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.

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

Dates&Figs Tart

When experiments in the kitchen end up like this amazing tart, all I can say is – you have to try it as soon as possible! Really! It is luxurious and creamy, and as many other my recipes is very easy to prepare, especially if you already have a ready shortcrust pastry in your fridge or freezer! Preferably homemade.. Seriously, don’t go out and buy ready pastry. Do try to prepare it yourself, at least once and you will see how easy it is. 😀 Have a look at my unsweetened pastry recipe here (super tasty quiches).
 The tender custard-ish filling was done in almost no time. Simple and unbelievably good! Of course it’s hard to get fresh figs, so I do think you can substitute with dried ones, but then reduce the sugar. Fig&Date tart-2
 Sweet and tender fruits, rich and flaky crust – all these words make my mouth water!
Fig&Date tart-1
What you need is to get ingredients and follow instructions. Very easy recipe, believe me. And don’t forget to stand back and admire this beautiful tart before enjoying! 😉
Date and fig tart

Dates&Figs Tart

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
For 20cm baking tin
*Substitute with orange juice or simply omit.
Ingredients
Unsweeten or sweet shortcrust pastry, any one you like/have.
10-11 medium-size dates
3 fresh figs
1 tbsp orange liqueur or cognac*
2 large eggs
80g brown sugar
250ml creme fraiche (30%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
almond flakes
Method
  1. Line the baking tin with baking paper if need. Otherwise, roll out the pastry to fit the tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. If you have a time you can prebake the pastry base.
  2. Pit the dates, keeping them whole; cut figs; put both in a bowl and drizzle with liquor and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3. Beat eggs with sugar.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk creme fraiche with vanilla, nutmeg, add the egg mixture and whisk again.
  5. Arrange the dates and figs over the pastry. Pour over the batter. Sprinkle with almond flakes.
  6. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is set. Leave to cool in a tin, then carefully take the tart out and serve.
Enjoy! 
DATE TART

Almond and ricotta cake

 One of the great part of food blogging is that you can discover new and interesting recipes almost every time you open your browser; you can see what bloggers cook and enjoy in different parts of the world, and of course try to prepare those amazing international recipes at home. So, when I saw the ricotta-almond cake that Margherita shared at her blog, I immediately saved it and decided to make it the other day. The cake turned out really moist and very nutty. I even could say that you can feel more nuts than ricotta, but it’s not bad at all (especially if you love lots of nuts in baking). Moreover, orange zest gave a fantastic aroma to the cake. The only thing – it was a bit too sweet to my taste, so I will reduce the quantity of sugar next time.
Almond ricotta cake
And I didn’t wait for an hour before unmolding the cake, about 20 minutes was enough to get it cool and enjoy with a tea. 🙂
A slice of almond-ricotta cake

Almond and ricotta cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
*Was a bit sweet to my taste, next time reduce sugar to 100g
For 20cm spring form tin
Ingredients
250g ricotta
180g ground almonds
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
90g butter, soft (at room temperature)
120g white sugar*
zest from 1 orange
3 egg yolks
some almond flakes
orange zest, for decor, optional
Preparation method
  1. In a bowl, stir ricotta with ground almonds. Set aside.
  2. Beat egg whites with lemon juice and salt until steady peaks. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, blend butter with sugar and orange zest until creamy. Mix in egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. Stir in ricotta mixture.
  5. Carefully fold beaten egg whites into ricotta mixture.
  6. Line the baking tin with greased parchment. Pour in batter. Sprinkle with almond flakes and orange zest.
  7. Bake in preheated 170C oven for 50 minutes or until golden.
  8. Let it cool in the tin for 20-30 minutes and then carefully transfer to a serving plate.
Enjoy!

Herb-marinated salmon

 I love cooking and eating salmon. Roasting salmon is my favourite way to prepare it. Usually I sprinkle it with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper, plus a pinch of dried rosemary or thyme – and salmon goes into the oven. Then a super healthy&tasty dish is ready in short time. A couple of weeks back I bought fresh salmon steaks and decided to roast it again, but that time I prepared a marinade and left it for a half an hour or so to soak up all of the amazing flavours before roasting. I chopped fresh coriander, parsley and mixed it with mustard, and some ground green pepper. Now you can imagine all those wonderful flavours! 🙂 What to say, salmon turned out gorgeous and unbelievably tasty! On the weekend I repeated the recipe but grilled it on a barbecue. It was superb again! Next weekend you will try it, right? 😉Herb-marinated salmon steaks

  What about you, dear readers? how do you cook salmon? and what spices and herbs are you usually using?Roasted herb salmon
UAE is celebrating today its 44th National Day! Happy Birthday to the country, which has become my second home.

Herb-marinated salmon steaks

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
*You can substitute green peppercorns with white.
Ingredients
2 salmon steaks
Marinade
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
4 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 garlic clove, minced or chopped (optional)
2 tsp Dijon mustard (you can also use wholegrain mustard)
1/2 medium lime, juice
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1-1.5 tsp coarse sea salt (or more to taste)
2 tsp whole green peppercorns*
Extra
1 large sliced red capsicum
2 small sliced parboiled potatoes
2 gralic cloves in their skin, optional
Preparation
  1. For the marinade, crush sea salt and green peppercorns. In a bowl combine all ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Put salmon steaks in a shallow plate, pour over marinade and leave to marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature, turning once. You can keep the fish in marinade for longer, but cover the plate with plastic wrap or foil and put in the fridge until ready to roast.
  3. Preheat oven to 190-200C.
  4. Arrange salmon steaks in a baking dish, add sliced capsicum, potatoes and garlic. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm. Enjoy!
Herb-marinated roasted salmon with capsicum and potato slices