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.

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

 

Coconut panna cotta

Panna cotta is such a universal dessert that suits any season, whether it’s freezing winter or hot summer. Cold panna cotta being served straight from the fridge with some fresh chopped strawberries is a perfect refreshing dessert for a sunny day; but if you take it out from the fridge a lit bit ahead of time, while quickly prepare super easy but super aromatic topping, like rosemary-scented mandarins, or quick sauté fresh cubed apples in a butter with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg – and you have got a nice dessert that warms you up on a cold day.
 I have noticed that I make this dessert during cold months here: probably I miss the snow and the white color of panna cotta reminds me winter in my hometown… This time the idea to garnish panna cotta with coconut candies and flakes came to my mind, so I decided to add coconut milk to the mixture instead of using only regular milk or cream.
Coconut panna cotta
It looks like a mountain, which is completely covered in snow. Doesn’t, it? and those candies are like small snowballs, that little children make to play in a snow fight.
Coconut panna cotta/cup
TIP: If you sprinkle panna cotta with red and pink edible hearts – it can be a lovely dessert to impress your other half on a St.Valentine Day.
panna cotta with coconut milk
I serve panna cotta in glasses, but If you prefer, you can grease cups/ramekins with some oil and pour panna cotta in it, and then when it’s set and firm untold it before serving onto small individual plates.

Coconut panna cotta

What You’ll Need
2 tsp gelatin powder
3 tbsp cold water
1/2 can coconut milk (about 180ml)
250ml whipping cream (or heavy cream)
60g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
coconut candies and flakes for garnish, optional
How to Make it
  1. In a small bowl, add cold water and sprinkle with gelatin, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat,  heat the coconut milk, whipping cream, vanilla and sugar until sugar is dissolved, (but not simmer). Remove from the heat.
  3. Add softened gelatin to the creamy mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Divide the pan cotta mixture evenly among prepared cups/glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Garnish with coconut candies and flakes before serving.
Enjoy!
Coconut panna cotta//with coconut candies