Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sablés (Short crust biscuits with Jam)

Ingredients: makes 25 pieces

125g cold butter cubed
125g icing sugar
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 – 2 tbsp cold water
1 jar strawberry jam
Icing sugar

1.   Put flour, sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and baking powder in food processor and blitz it until mixture texture is similar to sand. Rub all ingredients using both hands to get similar results.
2.   Add the egg and 1 tbsp of cold water and blitz again few times. Don’t over do it though.
3.   At this stage, the dough should starting blending as a ball at the sides of the mixing bowl. If you touch it, it should have a soft but crumbly consistency
4.   Take dough out of food processor, dust some flour over it and rest for 15 to 30mn. Roll to 3 mm thickness and cut out circles like on the picture.
5.   Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 7 to 10mn
6.   Leave to cool down then dust the hollow circles with icing sugar.
7.   Sandwich the two circles with some strawberry Jam or any other jam of your choice

Mchouek مشوك (Almond spiky macaroons)

Ingredients: makes 40 pieces
3 cups ground almonds
1 cup caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Vanilla essence
3 eggs separated
1 extra whole egg
1- 2 cups almond flakes


1.      In deep bowl, mix the almond powder, sugar, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla.
2.      Slowly add the egg whites and mix using your hands. You should a get a firm but wet and sticky mixture.
3.      Take pieces of a size of a walnut and roll into balls
4.      Add the whole egg to the egg yolks and beat in a small ball. Dip few ball at a time in the egg mixture.
5.      Roll into the almond flakes.
6.      Put into baking cases. Top up with half glace cherry and bake in a preheated oven (180°C) for 10 to 15mn.

Maamool معمول (Semolina cookies filled with dates)

Ingredients: makes 35 pieces
3 cups fine semolina
2 cups plain flour
1 cup melted butter
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup icing sugar (dough)
½ cup icing sugar (dusting)
½ cup milk or less
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp baking powder
250g pitted dates


1.      Melt the butter, leave it to cool down. Mix the semolina, flour, oil butter, sugar, salt, baking powder until all ingredients are well blended.
2.      Add milk and knead gently. You should get a soft and crumbly consistency. Leave to rest for ½ hour.
3.      Meanwhile try to make the pitted date into a soft paste. You could use the microwave to warm it (2mn). Then knead it into a soft bowl. You could also use a mini chopper to reach the same result. Add 1 tbsp of cinnamon for a nice flavour.
4.      Stuff walnut size dough balls with smaller dates’ balls. I used a special Maamool mould to give it a nice design. You can also flatten the
Stuffed balls and use a fork or a knife to give a nice design.
5.      Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 10 to 20mn until lightly golden.

Light biscuits with chocolate topping

Ingredients: makes 35 pieces
125g cold butter cubed
½ cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups corn flour
½ - 1 cup plain flour
Cooking chocolate


1.   Using hands, mix butter, sugar, salt, egg, vanilla and baking powder in a deep bowl until mixture is smooth.
2.   Add the corn flour and mix; add the flour until you have nice soft dough.
3.   Take walnut size ball, roll them and put them on a baking tray. Using the back of a fork flatten the ball to give a nice design.
Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 10 to 20mn until lightly golden.
4.   Leave biscuits to cool down. Dip half of every biscuit in melted cooking chocolate and lay on a tray covered with aluminium foil and leave to set preferably in a cold area

Garn Ghazal قرن غزال (Almond crescents)

Ingredients: makes 35 pieces

3 cups plain white flour
1 cup melted butter
½ cup icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Some orange blossom water

3 cups almond powder
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
½ cup orange blossom water
More icing sugar for topping

1.   Mix flour, sugar, butter, salt and baking powder then add orange blossom water to obtain soft but firm dough. Knead until smooth and leave to rest for 15mn
2.   Take walnut size dough balls and roll as in the picture. Take roughly 1 tsp of the filling and spread as a snake in the middle of the oval shape dough.
3.   Slowly fold the dough over the filling in your direction. You might roll as you go along.
4.   Pinch the edge of the snake where the dough ends to avoid the filling from escaping.
5.   Turn it until the smooth side is facing up and shape it as a crescent. Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 10 to 20mn until lightly golden.
6.   As soon as they are cooked dust with icing sugar and leave to cool down before removing them from the baking tray.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mushroom cookies


125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 icing sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cornflour
1 cup plain flour, all purpose
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder


  1. Cream the sugar with butter using a small egg whisker, then add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk. Add the cornflour, and then mix with your hand. Gradually add the flour and baking powder, knead. You will have very soft dough.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes, and then make chestnut sized balls with your hands. Put parchment paper on an oven tray and arrange them on it.

  1. Place cocoa in a small bowl and pour 1 tbsp water in another small bowl. Wash and dry a glass soda bottle. Soak the rim of the bottle into the water, and then dust it with cocoa. Press the rim of the bottle lightly on the dough . Finish them all. Wipe the rim of the bottle with tissue paper every 3-4 times.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Arrange them on the wire rack so they cool down.

Usulü Piyaz: Turkish beans salad


•1 Can White Kidney Beans
•1 Small Onion
•50 ml Olive Oil
•Lemon Juice of half a lemon
•1/2 tbsp Salt
•Half Bunch of Curly Parsley
•1 tsp Black Pepper
•1/2 tsp Paprika (Optional)
•1 Small Tomato
•1 Egg (Medium- Optional)
•Black Olives
•1 tsp Dry Mint


  1. Wash and drain the kidney beans.
  2. Peel the onion and halve it lengthwise. Cut it in half moons.

  1. Add onion onto the kidney beans, include dry mint, paprika, black pepper and salt to the mixture and mix them all. Cut tomatoes into small squares and add into the mixture.
  2. Add parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well
  3. Adorn with olives and egg.

Dawoud Pasha: داوود باشا Meatballs in tomato sauce

Minced lamb 500g
1 tin chopped tomatoes
One large onion
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
Tomato paste 1tbsp (adjust to taste)
Chickpeas 1 can
1tsp allspice
1tsp cinnamon
Olive oil
Chicken stock 2cups (water instead)

  1. Start by making the meat balls. Add salt and allspice, cinnamon and coriander leaves to the meat. Mix well and make into walnut size balls. Put aside.
  2. You can grill them or dry fry them to get rid of most of the fat.
  3. In a heavy bottom pan heat some olive oil and fry the chopped onion, cook on low heat until it becomes soft, add the chopped tomatoes (blend until smooth before) and the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper, add 1 to 2 cups of water and cook for 20 to30 minute.
  4. Add the meat balls and cook for another 15 minutes. Five minutes from the end drain and add the chickpeas.
  5. Serve next to vermicelli rice or cooked Bulgar wheat.

Havuclu Haydari: Carrots and yoghurt salad


5-6 carrots
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3-4 clove garlic
¾ cup plain yogurt
Salt to taste
Parsley, a bunch


  1. Grate the carrots and sauté carrots in olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine yogurt and garlic, and mix this with fried carrots.
  3. Decorate with parsley, drizzle of olive oil and some olives.

Turkish Meze luch and fundraising

The SVS Class Restaurant
Turkish Mezze Lunch

Hot Mezze

Cold Mezze

On the side

  •  Pide (Turkish bread with sesame seeds topping)


Seved with:

  • Orange segments
  • Home made sticky Turkish ice cream
  • Orange sauce 
  • Mint Tea/coffee

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Imam Bayildi (Stuffed aubergines in olive oil)

Imam bayildi (down)
Stuffed peppers and courgettes (up)

This is a Turkish speciality called Imam bayildi, meaning ‘the imam fainted’, as it is believed that the quantity of olive oil used in this tender and delicious dish caused him to faint. There are two versions for him fainting, the first one is because of delight and the second one is because he liked it so much that he kept enjoying this dish day after day until he became ill (or may be died). It is up to you to choose your favourite version.

I am going to keep experimenting cooking this dish with as little oil as possible (I am thinking about steaming the aubergines instead of frying them) and I will update you on that.

Ingredients: serves 4-6
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A bunch of fresh parsley and dill, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
2-3 long aubergines, partially peeled in zebra-stripes and soaked in salted water for 5 minutes
5 tbsp water
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve


1.      In a bowl, mix the onion, tomatoes, garlic and herbs with the salt and a little of the olive oil
2.      In a frying pan, heat up enough oil to just cover the base. Pat the aubergines dry and pop them into the pan to soften them quickly on all sides.
3.      Place the aubergines on a board and, carefully, slit them open from top to bottom, making sure you create a deep pocket to fill. Pack the onion and tomato filling into the pockets and place the aubergines, side by side, in a deep pan.
4.      Mix together the remaining olive oil and water and pour it over the filled aubergines. Cover with the lid.
5.      Cook the aubergines (on the hob or in the oven) gently for about 1 hour, basting them from time to time, until they are soft and tender and only the olive oil is left in the bottom of the pan. Leave them to cool and serve cold with a little of the oil spooned over them and lemon wedges to squeeze.

Aubergines cooking beside the pappers and the courgettes
just ou of practicality

Dolma Felfel (Stuffed green peppers)

Stuffed peppers and courgettes (left), served beside iimam bayildi (right)

Dolmas in Algeria are vegetables stuffed with minced meat filling and cooked either in a meaty broth or a tomatoes sauce. Vegetables used in dolmas include peppers, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, onions and even potatoes. Dolmas make a hot hearty dish with one or a selection of the above mentioned vegetables.

In the Middle East, the same vegetables (except potatoes) are stuffed with aromatic rice and served cold as a mezze dish.

I have to say that I hesitated to use raisins in the filling, but I can assure you that the result is really nice. The addition of grated carrots is my own twist.

Ingredients: serves 4

6-8 small green peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
1-2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup short-grain rice, washed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tomatoes
Juice of a lemon mixed with 3 tbsp olive oil
2 lemons cut into wedges


1.      Cut the stalks off the green peppers and remove any seeds and pith from inside the bell. Wash them inside and out and put aside.
2.      In a heavy-based pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir in the onion . As the onion begins to colour, stir in the pine nuts and currants. When the currants plump up and the nuts begin to brown, stir in the mint.
3.      Add the spices, followed by the rice, and pour in enough water to just cover. Stir in the seasoning, bring the water to boil, and simmer until the water has been absorbed.
4.      Cut the sides off the tomatoes to make lids for the peppers. Spoon some of the rice mixture into each pepper, fit them with the tomato lids, and place them upright, side by side, in a heavy-based pan.
5.      Mix together roughly 1cup water with the olive oil and lemon juice mixture and pour over the peppers. Sprinkle with a little sugar, cover the pan and cook gently for approximately 30 minutes, until the peppers are tender.
6.      Leave to cool in the pan. Serve cold with wedges of lemon to squeeze over them.

Coring courgettes using a teaspoon

Ready to receive fragrant rice filling

Peppers and courgettes cooking beside the aubergines (see imam bayildi)
just out of practicality

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Tahrir Square Cake كعكة ميدان التحرير


Qamarreddine, Apricot paste
The Egyptian note in this cake
This is how it looks like

Tunis to Tahrir the struggle for liberty
The beauty of people power burst onto the streets of Tunisia and Egypt. After decades of oppression, they finally found their voice’ EMEL Magazine

I have been following the unfolding events in Egypt for more than 2 weeks, watching the news on different channels up to midnight. Day after day, my admiration for the Egyptian people and their very very… civilised revolution was growing and inspiring. I felt empowered by the vibrant energy of the crowds.

When the relieving news of the president’s removal from power finally happed, I was so happy and so were a lot of my friends here in Aberdeen. I wanted to share this happiness with everybody and mark this event by something special, hence the idea of this cake.

Egyptian people, at least the ones I befriended over my time in Aberdeen are very interesting, creative and jovial people, able to crack a joke or put on an act in any situation. If you followed the slogans, the songs, the caricatures that emerged during their last revolution you will understand why I picked Kamareddine to flavour this cake; it is definitely an Egyptian note because it is a basic ingredient in a popular drink in Ramadan, it is sweet and it is tangy……

I wanted to call it Liberation square at first but my husband convinced me to call it
Tahrir Square
as the name in its Arabic version has been widely used in western media. May be one day this word will be in the English dictionary….

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 cups flour
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp baking powder

Icing sugar
Caster sugar
4 tbsp crème fraîche
1 cup almonds flakes (lightly toasted in a frying pan for 5 mn)
½ sheet Kamareddine (dried apricot paste)  alternatively use Apricot jam
100g Cooking chocolate


1.      Separate the eggs whites from the egg yolks. Mix the eggs whites with ½ cup of sugar and whisk (using an electrical hand whisk) until it makes soft peaks.
2.      In another bowl, whisk eggs, the rest of the sugar, oil, zest of orange until mixture is like a mouse. Add flour and baking powder and mix until smooth and all blended.
3.      Add 3 tbsp of egg whites mouse to the 2nd mixture and mix thoroughly
4.      Slowly add spoonfuls of white eggs mouse and try to blend it carefully to keep the mixture light and airy
5.      Cook in a preheated oven in a buttered and floured square baking tin for about ½ hour until golden brown (insert a knife to check that it is cooked). Leave to cool down

Meanwhile prepare the filling and the icing:

6.      Mix 2 cups of boiling water and add a quarter of the Kamareddine sheet and 1 cup of sugar. Boil for another 5 minutes until the sheet is softer, then blend it to have a kind of pouring sauce.
7.      Take 3 tbsp of this sauce, add 3 tbsp of crème fraiche and enough icing sugar to make an icing (a tick liquid)
8.      Add another ½ cup of cold water to the rest of the sauce and reserve.

Assembling and decorating

9.      When cake has cooled, divide it into two slices, pour the sauce on the bottom half, cover with the second half and cover with the icing,
10.  Take handful of almond flakes and put on the sides of the cake. Decorate with melted chocolate and any leftover sauce

i made double the quantity, than cut out a square to go with the theme
anyway, I do not have a square baking tin (yet!!!)

can you some bit of apricot in the icings?

This is a selection of my favourite egyption revolution's slogans I call it:
 People with a sweet personality
شعب دمه زي العسل

You will leave, you will leave
DO it
so that can have a hair cut

My wife is about to have a baby
and the baby doesn't want to see you

I miss my mymmy, my hands are hurting me
Amou (uncle), leave, Please!!

The egyptian carpenters league are asking Mubarak:
'What kind of glue does he use?'

We are saying it with all languages:
Mubarak, get out

Leave before the oxygen is finished
Okey, you stay and we leave

The people and the army
One hand

Come back 'Rais', we were having a joke with you
Hidden camera program