Friday, April 29, 2011

Honey Roasted Pear Salad for The Daily News Egypt

Warning: Bad Poetry
Hello, hello, whoever you are, whoever you are today. 
I'm in quite the silly mood but don't have much to say.
There's a new column out if you'd like to know.
I've been quite busy but even so
there's always time to think of food
when silliness is the mood.  

Honey Roasted Pear with an Apple Thyme Vinaigrette (Serves 8)

5 tablespoons of unsweetened apple juice
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, chopped
⅓ cup of vegetable oil
A splash of balsamic vinegar

2 bunches of fresh thyme
4 grainy but firm pears, halved and cored
⅓ cup of honey
Coarse salt and black pepper to taste

1 small head of butter head lettuce, torn
115 grams of rocket
120 grams of blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup of hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Vinaigrette ● Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

Pears and salad ● Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
● Place thyme sprigs on a baking sheet or parchment paper.
● Place your pear halves, cut side down, on a chopping board. Starting 1.5 centimeters from each stem, cut lengthwise into 1 centimeter slices. Apply pressure gently to fan out the slices.
● Place pears directly on the thyme. Drizzle the pears with honey then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until pears are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn your oven off and allow them to rest in place for half an hour before serving.
● Combine lettuce, rocket in a large bowl. Add prepared vinaigrette and toss to coat. You could also opt to serve the vinaigrette separately. Divide salad into separate portions. Place the pear halves alongside your salad. Garnish your salad with blue cheese and top with hazelnuts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mechoui Style Roasted Lamb for DNE

My latest column for The Daily News Egypt featuring an interview with Jean Michel Fraisse.

Mechoui-Style Roasted Lamb Leg
(The indicated measurements for the ingredients are set per kilo)

1 Lamb leg
20 grams of butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoons of paprika
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of saffron threads, crushed
50 grams of butter, softened
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients, except for the lamb, together and blend into a find paste. Coat the lamb leg with the mixture and place in a roasting pan. Allow to marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to return to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 220 to 240 degrees Celsius. Put your lamb into the oven and lower the heat to 180 degrees Celsius. Roast the lamb, uncovered, for 2 hours for a 2 kg lamb leg. Baste the lamb every 15-20 minutes until it is browned and evenly colored. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. If desired, the juices can be poured over and around the lamb.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

En Papillote: The Silly Way

Dear Columnist Me,
You are beginning to dominate Blogger Me and Blogger Me does not appreciate it. Not one bit, she doesn't. You see, Blogger Me used to think that by being silly, she would be able to entertain the masses all the while discussing food. Now that you've come into the picture, Blogger Me cannot find the inspiration to write frivolously! You've started attending workshops or whatever you call it and you write about the seriousness of food and how Egypt has to start picking up its pace. I don't understand why you can't just come right out and say that fine dining in Egypt sucks. Instead, you writing about how Egypt is "lacking" and how we should all "embrace" our heritage and "open our eyes" to the suckiness of the situation. Oh right, you don't use the word suckiness because it's not right, right? And what's up with this pretentiousness of taking one photo of the final meal and that's it? Have you forgotten that there are people who still need step-by-step photos or are just bored enough to want step-by-step photos to waste their time? How inconsiderate of you to ignore the needs of the needy and the bored! Tsk, tsk. Who do you think you are? Anna Sui? All colorful and pretty but not sharing the actual designs? Blogger Me is calling you out! Selfish, selfish, selfish and not silly at all, although you try to be sometimes. I'll give you that. All we're asking, Columnist Me, is to be a little considerate and show a little respect to your fore-mother. Blogger Me shall be waiting patiently for your apology. After all, you did try to kill the silly. In the meantime, Blogger Me shall one-up you and post step-by-step photos to your fancy schmancy sole en papillote. That should teach you a lesson!        
Sincerely silly,
Blogger Me's Lawyer
Celery-Scallion Sole en Papillote

(Individual servings)
1 fillet of white fish (any kind of white fish will do)
1 small tomato, finely diced
2 tablespoons of finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons of thinly sliced scallions
2 small red chili peppers or ½ a large green chili pepper, sliced
1 ½ teaspoons of lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to drizzle

For a basic dukkah:
50 grams of coriander seeds
10 grams of cumin seeds
50 grams of sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Cut a large square sheet of baking paper. Add the the tomatoes and half the scallions. Pat dry your fish and place on top of your initial mixture. Scatter the celery, lemon zest, chilli and the rest of the scallions then season with salt and pepper. Fold the paper in half and double fold all around to seal in the fish. It should look like a pastry case. Place the parcel on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes for a smaller fillet or 15-20 minutes depending on your thickness. Serve in the parchment paper by snipping the top open at the table. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with dukkah.
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a hot dry pan until fragrant then cool. Toast the sesame seeds separately and cool. Grind the coriander and cumin together then add the sesame seeds, salt and pepper. To be served with the fish as a condiment alongside the olive oil. 
If you'd like to read the column with this recipe, minus the silliness, visit The Daily News Egypt.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemon-Mastic Mehalabia Brûlée

This week, I decided to try to change things a bit when it came to a traditional Egyptian dessert. Successful trial! I'm going to try using mehalabia as a base for other flavors soon. Mehalabia is a milk-based pudding usually garnished with nuts and flavored with the optional addition of rose water. Some people eliminate it, while others use vanilla. Most mehalabias are garnished with nuts and do not include a caramelized top. Here's the link for my Lemon-Mastic Mehalabia Brûlée as featured in The Daily News Egypt.

Lemon-Mastic Mehalabia Brûlée
You'll need:
3 cups of cold full cream milk
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
¾ cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of mastic grains
1½ teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest
Extra caster sugar for the brûlée

Dissolve the sugar and cornstarch in the cold milk and place on medium to low heat. Add the mastic and lemon zest and stir continuously to combine and to prevent burning. Continue stirring until it thickens and thickly coats the back of a spoon. Separate into serving bowls and cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle a generous, even layer of sugar. You can either use a propane torch to caramelize the top or you could place it under a hot grill for up to 5 minutes at the most. Make sure to watch it carefully. Allow it to rest for a few minutes and serve.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Puffins, revisited. (For The Daily News Egypt)

Okay, so here's my most recent column for The Daily News Egypt. Some of you might have seen the Puffins recipe before but you might not have read my opinion on the booming cupcake trend in Cairo and how we can benefit from it. Check it out if you're interested and let me know what you think instead of hiding behind that screen. :) 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thank you, Cairo360.

Cairo 360 graciously featured me a while back and it completely slipped my mind to post it here. Sorry, Cairo360. Forgive and forget. Btw, really awesome of you to feature me. So thanks, again and again and again. 

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