Friday, January 29, 2010

Fish with Sesame Paste Sauce ("Samak Bil Tahina")

One of the best arabic dishes! Tahina sauce goes perfectly well with fish.

Ingredients:
500 g. fillet of white fish (hammour)
Salt, pepper, olive oil
1/2 tahina (sesame seed paste)
1 cup water
juice from one lemon
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
Pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, green onions

Method:
1. Prepare fish: wash, discard any left over bones, pat dry, season from both sides and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Bake in preheated to 180 C oven for 10-15 minutes. Time depends on if you cook one big peace or two smaller ones. Do not over bake.
3. Prepare sauce: mix tahina, lemon juice and water and bring to a light boil, just to dissolve the paste. In another skillet fry some onions with garlic in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, add to tahina mixture and mix well.
4. Remove fish from the oven and spread tahina sauce over it. Place back to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
5. Garnish with fried pine nuts and green onions on top.

Sahten! :-)

PS: for side dish i made some basmati rice with turmeric and raisins:
1. Wash 2 cups of basmati rice until water will become clear. Let it drain in a sieve for 30 minutes.
2. Heat some olive oil in heavy pan and fry rice for 2 minutes until coated well in oil and extra liquid evaporated.
3. Add 3 cups of boiling salted water and close the lead, leave on law heat for 10 minutes.
4. Open the lead and quickly drizzle 1 tsp. of turmeric over rice, close the lead again and cook for another 5 minutes or until rice cooked through and fluffy.
5. In small skillet heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil, add washed and dried raisins and fry for a minute.
6. Add to rice and mix all together before serving. Or just drizzle over rice on serving plate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Korvapuustit - Finnish Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon! It is so delicious with yeasted dough. I did not want to make those thick and sticky "Cinabon" rolls. Quite opposite, i love baked goods to be not as fattening as they might be. Those rolls you can by in europe in supermarkets, did not try them freshly baked though, but they sell them just in plastic bags which can be stored over time. This is how i made them.

Ingredients:
1 packet of active dry yeast (10-11 g.)
250 ml. milk
100 ml. sugar (I put 75 ml.)
450-500 g. flour
1 tsp. cardamom powder
75 g. buter at room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt

Filling:
2 tbsp. butter at room temperature
2 tbsp. cinnamon powder
3 tbsp. sugar

Egg for brushing
Sugar for sprinkle

Method:
1. Mix cardamom, sugar and and salt dissolve in slightly warm milk.
2. Sift most of the flour and mix with yeasts. Pour into milk mixture and mix until smooth.
3. Add butter and remaining flour, keep mixing until dough will not be sticking to the mixing bawl.
4. Cover with plastic film and let it rise in some warm place, until double in size. 40 minutes to 1 hour.
5. In meanwhile mix together cinnamon and sugar. Prepare butter, softened at room temperature and brush.
6. Kneed dough after rising for few minutes, then roll into rectangular 40 by 50 cm.
7. Spread the butter over it, keeping 1 cm from one side. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon filling. Roll into roulade.
8. Cut it diagonally, so one side of it will be about 5 cm, and another 3 cm.
9. Place rolls on the baking sheet, lined with baking paper leaving 5 cm. space between.
10. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it double in size (40 minutes or so).
11. Preheat oven to 225C.
12. Beat egg yolk with a little bit of water and brush the rolls.
13. Press with a spoon in the middle down. Sprinkle with some sugar or cinnamon on top.
14. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Lovely for breakfast! My BF loved them! I wish you too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Leek and Potato Soup with Pesto

Light warming dinner for "cold" Dubai winter. After New holidays and baking, nice to have some healthy meals.

Ingredients:
500 g. big potatoes
1 Medium Leek
1/2 white onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 -1 l. vegetable stock
1/2 milk or cream or sour cream
Thyme
Red pepper flakes
Salt and White pepper

Method:
1. Finely chop onions and garlic.
2. Wash leak well, discarding outer layer. Cut in slices only white part.
3. In heavy bottom pan, heat a little of olive oil and fry onions, leeks and garlic for 5 minutes.
4. Season with red pepper flakes.
5. Wash and scrub potatoes, without peeling. Slice into thin rounds.
6. Add potatoes to pan and let it sweat for 3 minutes, mixing with another vegetables.
7. Add stock. Boil until tender.
8. Remove from heat, give it a swirl with electric mixer until smooth, add milk.
9. Return to the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring sometimes. Add more stock if the soup is too thick.
10. Garnish with some pesto on top and croutons.

Healthy eating!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Macarons: First Experience - Advise Needed!!!


It was challenging! I always wanted to try them, but was pretty scared. So decided to make only few. Took one egg, separated white part and kept it at room temperature from morning to evening. As advised by most of the articles - eggs should be aged minimum 4 days. Mine were in the fridge for 5 days after purchase and the last day at room temperature. Another essential rule - all ingredients should be precisely weighted. One more, helpful (but nor essential) is that any coloring should be only powdered substance - i used Green Tea "Matcha".

Ingredients:
38 g. egg white (from one large)
42 g. powdered almonds
76 g. powdered sugar
19 g. granulated sugar
some Matcha for color

Method:
1. Combine ground almonds and powdered sugar in food processor and sift through a fine sieve.
Some articles advices to put this mixture on the baking sheet and dry in the oven for 5 minutes. I did not do this. Added Matcha to the mixture.
2. Beat egg whites in clean dry bowl, until they hold soft peak.
3. Slowly add granulated sugar and beat until mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
To check: turn bowl upside down - they should not move.
4. Add one third of almond mixture and fold gently with spatula to combine.
5. Add remaining almonds and sugar to meringue in two steps. Do not overfold, but fully incorporate all ingredients.
6. Spoon the mixture into the pastry bag with plain half-inch tip.
Alternatively you can use a plastic bag.
7. Pipe one-inch mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with baking paper.
Once piped, bang the sheet down on a counter top to flatten any mounds and bring up air bubbles.
8. Leave unbaked macarons out to dry for 1 hour.

We have a high humidity level in Dubai, so i opened an oven door and placed macarons on the rack on the door.It took half an hour. To check if macarons are dry enough - touch their top with a finger tip - if it is no longer sticky - then they are dry enough.
9. Bake macarons for 20-22 minutes in preheated to 140C oven.
Here I faced a challenge - my oven is not maintaining static temperature and i had to run around for a while to adjust the temperature every once in a while. I guess it effected final result :-(
10. Cool on rack before removing from the baking paper, 15 minutes or so.
To remove easier - sprinkle some cold water under baking paper. Do not keep them for a long on the baking sheet - in other wise they will become soggy.
11. Let cool completely and keep in air tied container in the fridge or fill with any cream.
Hence i made only few as a tester party - i did not trouble myself with making a filling - just put some ready bought lemon curd.

Resolution: Even though macarons did not crack and they had a beautiful shape and even developed their famous "belt", they were not quite alright - the batter inside the macaron was pretty wet (kind of unbaked), so if there is anyone out there knows why, please do let me know :-(
I do not give up and next experience to follow.