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

Saturday, September 29

Random Kitty Images

Shakespeare in his "Masafi House"...Engineering at its best..lol.
Shakespeare sleeping...mashallah....
The King sleeping on his Royal pillow... Hee hee, my cats are a bit spolied...

Delicious (tried and tested) Recipes without Photos

Potato Moussaka

6 med sized red potatoes sliced thin
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 lrg onion chopped
3 cloves garlic,minced
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 cup peeled chopped tomato's
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbls all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Layer potatoes in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper,set aside. Melt 2 tbs butter in a large skillet,add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat,stirring constantly,5 minutes. Add eggplant, tomato, basil, oregano, cinnamon, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Spoon eggplant mixture over potatoes.

Melt remaining 6 tbs butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add flour stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. Gradually add milk,stirring constantly over medium heat, until mix is thickened and bubbly.. Pour over eggplant mixture,sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake ,uncovered for 35 minutes at 350 F/176 C.

Honey Yogurt Cake

200g unsalted butter,chopped
180ml plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup/125ml honey
2 eggs
55 g caster sugar
260 g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs icing sugar mixture
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon,extra

Grease a small sized loaf pan, line base with baking paper. Beat butter,yogurt,cinnamon,honey in a bowl with electric mixer until smooth.

Beat eggs and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer till smooth. Stir egg mix into yogurt mix, fold into this the flour and baking powder. Spread into loaf pan.

Bake in moderate heat oven for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool. Dust top with icing sugar mixture and extra cinnamon. Enjoy!

Carrot Cream

1 kg carrots
2 cups caster sugar
3 cups milk
1 tbs mazaher water(orange flower)
ground pistachios for decoration

For cream:

4 packs dream whip
3/4 cup milk
1 can fresh breakfast cream

Scrub and wash carrots. Grate into fine strips(do not go "shredder happy like me").
Place carrots in metal pot. Add sugar and milk and leave the mix to boil on low heat till all liquid almost evaporated. Drain using a fine sieve and get rid of remaining liquid. Sprinkle with orange blossom water and leave to cool.

To prepare cream, add dream whip to milk in a blending bowl. Add fresh cream and blend using an electric hand blender until cream is sift and well held together.

Layer into a serving bowl: a layer of cream,then carrot, then cream, sprinkle with pistachios.

Quick Cucumber Boats

5 cucumbers, slit in half lengthwise and hollowed out
1 cup danish soft white cheese or feta cheese crumbled
1 tomato chopped fine

Fill the hollow cucumber with the white cheese, and sprinkle some finely chopped tomato on top. Arrange nicely in a serving platter and use as appetizer or quick snack.

Pineapple tea
1/4 cup unsweetened instant tea
2 cups sugar
4 cups boiling water
8 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
3 cups water
1 cup ,lemon juice
pineapple chunks
fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Combine tea, sugar; add 4 cups boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Add pineapple juice, 3 cups water, and lemon juice: chill.

For ice cubes: pour water into each cube(half way full) of 2 ice cube trays, place cherry or pineapple piece in each cube slot and freeze.

When ready to serve Tea place the fruit ice cubes into the serving glass with the tea and garnish with fresh prig of mint.

Taste Testing .....

Coconut Besboosa
Coconut Cookies
Corn Fritters frying ...
The end result was more of a corn pancake then fritter

BASBOOSA (makes a 9" x 13" pan)

1 1/2 cups semolina

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

2 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 cup liquid butter or margarine

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup plain yogurt (or canned thickened cream)

1 tsp. pineapple flavoring or vanilla flavoring (optional)

almonds, pistachios or cashew nuts (optional)

In a large bowl mix the semolina, coconut and baking powder. Knead in the liquid butter until it is well blended.

In a blender (or with a mixer or hand beater) blend the eggs, sugar, yogurt and flavoring. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir with a spoon until combined and pour immediately into a 9" by 13" ungreased cake pan.

If desired, decorate the top of the batter with the nuts so that there will be one nut in the middle of each piece (which is cut when removed from the oven) or sprinkle a little coconut on top instead.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until done and nicely browned. Over the hot cake pour cool syrup (recipe follows). Allow to sit to absorb the syrup (a half an hour is good). Cut, eat and enjoy!

Syrup- In a small saucepan combine and boil for about 5 minutes: 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar and (optional) the juice of half a lemon.

Coconut Macaroons

4 large (120 grams) egg whites
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure
vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake
2 1/2 cups (220 grams) sweetened coconut

In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt. When this mixture is warm to the touch, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, flour, and coconut. Cover and refrigerate (about one hour) or until the dough until firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place small mounds (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing several inches apart. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 2 dozen Macaroons.

An improvised recipe: 
RAHASH is the Gulf version of Al Halawah Altehiniyah,
made from sesame seeds paste, sugar and flavouring. Kuwait is very famous for its Rahash specially the variety sweetened with debs (date syrup), hence Rahash is a traditional gift from Kuwait. Al Halawah Alteheniyah is also ideal to substitute Rahash in this recipe.
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 Rahash (125g)
1/2 cup sugar,
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Decoration:
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Method: Cream the butter, sugar, rahash, eggs and cardamom. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and cool for one hour. Heat the oven to 190 degree C or 375 degree F. Form the dough into small balls (2cm in diameter). Arrange in a lightly greased tray allowing 5cm between the balls.Press the top of each ball with a fork dipped in flour.
Decorate with pistachios and sesame seeds.Bake until set and its bottom is golden.
Rahash Lover’s Biscuits :Stick each biscuit with the other using date syrup or jam. Roll the side in roasted sesame seeds and serve.
Rahash Biscuits with Jam: Reduce sugar to 1/3 cup. In step 5, roll each ball in chopped pistachios. Press your thumb or a small spoon in the centre. Bake and cool, then fill the centre with strawberry or apricot jam.
Marble Rahash Biscuit: After step 3, divide the dough into two equal portion. Add two tablespoons of date syrup or one tablespoon cocoa powder plus one tablespoon of icing sugar to one portion. Mix cover and cool.Take a small piece of each portion, form each into a small rope. Twist the two ropes forming a spiral, arrange in the tray and bake. Alternatively, roll between your palms the two small pieces into a small ball to obtain a marble effect. Decorate with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, September 26

No Food Today!

WHAT! Can it really be!

Well, the answer is yes and no...

Yes its true, no food cooked by me or posted today.


No, its not true, becasue I did actually eat (duh!) and it was DELICIOUS(mashallah).

I was invited for Iftar at a friends home, and we had the most delicious harees,chicken biriyani, samboosa and fruit juice, owwww, and never to forget, EVER, the kataif pastries we had...

Oh my, Oh my, I think I ate about 5000 calories today! Let me tell you....It was WELL worth it honey!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear new friend for the amazing Ftoor and for being such a perfect hostess!.....

Monday, September 24

Quick Sugar and Spice Fruit Pie

This is a VERY FAST easy dish to make children want to eat their fruit! It is packed into a layer of digestive biscuits and custard. Very tasty as a treat for the children once and while, not alot though, its full of sugar, and theyll be banging thier bodies into walls at 50 kph if you serve it more often!

you will need:

1 pack digestive biscuits
300ml custard with banana essence(make ahead) see my recipe for this in previous post
1 lrg can mix fruit in light syrup
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs butter
1 tbs white sugar
1 tbs cinnamon powder

Crumble biscuits into pie pan, leave 2 for topping. Heat pot on med heat, add butter, then brown sugar, mix till melted, add fruit and cinnamon and white sugar, cook till fruit is mushy and fragrant. Pour into pie pan and spread evenly. Pour custard over this, and crumble reserved 2 biscuits onto it.


Shwarma Toppings and Pepperoni

Grilling the Pepperoni (husbands idea!)

Done. Topping #1
Chicken Shwarma Ceasar Salad Topping #2

My attempt at being creative in a hurry

So here's a different take on Sultana Style Chicken Ceasar Salad...Today I used the same salad recipe but we topped it with Chicken Shwarma and Grilled Pepperoni slices...Just as tasty! We had little pots of Vanilla ice cream with date honey drizzled over and cashew nuts for dessert. Yum!

Today was a busy day AGAIN... I woke up with the worst sore throat from the AC hitting my face all night...yay...Thank God it went away by noon...So I was not really in the cooking mood today to be honest...anyway...Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, September 23

Meatball Casserole (Sahan Köfte) and Lentil Soup

Today I was inspired by two different blogs for our evening meal....Both of these blogs I have found recently and they have become quite a blessing to me! I LOVE all the photos and recipes of both equally.

So, tonight's ftoor(dinner) was a recipe from each. Thanks alot to:

http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/search/label/Meaty for the DELICIOUS meaty main course, and to:

For these recipes and more from these talented Cooks visit their sites and explore their TASTY blogs!

The only alterations I made were these:

In the Meatball Casserole I didn't use bell pepper because I was not about to walk to the grocery store while I'm fasting in the middle of abu dhabis heatwave of an afternoon! So NO pepper for me! Also, I couldn't make it look pretty like the original recipe says to, because, I do not have an oven proof pot. I did not realize this until after I had cooked it on the stove and was ready to transfer it to the oven, SO, I had to mess it all up to put it in an oven proof pan...It didn't effect the taste though! It was gggggggreat...

In the Lentil Soup I went a little "shredder happy" (after my sister who was helping me went "shredder happy" and shredded her finger...duhhhhh woman!) and I shredded a whopping 5 carrots and 5 zucchinis and 3 potatoes to put into the soup...needless to say it was too much and almost didn't fit in the pot, but, I just added more water and salt and pepper and it tasted exactly the same, delicious!
note to sis: The extra protein never surfaced and is now either lost in the extra, or lost in the stomach. Either way, its our secret!

Saturday, September 22

Sultana Style Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad and My Gift!

Salad without Chicken

Grilling the Chicken

My Gift of Doughnuts..they were Delicious

Saffron Tea with Milk and Doughnuts for Two

Hand Embroidered Olive Tree Tablecloth set from Limassol,Cyprus

(Gift from my parents)

The dish today was a bit ordinary to be honest...BUT....Healthy....

Sultana Style Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad


4 cucumbers peeled and cut in circles

3 tomatoes chopped in chunks

1 head lettuce "torn" into pieces

1 cup White Salty cheese cubed or crumbled into salad (feta,danish,etc.)

1 bottle Ceasar Salad Dressing

1 pack chicken breasts

1 bottle Italian salad dressing

Cut each chicken breast into 2 thin pieces. Marinate chicken overnight in Italian dressing. Next day take out and grill till cooked thoroughly, set aside and keep warm.

Cut and mix veggies as stated above in ingredients and put in a big bowl, spread cubed or crumbled white salty cheese (whatever kind you prefer) over top of salad, add chicken slices then drizzle over Ceasar salad dressing. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

If you want a different version....Here's one courtesy of Epicurious.com

This version of the classic salad shows why it is a favorite across America.

Grilled-Chicken Caesar Salad


1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 garlic cloves, smashed

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 (10-oz) packages hearts of romaine

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 1/2 cups plain or flavored croutons

Special equipment: a well-seasoned large (2-burner) ridged grill pan


Heat lightly oiled grill pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and coat with 1 tablespoon oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill chicken, turning over once, until just cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes total.While chicken grills, blend garlic, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until combined. With motor running, add remaining 7 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified.Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss chicken with 2 tablespoons dressing in a large bowl. Add romaine, cheese, remaining dressing, and croutons and toss.

Makes 4 servings.


stupid question: why the heck is Ceasar spelt "CAESAR"?

Thursday, September 20

Meals in the Last 72 hours...

Banana Custard with Pistachio Sprinkles(for suhoor breakfast this morning)
Marag alone....and with raggag called Thareed
My absolute favorite meal.

Shourba Laham(Meat soup)...still in testing stage!

My Supervising Boss in the Kitchen

I was only away for a couple days and It feels like an eternity! I have food photos coming out the ears, and an appearance by "the boss".

Chicken Marag (recipe #2)

My family likes this dish best as a main course with raggag bread(thareed). It is very filling and you can use almost any vegetable to your liking. Sometimes I alternate between fresh green beans,koosa,carrots, and potatoes. This dish can also be cooked with lamb instead of chicken.

1 chicken or 1 pack chicken breasts
2 onions sliced
1/2 cup corn oil
2 tbs garlic blended
1 heaping tbs bezar
salt to taste
3 fresh tomatoes chopped
4 carrots sliced med thin
5 koosa(small zucchini) cut med thin
10 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 whole loomi (lemon)
1 small carton tomato paste
2 maggi chicken stock cubes

Put oil into a large pot, heat and add chicken, onion, bezar and salt. Brown chicken, turning frequently, then add spices, garlic and both loomi. Fry five minutes on a gentle heat then add all remaining ingredients and water and salt to taste. Boil slowly until chicken and vegetables are soft and tender. You can add more water if needed, just add one more maggi cube to it after. Serve by itself or add Raggag bread to make it Thareed...

Banana Custard with Pistachio Sprinkles

4 heaping tbs custard powder dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1000ml water
8 tbs milk powder
5 tbs sugar
1 tbs banana extract
Blended Pistachios for topping

Boil 1000ml of water in a kettle,put it in a small pot on the stove over med heat, add the milk powder to it and stir till smooth,add sugar,stir to dissolve. Add the custard mixed in 1/2 cup water to the milk,stir constantly until thickened and take off heat, add banana extract and stir through. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with generous amounts of blended pistachios. You can heat it hot, or cold. In my home it is served with tropical fruit salad.

And about the Meat Soup, it is very good as it is, BUT I'm not satisfied, and still testing ingredient levels. Ill let you know when I perfect it *rolls eyes*, to share the recipe!


Le-ge-matt!.......Dough Balls

Le-ge-matt~ Dough Balls

Le-ge-matt, a traditional dough ball served with a sticky syrup has been a popular dessert in local cuisine for generations. I have discovered three variations for the ingredients, although the method remains the same with each. Very filling, yet very delicious, the trick when deep frying the balls is to have the fat hot, but not smoking and to allow the dough balls to crisp quickly and turn golden rather than go brown. The syrup is simple to make and the one recipe will suffice for the different variations of the dough balls.

4 cups plain flour

2 1/2 cups tepid water

2 teaspoons yeast

pinch salt

oil for frying

Syrup for serving

Dissolve yeast in water. Sift the flour and salt together, add water and dissolved yeast and mix well with a whisk. Add a little more water if necessary: the batter should resemble a bread dough, though be slightly thinner. Cover and leave to stand in a warm place for six to 10 hours, the longer the better. Heat oil and drop in teaspoons (I tend to make them HUGE) of the dough mix. The balls will swell and float on top. Turn then over until they are brown all round. Remove and drain on paper towel. Serve warm with syrup poured over.
taken from:From the book "The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook"by Celia Ann Brock- Al AnsariCopyright © 1994 by Celia Ann Brock-Al Ansari

Wednesday, September 19

The Date!

THE UAE, which is home to 20 per cent of date palms in the world, has earned the distinction of being one of the largest producers of dates in the region.

Dates have always been a staple food for the Arabs of the Gulf as well as an export crop, whether packaged or fresh. As a raw material, dates are also used to make liquid sugar, vinegar and dibs (an indigenous honey made from the juice) as well as a constituent in some animal feeds. Other than the fruit itself, almost every part of the tree is put to use. The leaves are often dyed and then plaited into mats, trays or baskets. The wooden stalks are used for roofing the barasti huts which are constructed from the palm trunks, the twine and rope which ties the whole structure together is made from fibers. The palm date can really provide home and board on its own.

Normally, Dates are free of pesticide contamination and may be marketed as organic food.

They have a desirable sugar/acid ratio that provides a fruity/sweet taste and flavour enhancing qualities.

Dates act as humactants due to the presence of reducing sugar, fructose, which helps in extending shelf life and freshness of snack foods and chocolate bars.

When mixed with dough it keeps the softness quality of the bread.

Date paste is a natural extrudable product easily incorporated as a filler in bakery products and displaces the need for artificial preservatives and additives

Date paste can be easily shaped and binds ingredients together, like nuts, grains and other snack bar ingredients.

Date syrup or paste is a common ingredient of certain halwa.

Syrup extracted from Dates has a higher sweetening (taste) power than sucrose and is therefore suitable as a refined sugar replacement with a lower total calorie level.

The syrup is also a better source of than sports drinks

Animal feed with very high overall dietary value and low waste content

Date seed ground as food for fish farms

In UAE, the Abu Dhabi Emirate is by far the largest producer of Dates. There is said to be approximately 16 mill Date Palms in the Emirate with approximately 4 mill in the remaining six Emirates. Of Abu Dhabi’s 16 million, only 6 million are currently producing. A huge number of the above are young date palms growing on the many hundreds of new farms created at the instruction of Sheikh Zayed. These palms will not produce significant crops for another 3 to 5 years, when they do, based on the figure of 16 million, UAE’s production could match that of Saudi Arabia.

Of special interest to readers would be the number of producing date palms in the various Oasis of Al Ain region. There is a total of 1.108 million producing palms in the region extending to Al Khazna on the Abu Dhabi Road and to centres such as Al Hayer and Al Faqar in the Dubai direction. Al Ain has 24 separate districts and there are new farms being added in places like Mubazzarah, below Jebel Hafeet, where the palms will not come into significant production until 2005. At that stage, the Al Ain region may produce 4 to 5 times what it does now.
Al Ain Oasis has 60,000 palms and Al Jimmi/Qattara Oasis has 103,000. Within the streets of Al Ain there would be approx. 25,000Date Palms all of which are harvested and contribute to the overall regional crop.

There are more than 600 varieties, including cultivars, grown world-wide and different countries have their favourites.

In UAE the preferred fruit is Khalas but others such as Zaghloul, Khuneizi, Hilali, Howaiz, Naghal and Jaberi Fardh, have their followings. They have different colours, flavours, sweetness, acidity and textures.

A popular imported variety, mainly from Morocco, is Majool, which is a very large fruit. All major date producing countries have their own cultivars and favoured varieties, such as:

Amir Hajj and Ashrashi from Iraq;

Saidy and Hayany from Egypt,

Deglet Noor and Thoory from Algeria.

Ruzeiz, Bukeira, Nebut, Seif and Barhi from Oman.

You should make a point of checking the markets and the specialist date shops to identify different varieties and their flavours.

For some interesting Vidoes and Info on Date Palms click the links below:

Recipes including Dates
(courtesy of Epicurious.com)

Date, Dried-cherry, and Chocolate Torte

1 cup Deglet Noor or Medjool dates (6 oz), pitted and each cut into 6 pieces

1/2 cup Black Sphinx or Medjool dates (3 oz), pitted and each cut into 6 pieces

1 cup dried cherries (preferably tart; 6 oz)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup boiling water

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4cup) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped

3/4 cup pecans (4 1/2 oz), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine dates, cherries, and baking soda in a heatproof bowl, then stir in boiling water.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just combined. Beat in vanilla and zest. Add half of flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Add date mixture with liquid and beat at low speed until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate and pecans.

Pour batter into a generously buttered 24-cm (9-inch) springform pan, smoothing top. Bake in middle of oven until center is slightly rounded and top of torte is cracked (edges will be dark brown), about 55 minutes. Let torte stand 5 minutes in pan on a rack. Run a sharp small knife around side of pan to loosen, then remove side. Cool torte on rack.

Cooks' note:
• Torte may be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 10 servings.
Date Squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 cup walnuts (4 oz), finely chopped
1 lb dried pitted dates, finely chopped with an oiled knife (2 cups)
2 cups confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, then line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides, and butter foil.

Whisk together flour, salt, and spices. Beat together butter and granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add baking soda mixture and mix until combined. Add flour mixture, walnuts, and dates and mix until just combined.
Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Carefully lift date mixture out of pan using foil overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares and peel from foil.
Toss warm squares a few at a time in confectioners sugar, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with more confectioners sugar just before serving.

Cooks' note: • Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Makes about 9 1/2 dozen cookies.
Date Shake recipe
(courtesy of RecipeZaar)
4 servings
10 min 10 min prep

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 quart
4 cups
French vanilla ice cream
1 teaspoon grated
fresh nutmeg

For each date shake, place 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates in a blender. Add 1 cup cold milk and 1 cup(about 2 large scoops) French vanilla ice cream.
Grate 1/4 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg into blender and blend date shake until smooth. Enjoy!
Date Mamooul
(courtesy of www.gourmetsleuth.com)
1/2 cup solid shortening
8 tablespoons or 4 ounces butter
1 cup flour, all purpose
2 cups semolina
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rose flower water OR 1 tablespoon orange flower water
7 tablespoons waterwalnut, pistachio or date filling (recipes this page)
confectioners sugar
Do not expect the dough to be cohesive but it will be damp enough to form into balls to pack into the cookie molds. This recipe needs to be started a day ahead.Melt shortening and butter together or use all butter if you wish a richer cookie. cool slightly. Mix flour, semolina, salt, baking powder and sugar together. Rub melted shortening into dough with fingertips until it is like fine soft meal. Cover bowl and let it rest overnight.
Combine flower waters with 7 tablespoons water and sprinkle over the dough. Toss lightly with a fork to distribute liquid evenly. Mix until just combined, like pie dough. (another person says to knead the dough well). Dust maamoul molds well with flour. Invert and tap gently to remove excess flour. Estimate the amount of dough need to fill maamoul mold and make a ball of dough. Flatten it out slightly and place a good tablespoon of filling in center. Close dough around filling to cover it. Pack ball into mold. Level off cookie even with the lip of the mold. Be sure you have not revealed filling or it will stick to the pan as it bakes.Tap cookies out onto the work area with a sharp firm hit to the top of the mold.
Transfer cookies to baking sheet with a spatula. Bake at 300 to 325deg F about 12 minutes, until barely colored.Cool. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.
Date Filling
1 1/2 cups chopped dates
6 tablespoons butter
Cook dates with butter over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Mash occasionally until dates are completely pureed. Cool before filling.

Sunday, September 16

Ma-ha-lah and Bashamel

For Suhoor on most days you will find us eating Ma-ha-lah. It is a very filling bread eaten with cheese like LaVache quirit soft cheese. It is sweet, yet tastes best with salty accompaniments. This bread should be cooked on a flat pan over med high heat. For more info on this bread see the recipe below. Tonight's meal was Bashamel. I think this is a BIG favorite in many homes across the UAE for Iftar in Ramadan or any other time for that matter. It is the "Oh So Creamy" white sauce that really gets me hooked!

(Ma-ha-lah) ~ Thin Date Yeast Bread

Makes 10-15 Pieces

Ma-ha-lah comes from the root "halla" which means sweet. This bread has a unique flavour derived from the date juice. While it is cooked in the same way as ra-gagg, the ingredients differ. This traditional Bedouin bread can be eaten at breakfast or in the evening and although quite filling, is nonetheless accompanied by chami, honey, eggs and cheese.

1 1/2 cup ripe sticky dates (seh)
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cover dates with warm water and leave aside for one hour. Mash them, then sieve to remove all liquid. Mix yeast with 1 cup of warm water, add salt and beat in the eggs. Beat well with a mixer, then add the sugar, flour and remaining water. Mix well for 2-3 minutes, cover with a tight lid and towel, place in a draught-free area and leave for 12 hours( I left it for a whole day!)Heat large flat pan on med high heat and pour a small amount of batter into the middle, take a spoon and dip it in water and spread the batter around the pan thinly till flat and cooked, flip with the tip of a knife or a spatula and cook the other side.While it is still hot, drizzle some warm samen over each one and fold. Serve warm.

From the book "The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook"by Celia Ann Brock- Al AnsariCopyright © 1994 by Celia Ann Brock-Al Ansari

Bashamel Linguine

1 pack linguine
1/2 kilo mince lamb
3 onions
1 small can tomato paste
Pack of maggi bashamel sauce or see recipe below
2 maggi chicken cubes
1 tbs blended garlic

Cook meat and onion till browned, add pepper, stir, add garlic, and tomato paste, stir thoroughly for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Boil noodles with the 2 maggi cubes, reserve about 1/2 cup of the noodle water. Drain noodles,Set aside.

Make maggi bashamel sauce according to instructions, season with salt and pepper,and layer noodles then meat then pour over half the noodles water then bashamel sauce. Repeat till oven pan is full and bashamel sauce should be the top layer. Sprinkle pepper on top. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes on med heat or until top layer is bubbly and brownish. Serve.

Inshallah Ill post the bashamel recipe from scratch here later.

Saturday, September 15

Shrimp Machboos

Our Iftar Meal Tonight!

VERY easy to make,tastes great,and filling!

Shrimp Machboos

1 kilo frozen shrimp

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 Cups rice, washed and soaked

1 bushel fresh coriander chopped

3 tsp bezar

1 tsp turmeric

1 loomi

1/2 tsp ginger (optional)

4-5 cardamom pods


juice of 1 lemon


1. Rinse the shrimp in cold water. Drain on paper towel. Season well with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp bezar.
2. Heat 1 tbs oil in a pan and fry garlic gently for 1 minute. Add the seasoned shrimp and fry gently until they become opaque but not thoroughly cooked (about 4 minutes). Remove and keep aside.
3. Add 1 tbs oil to the pan and fry the onion till transparent. Add the rest of the bezar and the turmeric and stir-fry for 1 minute.
4. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, loomi, salt, cardamom pods, and the coriander. Stir over heat for 3 minutes.
5. Add 2 Cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover the pan, and simmer for ten minutes.
6.Add the shrimp to the sauce and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
7. Stir in uncooked rice. Reduce to a very low heat, cover and cook slowly for about 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
8. Serve with fresh sliced lemon and onion, tabasco sauce, salad, and dukkous or yougurt.

Friday, September 14

Pistachio and Cardamom Date Balls

FeeBi in Dreamland (mashallah, adorable)
Today was the First day of Fasting for us Muslims for the Occasion of the Blessed Month of Ramadan. I made a family favorite that we eat for a light dessert with Arabic coffee after meals and sometimes on its own.

Its very simple to make, and requires no cooking!

you will need:

2 cups of dates sticky dates mashed and pitted soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for 20 minutes

2 tsp cardamom powder

1 cup blended pistachio nuts, to a consistency to your liking(my family likes them a bit chunky)


Take dates out of water and make sure no water remains in dates, Mix with blended pistachios and cardamom, roll into small balls and sprinkle with a bit of pistachio powder. Serve in pretty platters with Arabic Coffee.

tip: coat your hands in olive oil a bit so that the date mix wont stick to them when your rolling it.

Thursday, September 13

1) The Holy Month of Ramadan unites all Muslims in fasting, feasting, worship and prayer. It is a time for contemplation, spirituality and brotherhood. It is also known and recognised as the month of the Qur'an, Allah (SW) says:

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

2) The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying:

"Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night.

Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time.

It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased.

Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all."

[Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]


"Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times.

Allah the Most High said,

'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk."


Narrated Abû Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him):

The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, Whoever does not give up telling lies (false statements) and acting on those lies, and evil actions etc., Allâh is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allâh will not accept his Saum (fasting)).

(Al Bukhari)

4) Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Take Suhoor (small meal before dawn); for in the Suhoor there is a blessing. (Muslim)

This Ramadan seems to have started with "Ramadan perfumed air". I don't know how else to describe it really. My emotions are calm this year, and I am yearning to "Do More" so to speak. I think every year we plan to "Do More". To learn more, pray more, read Quran more,worship Allah more.

For some people they achive this goal and they gain alot of soul soothing reward in it. For others, the yearning fades and they go about their nights watching the Ramadan series shows one after another and shoving samboosas by the mouthful, totally ignoring Taraweeh, and barely waking for Fajr.

We have all at one time or another fell into similar situations with more or less actions, promising out of guilt, that next Ramadan, we will do 100% more than what we did last year. This happens to be me. I feel the urge this year to really dive into spiritual devotions. Ive planned to pray more, learn more, read Quran more. I wish we had more lectures where I live in English, so I could gain alot more from them and so could alot of my friends. I wish I had the courage to go to the masjid in my area and see if any sisters worship there and join them in Taraweeh. I wish I was part of such a family that they all gathered together for Iftar and Suhoor andbroke thier fasts and ate together disuccing various religious facts and debates. Most of all I wish my family was 100% Muslim.I pray that one day Inshallah it will happen. one day...

May Allah give us all guidance to fulfill our promises to ourselves to be better Muslims for ourselves and those aorund us in the Blessed Month! Ameen.

For those of you sitting watching the latest series shows on TV, "GET UP! Take that samboosa out of your mouth, make wudu and go to Taraweeh!"

Seek out to find more Inner Strength and Iman in yourself, find ways to fulfill your soul spiritually by prayer and reading Quran,shock yourself into action, convince your inner self to be a better Muslim, do it now while you have the chance, you never know if you will be alive next Ramadan!

When your facing that dirt wall of your dark cold grave, all alone, hearing the other dead around you, some tortured and living in their own hell, others in their own little heavenly paradise within the grave, you will not have the chance to do anymore good deeds, no more prayers, not one single thing, you will be wishing you had done those things to gain reward and forgiveness from Allah when you were alive.

Seek forgiveness in this Blessed Month, Allah is most forgiving and merciful to his slaves!

May Allah accept our fasts in the Holy Month,

May Allah guide the non Muslims to light and truth in Islam and the Straight Path,

May Allah forgive all the believing men and women and guide us to The Straight Path.


Tuesday, September 11

Lemon and Chocolate Chess Pies

Lemon Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie

The Apple Pie baked Yesterday!

Here are the pies as promised yesterday...Again, its my first time to make pies! Keep this in mind when looking at my photos..lol.... They were VERY tasty even though they look messy...

The pie filling actually didn't fit the baking trays exactly, but, who notices that in my house!

Lemon Chess Pie

3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbs. flour
1 tbs. cornmeal
1 lemon rind, grated
1 pie shell, unbaked

Beat egg yolks & add melted butter. Add lemon juice & grated rind. Combine sugar, flour, & cornmeal & add to egg mixture. Beat whites until stiff & fold into mixture. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Chocolate Chess Pie

2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tbs. cocoa
2 tbs. flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 small can evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 pie shell, unbaked

Beat eggs & add melted butter, milk, & vanilla. Sift together cocoa, sugar, & flour. Gradually add sugar mixture to egg mixture. Mix well & pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top and leave to cool.


Monday, September 10

My First Try Apple Pie!

Finished Apple Pie

Apple Stuffing

The Dough

Sweet and Fruity Scented Soaps!

Peek Inside

Today I "attempted" to make an Apple Pie...Let me just say that I have NEVER made a pie of any kind before! I searched the net for the simplest yet enticing recipe. I gave up on that and settled for simplest one I could find after an hour and around 15 or so pages of recipes.

I was supposed to make 3 pies today actually. Lemon Chess Pie, Chocolate Chess Pie and Apple Pie. BUT I didn't get home till 4 pm and was not about to spend another few hours rolling dough and baking... Tomorrow Ill make the Chess pies and post about them here(inshallah).
On another note, I purchased the best smelling, scrumptious looking, fruit and chocolate infused soaps today! I found them at a place called Areej in Marina Mall for those of you who adore "lotions and potions" like me and may want to check it out. They had a whole shelf in the back of the store for skincare and body care I had never seen before except for the Victoria's Secret Section. They tend to be my "spa at home" selections because I never go to hotel spas!