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!
Day 1 of Ramadan went smoothly alhamdu Lillah and I had minimal cooking to do since I had prepared nearly everything the night before. My 13, 10 and 7 year old children were fasting so I had to make something they would enjoy breaking their fast on on and I also kept it simple. Nothing greasy that would upset tummies on the very first day!
I made Algerian Shorba but I didn’t use any meat and instead of burghul (cracked wheat) I used a handful of broken vermicelli.
For main course I marinaded some chicken drumsticks in Nando’s garlic Peri-Peri sauce overnight and then grilled them for about 40 minutes just before iftar. These were served with shop bought coleslaw and potato salad and potato wedges with their skins left on and rubbed with olive oil, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and sea salt – they were baked in the oven on 190C for about 45 minutes.
All I managed to prepare for dessert was orange Jello! Hopefully, I will make some better desserts as the month progresses!
So what to do when hubby brings home with an enormous amount of tomatoes, “because they were a good price” and no amount of salads will use up this glut of tomatoes?! 🙄 Go Algerian and make Tomatish Bil Bassal or in English, Tomatoes with onions.
Tasty dish perfect for summer when tomatoes are cheap and all you need is some French baguette or other crusty bread on the side to mop it up with. Simply delicious!
4 large onions, halved and sliced
a few small chunks of meat, preferably on the bone to impart more flavour – however much you want to eat, I used 4 small chunks which was probably barely 100g
1kg chopped tomatoes
1 green chili, deseeded (I recommend the use of rubber or latex gloves for this!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Slice the onions and add them into a pressure cooker with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of olive oil, add the meat and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is sealed.
Roughly chop 1kg fresh tomatoes and deseed 1 fresh green chilli. I’d recommend using latex or rubber gloves when handling the cut chilli.
Throw the tomatoes and chilli into the pot with the onions and meat. Add a teaspoon of salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, put the lid on the pot and leave to gently simmer for a while.
Liquid will start to come out of the tomatoes but after about 10 minutes add about a cupful or so of extra water and then screw on the pressure lid and leave on a low to medium heat for about an hour. Check the water level after about half an hour though.
The stew is ready when the meat is cooked through and tender and the onions are deliciously soft. Check for salt, add more if necessary.
When I saw this recipe for Constantine Brioches on Simplicity by the Sea, I decided to get the ingredients straight into the breadmaker and give it a go right away.
I found the addition of Nigella Sativa seeds and orange zest into the dough very appealing. I halved the recipe because I was afraid that 4 1/2 cups of flour may be too much for the capacity of my breadmaker – I think it would have been fine though. No sesame seeds on top of my buns though as I didnt have any.
The deliciously soft dough being cut and shaped into buns
Glazed with egg wash and ready for baking
Ready for eating!
Verdict: Really nice, simple recipe. The brioches were wonderfully soft and had a delicius aroma coming from the orange zest and the Nigella sativa just makes them seem healthy! Thanks Henia!
I wanted to create something a little more rustic than the typical bouillabaisse so I looked to North African recipes for some inspiration for this soup or shorba as it is known in North Africa. This quick and simple soup is a modification of various fish soups I found in my recipe books.
125ml warm milk
100ml warm water
1 egg beaten
60g melted butter or margarine
zest of 1 lemon
425g strong plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons easy blend yeast
I have a breadmaker so I put the ingredients above into the breadmachine in the order listed and use the pizza or dough setting. This setting will mix, kneed and rise the dough but will stop before baking.
Alternatively, mix the dry ingredients together, combine the wet ingredients and then gradually kneed the wet ingredients into the dry and kneed until you have a smooth, flexible dough and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once the cycle has ended, knock back the dough and cut into 12 pieces.
Put a chunk of dark chocolate in the centre of each piece of dough:
Shape into a bun:
Place on a lightly floured baking tray and glaze with beaten egg and half a teaspoonful of sugar:
Leave to prove for another 30-60 mins and then bake at 400F for 15 mins or until they sound hollow when tapped.
Ghribiya are light shortbread cookies with a single almond pressed into the centre before baking. A very simple and easy recipe.
5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar
1.5 cups melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
Combine all the ingredients (except the almonds) together in a large bowl. Between your hands, roll balls the size of a large walnut and place onto lightly greased baking trays. Push a whole almond into the top of each cookies, it doesn’t matter if the cookie cracks, in fact they look a little more attractive when cracked. Bake at gas 4/180C/350F for 15-20 mins. Don’t allow the cookies to brown, they are traditionally enjoyed pale.