Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Walima Cooking Club

Walima .................Means Food Celebration
The Arabic word Walima (banquet) is derived from the root word Walam, which literally means to gather and assemble. The Arabs used it for a meal or feast where people were invited and gathered to eat and celebrate for days, either for new born babies, a traveller returning home or for weddings.

Later the term became exclusive for banquet celebration..

To all Food lovers ....... A New Middle Eastern Food Club is BORN.

If you love Arabic Food, and Middle Eastern Spices.

join us and be part of a creative spicy team.

You can send me an email :

A special thanks to Mr. H. Farroukh , who authorized us to use his dad's painting from the album still life. for our new Arabic Cooking Club Walima Logo.

The Painter Mustafa Farroukh A contemporary Lebanese artist born in Beirut in the year 1901. A graduate of the Royal College of Fine Arts in Rome on the year 1927. While in Rome participated in its largest exhibits. After receiving the Art Diploma from Italy he proceeded to Paris where he studied under famous French painters.

The outstanding Lebanese painter of his generation, Farroukh is noted for his clear colors and his Historic and National subjects. With a special care to study the spirit of Nature and the Character of people with the purpose of recreating the local context. He is in full control of his Art as a result of his deep understanding of the basic rules and strength of the painting profession.

In 1940 he Exhibited his paintings in the International Exhibition in New York and his name was registered in the Benezit International Dictionary of Art in the year 1950. He is the founder of a unique revolutionary school of Arts recognized by leaders of the Cultural world locally and abroad.
Mr Farroukh died after a severe sickness in 1957.

if you are interested to read more about our great painter or to purchase one of his painting

click on this web site: www.farroukh.org

Monday, March 30, 2009

The best fish and chips stand from your own kitchen

Best fish & chips meal

Yes you read right, the best fish and chips stand from your own kitchen
I was testing a dessert recipe which requires Citric Acid or Alum Powder to keep the batter crunchy when it’s fried and stays crunchy the next day as well.
Since I don’t like to use Citric Acid in my food I was working on several flavours to find the right combination which replace the citric acid and keep the crunchy taste. I didn’t try the Alum Powder test yet….will let you know!!!

I tried using lemon juice and/or orange juice, I was using around ½ cup of citrus juice to reach the right constancy one tbsp was not enough at all. The flavour of the citrus was very strong, and I was not satisfied with the texture after it was fried...

One day I decided to use my home made apple cider vinegar. its good and healthy not artificial, I was joking with myself saying I tried everything, why not the vinegar, since I use it for cleaning and shining glass, there must be another use for it… and it worked like magic, you don’t taste the vinegar flavour at all, I fried the batter without fruit just for testing, and it did not taste bad at all, remember there is no sure or salt in the batter
And it was not bad, I sprinkled some powder sugar and it was very good, I kept one till the second day, and it was still crunchy… I was very happy, and my fritters were great.
I created a good batter to be used as fruit dumpling and fritters, but wait a good batter, will this work with fish after adding salt and pepper?????????
I prepared the same recipe and used it as a fish batter, it was perfect, stayed crunchy and puffed, and it was the best ever batter to dip your fish, without using any beer.
Go ahead and try my recipe and let me know … keep the Corona in the fridge cold to drink it with the fish and chips and cheers to the best taste.

Fish Batter:

1 1/2 cups of flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
Dash of sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup of water
2 tsp vinegar – not the pickling type
This batter is enough to coat around 7-8 fillets
Use a firm salt water fish, either Cod, Halibut, or similar firm texture fish.
Mix the batter well to avoid any lumps

You need a rectangular bowl add the first 6 ingredients, using a whisk to beat the flour and the rest of the ingredients to avoid any lumps….
For potatoes chips fried: clean and slice your potatoes wash and dry with paper towels, warm the oil in a deep fryer of heavy duty cast iron pot, the oil has to reach 350 degree, add the potatoes in batches and fry them to barely started to color, take them out of the frying basket to a paper towel and continue frying the rest… when you finished cooking the batch… heat the oil to reach 425F and return the potatoes to the basket and fry till golden brown. Empty them on a baking tray and keep them in a warm oven till you finish frying the fish.

Dry the fish on paper towel before you dip in the batteryou can cut the fish in half , to fit better

Fry the fish in hot oil one at a time, to maintain the same temperature

For roasted potatoes: clean and chop the potatoes, dry with paper towels, then
Using a microwave safe glass bowl, cook the potatoes for 5 minutes on high.
Then take them out sprinkle salt and spices If using,, drizzle with couple spoons of canola oil and bake them on a baking tray covered with a parchment paper in a preheat oven at 425 F until golden brown.

During this time heat your oil either is a heavy duty cast iron pot or deep fryer, when the oil is ready and registered 380 – 400 degree add the vinegar and stir well, dip the fish fillet in the batter, and dip it back and forth in the hot oil to avoid splashing then release it to fry and when it starts to cook and turns brown on the sides flip to the other side and continue cooking.

Tartar Sauce

For the Tartar Sauce:
½ cup of mayo
3 large dill pickled cucumbers – finely chopped (preferably home made)
1 tbsp of capers chopped
1 tbsp of pickled juice or 1 tbsp of lemon juice
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the above ingredients and serve with it over the fish.