Category Archives: Breads

Ramadan Day 4


Felt rather tired today but personally I find keeping busy in the kitchen helps the time to pass quicker so I am happy to stay there making a few things.

Today there was Algerian shorba again, vegetarian as it was last time but this time with tiny Orzo pasta (or Tli-tli as the Algerians call it) instead of burghul or vermicelli. There were some leftovers as well as mini pizzas that came out soft as little pillows, vegetable samosas as I made a double batch yesterday and cheese and potato Borek. A tip for the potato borek that I picked up from my dear sister-in-law is to use instant potato! Yes… the powdered stuff in boxes – remember the adverts for Smash in the 1970’s or early 1980’s??! “For mash get Smash!” So, I used about 120g of Tesco instant potato and about 550ml of boiling water, stirred well with a wooden spoon and then added a knob of butter and about 150g grated cheddar. I used this to fill the spring roll pastry and folded into logs. I slightly over-cooked them as you can see in the photo. 🙄


Dessert was Eve’s pudding but made with strawberries and raspberries instead of apples – this was served with rich chocolate ganache. It didn’t turn out quite as planned because I took a shortcut and used a supermarket cake packet mixture which was a bit too runny for this recipe. It was very tasty though with the tart, tanginess of the raspberries and the soft, sweetness of the cake. I didn’t think it really needed the rich chocolate sauce but my 15 yr old and 13 yr old daughters disagreed. Nice to have pleased someone!


Choco-peanut butter pancakes


I was trying to think of a way of sprucing up the plain pancakes we often eat and noticed the peanut butter jar left on the counter top… it’s been a long time since I saw peanut butter chips in the supermarket so I thought I would try freezing blobs of peanut butter and making my own ‘peanut butter chips’! They pretty much melted when the pancakes were cooked but there were bits of peanut butter oozing from the pancakes as we bit into them. Delicious!


1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
10g melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
50g smooth peanut butter

  • I started off by placing tiny lumps of the peanut butter onto a freezable surface and then placing the peanut butter in the freezer to firm.
  • Next, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a bowl. Beat in the egg and milk and then add the vinegar and melted butter.
  • Heat a non-stick pan (medium heat) with a tiny amount of oil and just before you start to cook the pancakes, empty the chocolate chips and peanut butter lumps into the batter and give it all a quick mix.
  • Drop tablespoons of the batter into the frying pan and heat until the top starts to become dry and the bubbles pop. Carefully turn over and cook for another minute or so. I made around 15 pancakes with this batter.
  • I served the pancakes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Fatayer – Arabic pastries


The best fatayer I ever had were in England years and years ago and they were baked by a Saudi lady. The bread was very soft and light with a delicious, slightly sour spinach filling.

Since then, I have had them many times here in Saudi Arabia with various fillings but often the bread is a little dry or just ordinary. I have been wanting to try making ftayer myself but needed just the right dough recipe. It was when I found Ree Drummond’s Cinnamon Rolls recipe recently that I thought I might be onto something.

For these savoury pastries, I used a quarter of her stated amounts and also reduced the sugar content from 1/4 cup to 1 teaspoon.



  • 280 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 cups (plus 1/4 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the milk, oil and sugar in the microwave until lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast over this mixture and leave for a few minutes.

Sift 2 cups of flour into the milk/oil mix and stir until well combined. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour.

Add the extra 1/4 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. If the dough seems too wet you may need to add another 1/4 cup of flour. What you should have is a very soft dough which remains a little sticky. You will need to flour the worktop well when working with this dough.

With this dough I was able to make 11 spinach fatayir, 7 feta cheese fatayir and 3 mini pizzas. I used a small ball of the dough weighing 25-30g  for each one.

For 11 spinach fatayir I used:

  • 1 small onion grated
  • 150g cooked and chopped spinach
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sumac (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (again, to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses

NB: If you can’t get sumac or pomegrante molasses (you can use one or the other if you only have one of them) use lemon juice instead. Squeeze lemon juice over the cooked spinach and onion, mix well and stop when the taste is sour to your liking.

Fry the onion in a tbsp of oil until soft and then add the cooked spinach, salt, sumac and pomegranate molasses and combine well. My spinach was cooked and cooled straight from the fridge so I was able to use it to fill the pastries immediately. If you have just cooked the spinach you will need to cool the mixture before using it.

Take a 25-30g ball of the dough and place onto a well floured worktop. Using your fingers push it out to form a circle about 3 inches in diameter.

Place a teaspoonful of the spinach filling in the middle.

Bring two edges of the dough together to form the top of a triangle and then bring the lower portion of the dough up, squeeze gently with your fingers to seal. Since the dough is a little sticky you shouldn’t need any egg to seal the edges.

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400F until golden

For the feta fatayir:

Take a 25-30g piece of the dough and gently flatten into an oblong about 2″x4″, use a well floured rolling pin if necessary.

Take a teaspoon of feta and roll it into a small log and place in the middle of the dough.

Bring the top portion of the dough forward, keeping the filling revealed, bring up the lower portion and pinch at the edges to make a kind of boat shape.

Still pinching the edges, lift and place on the greased baking sheet.

Bake at 400F until golden.

For the mini pizzas:

Take a 25-30g ball of the dough, flatten into a small disc and spread with a little pizza sauce and some grated cheddar. You could also add chopped olives.

Bake as above.


For jubna (cheese) fatayir, take a 25-30g ball of dough, flatten into a disc of around 3″ diameter. Place a teaspoon of grated cheddar into the centre and fold into a semi-circle.

Bake as above.

Recipe Review – Cinnamon rolls


I saw this recipe for cinnamon rolls on the Pioneer Woman website and couldn’t wait to try it but the quantities given are huge! I think I would have been eating cinnamon rolls for the next month with those quantities! I made just a quarter of the stated recipe which still made one large dish of rolls and one small dish.

As for the icing, I don’t like cinnamon rolls drowned in icing so I used just one scant cup of icing sugar beaten together will a splash of milk and maple syrup and poured this over the warm rolls.

The rolls were the best I have tasted! Very soft texture which stayed fresh the next day. This recipe is for keeps and will make this again for sure!

I used less butter, sugar and cinnamon for the filling and added a scattering of milk chocolate chips.

The printable recipe is available on The Pioneer Woman website here but I used:

  • 280 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon instant Yeast
  • 2 cups (Plus 1/4 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • Milk chocolate chips


The finished rolls with their glaze. I just kept the glass lid on the dish and the rolls were still fresh and soft the next day.

Daring Bakers – Donuts


I joined The Daring Bakers quite some time ago with all good intentions of diligently making the monthly challenge but as everyone knows, life has a habit of getting in the way and then I forgot all about it until this month. I decided to jump on in and see if I can keep up from here on.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Download the printable .pdf file with all recipes here.

It seemed that a lot of people were raving about the Alton Brown recipe so I decided to pick that recipe. I have followed a couple of his recipes in the past and they were successful so I had full confidence in this recipe also!

Instead of milk in this recipe I used laban which I believe is similar to buttermilk. It is a Middle Eastern yogurt drink; it seems to me that it is thinned down unflavoured, unsweetened yogurt for drinking. I also increased the sugar to 1/2 cup as 1/4 didn’t seem adequate for sweet doughnuts.

I omitted the nutmeg since I am unsure about whether this spice is Islamically acceptable (search here).

Overall I was very pleased with the results and so were the children. They are very fond of Krispy Kreme donuts but decided that these were actually nicer!

Recipe from the Foodnetwork website:


Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil depends on size of vessel you are frying in – you want three inches of oil (can substitute any flavourless oil used for frying)


Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

(I did all of the above steps in the breadmaker instead)

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole.

Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


Myself and many other Daring Bakers are particularly grateful to Audax at Audax Artifex for his tips in making the Alton Brown’s doughnuts – check out his post and the information he has provided.

After having looked at the blog posts of fellow Daring Bakers who made this months challenge I loved the idea over at Candied to add orange zest into the dough. When I make brioche I add lemon zest into the dough so I am sure that orange zest would be a delicious addition.

I found it messy filling some of the fried doughnuts with jam/Nutella/lemon curd but Marcellina over at Marcellina in Cucina filled her doughnuts when shaping (before frying) and they turned out perfect.

Home-made flour tortilla


I came upon this recipe on Youtube for homemade tortillas and they looked so easy so I decided to give them a go. I made them into quesadillas for our lunch and they were very tasty!

You will need:

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of baking powder
3.5 oz — vegetable shortening (cut into very small pieces)
1 cup of very hot water

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined then knead the dough for 3 minutes.

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 18-20 even pieces of around 1.5 oz (40g) each.

Place the pieces back into the bowl and cover whilst you are rolling the first piece.

Roll each piece thinly into a circle. Each of my attempts at rolling into a nice uniform circle was a fail so…

I rolled then used a bowl to cut into a circle!

Place onto a hotplate on a medium to high heat and cook until you see bubbles forming.

Turn the tortilla and heat for about a minute before turning over again. The tortilla will fill with air so gently flatten with a spatula so that it cooks evenly.

Place the cooked tortilla on a plate and cover with a tea towel whilst cooking the remaining tortilla.

Watch the video with recipe on Youtube that I used:

I used my tortillas to make quesadilla.


I sautéed some onion and green pepper before adding some ready cooked, chopped chicken breast and seasonings.

I placed one tortilla on a plate then spooned some of the chicken mixture to fully cover the tortilla, then a slice of low fat Edam (or you can use grated cheese of your preference) before finally placing a second tortilla on top.

Heat a pan with a teaspoonful of oil or in my case I just used a little Pam cooking spray.

Carefully place the quesadilla into the frying pan and heat for about a minute before very carefully flipping. To stop the filling from spilling out,  I found it easier to place a plate on top and tip the pan upside down and then return the quesadilla to the pan before heating for another minute.

Serve with the usual Mexican accompaniments such as sour cream, Guacamole, Pica de Gallo etc.

I served mine with Low Fat Philadelphia as a low fat alternative to the sour cream, chilli sauce and a serving of salad.

No knead Ciabatta


I discovered this recipe shortly after buying one of the Ikea cast iron casserole dishes and was really excited to get on and make this. I doubled the original recipe because at 5l, the casserole dish I have is pretty huge. If you have a smaller dish, go with the original quantities for this bread (360g flour). I was a little over zealous when it came to flouring the tea towel so there was a little too much flour on top of my bread nevertheless the results were stunning. Crunchy exterior and beautifully aerated interior that was all the more delicious with lashings of butter that melted into my still warm slice that I couldn’t wait to taste test.

You must plan ahead with this bread as the dough needs to sit for a good 10-12 hours before shaping into a loaf, wrapping in a tea towel and leaving for a further 2 hours before baking.


720g strong white bread flour
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
660ml tepid water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in water and olive oil. Mix together quickly with fingertips and then knead for a minute or two. Cover and leave in a dry place for 12 hours


The risen, aerated dough after a few hours:


After 12 hours, you’ll find it more than doubled in sized and very bubbly. On a well floured surface, knock back the dough and form into a ball. Place on a tea-towel sprinkled with flour (I slightly over did it in fear of the bread sticking), bring the edges of the tea towel up and cover and leave for 2 hours.


Place cast iron cooking dish with lid (Dutch Oven) into the oven on 450F/230C to pre-heat.

Flop the dough out into the cooking dish, place on lid and bake for 25mins. Remove lid and cook for further 15 mins to crisp up the crust.


Enjoy with a good quality butter or as a delicious accompaniment to home-made soup.