Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Black Currant Scones

Here's an update on my black currant bush which I planted last year... you can see a post about it here when I first planted it.

This year I have a harvest of about 1/3 of a cup, maybe because I was a bit late and the birds ate most of them but at least I managed to pick some and so I made scones and incorporated these little black beauties into a portion of the dough recipe below.

This scone recipe yields a flakey delicious scone and I'm sure it'll be my favourite from now on. Try it and let me know what you think.

.... and of course I couldn't resist adding a few shots of some new neighbourhood cats that wander into my yard from time to time. They're too cute, new friends are always welcome! ^_^

Fruit Scones (recipe adapted from Rock Recipes)

In a food processor, combine:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Cut in:

¾ cup very cold butter, cubed

Pulse process until this mixture resembles a coarse meal. It is very important that pea sized pieces of butter remain in this mixture.

Mix together:

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Pour this over the surface of the dry mixture. Toss all together gently with a fork only enough to form a dough ball. When the flour is almost incorporated, add
1 1/2 cups desired fruit or berries.
Frozen berries work best because they are less delicate and easier to incorporate into the scone dough It is important that you work this dough as little as possible or the finished scones will be too dense and heavy. Roll to 1 inch thickness and cut out scones with biscuit cutter or in triangles with a sharp knife and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

If desired you can brush the tops of the scones with an egg wash of 1 egg beaten together with 1 tbsp water. You can sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar if desired but this is, of course, optional.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. This recipe makes 8 large scones or about 18 smaller scones as pictured above..

Monday, August 13, 2012

داوود باشا باللبن Dawud Pasha

Lamb meatballs

1 lb ground lamb

Salt and pepper for seasoning

1 clove garlic
1 small onion or 1/4 large onion

Dash of Worstershire sauce or lemon juice

1 tsp Mint (fresh or dried)

1/2 tsp arabic 7 spice (recipe here)

lemon zest (optional)

Oil for frying

Grind or chop the onion and garlic very fine, add to the rest of the ingredients and blend.

Make small meatballs the size of an egg yolk.

Fry the meatballs in some oil until they are browned, remove and set them aside.

Most arabic recipes ask to fry the meatball, simmer in tomato sauce and then bake, but I really don't like to cook the heck out of lamb, but in the middle east we are used to killing our food twice and everyone I know takes their meat well done.

You can adjust the doneness of the meat according to your taste but I found that simply browning them on all sides yields a perfect meatball that is still juicy in the middle.

Traditionally in the recipe Dawud Pasha the meatballs are served in a tomato sauce, sometimes it even contains some pieces of potato that were simmered in the sauce earlier but because I have a mild tomato allergy and have eaten enough tomato this week I opted for a yogurt sauce (below)

Yogurt sauce:

Blend yogurt and heat gently, do not let it split. Pour over the meatballs.

Butter sauce:

Heat about 1 tbsp butter and grate 1 small clove of garlic in it, allow it to become fragrant then remove from heat, sprinkle some paprika in the oil and pour over the yogurt.


Brown some pine nuts and sprinkle over along with chopped parsley.

Serve with white rice and salad, enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ginger Chicken Pizza

Ginger Grilled Chicken Pizza

This may sound a little unusual but if you love ginger as much as I do I'm pretty sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by this one.

Recently I tasted a pizza which my mother ordered from a new place and when she first raved about how good it was and how the owner has this special ginger sauce I thought it was a little odd but as soon as I tried it I was hooked!

Here I tried to make a homemade version.

There are no special toppings to go on this pizza, you can put whatever you want but the idea here is to put the ginger in the tomato sauce, and a lot of it!

I simply grated a big piece of ginger right into the homemade tomato sauce before spreading it on the pizza. If you like you can cook the ginger into the sauce as you simmer it, maybe even add a dash of dried ginger too.

For toppings I went with a chicken (seasoned whole deboned chicken thighs, grilled on the bbq and then slicing into pieces, leftovers work great for this!) Mushroom, green pepper and red onion. A small handful of mozarella cheese, it's always best not to pile on too many toppings because it won't cook that well and tends to get soggy.

First I roll out the homemade pizza dough and spread with the ginger tomato sauce, then add some mozarella and neatly arrange all the other toppings.
Bake on 400-450 F very briefly, keeping a close eye on it so it won't burn. I like to make my pizzas on a high temperature for a few moments but if you're worried then lower the temperature a bit.

If you are a fan of seafood I'd suggest some nice shrimp on the pizza with the ginger sauce, it would be quite tasty, I'm sure.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Bud's Potato Salad

You may be wondering who Bud is, well he is the father of the lady who was kind enough to post this recipe on allrecipes.

It's been a favourite of ours for years, I'm pretty sure I bookmarked it in my early teenage years when my mother began describing a "white potato salad" that she once had tasted somewhere and it was so tasty that it stuck with her all these years.

At the time I searched for a recipe according to what she had described and it included celery seeds from what she mentioned and we came upon this one.

It is a little unusual and must be made ahead because the potatoes are brined in this marinate but it's well worth it!

So let's begin. You can half this recipe, I used 7 medium potatoes and halved all the other ingredients. I also used red onion because not only was it the only thing I had on hand but it's so pretty :)


10 pounds potatoes (12-14 medium/large)
1 cup water
1 cup white wine vinegar (I used white vinegar)
1 cup white sugar
2 onions, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 cups mayonnaise


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Slice cooled potatoes and layer in a large bowl or dish.
In a saucepan combine water, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and pour over potatoes. Cover and chill for at least 12 hours.
Drain excess marinade and add onions, salt, pepper, celery seed and mayonnaise. Mix well and serve chilled.

Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Raisin Drink - عصير الزبيب

Here's a unique recipe for a raisin drink commonly made in Ramadan, I remember our relatives in Kurdistan showing my mother how to make this and they said it was very healthy to drink.

We use a specific raisin, it's almost black and looks almost dusty but it plumps up nicely once soaked and the process is very easy to prepare. I had a hard time finding these raisins in the west but came upon them at an Afghani store, you can try looking at middle eastern/arabic/persian stores and you may find it if you're interested in trying it.

It is not necessary to add any sugar to this drink, although some people do but I find it sweet enough and one can adjust more concentrated juice according to their taste or thin it out with some water.

I would suggest making a small amount because it does not keep or I'm afraid it would ferment so to prevent this I also boil some water in the kettle and sterilize all my equipment like blender, bowl, strainer, ladle and a container to keep it in the fridge.

Also you will need some water to add to the juice so I added boiled water to a pitcher and set it aside to cool down.

The night before I soaked the raisins after washing them well and pouring some boiling water over once and then rinsing well and soaking in clear water.

Pulse the raisins in the blender and add as much water as needed to easily blend them then put the mixture through a strainer.

Chill and serve!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mexican inspired

Roasted corn salad

- Roasted corn removed off the cob, leftovers that have been in the fridge are great and because it's cold easier to slice too.

** to make the corn I soak it in it's husks in a large pot of salted water and then grill it until it's steamed and the inside is slightly charred, then enjoy with butter or seasoning of your choice.

- Black beans (canned or fresh, I always use fresh beans which means soaking the night before and boiling/simmering until tender)

- Chopped tomato, red onion, jalapeno, chopped cilantro and extra for garnish.

- Chopped roasted red pepper (options, but I had some on hand)

- Lime juice
- Crushed garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt
- Dash of cumin

Flank steak tacos

1 flank steak rubbed with fresh garlic, season with salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Let it marinade and come to room temperature then oil the grill and the meat and grill on the bbq until both sides are very browned and charred/roasted. Remove and let rest then slice it very thin.

To prevent it from curling up on the grill slice across the grain with a sharp knife and get the seasoning/marinade in there.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Luqmat al Qadi - Arabic Yeast Donuts

Luqumat al Qadi (Judge's Morsels)

3 cups flour
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast

1 3/4 cups water

Oil for frying

Blend all really well until it's a sticky dough, use the whisk.
Cover with cling film and allow to rest 1 hour. After 15 minutes go back though to check on it and mix it a little. Allowing it to proof in a dark place works best. 


In a pot add the following and bring to a boil, then remove from heat and cool in a shallow dish.

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
lemon juice


Method: When ready for frying donuts make desired size of balls using 2 spoons (oiled) to drop in the oil.

Method 1: Remove once browned and allow to soak on a paper towel briefly then add to the syrup immediately to coat and absorb before removing to a final serving dish.

Many arab cooks are talented to be able to drop the luqumat dough into the oil by collecting some in their fists and letting a small amount drop down into the oil but unfortunately I can't do this.

 I developed an interesting method of putting it into a large plastic zip lock or piping back and then cutting a hole in the corner and then holding a scissors with the other hand and dipping the tip of the scissors into the hot oil. Once some pressure is applied to the piping bag the desired amount of dough comes down and with the hot scissors I clip the dough at the base of the bag and it falls into the oil. This method worked pretty well for me..

Method 2: Add the balls to the oil and cook until the inside is done but they are light in color. Remove and set on a plate and keep making the rest of the batches until the dough is complete. At the end wait for the oil to come back to frying temperature and add the balls in again, one batch at a time to get very dark and golden then transfer each batch to the syrup and submerge between 1-3 minutes. Drain and serve! This method works beautifully especially on the larger ones.

I hope you enjoy these sweets, they are very popular during ramadan!