of mine loves bread but frowns upon puff pastry, however he is obsessed with cinnamon. He will eat it dry with a spoon. Total weirdo who I am in love with! So anyway, I did a super quick version of cinnamon rolls with a side of apple sauce for dipping into. A week has passed since I’ve made these and I’m craving some now just because of that apple sauce dip. Total winner and perfect to send to school as a snack for the kids. Good news is Ryan loved them, I realize I didn’t accomplish much in the nutritional aspect of it all but when a picky eater like him, finally accepts another food WHATEVER it is without a fight, that’s always a good step towards more food acceptance and letting his food barrier down creating more trust in trying new things. Next time, I’ll Mix a vegetable and purée it inside perhaps that’ll it work. Find something they love and experiment!
1 sheet of puff pastry, I like to use the jus roll brand. Don’t roll it out. It’s better to get the box that comes in a big rectangular sheet. When you defrost it, take it out and don’t roll it out or else it’ll make it hard to roll it later.
3 tbsp raw refine free brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all across the pastry sheet.
Roll it and slice into equal parts.
I’ve done this before and each roll ended up opening leaving me with snail looking rolls. I had an idea to place the pin wheels into a cup cake tin so that when they expand in the oven they stay confined in each individual cupcake tin. It worked really well!
Cook on medium heat till golden and remove!
For the Apple Sauce:
3 apples peeled and chopped up coarsely
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 tsp butter
Add to a pot and simmer till apples are soft. Blend and you’re done.
I really enjoyed working on this feature specifically because it stood out from the rest of the typical “Christmas Meal inspiration”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the festive and traditional Christmas turkey along with all its roasted sides but since we live in the UAE and the weather is actually spring like (no where near winter), the thought of being able to take it easy for once and work on a simple yet flavorful outdoor garden style Christmas celebration made me jump off my seat and turn on some Christmas tunes (not the Mariah Carey ones) and get prepping!
Here is my feature with some easy recipes that will leave you with enough time to really immerse yourself with the true meaning of Christmas and the holidays rather than being cooped up in your kitchen and getting ready 10 minute before your guests arrive (we’ve all been there right?!)
When deciding what to cook during the week, my first thought is “what would lily eat”. The other one is always sorted with his staples of course. So my train of thought starts with, “what does lily like”, “she ate that last week, how can I change it”, “how can I cook it so it’s easy for her to eat on the go” and “can I make the same batch for myself with less carbs”. She loves meat balls and so I decided to put them in puff pastry that was calling out my name in the freezer section of the super market. Did a fresh marinara sauce,topped the meat ball with mozzarella and wrapped it in a puff pastry square. The best part is when I decided last minute to brush the puff pastry with a melted oregano garlic butter sauce. So simple, so good! This is being filed under easy cooking fo shizzle.
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking: 25 min till golden brown
What you’ll need:
Meat balls from your trusted butcher. You can make your own if you insist but then this dish won’t have a Prep time of 10 min and under you see?
Puréed tomatoe with basil, oregano, and thyme, salt and pepper
Puff pastry roll
2 tbsp Butter and 1 crushed garlic for brushing in the end
Cook meat balls till brown on the outside then set aside. They will continue to cook further inside oven when wrapped in the pastry
Prepare marinara sauce with above ingredients
Roll out puff pastry and cut into squares as per photo.
Place meat ball on top of pastry square, top with two tsp of marinara sauce, add 1 tsp of cheese, and top with a fresh basil leaf.
Fold each corner upwards and give it a squeeze on top to hold it all in.
Brush with melted garlic butter and more oregano.
Pop in oven on medium heat till golden brown. Around 25 min and serve with left over marinara sauce for dipping!
I recently purchased the book “Deceptively Delicious” recommended to me by @amominlove (follow her on Instagram for inspiration on what to serve your kids in their lunch boxes everyday)! She makes it look like fun without too much effort. Love that!
Back to the book! It’s packed with recipes on how to hide healthy ingredients into your food for the kids. As amazing as the options are, my son will barely go for any of them because he’s a special type of extreme picky eater! What it has helped me with is my other kid and it has served as an inspiration to other things I could cook and smuggle into for my boy!
This recipe is adapted from Jessica Seinfeld: here it goes!
1 tbsp butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
3.5 cups brown rice cereal
1 cup sugar free granola cereal (mine included oats and pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1/2 cup organic dedicated coconut (optional)
Met butter in pan and add marshmallows. Mix around till puffed up. Do not over heat! Let mixture cool down for two minutes before adding rice cereal or else the cereal will become soggy.
Add rice and granola and coconut
Pour mixture into greased pan and flatten to the desired thickness you want. I like to use wax paper to pat down the treat.
Let cool down completely and cut into desired shapes.
What a success these turned out to be! Loved by all! The end
Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! I’m in love with Fall and all it’s dishes it has to offer! I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin donuts for a while now and I finally did it because 1) Something in my head was telling me to package pumpkin in a donut form so that my son would eat it. 2) Been waiting to find a simple and easy recipe!
I’ve cooked baked donuts before and they came out cake like – total bummer! I felt like I got ripped off. These on the other hand, came out thicker but still moist! I refused to glaze them despite the little Halloween devil on my right shoulder whispering “caramel frosting, brown sugar frosting, cinnamon – sugar frosting in my ear” I managed to block it out and keep them plain. This way, the kids are actually eating good stuff and I can send to school in their lunch box!
I used my electric donut maker that I have seen in several kitchen gadget sections of stores. However you could also use a donut baking tray. (The electric one takes 2 min per round and is much quicker)
Ingredients and Method:
In one bowl whisk the following:
2 cups all purpose flour minus 2 tbsp
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
In a second bowl mix with an electric blender the following till well blended and no more lumps:
3/4 cup unrefined brown sugar (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups brown and white sugar so add extra as you wish)
1/2 cup sunflower oil (or canola)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Empty dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix again till smooth.
Drop 1 tbsp full into donut pan or donut maker and cook.
So it’s Fall and the pumpkin flavors are upon us and the pie crusts are secretly joining forces with our hips! If I want to enjoy pumpkin pie season I’m gonna need to take it easy on the crusts and this pumpkin pie is not only ridiculously easy but it’s also more healthy! The kids loved it so much too! Shocker.
The pan I cooked it in was quite wide in diameter so the filling came out to be low so I cut them up in bars to be sent to school individually. Next time, I’ll do it in a smaller pan for more thickness! Apart from that this was so good!
Prep: 10 min
1 cup canned (or fresh) pumpkin purée. If using fresh please make sure to strain out all the liquid from the puréed pumpkin!
1/2 cup pancake mix ( I used the bob mill 7 whole grain one). This is what will help create a thin layer as the pie bakes.
1/2 cup refined free brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 180 C and grease a 23cm pan with butter. I used a bigger pan and cut the pie into bars later.
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients with a whisk. And pour filling into pan.
Bake for 35-40 min until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I topped each bar with a pecan and less than half a tsp of a failed butter cream I’ve been trying to make for my daughter’s upcoming birthday.
These amazingly delicious croquettes were intended for my daughter but after I tried one, I realized my subconscious must have led itself to make them for me! I completely winged this recipe as I do with many of my meals but there’s no way you can mess this up because if I can do it then then you’ll be just fine.
It’s all about the ingredients and the combining agent – the egg. So please don’t feel discouraged. This also isn’t your typical arancini balls that are usually loaded with cheese. These are actually quite healthy and could be baked instead of seared like I did just because I was in a hurry.
I made these because I thought more people were coming over one day so I made two cups of rice when I should have only made one especially in my house hold where carbs are being murdered. I also had some freshly cooked shrimp!. Now that you know where the inspiration came from, let me try to tell you how I made them.
Preparation Time: 6 min
Cooking Time: 7 min
Yields: 15 small balls
Ingredients: Rather than give you exact measurements i’m going to give you estimates (remember how I said I winged these right?) You can add less or more of something else but keep it somewhat constant. Did that make any sense?
1 – 2 Cups Cooked Shrimp
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 small carrot chopped
Fresh or Powdered Ginger
Fresh or Powdered Garlic
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp parsley
Batter: Tempura Crumbs + Flax Meal
Blend all the ingredients together while adding 3 to 5 tablespoons of milk
Empty blended ingredients into a bowl and crack an egg and whisk
If mixture is too wet and not easily manageable, add 1 tbsp of flour
Otherwise, shape into balls and then coat with mixed batter of tempura and flax meal. The balls will be gooey and its ok!
Refrigerate till balls are firm again for 10 min
Heat up some oil of choice in pan and gently sear them on medium to low heat till crispy.
Place on paper towel and serve with some veggies on the side or a sweet and sour sauce.