Posts Tagged ‘middle eastern’

I got off to a slow start this year due mainly to the fact that my cold just didn’t want to give up, even though I was doing everything right, like my Chicken Soup, Kelly’s delicious alcohol free Hot Toddy and lots of ginger tea with honey. And I still have a slightly lower octave voice but I’m feeling a lot better!

My Hungarian blogging buddy Zsuzsa suggested I post a list of my baking again this year, so here you go, my friend! I will also snap a few photos and post recipes in the days to come. Previously posted recipes are linked back, unless the photos were gross, in which case, I redid them and posted them again with a little twist!

Here is this 2012’s round up:

Now I bet you’re wondering where on earth did I get this gorgeous cookie mold; my dear friend Barb of Profiteroles and Ponytails was lovely to give it to me as a gift last June (shame on me for taking six months to make these gorgeous cookies with them). I know some of the bloggers (Betsy’s recipe, Sawsan’s recipe to name a couple) I follow have posted some very tantalizing recipes for ma’amouls, but I lacked their ingredients so I needed to find a recipe for which I had everything in my pantry. Plus these shortbread cookies have a lot, and I mean a lot of fat in them, so I searched and searched for a slightly lighter version. I made Bethany’s recipe with minor alterations and I also halved the quantity not knowing if we would love them. The dough is melt in your mouth shortbread dough, but it’s also a bit crumbly. The filling is lovely with the right amount of spice; before you jump to conclusions about the powdered sugar, I read somewhere that the date filled cookie is never sprinkled with powdered sugar . I will make these again, and I you’ll see how I’ve changed them up.


Please click here for original recipe, Bethany gives some great instructions.


Apparently the traditional ma’amoules are not dusted with powdered sugar.

Dough Ingredients:

  • 425 g semolina
  • 100 g potato starch
  • 225 g of butter, melted
  • 125 mL orange blossom water (I substituted water with a few drops of orange essence)
  • 100 g of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground green cardamom
  • 1 ma’amoul mold

Date Filling Ingredients:

  • 125 g dates, pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 25 g of almond flour

I was lucky that mine did not crack. Picture perfect.


  1. Combine the semolina, farina, cardamom, sugar and butter together.
  2. Slowly add the orange water a tablespoon at a time, kneading it into a soft sticky dough (it shouldn’t stick to your fingers). Cover the dough and let it sit 2 hours.
  3. Prepare the filling while the dough rests. Add all the ingredients to a food processor container and process until smooth
  4. After it has rested, knead dough one more time and then divide into two or three even balls. Roll out each ball into a rope with a thickness of 2.5 to 3 cm. Cut to about 2.5-3 cm and roll into a ball.
  5. Flatten the dough using the palm of your hand on the counter and spoon a small size ball of filling into the centre. Lift up all sides and form into a nice round ball. It was suggested to roll this in some additional semolina before you press it into the mold, but it was greasy enough and the mold released it quite quickly.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven 200° C / 400° F until the sides are slightly brown in color. It will vary depending on oven — I baked mine for 20 minutes. Cool and serve.

No one will kick you out of bed for leaving crumbs!

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img_1544_retOn Saturday, February 11 we’re hosting a Valentine’s dinner for dear friends; the husband who recently turned vegetarian (he eats fish, but not meat) so when I saw Manu’s recipe for Falafel I was excited. I thought this relatively simple middle eastern dish could easily be turned into an upscale appetizer (I was thinking Falafel Sliders!). But the Falafel, foiled me and the first batch turned out to be hard as hockey pucks (the squirrels love them!) but I emailed Manu and she was kind enough to offer me some advice. I originally used dry chickpeas and they were old, so quite likely, they never reconstituted well enough. My second and very tasty batch was made from canned chickpeas and I am happy to report that they had enough moisture in them to make this a very tasty treat! I’m serving them as sliders in mini pita pockets with an avocado paste and the lemon yogurt sauce.

You’ll have to excuse the photos, I’m working sans daylight (believe it or not, it’s pitch dark outside!), having to keep the lens open for a really long time (even with the tripod, it’s still not that focused!).

I made a few alterations to the recipe because I wanted them gluten free so I could serve them to my GF friends.

Gluten Free Falafel (adapted from Manu’s Menu)


  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained (Manu suggests you dry them well, but I found the mix a little too dry)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp minced or crushed garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond flour + some for rolling the falafel in


  1. Pre heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Put everything into a food processor and process until you get a fine paste.
  3. Take about a golf-ball sized patty and roll lightly in the almond flour until coated, flatten to about 1.5 cm high.
  4. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, spray generously with non-stick spray.
  5. Place each falafel about 2 cm from eachother.
  6. Spray the falafel tops generously with EVOO.
  7. Bake until the tops are nice and golden — about 18-20 minutes

YUM, is there any more?

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