27 April 2012

Chicken and camel milk tagine

 I have a new tagine. It's a fancy one - Staub. It cost way too much, but it's the first tagine I've had that does the full job - it works on the stovetop, and in the oven. Until now, I've used a 45 year old enamel pot that came to me through my mother in law, and I will still use that lovely pot, but the added bonus with a tagine like this is that it looks damn good on a table.

I'm still inspired by my trip to Jordan, and after cooking mansaf the other day, I thought of my tagine, and chicken. Chicken is so tender and juicy when poached in milk. Jamie Oliver has a great recipe that I had made when my family still included regular dairy in the diet. But now I use camel milk due to its better casein profile. It also has a richer flavour, a light tang and an incredible creaminess despite its low fat content. Camel milk is readily available here in Dubai - for those who can't find it, substitute with buttermilk rather than regular milk, otherwise it will be a little bland, as I use fillets in this recipe rather than a whole chicken.

25 April 2012

Garam Masala Muffins

I was invited to go and have a chat with some lovely people on Dubai Eye Radio today (about food blogs), and realised with an hour before leaving time that I probably shouldn't turn up empty handed. So, I grabbed a ramshackle bunch of ingredients out of the cupboard and threw them together.

The recipe is quite formulaic - I make this kind of thing for the kids all the time now. You will find it is quite similar to many of my cupcake or muffin recipes already on here. But, the garam masala adds a nice little kick. If I hadn't been making enough for the kids too, then I probably would have used a dash more black pepper to spice them up a bit.

As usual, it's gluten free, casein free and even sugar free (except if you frost it).

23 April 2012

Lamb Mansaf

I've just returned from Jordan, inspired. Some people think all arabic food is the same, and living in Dubai, I can tell you I've had tabouleh and humous up to here (imagine me gesturing at my larynx).

However, I've recently been delving into the different cuisines of the area, and have also been treated to an Arabic food crawl by Arva Ahmed in Deira, and I'm finally starting to find some real gems. One of them is Mansaf, the traditional lamb and yoghurt dish of Jordan.

Ingredients (notes on ratios below)
  • Lamb with bone in (I used a 1.8kg leg. Shanks would also work very well)
  • Laban or yoghurt
  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • shawarma spice (my recipe at end if you want to mix your own)
  • olive oil or ghee for browning meat
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • rice cooked with a pinch of saffron threads (in the rice-cooker)
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves and toasted nuts (pine nuts and slithered almonds work well) to garnish

05 April 2012

Honey Bundt

My kids have colds again. 

My granny knew the cure for the common cold a long, long time ago. So did her granny, and her granny's granny. Honey, citrus, and love. Now we have scientific proof - honey not only soothes a sore throat, it also aids in controlling bacteria and supports the immune system. Citrus is full of vitamin C, another immune booster, antioxidants and folate. And love? Well, I don't need a lab report to tell me that it makes you feel better (but there is one anyway)

I'm a big fan of Manuka honey - I always have some in my cupboard. That, and some organic local honey, which I have been told is good for fighting inflammation from exposure to local pollens. I also used a mix of half ghee, half grapeseed oil to boost antioxidents and linoleic acid. As usual, I have made a gluten free and dairy free option, but this could easily be made with standard ingredients.

I made this cake entirely by hand, as it was the 31st March, and I did so in honour of Earth Hour. It was lovely and fluffy - there is no need to use electric beaters. The kids also helped me with this one - it's super easy. It's not a super-sweet cake, but trust me, if they help you make it, they won't even notice.

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