Monday, 21 July 2014

Muhallabiyya - a traditional Arabic dessert

Desserts based on rice, cornstarch, farina or semolina are very popular in the Middle East but are not necessarily intended as a conclusion to a meal but enjoyed when you feel in the mood for a snack.  They are fragrant with such flavorings such as cinnamon, aniseed, rose water or orange flower water and decorated with nuts and fruits.

Muhallabiyya is one such classic dessert, medieval in origin, which is both elegant and simple.  Its basically a milk pudding with rose water or orange flower water.




6 tablespoons of rice flour
4 cups milk
1/2 cup of sugar or more according to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons of rose water or orange flower water or half of each according to taste
crushed pistachio nuts or almonds

Heat the 3 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer
mix the rice flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk until smooth
add the dissolved rice flour to the heated milk and simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
add the flower water and let cool for a short while and put in bowls and refrigerate for a couple of hours and then decorate

There are many variations of this recipe, cornstarch can be used instead of rice flour and also 2 small mastic crystals crushed to a powder with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and added in the last few minutes of cooking




Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Summer chicken salad

The weather has been very kind to us so far this year and I have spend many a warm evening sitting in the garden with a chilled glass of white wine contemplating what we are going to eat.

I do drift towards salads but the ingredients have to be  simple and easy to prepare and cook, why waste all that good weather standing in the kitchen.  This dish can be either done on the bbq or in a griddle pan the choice is yours.

Marinade strips of lean chicken breast in lime juice, crushed garlic and a little olive oil, salt and pepper  for a couple of hours and roast over a hot gridle pan until brown and tender



Prepare a selection of mixed vegetables:

peppers
onions
asparagus
tomatoes
courgettes

Brush with oil and roast on a hot griddle pan turning frequently



add a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to the vegetables and some fresh herbs,  chopped mint and parsley.  I have all my herbs growing in the garden at this time of year and I am spoilt for choice





The colours are fantastic and its hard not to start eating.  To complete the dish add the cooked chicken


or serve without the chicken and add feta

Friday, 4 July 2014

Fish and more fish at Simply Fish

Yes its Brixham again and their fantastic fish.  If you love fish then there is nowhere better.  There is such a great variety its hard to know where to start.  We chose to look for the people who catch it and cook it, so we ended up at Simply Fish, and it was.

 With such a great menu its difficult to know where to start but I love scallops so that was easy







Monkfish tails with chorizo butter and samphire



Hake with mussels and cream sauce


Turbot with Pawns Thyme and mushroom sauce

 
a chilled  bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a great view of the habour


There are many more amazing choices on their menu but they will all have to wait until the next time we go

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Fish in Brixham

I love fish and one of the best places to buy and eat really fresh fish is Brixham.  All you need is some sun, local ale and a plate of the most amazing mussels that Brixham has to offer.

Cornish Pale Ale at the Old Market House on the Quay at Brixham








Mussels in white wine









and a great cup of coffee

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Parsnip and Apple soup

It does seem a little out of season for this soup as I have noticed on all the good recipe books that its more of an Autumn dish, but I'm all for spontaneity.  I was also looking for something a little more exotic for lunch on a rainy day



Your ingredients
4 parsnips
2 apples, (a bramley cooking apple will give the soup more of a tang)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
about 6 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 litres of good stock
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper


Put a couple of good tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and lightly saute the onions and garlic,
while doing this roast the spices in a pan until they change colour and grind in a pestle and mortar, not forgetting to take the pods off the cardamon seeds


Add the chopped parsnips and apple to the onions and fry for a further few minutes.  Add spices and stock and season.  Cook slowly for about an hour and liquidise.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. The soup is delicious, such an unusual flavour.




Monday, 9 December 2013

Arabic spiced rice

I just love this rice and I always do it at Christmas time and stuff the turkey with it.  Why I only do it at Christmas I don't know because its an any time of the year rice but it is special and my family love it.



4 cups of ground meat
2 cups of rice
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
oil for frying

Fry the meat until brown and add rice, seasoning and water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Roast the nuts in a pan and add to the rice and meat.  You can stuff the neck of a turkey with this or the cavity of a chicken or just eat on its own with some yogurt




Or with some of my garlic chicken

Friday, 6 December 2013

Roasted vegetable soup

My to do list grows longer as Chritmas gets ever closer.  A week in Barcelona is great, but now I'm back I must admit I am in planning mode.

The only down thing about going away is that when you get back usually the fridge is empty and you either have to rush out and buy food or you use anything that you left in the fridge that looks ok.

Soup is my one quick dish that I can use up the veg in, so I put them all together in a roasting pan.

Squash, onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, some olive oil and salt pepper and mixed herbs


Roast in a medium oven for about 1 hour or until the vegetables are cooked


Tip into a saucepan and add about 800 ml of stock and cook for a further 30 minutes.
The amount of stock depends on the amount of vegetables you use as you don't want it too thin, or too thick so adjust accordingly



Blend and adjust seasoning and serve.  I fried up some croutons to go with it, and "bobs your uncle" as my husband would say