Moroccan-inspired Dinner. Roast chicken with chickpea stuffing and sauteed okra.

 When was the last time you had a proper Sunday dinner {or Friday dinner in Arabic countries}? Do you plan it ahead or make it spontaneously? I suggest you to plan the dinner this time. Find the recipe you haven’t tried yet (or try mine) and which doesn’t require much time to be cooked, do the shopping a day ahead. And probably in the weekend you can allow yourself the luxury of feasting on the company of those you love the most.
 I love to spend a weekend afternoon in the kitchen preparing dinner surrounded by the wonderful aromas! Last weekend I was browsing through the photographs from the trip to Morocco, and inspired by all those bright, ancient and beautiful scenes, I decided to prepare the dinner in Arabic style. :)
 This roasted chicken recipe is a terrific option for dinner if you are looking for scrumptious, healthy and something easy to cook! The richness of garlic, the fire of harissa paste and the aroma of lemon make the dish comforting and that the whole family will love!
 So get cooking! ;)
Arabic-spiced Chicken

Roast Arabic-spiced Chicken

Roast Arabic-spiced Chicken
Ingredients
1*1.3-1.5 kg chicken,corn fed, free range
Salt, pepper to taste
2Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tsp thyme leaves, fresh or dried
Rub:
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
3-4 tsp harissa paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ginger powder
5 allspice berries, ground
1 Tbsp olive oil
+2 Tbsp zaatar
Stuffing:
200g chickpeas, cooked or from tin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small chilli, finely chopped
1/2 lemon
olive oil
Method
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Coat it inside and out with salt and pepper.
Gently separate the skin from the flesh with your fingers and insert butter and thyme under the skin.
Mix ingredients for the rub to make a marinade. Rub all over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cook. Sprinkle with zaatar.
For the filling, in a bowl mix chickpeas, garlic, chilli and a dash of olive oil. Stuff the chicken and place the half of the lemon at the entrance.
Truss the chicken and place in the roasting pan (breast-side up).
Roast in preheated 210C oven for 40 minutes, then down the heat to 180C and roast 30-40 minutes more, or until the juices run clear.
Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Extract the lemon from the cavity of the chicken and spoon the filling in a serving bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, season with salt and pepper, mash chickpeas with a spoon a little bit. Drizzle with olive oil.

Sauteed Okra

Okra
Ingredients
400-500g fresh okra, cut into pieces
400g/1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic, chopped
2 tsp dark muscovado or brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
fresh coriander, chopped
salt, pepper to taste
olive oil
Method
Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat, add onion and saute until soft.
Add garlic, okra and cook for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, lemon juice, sugar, season with salt and pepper.
Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes more.
Turn off the heat, sprinkle with coriander.
Serve alongside the roast chicken and chickpeas.
Enjoy the food!

Whirls with poached figs, nuts and spices

The arrival of autumn brings with it the longing to bake more pies, cook rich and hearty dishes, like stews and endless cakes. Spices are an ideal way to add extra aroma to everyday dishes. Add a depth of flavour to your favorite bake and spice up cookies with sweet cinnamon, aromatic nutmeg or mildly-sweet allspice!
 The aroma of these gorgeous cookies tells you that autumn season is in the air! Fill your home and heart with wonderful fragrance and warmth!
First, I poached dried figs in cognac and sugar, and only then I chopped them and add to the cookie dough. You can substitute alcohol with water. Store figs with liquid in the fridge. You can serve such figs over the yogurt or cereal, alongside cakes and pancakes, or even add to the roasted chicken or pork.
Whirls with poached figs

Whirls with poached figs, nuts and spices

Ingredients

Poached dried figs
150g dried figs, remove stems
100ml water
1 Tbsp brown sugar (or more, depends on your taste)
100ml cognac or brendy

Whirls/Cookies dough. Yield 8 pieces approx.

4 medium poached figs, finely chopped
20g mix of walnuts and hazelnuts, chopped
75g butter, room temperature
3Tbsp brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
3 Tbsp sour cream
180g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 all spice berries, finely ground
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
a good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 tsp powder
a pinch of salt
Instruction
Poached dried figs
  • In a small saucepan add water and figs, bring to boil on medium-high heat. Add sugar and cognac. Figs should be lightly covered in a liquid, if it’s not enough add more hot water.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until figs are tender. Turn figs once or twice so each side is poached evenly. Let it cool, then transfer to a small jar. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Whirls/Cookies dough

  • In a mixing bowl beat butter with sugar until pale. Add egg and gently mix. Then add sour cream and combine.
  • Combine flour with baking powder, salt and spices. Add it along with nuts and figs to the cookie dough.
  • Mix a soft dough. Cover, let rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Tear 2 small balls from the dough. On a lightly floured surface roll out each piece into rope-shape (I made the length 25cm each), spin around each other and join the ends.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper. Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool a bit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired. Serve warm or cold with a glass of milk.
Enjoy!
milkandbun.com

I’m bringing these delicious and beautiful cookies to all lovely guests at Fiesta Friday party! Let’s eat, drink and have fun!

Midweek Raspberry Dessert

I made this dessert less than for 15 minutes! Needless to say, it’s a perfect treat for busy days. Don’t know about you, but I need something sweet after the main course! :D I really miss pies or danishes, if I don’t eat them at least once a week. Exactly the same situation was yesterday – the pantry was full of my fav dark chocolate, but I wanted a pie or cake!
 I’m a huge fan of Jamie Oliver and even consider him as my virtual mentor! :) Might you’ve seen food-videos with him and another young guy – Donal Skehan; they both provide inspirational ideas and recipes. I love raspberries! So, I chose this recipe, but adapted it, and made chocolate crust. And wow! Tartlets tasted soooo good! Reach chocolate crust along with tender berry filling gave the brilliant result! Yum!
 Choco-berry tart
Ingredients for two 11cm/4inch baking tins
85g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
30g fine sugar
60g butter, cold and cubed
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp ice cold water
120g raspberries
50-60g strawberries, cut
130-150ml creme fraiche
1 tsp icing sugar
Method

In a bowl or food processor combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder, sugar and butter until it forms a dough.
Press the dough with your fingertips into baking tins. Put in a fridge for 30 minutes.
Mix together berries, creme fraiche and icing sugar; then spread over the dough.
Bake in preheated 210C/410F oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 150C/300F and bake for 20 minutes more.

Enjoy!

Autumn Pumpkin Roll

 October is a pumpkin harvesting month, and also a time for making delicious amber-color pumpkin dishes, like cream-soups and pies. And the Halloween is coming very soon! I love this time of the year, I believe autumn is the most beautiful season. Well, Emirati autumn is different, but let me pretend that it’s autumn here. :D It’s raining outside, and golden, brown and flame-colored laves are falling down from trees..
 In real the heat is becoming less intense and nature is waiting for the cool season to come.
And only one thing is on my mind – baking! This is one of quickest recipes, I swear! :D Especially, if you already have puff pastry in your fridge. So, you need cut pumpkin and apples, and saute it in butter, then mix with couscous and roll into puff pastry. That’s it! Since I prefer not very sugary bakes, I make the roll almost not sweet, the sweetness of pumpkin and apples is more than enough here. I slice the ready roll and serve warm with hot tea. :) In case if you want sweeter, add more raisins and brown sugar! Anyway, the roll will be so delicious and comforting!
 It doesn’t matter what’s the weather outside, when your home is filled with amazing scent of dark brown sugar, cinnamon and baked veggies!
Autumn Roll

Autumn Pumpkin Roll

 I suggest to make own puff pastry, you can keep it in the freezer for several weeks, or if it’s store-bought, be sure that it made from butter not palm oil or margarine!
 You may vary the quantity of pumpkin and couscous to suit your taste.
Ingredients
250g butter puff pastry
150-200g pumpkin
1 small apple
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp butter
50-60g couscous, cooked
30g raisins (black or golden)
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or increase for sweeter option)
1/3 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
 
Method
  • Cut apple and pumpkin into small cubes, add to the pan with butter, drizzle with lemon juice and saute on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes. Let the mixture cool.
  • Soak raisins in warm water or cognac for 10 minutes, then drain.
  • In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, apple, raisins with couscous. Add salt, sugar, cinnamon and give it a good stir.
  • Arrange the mixture on the puff pastry sheet. Make the roll, brush it with egg yolk.
  • Bake in preheated 180C/360F oven for 25 minutes.
Serve warm with tea in your favorite tea cup! :)
Happy autumn! <3

German Cheesecake – Käsekuchen

 Last weekend I went shopping to the local supermarket and found a dairy product which was new to me – fromage fraise (quark). So, I bought the quark in the hope of finding a recipe and use it somehow. I was browsing the net, when stumble upon the info that Germans making their cheesecake version and using quark; even though I use Jamie Oliver’ cheesecake recipe most of the time, I decided to try new recipe without hesitation. And what do you think! The cheesecake turned out golden and very fluffy, but after setting in the fridge it fell down.. The texture was creamy and tender, and it reminded me the bake with cottage cheese from my childhood. So, if you are not fun of heavy and over-sugary cheesecakes, it’s your option! I will make it again for sure.German Cheesecake

German Cheesecake - Käsekuchen

Ingredients for 22cm baking pan

Crust
170g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
70g butter
1 egg
Filling
600g quark
3 eggs, separated yolks and whites
150g granulated sugar
80g butter, at room temperature
1/2 lemon, grated zest, optional
180ml heavy cream
vanilla bean, seeds
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
Method
  • Crust. Sift the flour in a big mixing bowl, add baking powder, salt, vanilla, sugar and mix. Add butter and egg, knead until smooth. Cover the dough and keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Filling. Beat egg yolks with sugar and vanilla until pale. Add butter, lemon zest and beat again. Add heavy cream and quark and stir to combine. Beat egg whites with salt and lemon juice until stiff; then gently fold into the quark batter along with cornstarch, adding a little at a time.
  • Line the baking pan with paper. Roll out the dough into 30cm circle, or simply place it in the baking pan and press it, pushing it up the sides to make a rim.
  • Pour the filling over crust and smooth with spatula.
  • Bake in preheated 160C oven for 45-55 minutes until the top is golden and the filling set. If the top browning too much, cover with a piece of foil.
  • Cool the cheesecake at the room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

Cheesecake/Quarkcake