Friday, 29 May 2009

Our first challenge for WALIMA cooking club !!

Today is our first challenge, WALIMA is a cooking club, for all the arabic food lovers .
We started by Algeria, this lovely country, the algerian kitchen is very rich, for me it was a good chance to try it, first time tasting, first time cooking .
Our First Challenge is brought to us by Khadidja from
Thanks Khadidja, your recipes were really a hit, all of us loved it.
Khadidja gave to us two options, one for a savory dish and one for a dessert, me I picked both, I should not miss this chance.
For the savory was chicken tajine with green olives.

Here you are the recipe....
This dish could be made with chicken or lamb or both. I personally mix the two meats in the same dishThis recipe has some added meat balls and this is optional. If not using both meats, keep the exact same recipe.Ingredients:1 whole chicken cut into pieces2 lbs of lamb1 large onion1 Tbsp butter or oil2 cups pitted green olives2 medium carrots, cut into circles1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp black pepper1 chicken cubewater & parsleyMeat balls (optional)1/2 lb ground beef1 small onion1 small egg1/4 cup bread crumbs1/4 cup chopped parsley1/2 tsp salt1/4 tsp black pepper1/4 tsp cinnamonFlour to dredge the meat ballsTo thicken the sauce: 1 Tbsp soft butter + 2 tbsp flourDirection1) In a pot / pressure cooker put the butter /oil, chicken pieces, lamb pieces (if using), the onion, salt, pepper cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the onionsare translucent. Add the chicken cube and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook until the meat is tender. If using both meats, half way through cooking, remove the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the lamb is tender.2) In a sauce pan, put the olives and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the olives boil for 3 to 5 mn. Drain and repeat the same process 2 to 3 times until the olives are no longer bitter.They should not be too salty neither. Set the olives aside.3) Prepare the meat balls: mix all the ingredients and make balls. Put about 1/2 in of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Dredge each meat ball in flour and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.4) Once the meat pieces are cooked, add the olives, the sliced carrots and the meat balls. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and cook until the carrots and the olives are tender, and the meat balls are cooked through.5)To finish the dish, mix the butter and flour to form a smooth paste. Bring the sauce to a boil and gradually add the butter/ flour mixture, stirring continuously. Let the sauce boil for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish accompanied with lemon wedgesAlmond Surprises -
And my dish is ready !!!

The sweet dish was really a hit...... Here you are the recipe......
INGREDIENTS: This recipe will yield 40 cookies
For the filling:
1 can of almond paste or 300g of ground blanched almonds
180g of powdered sugar
1 large egg
Zest of a large lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the outer dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (in volume) or 2 oz of clarified butter
pinch salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) orange blossom water
For the decoration:
Lemon extract
Bottles of different colors of food coloring
non-toxic gold dust in a small capsule
For the syrup:
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons orange blossom water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon rind from one large lemon
Mix the filling ingredients in a food processor until you obtain a cohesive dough. If it is still wet and sticky, add more powdered sugar.
Using a cookie dough scooper, form small balls of dough. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and let them rest in the fridge.
In the food processor, mix the flour, salt and clarified butter first. Then add the orange blossom water gradually through the feeding tube until the dough turns into one big lump, adding more flour, bit by bit, if it is still sticky and wet. From the dough into a ball and wrap it in wax paper and let it rest for one hour at room temperature. If you are going to color the dough, divide it into smaller balls and apply the food coloring, a few drops at a time, and knead the dough manually until the color gets uniform throughout. Let it rest in small plastic bags.
Make the syrup: mix the sugar, water, lemon rind in a saucepan on medium heat; let it simmer about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the orange blossom water and the lemon juice. Cover the saucepan and let the syrup cool.
To form the cookies: The easiest way is to use a manual pasta machine. Cut the dough in small and manageable lupms and run them through the machine decreasing the opening to make the strips thinner and thinner. When satisfied, you can place the strips on a cold surface on which you have sprinkled a bit of cornstarch and use a rolling pin to finish the job and make the dough paper thin and translucent. Use a large cookie cutter (5 inch) or a glass and cut rounds in the dough. Enclose the ball of filling and twist the dough on top to seal it.
Let the formed cookies rest for one hour on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, without letting them brown.
Plunge the hot cookies in the syrup for a few seconds and remove them with a slotted spoon. Place on gold-rimmed paper liners if you wish (it helps to keep the surface of your platter free of syrup).
Present the cookies to the bride and groom and all the guests.

Et Voila mon plat.......but not as good as Khadidja dish!!

Try it , it is really yummy .

Hope you enjoyed our Algerian day ! I'll let you to hear this wonderful algerian song "ya rayah" or "Hey, traveller" !!
See you next month, and wait for our next arabic kitchen !!
Maasalamaaaah !! Bisous !!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Strudel.....First time in my 5th Daring bakers challenge !!!

I read before about strudel, but never tried to make it... for me, nothing new or creative in it.. just fill some phylo dough.. that's all !
But now I admit , doing it from scratch is really "fun" !!
My hubby, my kids and me really enjoyed it.
In Egypt we have "fettir" it is something like pie, nobody can make it perfectly except some bakers who are really specialized in making it, just for making "fettir", it is like a pie and the original kind of it is plain and we use to eat it with honey, mollasses or a kind of cheese called "mesh",it is a kind of cheese prepared by marinating it for a long period .
But now we can find several kinds of fetir "savoury" and stuffed.

It is just like strudel in the preparing technique, but we use to make it round with a lot of layers.

There are shops that specialize in fettir only, Making fettir is an art, unfortunately fewer people everyday have the know-how of making fettir.
I felt that making strudel from scratch as a process will not be strange to me.
I let doing it for the last day because I was so busy.
But the results were amazing , and we really loved it !!
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.
Thanks Linda, thanks courtney ! The recipe was really awesome !
I made three kinds, the original one "apple strudel", but I used orange juice instead of rum.
I made another batch of dough and made a savoury strudel, I stuffed it with a very middle eastern dish wich is "Shawerma" and "middle eastern rice flavored with cardamom and cinnamon" .

I had some dough so, I filled it with rasberry puree, and it was nice too !!
Trying to make the dough more and more thinner was really exciting for all my family members and of course for me.
this is my photo when I was 3 years old ! I did not know at this time that I will be a daring baker :)))

And here you are the same picture after 32 years soo clear under the thin layer of my strudel dough !
My kids photo too was a part in this wonderful strudel's party..

The question now is that I have a lot of strudel now at home, we will not be able to finish it in one night, what can I do ??
It can be freezed well :)))
Can't wait to know what is the next challenge !!!!
Love from my heart to all of you, daring bakers are the best !!!!

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