I love bananas and I love Nutella and combining the two leads to sheer magic. While it is very difficult to imagine improving on Nutella, when you combine it with fresh cream, butter and icing sugar, and then spread this frosting atop a moist cake chock full of bananas and walnuts, the blend of flavours is simply mouth-watering. Continue reading “Banana cake with a nutella twist”
|My mom’s basbousa recipe below:)|
Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the Islamic month of fasting, is all about consuming sweets. Well, at least that’s what I grew up believing –and I have happily upheld this tradition up to today. After a month of fasting from sunrise until sunset, which tends to constrict your appetite, pastries, sweets and cookies are served up in large quantities during the three days of Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking the fast). The best part is, after cutting down consumption during Ramadan, I don’t feel guilty about devouring these rich, sweet, buttery desserts.
There are so many varieties of sweets served across the Arab world during Eid. Kahk (or maamoul) is a particular favourite in Egypt and other countries: small pastries stuffed with dates, walnuts or pistachios and doused in powdered sugar. Ghorayebah biscuits, baklava and kunafeh (a Middle Eastern pastry made from a vermicelli-like pastry) are other crowd favourites.
During Eid, extended family members generally visit one another to congratulate each other on a successful Ramadan and pass along Eid greetings. These sweets, often bought at bakeries, will be served as part of the celebrations.
Apart from my sister, I haven’t any family or extended family in town this year. Hence, we have no major socialising events to attend. I suppose because of this, it slipped my mind to stock up on pastries at the end of Ramadan. I woke up this morning realising there wasn’t a traditional sweet in the house to help us celebrate.
So I pulled out my handy compilation of mom’s dessert recipes and decided to make basbousa, a sweet pastry made from semolina and coconut and drizzled in syrup. While I have had this recipe on file for years, today was the first time I tried to make it on my own.
The basbousa turned out quite well (I ate two portions before dinner). As usually occurs when I try one of my mom’s recipes, however, the basbousa wasn’t quite the same as when she makes it. This never fails. I can follow my mom’s main course or dessert recipes to a tee and yet they will always turn out a little off, as though her touch triggers a latent flavour in every dish that cannot be replicated by anyone else.
In any case, the basbousa is still yummy enough to share, so I’ve included the recipe below for those interested in indulging in some guilt-free dessert consumption this Eid.
While Ramadan is over, many Muslims will continue to fast with less frequency in Shawwal, the lunar month that follows Ramadan on the Islamic calendar. Eid is declared once the sighting of a new moon marks the start of Shawwal. There are said to be spiritual benefits for fasting six days during the month of Shawwal, following the Eid celebration. Fasting outside of Ramadan is one way to help carry the spirit of the month through the year, which I elaborated on in July in my blog entry, ‘Fasting to Feed the Soul’.
A joyous Eid to all and happy eating!
My mom’s basbousa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheatlets (semolina)
1 cup coconut
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup to ½ cup yogurt
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
Juice from ¼ of a lemon, freshly squeezed
1) Preheat oven to 180C.
2) Prepare the syrup. Combine sugar, water and vanilla powder in a saucepan at high heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five minutes to form a syrup. Leave to cool.
3) Mix together flour, wheatlets, coconut and baking powder in medium bowl. Fold in butter and mix until well-combined. Add yogurt to mixture and combine until batter is smooth.
4) Spread the mixture into greased large circular or rectangular baking dish and pat down until it is evenly spread across the pan. (I used two square baking dishes this time, but would have preferred making it in one larger pan)
Take a sharp knife and slice cake into diamond or square shapes. Arrange almonds on top so that each cut slice will hold an almond.
5) Bake for about 30 minutes until golden.
6) Remove cake from oven and immediately pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the baking dish. Allow basbousa to absorb the syrup and cool down before removing from tray and serving.
|Remove from the oven once it is golden…|
|Then drench the cake in the prepared syrup..|
|And leave it until the syrup is completely absorbed. Ready to eat!|
|Berry selection at a farmer’s market in Richmond, British Columbia|
I went blueberry picking this week with my mom for the first time in years. There are numerous berry farms about a ten-minute drive from our house in Richmond, British Columbia. When I was in high school, we were leasing a house not far from where we live now that had three large blueberry bushes in the backyard. I used to spend hours in the summer months collecting the blueberries once they had ripened. We would freeze bags of them in our large deep freezer and pull them out throughout the year to bake muffins and cakes. I also love eating blueberries on their own, either fresh or frozen.
|Me picking blueberries|
The rain and cloudy weather this year has delayed the peak of blueberry season, which usually happens in July. This year, blueberry-picking season is likely to peak in early August, according to the owner of the farm we visited. Nonetheless, we were able to collect about one and a half kilograms of big, plump, sweet berries. How better to enjoy fresh blueberries than in big blueberry muffins? I share a great recipe below.
While we’re on the subject of delicious muffins, I also have to share a fabulous cherry bran muffin recipe that I tried last week after a neighbour gave us a basket full of fresh dark red cherries picked from a tree in his back yard. I replaced raisins with cherries in a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. The muffins are incredibly soft and moist, and so healthy and delicious. Really great for breakfast.
Enjoy these great summer-time treats!
FRESH BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2/3 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
PREHEAT oven to 200 degrees C. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.
COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
BEAT butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Combine eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add egg mixture to butter and sugar and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture to the large bowl and mix well. Add milk and combine until smooth. Fold in blueberries.
To make crumb topping, mix sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon until well-combined.
FILL muffin cups. Sprinkle the mixture over the muffins. For larger muffins, fill the tins to the brim.
Bake for about 20 minutes in oven until done.
MOIST CHERRY BRAN MUFFINS
- 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup diced cherries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
- Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
- Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in cherries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
There are certain tastes, scents and sounds that will take you back to another time in your life. Me and my sweet tooth will always remember a delightful pastry.
|These are about double the size they should be but just as yummy!|
|I love eating and sharing desserts. Recipe makes around 30 cookies.|
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
Today, two weeks after the fall of Mubarak, I’ve baked it again in honour of the people of Libya. Please find the recipe below, it is easy to make and absolutely scrumptious!
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Cocoa powder, ½ to ¾ cup depending on your taste
- 75-100g of baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
- ¾ cup margarine
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- 200 ml of fresh cream
- 1 tablespoon of margarine
- ½ cup of icing sugar
- 75 ml cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa
- Grated baking chocolate shavings (optional)
Then add the fresh cream, which contributes to the cakes velvety taste and texture. Add cocoa and baking chocolate and mix well. Finally, add the flour mixture and blend well.