Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wiri Wiri Hot Sauce

Wiri Wiri hot sauce

1 cup Wiri Wiri Pepper

1 large Onions

1 Garlic

1 piece Fresh Ginger

Wash and remove pepper stems, if you want to remove the insides (seed) you can. Wear gloves for this.
Place all the ingredients above in a food processor or blender. Add the honey and white vinegar to taste. 

1/4-1/2 cups Honey mustard (to taste) 

1 tbsp Vinegar (preservative)

Keep in a glass jar, stored in the fridge. 
Add to your favourite meat dishes or as a condiment.

Recipe Source 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kofta Saniya (Middle Eastern Meatball and Vegetable Casserole)

I had a couple of eggplants and different peppers leftover in the fridge that needed using up... here's a great recipe for that sort of thing!

This is a delicious Middle Eastern casserole with spiced meatballs, a variety of roasted peppers and eggplant in olive oil, all baked in a zesty tomato sauce. 

For the meatballs:

- 1 lb medium ground beef

- 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced/grated
- 1/4 red onion, minced or grated
- Salt and black pepper

Mix all of the above together and make gold ball sized meatballs .. now taper each side slightly by flattening it in your hand.  Set aside to marinade until the meat is room temp. 

For the vegetables:

- 1-2 eggplants 

- A variety of peppers - I used the long red and green ones like you see here 

- 1/4 cup olive oil (Goog EVOO from Olive That!) 

- 1 red onion, sliced in rings (set aside for later) 

Slice the eggplant lengthwise or into rounds, salt them lightly and set them flat on a plate for them to release some of their water. 

Clean the peppers out and cut them in thick ring sizes. 

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the peppers, cook on medium high until they're slightly blistered and wilted/caramelized. 

Add them to a casserole dish. 

Now add the eggplant and sautee on both sides until nice and golden. Set aside. 

(I do this part outdoors!) 

Fire up the grill!! 

Add the koftas to the grill and allow them to get nice and grilled (marks and all) They should be still raw inside, so I use a high temperature and simply brown the outsides. 

Leftover ingredients 

- 1/2 jar pessata (strained tomato) 

 -1 tbsp turkish aleppo red pepper flakes

-3 slices of lemon (washed rind) 

Add the onion rings over the peppers in the casserole dish, and nestle the meatballs (koftas) from the grill nicely over the vegetables. Sprinkle the turkish aleppo red pepper flakes over.  Top with pieces of eggplant. Finish with the strained tomato sauce, pouring it over top, shake the casserole so some of the sauce goes to the bottom and coats everything.  Add slices of lemon to the top (optional!)

Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and all it smells delicious! 

Enjoy with bread or white rice! 


Hope everyone's Ramadan is going well so far!  Today I made biryani and I simply LOVE this dish, it's actually amazing how good AND simple it is.  Really doesn't involve any effort at all (but tastes like you've slaved away making it)

- 1 whole chicken, 8 pieces, skin removed - cut legs off, divide drumstick/thigh. Cut each bone in breast in half. 
- Shaan spice pack, I use bombay beef biryani blend. Half a package is plenty!
-1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger, minced/grated
- 2 cloves garlic - minced/grated


-1 whole red onion, peeled and sliced

- 3 tbsp oil 

Add the chicken to a casserole dish, sprinkle with the spice blend and mix until all the chicken is coated.  Add lemon juice, grated ginger, grated garlic and salt to season.  Add the yogurt and mix well. 

Now heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, fry on medium heat until brown and crispy almost (don't let them burn!) 
Allow the onion/oil to cool a little bit and then drizzle over the yogurt/chicken. Set all of this in the fridge until the next day. 

Following day: 

Either the night before or the morning of soak a few golden saffron threads in warm water and set aside on the counter. 

4 hours before baking: 

- 2-3 cups golden/sila parboiled basmati rice (wash and soak for 3 hours at least) 

- Lots of salted water. 
-A few drops of oil

- A couple of cardamom pods and cloves (optional) 

-Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the oil and spices (except saffron!) as well as the strained rice, cook until al-dante (like pasta!) 

Strain the rice and wash with cool water and strain again, set aside. 

30 minutes prior to baking remove the chicken mix from the fridge and allow to come to room temp. Preheat the oven to 400 F

 I also halved tiny new potatoes and threw in a handful with the masala, once coated I layered in the pan with the chicken. 

Layer the chicken masala mixture into a larger casserole so it's evenly distributed on the bottom and chicken is in 1 layer. 

(Optional: Throw a handful of frozen peas on top, or cooked/canned lentils) 
I put in some frozen green chickpeas! 

Scoop the rice over top until it's just about to the top of the casserole rim. 

- Saffron (previously soaking) 

- Sprinkling turmeric
- Sprinkling cinnamon
- 2 tbsp oil/butter/ghee
- 2 tbsp warm milk

Heat the milk and oil in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Drizzle over top of the rice along with the saffron.  Add a few dashes of spice randomly to the top (the turmeric will color some of the rice grains which will make for a pretty biryani!)

Cover with foil and Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken and potatoes are cooked through! 

I like to remove half of the biryani and layer it into another casserole, so I scoop some rice and remove the delicious masala from the bottom and gently layer on top then I've got 2 casseroles where the rice and chicken mixture are layered nicely together and ready to serve!

Serve with yogurt/cucumber raita (simply dice cucumber finely, add yogurt, lemon juice, salt and black pepper and a bit of fresh mint or dry mint)

Enjoy !

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ramadan Iftar Time

Ramadan Mubarak Everyone!!

Here are just a few glimpses of what I've been up to these first two days of the fasting month.  These shots are of Iftar (breaking fast/dinner) prep in the kitchen.

I've attempted Baklawa on my own for the first time and am pretty pleased with the results!! (Recipe coming soon since we're planning on a bigger batch closer to Eid)

 With the leftover phyllo from the savoury burek pies I could only make a small batch of Baklawa.

... and speaking of my burek .. which I stuffed with .... of all things LAMBSQUARTERS!)  Yep, that's my foraged weed/goods from the other day, blanched in salted water and finely minced.  It was excellent but I liked it more thrown into minestrone like spinach.

Hope you're all having a blessed month of Ramadan!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuna Rice

Tuna Rice

In Iraq it is common to eat what we call "red rice" which is a tomato-y rice that brightens up and cuts the richness of seafood and fried fish main dishes.  Throw in a nice salad too and you've got the perfect meal!

Tuna rice is kind of a recipe I invented in my late teen years and upon my return from my trip to Yemen.  I think I was inspired by the amazing and flavourful canned tuna from Dubai and Yemen.  My family just fell in love with this dish and it's been a regular on our table for years!

- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced


- 2 of each (as you see in photo below) long red and green pepper. Not sure the name of the variety but these are popular in Turkish cuisine and we use them for stuffing. Some are hotter than others.

- 2 green chilies (optional)

- 1/4 lemon wedge

- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

- 4 tbsp GOOD olive oil (I used a Spanish variety from Olive That!)

- 1 can firm chunk tuna packed in oil, this brand is found in Middle Eastern/Persian grocers, I like it better.

- 1/2 cup tomato passata

- 2 tbsp tomato paste

- 2 cups basmati (sila or parboiled basmati is ideal) rinsed and soaked for 2 hours at least.

- 1 bunch cilantro (and more for serving/eating!)

- Salt & black pepper (or whole black pepper corns)

Boiling water from kettle

In a large pot add the olive oil and begin sauteeing the diced red onion, followed by the peppers on medium heat.

Add the garlic briefly then the tomato paste and puree. Sautee until it smells nice and all the raw tomato paste flavour is gone.

You may need to use a splash guard because tomato can splatter.  Turn the temperature down if needed.

Add the drained rice which has already been soaking for a couple of hours in advance. Add 1 tsp salt per cup of rice, so two teaspoons.

Gently toss until it's coated in the tomato/pepper mixture.   For 2 cups rice I add 3 cups boiling water.

Throw in the whole green chilies on top and lay the pieces of tuna from the can over top as well (gently so it doesn't break apart) I drained off most of the oil earlier but you can put it in, just decrease the initial bit of olive oil then.

The cilantro goes in as well as about 1/3 tsp black peppercorns (optional) or cracked black pepper. Throw in the lemon wedge too.

Cover and allow to cook on low heat for about 40 minutes.

Remove the rice from the pot and arrange on a platter. Serve warm! This is a perfect dish, one of my favourites!

A.Vogel Biosnacky Original Sprouter - Radish sprouts

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Olive That! Balsamic Vinegar!

I've been having a blast this summer using the Olive That! Extra Virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Over the weekend we made yummy french toast and drizzled with Olive That! Butter Olive oil and Maple Balsamic! Too good!!

I also put their 18 year old balsamic on my ice cream with fresh peaches.  Mmmm! Amazing!

This week