Lamb and Pearl Barley soup

Hi guys, how is your foodie-life going on out there? It’s such a good weather now here – in Dubai, I’ve heard that this year March is one of the coldest months of the past 10 years! Believe me or not, but I’ve been living here approximately the same time and it really seems colder than usual, especially in the evening or those very windy days, that even with the jacket on I want to go in and hide somewhere with a cup of hot tea. 😄 

And this warm and nourishing soup exactly what I need these days. I’ve been enjoying it for the last couple of weeks, as I cooked it twice and both time in a large pot so it will be enough for at least two days. This soup combines Russian and Middle Eastern flavors and textures: pearl barley is a well-known grain in my home country, and lamb is a popular meat in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries.

The soup is good in its simplicity, even though it takes more time to prepare it comparing to other soups, but you will like the result – flavorful and delicious thick soup. Using all spices is a another little secret to get wonderful aroma!

“Lamb

  • Servings: “4-5”
  • Difficulty: “very
  • Print

Dear readers, sorry but the ingredients’ weight is approximately. Next time I will cook it – I will measure fore sure. 😉

What You’ll Need 

  • 800g lamb, with bone preferably 
  • 100g pearl barley (you need about 2-3 Tbsp uncooked barley per person)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp EV olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole coriander, crushed a bit
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • some fresh chopped coriander, optional
  • Arabic or any other bread to serve


How To Make It 

  • Night before or at least 3 hours before cooking, cover washed pearl barley with cold water.
  • In a large pot, add lamb and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, remove all foam, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and boil for 1hour. Take the meat from the broth, and cut into medium pieces.
  • Drain pearl barley and then add to the pot, cook for 40 minutes.
  • Cut vegetables into small cubes, and add to soup along with bay leaf. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the soup for 20 minutes more. 
  • Tip: Add some hot-boiling water if the soup is too thick for your taste.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the oil and fry onion on a medium heat until it’s just transparent. Add coriander and cumin seeds, and garlic if using, and fry for 1 minutes more. Transfer to the soup.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with some bread. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander, if desired.

Enjoy!

Chami

  Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan is going on in the UAE, during this month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and when the sun sets they break the fast. It is also time to be more grateful and patience, time for charity. Many families and friends get together to break their daytime fast, that evening meal is called iftar. The meal most often starts with a date and a glass of water; then usually soup or salad is served, numerous appetizers (mezze), which includes olives, hummus, and of course cheeses.Chami
 In my opinion, cheeses are loved by many people and every country has their own varieties and names, and Arab region is not the exception. One of the traditional Emirati cheeses is called Chami, which is similar to cottage cheese. I can even say more, it is a cottage cheese. The legend says that an Arabian bedouin traveled somewhere across the desert, and took some milk with him in a goat’s stomach, and while he was traveling, extremely hot sun and his movements (or his horse) caused the milk to separate into curd and whey; thus the first simple cheese was discovered. 
 Most probably that time it was goat’s or sheep’s milk and thus the cheese, but nowadays it is usually prepared by simmering cow’s laban (local dairy drink,  similar to Russian kefir or buttermilk). Chami is usually drizzled with ghee (clarified butter) and eaten with dates. In my home country, homemade cottage cheese is often made the same way: by simmering the soured cow’s milk that caused the milk to separate. I love cottage cheese, not only to eat it as is, I add it into cakes or sweet one-dish bakes (you can find numerous recipes if you write “cottage cheese” in the search line on the right). So I make it quite often at home, but I prefer to simmer local yogurt, which is sold in large one, two and larger liters buckets. thus I have the bigger quantity of the cheese.

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

 Hello guys! How is your foodie-blogo-life going on?
I’ve wanted to post this recipe for so long that almost forgot about it. When I was a student I didn’t want to spend much time cooking, so the food was usually prepared well ahead of time, and then reheat, or simple dishes were all the time favorite, like boiled potatoes served with homemade pickles or macaroni a la flot, or famous salad vinegret was cooked pretty often. So, the recipe of this salad I read in one tiny little book with few recipes suitable for the Lent diet, when you’re not allowed to eat meat and dairy products; and I liked it from the first spoon (even though first time I didn’t use neither honey or coriander seeds) and since then I prepare it. I highly suggest not to omit coriander seeds, as they give so much flavor, and the simple beetroot salad turns into something special. And I love the idea that this bright salad can be made all year round and served whether as a starter or a healthy main dish (add some roast fish steaks on a side for the more nourishing meal).

MonasteryBeetroot Salad

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

You’ll need 
450-500g beetroot
2 medium brown onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
150g prunes, without stones
100g walnuts, raw or dry-roasted
2 tsp runny honey
some chopped parsley or dill, for garnish, optional
How to make it
  1. Boil or roast beetroots until ready to eat. Peel, cut into cubes or wedges.
  2. Saute onions in oil until translucent, add coriander seeds and fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Chop prunes and walnuts, combine with honey. Mix into beetroot.
  4. Drizzle with extra oil and honey, if desired. Sprinkle with some more coriander seeds and (optionally) with fresh chopped parsley or coriander.
Enjoy!
MonasteryBeetroot Salad with coriander seeds

 

Red pepper Dip

Hello-hello! If you have seen the previous post, I promised the recipe with roasted peppers, so for keeping you waiting for so long. Here it is. The dip is such a nice snack, especially for mums, when you are doing lots of thing at a time, it is easy to forget to feed yourself (of course not your child, haha). All you need for this lovely dip is to prepare roasted peppers ahead, and then just whizz peppers with nuts and oil in a blender until you have a rough paste. In fact, I actually prefer not to measure ingredients in such simple recipes, throw in as you feel – that’s all. Then scoop the dip into a beautiful bowl, put on a table with some sliced bread or crackers on the side, and dig in when you have a time. Red pepper dip goes nicely with roasted chicken or fried chicken breasts. Yum! Healthy, delicious and sooooo quick to prepare, sounds perfect. 😀
Roasted red pepper dip
I’ve tried this dip with a store-bought almond meal and homemade roasted ground almonds, and surprisingly I love the option with almond meal. Honestly speaking, I thought I would like a note of roasted nuts in the dip but I didn’t. The choice is up to you, try both and let me know what do you like more.
Dip with roasted red peppers and almonds
Tips
If you like it spicy – add chili flakes or chili oil.
If you want to make the consistency thinner – add a splash of water.
No nuts? Not a problem, make it nut free – sub almonds with breadcrumbs.
Red pepper dip

Red pepper Dip

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
What You’ll Need
1 roasted&marinated red pepper
1 garlic clove from the marinade
1 tbsp EV olive oil
2 tbsp almond meal
6-8 basil leaves (optional)
1-2 tbsp water, optional (to thin the dip, if desired)
Salt, pepper, to taste
How to Make it
  • Put all ingredients in a blender, blend until desired consistency.
  • To make it thinner, add water – spoon by spoon, but not much!
  • Serve with bread, crackers or even chicken.
Enjoy!

Marinated roasted peppers

 Hello, dear friends and all foodies! I’ve been away for awhile.  The life and time with my little pie fly by so fast that I haven’t realized that summer is already over and autumn almost too, and I haven’t posted a recipe or even a small note. Hope someone miss me, because I’m happy to come back with new ideas and recipes. 😀
 When you think autumn what do you imagine in your mind, I bet not only beautiful yellow and reddish leaves and trees in the woods, also lots of pumpkins and probably carrots. That’s not bad at all, I love those vegetables too; its bright color and wonderful taste turn a dull and boring day into a cheerful one. But I decided to go another way and prepare bright, aromatic and tasty marinated roasted peppers. If you have never tried to make those at home, you have to! Really! It is one of the quickest dishes, and no need to buy those expensive jars from a store! Make your own! The final result is fabulous, you can use peppers in so many ways! One of the recipes will be in the next post, don’t miss it!
MRP-1
 But first, you need to roast bell peppers. I usually cut them into halves, remove all seeds and stems, arrange on a tray (line it with a foil – less mess), then drizzle with some oil, and roast in the oven for 40-60 minutes. When they are done, pell off the skin, it comes off very easily. At this step you can stop and eat them, for example on a slice of sunflower seeds bread😀 or be patient, slice them, arrange into jars along with couple of garlic cloves, rosemary, and chili flakes, optionally – a good pinch of sea salt, plus a splash of white balsamic vinegar,  and of course drizzle with some oil (I prefer extra virgin oil, but you can use any you like/have).
 I keep peppers in this marinade for a week in the fridge (honestly, they rarely stay that long). And what an amazing smell when you open a jar!
MRP-2
If you want to store them longer, I suggest to heat the marinade and use sterilized jars.
About the recipe: I don’t have any exact ingredients, just add as much as you like/feel. Happy cooking!
MRP-3