Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lady’s Wrist and Mortadella

Lady’s wrist or Lebanese Mortadella is a savoury dish prepared either with beef, lamb or a combination of the two or from chicken… in This recipe we are using beef.

For the Meat:
700 gm of roast beef
½ head of garlic (if you like garlic you can add more)
2 green peppers cleaned and sliced
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp of sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup of bread crumbs

Clean the beef from fat and cut into cubes. In a food processor add cubed meat, garlic and green bell pepper and grind finally until the meat gather on one side of the blade, you might do that in several batches… add the egg and bread crumbs , salt and pepper mix well in a bowl to combine.

For the Stuffing:

½ head of garlic sliced
1 cup of roasted pistachio
Or 1 cup of green olives
For the boiling water:

Couple bay leaves
1 tbsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of white vinegar

Divide the meat into three equal parts, on a cutting board laid with a large piece of plastic wrap, take one part of the meat and spread it in the centre of the plastic wrap in a rectangular shape 1 cm thick. Add sliced garlic and pistachios or green olives over the meat and take one side of the wrap and roll the meat over the stuffing using the plastic wrap to roll. Close tightly with the wrap bringing both ends to the centre, and then rewrap it in another plastic and twist the ends and tie each end with a cooking twine...

In a big enough pot, filled with water, add bay leaves, salt and vinegar. Cover the pot to boil. Add the meat wraps to the boiling water, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Take the meat out to a plate and let it rest and cool.

If you want to use this meat as an appetizer platter you can slice, and serve it over a bed of lettuce, or you can fry it with couple spoons of butter before slicing it to give a nicer brown color. Perfect as a cold meat sandwich.

To serve as a meal… over low heat in the same pan which you fried the rolls, add another spoon of butter and same amount of flour and make a rough, add beef stock and cook on low stirring to thicken the sauce, add ¼ cup of red wine or 2 tsp of red wine vinegar to the stock add the meat and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Note: My late aunt used to stuff the meat with boiled eggs .
My preference is the garlic and pistachios.


Friday, March 5, 2010

How to prepare Clarified Butter

Clarified Butter is commonly used in Middle Eastern and North African Cuisines and they call it Samen Baladi. Its widely used in Indian Cuisines where it is called Ghee. The French call it Buerre Noisette.

Clarified Butter has a higher smoking point, tastier with nutty flavour, last longer and its lactose free.

Clarifying butter is as simple as melting butter and letting the milk solids settle or rise out of the fat. Care should be taken not to burn the butter while heating it, so use a heavy pan that doesn't have any hotspots. When using salted butter, it is difficult to guess how much salt will remain in the clarified butter. A lot of the salt can be found in the milk solids as it settles or foams up, but the exact amount will be different every time. Use unsalted butter to remove any uncertainty (you can add salt to the clarified butter later to achieve the desired saltiness).

To make approximately 1/2 cup of clarified butter, melt one cup (225 g) of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a good saucepan, you can just leave it there over low heat while doing something else and the butter will slowly melt. Turning up the heat will melt the butter faster, but the milk solids may begin to burn, so, resist the temptation. Instead, you can cut up the butter into pieces to speed up melting. Also, if you don't have a small saucepan, it may be best to use more butter. Too little butter in a large diameter pan will make it difficult to separate the solids from the fat later.

When the butter has completely melted, continue to heat it over low heat. Some milk solids will drop to the bottom of the pan while others will rise as foam. As the milk solids rise to the top, they can be skimmed off. (Or, it can be removed when the butter cools.)

At this point you can remove the butter from the heat and skim off all the foam. Let the butter cool a bit to let more of the solids settle and then pour or spoon out the clarified fat, leaving the remaining milk solids in the pan.

Alternatively, pour the hot melted butter through cheesecloth to filter out the foam and solids that have settled, catching the clarified butter in a jar.

Or, pour the hot butter into a container, allow it to separate while cooling and then refrigerate. After it has solidified, you can easily scrape off the hardened foam from the stiff clarified butter layer.

Although pure clarified butter does not need to be refrigeration, I recommend you store your clarified butter in the refrigerator (at least for the first time when you make the Semen, as some milk solids may still be present and may cause the butter to go rancid). Use the clarified butter as you would use regular butter (tablespoon for tablespoon) in recipes.

Semen or clarified butter has no more lactose, so lactose-sensitive individuals should be able to enjoy clarified butter without the uncomfortable effects those of us who are lactose intolerant are well aware of.

أفضل الطرق لعمل المسلي (السمن البلدي)

يُستخلص السمن من الزبد عن طريق التبخير، وكما نعلم فإن الزبد يُصنع من الحليب كامل الدسم، وبالتالي يتأثر المذاق والنوعية بنوع الحليب المُستخدم. يُسيح الزبد في إناء سميك على نار هادئة، ثم تُرفع الحرارة إلى متوسطة حتى تبدأ في الغليان ثم تخفض مرة أخرى. مع تقليب الزبد السائح تقليباً مستمرا ً حتى يتبخر منه جزء كبير من الماء ثم يُترك على النار بدون تقليب ليتراكم الحليب الصلب بقاع الإناء، وبسبب ملامسته للقاع فسيتحول لونه إلى البني ويترك الزبد الذي تحول إلى مسلي حتى يصبح لونه اصفر كهرماني شفافاً، يُرفع من على النار ويُترك جانباً حتى يبرد قليلاً ثم يُصفى ( وعند تصفيته يُراعى عدم خلط المترسب في القاع مع المسلي )، يُعبأ في برطمانات نظيفة مجففة ويغلق جيداً.

عند استخدام السمن على نار مرتفعة نلاحظ تحملها للحرارة على عكس الزبد، والسبب في ذلك هو كمية الحليب السائل الذي تبخر أثناء عملية التحول من زبد إلى سمن، فإذا كان الغرض استخدام النكهة فقليل من السمن يكفي لإعطاء النكهة المطلوبة، وإن لم يكن لدينا السمن فيمكن استخدام قليل من الزيت ( زيت خضار بدون نكهة قوية) مع الزبد وذلك يساعد على تحمل الزبد للحرارة. وكما يتم في حالة الزيت من إضافة نكهات مختلفة من أعشاب عطرية وبهارات وتوابل عن طريق تسخين الزيت ووضع الأعشاب أو البهار به فيمكن اتباع نفس الخطوات مع السمن.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Walima February Challenge - Representing the Saudi Cuisine

Saudi Arabia, the third-largest country in Asia, constitutes about four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula. The other countries that share the peninsula—Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait—are all much smaller in area. A narrow plain runs along the Red Sea coast. The Hijaz Mountains (Al Hijaz) rise sharply from the sea. At least one-third of the total area is sandy desert. There are no lakes, and except for artesian wells (wells where water flows to the surface naturally) in the eastern oases, there are no rivers or streams where water flows.


The people of Saudi Arabia are descended from tribes of nomadic sheep and goat herders and maintain many of the traditions of their past. Traditional foods like dates, fatir (flat bread), arikah (bread from the southwestern part of the country), and hawayij (a spice blend) are still eaten by Saudis today, although most Saudis have settled in towns and cities and no longer follow the nomadic lifestyle. Saudi Arabia is also home to Mecca, the origin and spiritual center of Islam. The culture, as well as the laws of Saudi Arabia, is founded on Islamic principles, including the dietary restrictions against eating pork or drinking alcohol. In the 1930s, oil was discovered on the Arabian Peninsula. Income from oil has allowed Saudi Arabia to become modernized and to begin to develop stronger industries in other areas such as agriculture. Saudi Arabia now produces all of its own dairy products and most of its own vegetables. Many foreign workers are needed to maintain the new industries, and foreign foods as well as fast food chains are now available in Saudi Arabia. However, it is mostly the foreigners who eat those foods; most Saudis prefer traditional fare.


The people of Saudi Arabia are very traditional and eat the same foods they have eaten for centuries. The average meal of the Bedouin nomads who remain in Saudi Arabia is much simpler than that of the urban Saudis who make up the majority of Saudi Arabia's population today. However, the basic ingredients are the same: fava beans, wheat, rice, yogurt, dates, and chicken are staple foods for all Saudis. Saudi Arabia has over 18 million date palms that produce 600 million pounds of dates each year.

Saudis rank as the highest consumers of broiler chickens in the world, eating an average of 88.2 pounds of chicken per person per year. Saudis are strict Muslims and, following Islamic law, do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Lamb is traditionally served to honored guests and at holiday feasts. According to Islamic law, animals must be butchered in a particular way and blessed before they can be eaten, so Saudi Arabia is the world's largest importer of live sheep.

Camel (or sheep or goat) milk has long been the staple of the Bedouin diet, and dairy products are still favorites with all Saudis. Yogurt is eaten alone, used in sauces, and made into a drink called a lassi. Flat breads— fatir, a flat bread cooked on a curved metal pan over a fire, and kimaje, similar to pita—are the other mainstay of the nomadic diet that are eaten by all Saudis. These breads are used at every meal, in place of a fork or spoon, to scoop up other foods.

The Walima February Walima Challenge is brought to us by Noor from so join us to cook an Authentic new meal

Al Harrisah

For the Saudi Arabia sweet we will be making the popular sweet harrisah. This sweet is perfect served with Arabic coffee or tea.

2 cups flour
3 cups dates, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom

1.In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil. Add flour, stirring until lightly brown. Remove from heat, add dates and cardamom, blend together.

2. Place into a servings platter and serve. Alternatively you can make into small ball


Before their was kabsa and other dishes in Saudi Arabia their was 'Al Matazeez'. Al Matazeez is a very old recipes that has meat, vegetables and homemade pasta in broth. This is very good served with fresh bread. Have fun and I can not wait to see how yours turns out. Enjoy your savory recipes from Saudi Arabia this month.

If your in an area where you can not find pumpkin some alternatives would be butternut squash or instead of 2 carrots add 5 carrots. Carrots and pumpkin have almost the same flavor when baked. Do not add can pumpkin. Also, you can use white flour instead of wheat but wheat is the traditional way.

500 grams lamb or beef meat pieces
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped finely
4 green chili's
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 dried lemons, cracked
2 bouillon beef cubes
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 small zucchinis, tops removed
1-1/2 cups pumpkin, cubed
1/2 cup green beans
2 carrots, sliced

2 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2-3/4 cup water

1.In a 4-quart pan add 1 tablespoon oil and onions, cook until tender. Add meat, salt, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin. Cook until meat is browned on all sides. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Add chilis, dried lemons, and enough water to cover top by 4-5 inches. Bring to a full boil, add bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Adding more water if needed.

2.In a large bowl add flour, salt and 1 teaspoon oil. Add water small amounts at time enough to make a workable dough. Add 1 teaspoon oil into hands and cover outside of dough ball. Place in bowl, cover with towel and allow to sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.

3.Roll dough thinly and cut into small circles using a glass or into small squares using a pastry flute. Dough should be like pasta.

4.Add carrots and carefully start dropping dough pieces one at a time, making sure to them into meat mixture. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin and green beans. Cover and allow to simmer an additional 20 minutes, making sure vegetables are thoroughly cooked

Note: I added mushroom and green peppers as well, and instead of the homemade pasta, I made Burghul Pilaf. I am eating Lent food, and eat meat only on Sundays, the burghul served as a side dish and my dinner.

I recommend this meal... It's very similar to a Lebanese Dish called Mnazaleh or Masbahat Al Darwich, its a combination of vegetable and meat stew ratatouille

Sunday, February 28, 2010

TIH-RUH-MEE-SOO - The Daring Bakers Challenge

Tiramisu - Heaven in your mouth..
Also known as "Tuscan Trifle," the dessert was initially created in Siena, in the northwestern Italian province of Tuscany. The occasion was a visit by Grand Duke Cosimo de'Medici III, in whose honor the concoction was dubbed zuppa del duca (the "duke's soup"). The erstwhile duke brought the dessert back with him to Florence. In the 19th Century, zuppa del duca became popular among the English intellectuals and artists who lived there Consequently, it is also known as zuppa Inglese. They took the dessert to England, where its popularity grew. Zuppa del duca eventually made its way to Treviso, just northwest of Venice, in the northeastern province of Veneto.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


We have chosen Baltimore pastry chef Carminantonio Iannaccone’s version of tiramisu for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, his recipe is different from most other tiramisu recipes as he makes a zabaglione, an egg custard which is flavored with Marsala wine (you may use coffee instead). Even more important is that his zabaglione is cooked so there is no risk from using raw eggs.

He also makes a vanilla flavored pastry cream which we haven't seen in other tiramisu recipes.

While both of us do eat eggs, we do have a preference for desserts where the smell and taste do not come through. We found that the coffee in the recipe masked the eggs in adequately.

Just in case you would prefer to make an eggless tiramisu, we are including recipes in the Alternate Bakers section to make eggless ladyfinger biscuits and an eggless and alcohol-free tiramisu.

Note: There are also some links to other alternative recipes at the end of this post. Deeba has also provided step-by-step pictures where possible.

The recipes for this challenge are presented in the following order:

A. Tiramisu (includes zabaglione & vanilla pastry cream)
B. Mascarpone Cheese
C. Ladyfinger/ Savoiardi Biscuits


(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

Usually my Tiramisu Recipe is lighter than this version. I buy the Italian Lady Fingers, it was on my to do list to try the home made version... Thanks very much Deeba and Aprana for giving me the chance to do prepare everything from scratch. Thanks for choosing a delicious dessert recipe.. The flavours are divine...

For the coffee mix I added around 1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur to balance the coffee flavour.

P.S.: I lent my smaller springform pan to a friend, and end up using a square 9 x 9 springform pan. the cake came thinner than intended, only got two layers out of the lady fingers. A smaller pan will be better. Do try the cake its awesome in every bite... use an 8 inch pan or even a rectangular bread pan will do if you line the cake with plastic wrap to make it easy to lift the cake after.