Mulled Tea

 The calendar says it is already December. Can’t believe. I was planning to post the recipe of one tasty pumpkin cake when realized that autumn is over and winter is here. Even though it’s not freezing cold right now in Dubai and you can’t find the real snow but there are lots of Christmas markets, festive decorations and lights, gingerbread houses, cookies and smell of cinnamon and oranges around – it all makes this season a very special time. Moreover, the weather is absolutely amazing and you can visit tree lighting ceremonies, enjoy mince pies and even mulled wine in some places, or maybe go ice-skating or skiing, and you are in the right festive mood.
 For whatever reason but not everyone can enjoy mulled wine, and that not a big deal if you prepare this hot tea. Star anise and cinnamon in this warming tea makes it very aromatic, plus fresh ginger adds a little spicy note. Moreover, not only adults can enjoy a cup of this mulled tea. It requires almost no effort and festive drink is served, pour hot tea in beautiful glasses and garnish with apple slice or mandarin peel, and sip, sip, sip…
Ginger-Apple MulledTea
For this mulled tea, I simmer loose green tea with sliced apple, few mandarin peels, and spices. You can even squeeze the juice of one mandarin in it.
If you fancy trying another winter drink – click here for the recipe.
Enjoy the Winter Season!
Mulled Green Tea
Bringing a huge pot of mulled tea to the Fiesta Friday party, where I co-host along with lovely Liz. Come and let sip this tea together!

“Ginger-Apple

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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I prefer unsweetened tea, you can add some pure honey or brown sugar to taste.
What You’ll Need 
1200ml water (300ml per person)
4-5 tsp loose green tea (depends on how strong you like it)
1 apple, sliced
2 peels of mandarin (or clementine, or orange)
some fresh sliced ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 star anise
How To Make It
  • In a medium pot, cover all ingredients (except green tea) with hot water. Cover and let infuse for 20 minutes. If you have no time, skip this step.
  • Bring the pot to boil, add green tea, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Strain, serve hot.
  • If you’d like to make the tea sweet, add some brown sugar along with green tea. You can leave the drink unsweetened and serve it with honey, which is better to not to boil and preferably add to the ready drink thus it can keep all its health benefits.
Enjoy!

Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)

Hi all! I supposed to post this recipe long time when cherries were still in the season..and I was not sure at first whether to publish the recipe or not but luckily nowadays you can buy frozen cherries in any large supermarket and it’s not a bad substitution at all. So, go ahead and make this delicious beauty, especially if you already know that cherries are a good source of vitamin C and contain some antioxidants. With crunchy streusel on top – it is a perfect treat at any time of the day!Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)
I used fresh sweet dark cherries if you can’t get it, use sour and add a bit more sugar. And do not refreeze frozen berries, scatter them over the pie straight from the fridge. Also if you prefer brown sugar to the white one, you can use it; probably it works even better: the taste will be richer and the color more golden.
PecanPie-1

Wholewheat Cherry Pie (with pecans)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I used a 20cm square baking pan
 
What You’ll Need
150g butter, soften
75g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
250g wholewheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
50g ground oats (I used medium oatmeal)
200-300g fresh sweet cherries, pitted
Streusel (crumble topping)
4 tbsp wholewheat flour
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2-3 tbsp chopped pecans (or walnuts)
How to Make it
  1. For the batter, beat softened butter with sugar until slightly pale.
  2. Add vanilla and salt, and beat in eggs one by one until just combined.
  3. Mix in flour (no need to sift) along with baking powder and oats.
  4. Spread the batter on a baking pan (lined with baking paper if needed), scatter cherries.
  5. For the streusel, mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in chopped nuts.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel over the pie.
  7. Bake in preheated 200C oven for 45 minutes.*
  8. Take the pan out from the oven, allow to cool slightly in the pan and then put on the serving plate.
*Note: if the pie begins brown too much, loosely cover with a piece of foil, and continue to bake.
Enjoy!
PecanCherryPie

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.

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!
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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!
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