Hope you are all doing fine in this lockdown situation due to COVID-19. As temperatures get higher in Karachi, I tried something cool……Back in October last year I bought Popsicle molds from a superstore during grocery shopping, I think now it’s the best time to use them. So I am making Strawberry popsicles as I got lots of them in the fridge, you can use watermelon or pineapple.
Here is the recipe
2pintsfresh strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds), hulled and sliced
3Tablespoonsgranulated sugar (or more/less depending on sweetness of strawberries)
2Tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
finely grated zest from half a lemon
In a bowl, combine sliced strawberries and sugar. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow strawberries to expel juice.
In a food processor (or blender), combine strawberry-sugar mixture, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until smooth.
Pour strawberry puree into molds with wooden sticks and place in freezer.
Freeze for at least 3 hours until popsicle is solid. To remove popsicles from mold, submerge mold into room temperature or slightly warm water for a couple of minutes. Remove from water and pull popsicles out.
* If adding carrot-orange juice, add after filling mold halfway with strawberry puree. Then freeze as normal.
Makrout is a traditional North African semolina pastry. Also spelled Maqrout, Makroudh, Maqrut, Mqaret, Imqaret or Makroud. The word makrout in Arabic means “diamond shaped”, as are these small delights.
Makes: 3 to 4 dozen
750g semolina (medium grain)
110g butter, melted
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
100ml warm water, or as needed
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
oil, for frying
sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
500g ground almonds
250g granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 dash almond extract
3 tablespoons orange blossom water
Prep:1hr › Cook:45min › Extra time:8hr › Ready in:9hr45min
Mix the semolina, oil, butter and salt in a large bowl. Rub the grains of semolina between your fingers, so that all the grains are well coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside. Let it rest like this for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. The mixture should be like wet, oily sand in the morning.
The next morning, combine the warm water and orange blossom water. Slowly add to the semolina mixture along with the flour and vanilla sugar. Add just enough liquid till you have obtained a soft and homogeneous dough. Don’t overwork the dough, just enough to have a smooth and flexible dough that forms into a ball easily. Set aside.
Make the filling by combining the almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon and almond extract. Form into 2 long logs. Set aside.
Divide the semolina dough into 2 balls, then flatten to form a rectangle, about 3 times the width of your filling logs. Press down in the centre to form an indentation, then lay the filling log. Fold the semolina dough over the filling, pressing the edges together to seal. Roll the log out gently, shaping it around the filling and smoothing into a uniform shape. (Cut the logs in half if it is more manageable.)
Cut each log into diagonal pieces, creating diamond-like shapes. Reshape the cut ends to have a nice uniform look. Repeat the steps until you have used all the dough.
Set the makrout aside to rest, as you heat up a deep, heavy saucepan with oil – about three fingers deep. And in another pan, heat up the syrup ingredients to just below simmering, and keep warm.
Once the oil is hot enough, fry the makroud in small batches till golden on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and continue frying till all makroud are cooked.
After frying, dip the makrout in the hot honey syrup, keeping them in the syrup for about a minute. Remove and drain on wire racks. Repeat the process, adding each makroud to the syrup for a second soak. Remove and drain on wire racks, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl melt the butter. Add in both white and brown sugars and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute.
Whisk in one egg to the sugar-butter mixture, stirring until it’s fully mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl with your spatula.
Whisk in the second egg and the vanilla and scrape the sides of bowl again.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with the spatula to fully combine. Make sure you’ve scraped the bottom of the bowl and there are no streaks of dry ingredients left. Stir in the chocolate chips. The dough will be soft but DON’T add more flour. It needs to be chilled now to firm up.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Chill the dough for a minimum of 1 hour. This will make it easier to scoop and you cookies will keep their shape better while baking. (This dough can be made and kept in the fridge for 7 days. The dough also freezes really well)
Scoop 14 balls of cookie dough (1/4 cup/100g each) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave some space between the cookies as they spread out during baking.
Bake the cookies at 375°F (190°C) for 12 minutes, or until the edges are set and the cookie is beginning to turn golden brown throughout, but still dough in the middle. It is really important you don’t over bake these cookies otherwise the won’t be soft in the middle.
Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Today was the day off from the office so I decided to try Creamy Shrimp Pasta Recipe, bought some ingredients from the market and this is what I end up with…..
2 tablespoons olive oil
500gm shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan cheese
250gm spaghetti or linguine, cooked and drained
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, shredded parmesan, and lemon wedges
In a medium sized skillet add the olive oil. Add the shrimp and garlic and cook over medium high heat until it is almost pink but not cooked completely.
Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese and stir with shrimp until smooth. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the pasta and stir until the pasta is coated.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, shredded parmesan, and lemon wedges
It’s Eid al-Adha which means we have lots of meat, instead of doing BBQ on day 1 of Eid I decided to made Deep Dish Pizza cos Deep Dish Pizza at Sobremesa was total disappointment.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Butter
1 small (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
500 grams Italian sausage, cooked, cooled, crumbled
18 to 24 slices pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 170ºF. Turn off oven.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, cornmeal, sugar and salt in bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in saucepan. Add water; cook until mixture comes to 120-130ºF. Add to flour mixture; mix until just moistened. Add remaining 2 cups flour to form stiff dough.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface 5-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Spray inside of bowl with no-stick cooking spray. Place dough into bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; place in oven. Let rise 30 minutes or until double in size.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium-low heat just until sizzling. Add onions; cook 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; cook 1-2 minutes. Add all remaining sauce ingredients; cook until bubbles begun to form at surface. Remove from heat; set aside.
Remove dough from oven. Heat oven to 450ºF.
Punch down dough; divide in half. Roll each half into 11 inch circle on floured surface. Spray 2 (9-inch) spring form pans with no-stick cooking spray. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over bottom of each pan. Layer each with half of sauce (about 1 1/4 cups); 9 to 12 pepperoni slices and half of Italian sausage. Top each with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover pans with aluminum foil; bake 30-40 minutes or until crust is browned. Uncover; bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting. Remove sides of pans; cut each pizza into 8 slices.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour, baking powder, 1 cup sugar, coconut and butter. Add the yogurt and milk; mix until moistened but not runny or liquid. If you see that it is too dry, add more milk. Spread into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, smoothing the top as much as possible. Decorate the top with whole almonds.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. While the basbousa is baking, combine the water, 1 cup of sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for at least 5 minutes.
When the basbousa has finished baking, pour the syrup over it as evenly as possible. Place it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the syrup has been fully absorbed. Let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.
Tempura is the very popular Japanese dish used with sea food or vegetables. It is the lighter version of Pakora. The key for perfect tempura is batter and the temperature of oil.
The temperature has to be between 320-356°F (160°C – 180°C) depending on how long it takes to cook through the ingredients. To check your oil if its perfect for frying just put a pinch of your batter into the oil and after few seconds it has to fry and float on the surface, if its settles down at the bottom then your oil is not ready for frying. Cold batter is absolutely necessary for the unique fluffy and crisp tempura. To keep it cold I put it over the bowl filled with ice cubes.
Oil for deep frying
For tempura batter:
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup ice water
Heat the oil in a deep skillet until smoking.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add enough water to make a thin batter.
Cook the vegetables in batches by coating in batter then deep frying in the oil until crisp.