Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oriental Nights With A Savoury Hummus Trilogy

We spent 5 beautiful years living in Egypt and enjoyed traveling and discovering the incredible archeological, cultural and culinary treasures of this magic country.
One of the delicacies I enjoyed most were the delightful mezes (dips, small plates and salads) which are to be found all over the Middle East and some mediterranean countries.
Hummus has already conquered our tables a long time ago. We definitely prefer the home made one to the many offered ready made.
One of the virtues of this spread is it's fantastic versatility and how fun it is to play around a bit with different flavors and spices to add a multi-cultural touch.
Of course it's only half the fun when you don't add an oriental touch to your table as well when serving these delicacies.

We found this beautiful, handmade teapot holders in the Khan el Khalili Bazaar in Cairo

as well as this lovely tea glass

Hope this table setting serves as inspiration to awaken your creativity and try out different ways to give an interesting 1001 nights touch to accompany your Hummus Trilogy.
Have fun, I would be happy to know the results of your inventiveness :)

You need for the classic Hummus:

250g canned chickpeas, drained (keep the water apart)
2 tablespoon high quality Olive oil
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 medium garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoon of the chickpeas water (or normal water)
1 tablespoon Tahini paste (optional)
Salt for seasoning

about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil for serving
Finley chopped tomatoes or Paprika to sprinkle on the basic Hummus
Chopped ,flat parsley to sprinkle on the Curry Hummus
some whole chick peas to decorate the avocado parsley Hummus

Combine the chick peas, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper and water in the bowl of a food processor and process until obtaining a smooth and creamy Hummus.
If necessary add some additional water or olive oil.

Classic Hummus

-for the Curry Hummus just add 1/2 tablespoon yellow curry to the basic hummus paste

for the avocado Hummus add 1/2 a ripe avocado and 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley to the basic Hummus and blend in the food processor.


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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sweet Valentine with delicate Crepes Suzette

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and my friends have very different opinions about the 14th of February.
There are the ones that prepare the celebration and gifts well in advance and get shining eyes  whenever somebody mentions this special day and then there are the ones that joined gladly the "Occupy VD´s " movement.
Here are some quotes I found about the subject which I wanted to share wit you, they are just so cool :)

"I don´t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day.
When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon"

 Happy Single Awareness Day!

"If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?"

"Dear Cupid, next time hit us both!"

So what do you think - to Valentine or not to Valentine?
For me, its a kind of dilemma. On one hand I think its a great idea to celebrate love  and friendship  on the other hand why only one day of the year?
Honestly, I´m already a bit dizzy by seeing heart shapes and pink deco everywhere.
Can anyone tell me when the frenzy began that caused overcrowded restaurants, sold out chocolate stores and exhausted florists?
Not to forget that there are desperate people around, trying to live up the expectations and not to mention the ones of us who forgot, oops, to get a girlfriend or boyfriend just in time :)
We decided to take it easy this year. No queuing up in fancy restaurants, just a lovely, romantic dinner at home.

This was the romantic table our children prepared for us at Valentine´s Day last year.

And the highlight on a day like this, is of course, the dessert.
Crepes Suzette, delicate and with a light orange flavor touch, seemed a good choice.
This is what you need:

For the crepes:
100g flour
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon caster sugar
170ml milk
60 ml water
25g unsalted butter, melted

About 2 spoonful unsalted butter to bake the crepes
Mix the ingredients (except for the butter to bake the crepes)in a blender until obtaining a smooth mixture.
Pour into a jug and let the mixture sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Brush a medium size nonstick  skillet with a bit of melted butter.

Heat over high heat, pour in just enough crepes mixture to cover the base of the skillet. and lower the temperature to medium.

Run a wide rubber spatula around the edges to loosen.

Turn and cook other side until golden brown.

 Cook until underside of the crepe is golden brown.

Fold crepes into halves, then into quarters and place into skillet again.

For the orange sauce:
1 spoonful sugar
40 g unsalted butter, melted
3 spoonful icing sugar
300 ml freshly pressed orange juice
2 spoonful Cointreau or Grand Manier
1 1/2 spoonful Brandy
melt butter in a large, flat pan, add sugar and let cook at low heat for about 2 minutes.
 Add orange juice bit by bit. Be careful as mixture might splash.

Increase temperature to medium and let cook until the mixture has reduced for about 1/3.
Apart, warm the folded crepes with the orange  sauce in skillet.
Let simmer at low heat for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
Immediately, pour Cointreau and Brandy over the crepes and ignite
Cook until flames subside. 

Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream (optional).

Serves about 6.
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