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
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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
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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

Russian Beetroot Caviar

 This bright beetroot dip doesn’t contain salmon or any other fish raw. In my home-country vegetable spreads and dips that are mushed into a non-smooth consistency are often called caviar. In USSR fish caviar was an expensive product and most of the time was served over special occasions, but people have always wanted something tasty not only during holidays or weekend; and such vegetables as an eggplants, marrows and beetroots were cheap and available almost throughout the year, thus I guess economical version of the “caviar” was created.

russian-beetroot-caviar

 The recipe I found in a book dated 1990, it calls to boil beetroot, fry onions and press through the  meat-grinder machine along with other ingredients. Easy-peasy. It turned out so tasty, that i have already made it few times in a row! Moreover, it was a hit at the home-party, especially when I served this dip nicely decorated with little festive crackers; needless to say, guests asked for the recipe!
 The original Russian recipe calls for the salted pickled cucumbers, which are usually watery and personally I don’t like its taste, so I used regular crunchy pickled cucumbers and the beetroot dip was absolutely amazing and delicious! I prefer slightly coarse a caviar-like texture, so I don’t blend ingredients too much, but if you wish – just blitz it more to get the smooth dip. Enjoy!

Russian Beetroot Caviar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
400g/2 medium-size beetroots
2 tps olive or sunflower oil, for frying
1/2 large brown onion
~100g pickled cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
Salt&Pepper, to taste
Method 
  1. Boil beetroots until soft. Cool, clean and chop.
  2. Chop the onion and fry in a oil until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop cucumbers. Also finely chop or mush garlic.
  4. Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency.
  5. Check the seasoning. Serve with rye bread or crackers.
Enjoy!