Sunday, December 25, 2016

Apple, Carrot and Cucumber Smoothie

I have taken to taking at least meal a day composed of healthy food. Maybe someday I will be convert and let go of all the unhealthy food I take *fingers crossed*. Some day. My life goals have changed now that I am working from home for the time being.

Apples, carrots and cucumbers are abundant in winters. This smoothie is a rough equivalent of a bowl of salad. Since it isn't pressed through a juicer, none of the nutrients are wasted. When fruits and vegetables are pressed through a juicer, the fiber is removed and only juice is extracted. In this smoothie, fiber and juice , both are kept intact.

This is a savory smoothie, and can serve as a smoothie as well. If you want a more liquid smoothie, add more water or orange juice. If I serve it as a smoothie bowl, I will add some chickpeas after making the smoothie, and some carrot for the crunch. Almonds and peanuts can work for the crunch factor as well.

If you are looking for a sweeter version, swap the salt and red pepper flakes with honey or a sweetner of your choice. Just remember to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before making the smoothie.



1 apple (unpeeled), core removed and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cucumber (unpeeled) , chopped
Juice of 1 orange, more if desired
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
Salt, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Decorate with cucumber, carrot and apple alternatingly pierced onto a skewer. Happy sipping!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lamb Sausage Katmer with Labneh

I have recently fallen in love with a new cookbook Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe. It is all about Middle Eastern food, and I am a huge fan. If I had to pick one cuisine, I would pick Middle Eastern cuisine any day. It is light, it isn't too spicy and it is refreshing. 

So this book has a lot of recipes that I can actually try. The recipes are easy and are pretty clear on what has to be done at what time. The ingredients are simple (another reason I love Middle Eastern food). I have plans to try most of them , now that I have left my job in favor of M.Phil.

I adapted the Lamb Sausage Katmer with Pistachio Yogurt recipe. This recipe is basically a breakfast item. It is a savory flatbread filled with lamb mince meat. Did you know very few cuisines highlight lamb meat? Most of them use beef or poultry. Middle Eastern food showcases lamb meat. The dough for this recipe is called Yufka dough.

My version is an adaptation of the recipe, so there are some differences from the original version. I used red chili flakes instead of the Maras Pepper. I also used Red chilli powder instead of the red chilli paste. I also didn;t make the pistachio yogurt, because pistachios are way too expensive for an experiment and the original recipe required 3/4 cup of pistachios. 
I made my own version of labneh.


Yufka dough  
3 1/3 cup flour, plus more if required 
2 1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cup water 
1/2 cup whole milk 
egg, lightly beaten 1
/4 cup vegetable oil, flavorless one 
2 tbsp vinegar 
Oil or Ghee, for cooking 

Lamb Filling 
450 gm ground lamb meat 
1 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp dried mint 
1 tsp dried oregano 
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
Red chili powder, to taste 
Salt, to taste 1 egg white 
2 tbsp chopped onion 

500 gm yogurt 
Juice of 1 small lemon 
10 - 15 pistachios 
A handful of fresh coriander leaves 
Salt, to taste 
Black pepper, to taste 
Olive oil, to drizzle 


Yufka Dough 

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the water, milk, egg, vinegar and 1/4 cup oil. Beat to combine. Make a well in the dough. Pour the egg mixture in the well. Start to mix the egg mixture in flour. When all flour in incorporated, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

If it is sticky, add flour in small quantities until it isn't too sticky. If it is slightly sticky , it is fine, because it will adjust when left for a couple of hours. divide dough into 12 portions, Cover with a tea towel, Parchment paper or plastic wrap and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours , preferably overnight. 

Lamb Filling

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with hand until thorughly incorporated and smooth. Set aside. Mark twelve portions before using the meat filling. 


Whisk yogurt to make it smooth. Take a wet cheesecloth, lay it down on a strainer place over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cheese cloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie to make a packet of yogurt. Leave the yogurt to strain for 4 - 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Remove yogurt form the cheesecloth and place in a food processor or a bowl. Add the coriander leaves, pistachios, salt and pepper. Process or use a hand blender to mix the ingredients until smooth. Pour out the yogurt into a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the yogurt. Refrigerate until use. 


Roll out a dough ball into a 6 - 7 inch disc on a lightly floured surface. Take two pieces of plastic wrap (I used a polythene bag), Take a meat portion and make a small disc. Place the disc between the plastic wrap layers. Roll out the meat into a circle slightly smaller than the dough disc. Place the flattened meatball on the dough disc. Make a hole in the center and roll the dough outwards (as shown in the image below). Cut the dough on one side, making a long rope. Make a coil of the rope, tucking the ends inside. Make all katmers similarly. At this point you can freeze the katmer until use. 

Take one katmer and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the katmer out, with a light hand, into a circle of 5 inch. Take care not to tear the dough anywhere. Brush both sides lightly with oil or ghee. Heat a pan and place the katmer on the pan. cook on medium low heat until cooked on both sides, at least 4 minutes per side. Remove the katmer from pan and cover with a tea towel to keep warm. Cook all katmers similarly.  

Serve katmers with labne for breakfast or lunch. Happy Cooking !!!

Making the katmers

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I have been away from my blog for long; long enough that I couldn't remember what the new post page looks like :$. But hey, I am back with a bang (read dessert). I find it hard to make Italian recipes because of their use of various kinds of cheese.


Most of them aren't easily available in my country. The ones that are available are usually pretty expensive. I could not some varieties of cheese as they are made using animal rennet, which in most cases is not permissible for Muslims.


Therefore, I was pretty happy when I found that I could replicate mascarpone cheese at home. It meant I could finally make tiramisu, which has always attracted me for its contrasting colors and use of coffee. And that is what I made.


My tiramisu is made with heavy cream and mascarpone cheese. There are may variants of tiramisu available using cream cheese, some form of custard, other varieties of cheese etc. I choose an easy one, which was easy to assemble and the ingredients are available too.




400 gms heavy cream
1 1/2 lemon
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornflour
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence ( I use powdered vanilla)
200 gm whipping cream
Icing Sugar, to taste
1 1/2 cup water
3 tbsp instant coffee (less if you don't want it strong)
50 gm chocolate , shredded, for garnish , optional
Cocoa powder, for garnish, optional


Mascarpone cheese 

Heat heavy cream on very low flame until it reaches 180F (light bubbles will form). Do not bring cream to a boil. Squeeze the lemon in the cream and stir. It will begin to thicken. Cook on low flame, maintaining the temperature at 180F. Remove from heat after 5 minutes.

Let cool, then pour into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Cover. Let rest overnight in refrigerator. Put in a bowl next morning. Mascarpone cheese is ready. It will not loose a lot of whey, only a couple of teaspoons.

Sponge cake
Preheat oven at 180C/ 350F. In a clean bowl beat eggs until light and creamy. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat eggs until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla essence. Mix flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt. Sift three times then fold in the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and loosen the sides. Cool for 25 - 30 minutes  ,then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Set aside.

Assembling Tiramisu

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add icing sugar and beat. Keep adding sugar until desired sweetness level is reached. In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese. Add some whipped cream to lighten the mascarpone cheese, then whish all the cheese mixture in the whipping cream. Taste and adjust the sugar.

Dissolve instant coffee in water and set aside.

Take the sponge cake and cut 1 - 1.5 cm thick slices. Layer the cake in a dish, preferably glass so that you can see the layers. Pour coffee by tablespoon. Soak the cake with the coffee. Layer the cream mixture. Make a 1 cm thick layer. Sprinkle some chocolate. Make similar layers again. Sprinkle some cocoa powder for garnish.

Refrigerate tiramisu until serving. Serve within one day as the cake can become too soggy and become a mush. Happy baking !!!

P.S. Tiramisu can be assembled in individual glasses for individual serving.