----------------------ABU DHABI----------------------

Monday, December 31

A Spice Lesson

The Bay Leaf:
Bay leaves are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in North America.
They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaise and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni), and removed before serving. In Indian cuisine, bay leaves are often used in biryani and many salans.

Bay leaves can also be crushed (or ground) before cooking. Crushed bay leaves impart more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, and there is less chance of biting into a leaf directly.
Black Cardamom and Green Cardamom:
In India, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indian spice mixture garam masala. Black cardamom is also commonly used in savory dal and rice dishes.
China, the pods are used for long-braised meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the central-western province of Sichuan.

The pods are also often used in Vietnam, they are used as an ingredient in the broth for noodle soup.

Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, and marinades for smoky flavor, much in the way bacon is used.

Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those who are unfamiliar with the spice. Although the flavor differs from the more common green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its relative cheapness.
Green cardamom is an ingredient in many Indian curries, and is a primary contributor to the flavour of masala chai. In the Middle East and Iran, cardamom is used to flavour coffee and tea as well as rice dishes and soups. In Turkey, it is used to flavor the black Turkish tea (Kakakule in Turkish).

As well as in its native range, it is also grown in
Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, and Central America. In India, the states of Sikkim and Kerala are the main producers of cardamom; they rank highest both in cultivated area and in production. It was first imported into Europe c.1200 CE
Cumin Seeds:
Today, cumin is identified with Indian and Mexican cuisine and Cuban cuisine. It is used as an ingredient of curry powder. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses like Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is also wide-spread used by traditional culinary in Brazil.
In herbal medicine, cumin is classified as stimulant, carminative, and antimicrobial.

Cumin can be used to season many dishes, as it draws out their natural sweetnesses.
It is traditionally added to curries, enchiladas, tacos, and other Middle-eastern, Indian, Cuban and Mexican-style foods. It can also be added to salsa to give it extra flavour. Cumin has also been used on meat in addition to other common seasonings. The spice is a familiar taste in Tex-Mex dishes and is extensively used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine.
The flavour of cumin plays a major role in Cuban, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisines. Cumin is a critical ingredient of chili powder, and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.

Cumin seeds are often ground up before being added to dishes.

Cumin seeds are also often "toasted" by being heated in an ungreased frying pan to help release their essential oils.
Black Pepper:
Dried ground pepper is one of the most common spices in European cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity for both its flavour and its use as a medicine. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. Ground black peppercorn, usually referred to simply as "pepper", may be found on nearly every dinner table in some parts of the world, often alongside table salt.

Thursday, December 27

Salisbury Steak and Halloumi with Peppers

Dinner Tonight!

Sultana's Halloumi and Peppers

1/2 kilo halloumi cheese sliced thinly in squares
3 bell peppers sliced thinly
2 tomatos sliced thin
2 tbs diced parsley
1 onion sliced thin
olive oil, enough for frying cheese and peppers

Heat olive oil over med-high heat, add halloumi slices and fry till golden in color. Set aside.

Heat a bit more olive oil in the pan and add the onion and peppers and salt and pepper to taste, sautee for around 15 minutes or until browned a bit and softened. Add parsley and toss, then take off heat.

Layer halloumi slices, then tomatos, then sliced peppers on a platter.


The Salisbury Steak can be found here:

Wednesday, December 26

Maamoul Treats!

Hi Everyone!
I have to apologize for not posting more frequently, but now is the time of year here in UAE when we like to GET OUT of our "cement cubbie holes" and explore and enjoy the beautiful UAE in the cool breezy weather. So, because of this reason I have not been here much!
So Sorry...
You can check out my latest adventure here:
On a FOOD note: Above are some pictures of what I think is called Maamoul...My husband brought them home when I had asked for Date Maamoul and it turned out that he got the wrong thing, BUT, OH were these delicious!
They had 2 fillings: one was pistachios and sugared semolina and the other was like a basboosa filling. In case your wondering whats basboosa you can find the recipe for it in this blogs dessert menu...
They go very well with Arabic coffee or Tea.
I do not have to recipe for these as they came from the bakery, and i know the bakery will not give me the recipe! sorry...But I will be on the lookout for it!

Saturday, December 22

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

I will be posting the recipe as soon as my friend gets it to me!

These pancakes had a hint of sweetness and were a little bit addictive!

Thai Shrimp Curry!

Very Delicious Thai Shrimp Curry ! So worth the time it takes!

You can get this recipe here:

Baked Honey Quince-Uzbek Style

This is another recipe from my friend who is from Uzbekistan. She made these for me today. I must say it is not a taste I have had before! Its a mix between sour, sweet, and something else. It would be just right with Vanilla Ice cream...
The quality of the honey used is VERY important. If you use store bought honey it will taste different from natural honey, as natural honey has a distinctly different taste from store bought honey. You can use either one, but with store bought it will be ALOT sweeter.
You will need:
4 Quinces (slice off tops and thinly slice bottoms off so they can stand up right and core, SAVE tops for later)
enough honey to fill each quince half way up
1 tbs butter for each quince
Fill each quince half way up with honey and then put in 1 tbs of butter in each quince and then close the quince with the quince tops youve saved. Bake in a pre heated oven over med heat for one hour or until reddend and softend. The quince should stand on its own and the sides should be a little cracked open.
Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream!

Friday, December 21

Southern Quick Chicken Casserole

Caution: Full Fat Recipe!

Southern Quick Chicken Casserole

This recipe is a bit quirky and not the best of healthy, but its good for a "no brain" involved dinner.

you will need:

1 pack skinless boneless chicken breasts

1 pack vermicelli noodles

2 cans sliced tomatoes

1 can of mushrooms(split each mushroom in half)

1 can water chestnuts

enough Velveeta cheese to layer a think gooey layer between the noodles and chicken!

1 bell pepper sliced thin

2 tbs margarine

2 onions(large ones, sliced thin)


Boil chicken in water with salt and pepper, debone and shred when done, set aside. In the same water boil the noodles till done. Spread noodles into bottom of a baking dish or oven casserole dish. Melt butter in a frying pan on med-high heat, add onion and bell pepper, fry till softened, then add mushrooms and water chestnuts and saute for 5-10 minutes on med-high heat. (tip: sauteing mushrooms bring out their flavor)

In the baking dish you already have the noodles, so, spread over them the amount of Velveeta cheese you'd like to use(i like ALOT) and over that spread the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper, then spread the 2 cans tomatoes, then the onion mushroom mix. Bake in the oven on 325F for about 10 minutes.


Tuesday, December 18

My First Meme---What does "Meme" mean!?!

Fantastic 4

Ive been tagged for my first Meme by http://arabicbites.blogspot.com/ which are Zainab and Meedo who make VERY tasty Middle Eastern/Khaleeji Food!

4 places Ive lived: USA(down south), Saudi Arabia(Al Khobar), Qatar(doha,duh!), UAE(abu dhabi,home!)

4 jobs Ive had: Kindergarden Teacher, Receptionist, being my mothers maid! AND being my fathers maid! heh heh...life!

4 places Ive holidayed: Amsterdam(LOVE THAT PLACE), Cyprus, Thailand, USA

4 favorite foods: Spaghetti and Meatballs(Cajun style), Chicken and Dumplings(grandma style), A BIG JUICY grilled hamburger with loads of cheese!(dad's style), Madroobah(a UAE Dish that I owe a few kilos too!)

4 places I would rather be: In my own villa BBQ'ing with a huge garden full of trees and flowers surrounding me, secluded in a mountain farm house surrounded by towering date trees and a bubbly river close by to swim in, In Makkah performing Hajj(but I am not able to right now), Driving fast down a empty desert highway with my husband in his sports car with the top down. (in case you didn't notice.....i need to get out of this apartment! LOL)

4 people I would like to tag: If they have not been tagged already and IF they would like to do this Meme .....Id love to tag:

Chasing Children and Recipes @ http://jamilascreations.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 11

Monday, December 10

Creamy Chicken Pasta

For the recipe please look to the links on the side of my page under "UAEKitten"...She has many delicious recipes!

Wednesday, December 5

My Grandmothers Shrimp/Crawfish Etouffee'

I distinctly remember winter days in my grandmothers house. I would walk into the house from the freezing cold outside to be blasted with warmth and the smell of rich, rich stew simmering away on the stove and the clinks of the metal soup ladle being hit on the pot as she stirred the stew while a football game played on the tv in the background. We would greet her with a big "heeeeeey" and she'd yell it right back from the kitchen. I don't remember ever walking into that house and not smelling something delicious that would make me hungry even if i had just eaten! Growing up, winter was like a magical time for me. Some of the things i remember are:

-the frost shining on the bushes outside my window when i woke in the morning

-the smell of breakfast coming through the heating vent in the floor by my bed

-the "smoking effect" when i exhaled waiting for the school bus bundled in 3 layers of cloths

-the quiet stillness of very early morning and looking through the forest waiting for the wolf in my dreams to jump out and grab me

-the smell of burning leaves on winter afternoons when my grandfather cleaned the acres of land behind his home and the sound of his tractor at full speed coming back towards the house so my grandmother could hand him his steaming cup of coffee

-the Christmas lights hanging from the traffic lights on the main street of our town,every year i would get so excited to see them

-playing with my cousin in the forest behind my grandfathers house in our "camp" that my father made out of a huge sheet of plastic connected to 2 trees

-watching my grandfather fall asleep in his lazyboy after lunch, he would still rock back and forth while asleep and we thought it was magic, but, now that we are older, we understand that he wasn't really sleeping, but, he was watching us, watch him :)

-sleeping snuggled to my grandmother on VERY cold nights, stuck like glue to her arm while she told me stories about when she was little and sang to me

I could go on and on, I think I am very lucky to have had such a memorable childhood filled with such beautiful memories...I don't know, but when we grow up, I feel we lose that imaginative magical sense of things, but sometimes, I get a piece of it back, and it really overwhelms me, i just want to jump back into 1986 and stay there...

So, the point of this was to introduce my grandmothers recipe for Crawfish/Shrimp Etouffee and let you experience, through words and taste, a piece of my childhood...

Melba's Recipe for Crawfish/Shrimp Etouffee'

1 stick margarine

1 large onion chopped

green onions chopped

1 medium bell pepper

3 cloves garlic chopped

1 lb crawfish or shrimp

1 can of a quality mushroom soup

season to taste...you may add rotel tomatoes

Saute margarine,onions,bell pepper and garlic. Add soup and cook together for a while(low fire). Add crawfish or shrimp. Cook just until crawfish or shrimp are tender. Serve with white rice.
Decorative Fruit Bowl-Makes winter feel warm and cozy!
My new spice cabinet-well, its second hand,
but with a little white spray paint it will look brand new again!

The pretty details on it...

Tuesday, December 4

Two Pasta Dishes

You DO NOT have to put as much parmesan cheese as I did!

Tuna Pasta
(This is probably the quickest pasta I have EVER made! I had NO time to cook but I had to, so this is what came from it!)
1 can of tuna
1 Jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 tbsp minced garlic
Parmesan cheese to your liking
Its SO easy!
Brown the tuna in its own oil, and then add garlic,stir a while then add pasta sauce. Boil noodles and drain.
Serve tuna sauce on top of pasta.
Pasta with a Creamy Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese Sauce

8 ounces pasta
1 bunch cooked broccoli floret, drained
5 medium fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta until tender; drain. In food processor with steel blade, combine broccoli, basil, butter and cream. Pulse to purée. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse to blend. Mix broccoli mixture into drained pasta; stir. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat. Add salt and pepper. Serve when heated through and well combined.
Serves 4.

Sunday, December 2

UAE National Day---Dec.2nd 2007

Today is UAE National Day!
Congratulations to all of the people of the UAE on this special day...

Batheeth and Meatball Casserole and The Persian Guest!

Batheeth(UAE Traditonal Sweet)
Meatball Casserole
Hi everyone! Well Ive had an interesting 2 days! I have a temporary guest in my home, I found him yesterday wandering behind my house. He is a VERY sweet and gentle Black Persian cat!

He has obviously been thrown out of his home, and left to starve on the street. He is matted and stinky with a cold...But, you will not meet a sweeter cat! I cannot comprehend someone throwing him out! I mean, a cat is a major responsibility! No one forced them to go the the pet store and buy him, they chose to! So, I guess they liked him as a kitten and hated him as an adult cat, and considering he is a bit sick, maybe they didn't want to bother with him anymore...It really angers me! Fortunately, Ive found him, and on Monday hes going to be health checked at the vet and shaved like a lion to take out his matts! I hope I can find him a great home, he deserves it!
On a "food" note: Above is the dishes we had for dinner and dessert. I have the recipe for the Meatball casserole already written under Sahan Kofte in my blog archive, here is the link the the original blog recipe:http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/search/label/Meaty. I highly recommend this persons blog for yummy delicious Turkish food!
The batheeth Ill post later inshallah...