Scottish Raisin Scones

When making scones you use the same rules that apply to making biscuits. Be sure not to mix or knead to much. You have to be very quick if not you will ruin the recipe. This recipe is very light and fluffy the way a good scone should be. You can use a scone cutter when cutting them out but I prefer to just make them round with a glass usually. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 cup raisins 1/2-3/4 cup laban (or buttermilk) 1 egg 1 tablespoon cream 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter by using a pastry blender or cut into small pieces with a butter knife. Add raisins and work mixture quickly with hands until mix is course. Add 1/2 cup laban you may need more to form dough but you will not need more then 3/4 cup. DO NOT over mix. 2. On a non stick baking mat add dough and carefully place dough and pat until it is the thickness you desire. Cut scones with a floured glass bottom and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for15 minutes are until tops are golden . Yields: 11

Atayef Bil Jaws

This are little Arabic pancakes filled with a sweet nut mixture. I also usually stuff some with qashta as well. These store very well and you can even make all of it ahead of time and throw them together when you have more time. This is a popular sweet served in Ramadan in Saudi. Batter: 1 teaspoon active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1-1/2 cups warm water 1-1/3 cups all purpose flour sunflower oil for frying Syrup: 2-1/2 cups syrup 2 cups water 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoons rose water Filling: 1-3/4 cups walnuts, chopped finely ½ cup sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons rose water 1.In a bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until it froths. In a large mixing bowl add flour, yeast mixture and remaining water. Mix until batter is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm place for 2 hours until batter has rises and becomes bubbly and elastic. 2.To make the syrup, bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan with lemon juice. Allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes, until it is thick. Add rose water, stir then cool. Place cooled syrup in the refrigerator. 3.For the filling mix walnuts, rose water and sugar. When the batter is ready mix vigorously. Using a paper towel coat a non stick pan with oil ensuring it is greased with a very fine film. Heat pan until hot then reduce heat to medium. 4.IN batches of 3, pour one third of a ladle (2 tablespoons) of batter into the pan. Spread the batter a little with the back of a fork so that it becomes round (it will not spread itself). 3-1/2-4 inches in diameter or an oval. Cook one side only. The other side needs to be moist so they will stick together. When the pancake looses its whiteness and tiny holes appear, and the detach from pan lift them out and place on a plate. Continue. 5.Put 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each pancake, on uncooked side. Fold in half to make a half moon shape and close by pinching sides together very firmly. Working in batches, deep fry them very briefly, make sure the oil is not to hot. Lift them once they begin to color. Drain on paper towels. Dip in syrup while still hot. Serve warm or cold. Yields: 40 pancakes Adapted from Arabesque

Lahma Bi Ajeen

Lahma Bi Ajeen means little meat pizzas. This is the Arabic way to make pizza. My family loves to have these during Ramadan. These also taste just as good heated up so have some for sahoor as well. Dough: 1 cup warm yogurt 2 teaspoons dried yeast pinch of sugar 1/4 cup warm water 3-1/3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil Topping: 1 medium onion 1-1/4 pound lean ground lamb or beef 3 garlic cloves, crushed ½ teaspoon allspice salt and black pepper 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses 1 (240 gram) can diced tomatoes, juice drained ¼ cup pine nuts 1. To warm yogurt place in a cup then sit it in a pan of hot (not boiling) water for 1 hour. After yogurt has warmed in a small bowl add yeast, sugar and ¼ cup warm (not cold and not hot) water for 10 minutes, until it froths. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt and oil. Then add yeast and yogurt mixture. If dough is not wet enough you can add a few drops of water until it holds together. Knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth. In a large mixing bowl add a drop of oil and place dough into bowl coating dough all over with oil. Cover with a towel in a warm place and allow to rise for 1-1/2 hours. 2. In a food processor add onion until finely chopped, drain juices. In a large mixing bowl add meat, onion, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper, molasses, tomatoes and pine nuts. Mix well with hands. 3. Punch down dough and knead for 1 minute. Make dough into balls the size of walnuts. On a non floured surface such as a baking mat roll dough with a pin until 1/8 inch thick and round. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. 4. On a baking sheet line with foil then spray with cooking oil. Place 6-8 dough rounds at a time on baking sheet. Fill dough with meat all the way to the edge as the dough will rise and the meat will shrink. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes each. Yields: 30 Adapted from Arabesque

Samboosa bil Fawakeh

I love preserves they are so fresh and you can do so much with them. For this recipe I used blackberries imported from France. They were whole small berries and they are found in the jam section. I also used apricot preserves. You can use any preserves that you may have on hand any will taste just as good. 1 package samboosa leaves fruit preserves of your choice Sugar syrup click here for the recipe paste: 1 tablespoon flour water to make a smooth paste Sunflower oil for frying 1.Place 1 tablespoon of fruit on the bottom of the leave and fold. Seal with paste. In a saute pan on medium heat allow oil to get warm then fry samboosas until golden on each side. Drain on paper towel and drizzle with sugar syrup. Yields: 10 servings

Cat-Head Biscuits

Unless your from the mountains of east Tennessee then I highly doubt you have ever heard of cat-head biscuits. This is an old recipe with an old name. The name came from the Smokey Mountains which is about an hour away from where I was born and raised and was named by the mountain men up there. They wanted a large biscuit and I guess the size reminded them of a cat head. This is just a regular buttermilk biscuit but instead of rolling and cutting them out you shape a large piece of dough by hand. If your from the south use White Lilly if you do not have it regular self rising flour will work just fine. This is a rather large plate in the picture and only a few take it all up. That's a big biscuit. 2 cups self-rising flour, sifted ¾ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 5 tablespoons shortening 1 cup buttermilk 1.Preheat oven to 450 F. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and shortening. With hands work until mixture is course. Add buttermilk. Very quickly incorporate milk into flour to hold together. DO NOT overwork or mix. 2.On a floured surface or non stick baking mat place dough in a loaf shape. Tear off dough the size of a very large lemon and form biscuit shape with hand quickly. Place on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until tops are golden. Yields: 6

Semolina Coconut Cake

This is the perfect Ramadan sweet after a large meal with coffee. The taste will remind you of basboosa yet its not as sweet. This is an easy to make cake for anytime of the year. The sweet milk gives you something creamy to bite into and will make you wonder why you do not add it in all your cake recipes. 2 tablespoons tahina 2 eggs 2 cups shredded coconut 1 cup butter, melted 1 can (397 grams) sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup fine semolina For the syrup: 1-1/2 cups sugar 1 cup water 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon blossom water 1.Grease a 28x24cm baking tin with the tahina. In a large mixing bowl add coconut, butter, milk, baking powder, vanilla and semolina. Mix well. Add butter and combine. 2.Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Carefully pour mixture into pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 3.To prepare the syrup: Add sugar and water to a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and blossom water. Pour syrup atop cake allowing to soak for 15 minutes. Yields: 8 servings

Chocolate Orange Tart

My son and I have been sick. I would have never thought I would be sick all the time during the summer but since we moved to Saudi Arabia it seems my family stays sick. The homes here do not have central heat and air like we do in the states. You get your air and heat from a window AC/heater although they put them in the walls not the windows here. Anyway, lets get to business this fabulous tart. You will never believe how easy this no bake tart is until you actually make it. My husband actually told me this was the best dessert I have ever made and well you all know I have made a lot so thats a pretty good review as far as I am concerned. The mix of these ingredients is a perfect match. You get the creaminess in the qashta, the chocolate in the chips and then the hint on fresh orange lingering behind. This will take you about 10 minutes to put together. 2 cups crushed chocolate cookies 2 cups crushed tea biscuits 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted 2 (170 grams) cans cream (qashta) 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 1 tablespoon gelatin powder, dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water click here to make home made qashta 1. In a large mixing bowl add cookies, tea biscuits and butter. Coat crumbs with butter until moist. In a 26 cm tart pan carefully press mixture all over bottom and on sides. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. 2. In a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips. Heat 1-2 minutes until chocolate has melted. In a large mixing bowl add qashta, chocolate, orange juice and gelatin. 3. Pour mixture into tart pan, cover and place in refrigerator over night. Yields: 8 servings.

Aloo Saag, Chunky Raita, Flakey Parathas(Guest Post)

So my good friend Meeso over at 'For The Love of Food' and I have been trying to collaborate for awhile now to do guest post for one another and finally it has happened. Meeso has a delicious blog showcasing mainly Indian food so you know why I love it. She sent her recipe and picture for Aloo Saag and wow I am drooling here, it looks so amazing. Go check her out everyone! Just look at this amazing layout she has sent us, I do not know where to start YUMMY! Aloo Saag: 1 pound baby potatoes 1 bunch (1 pound) collard greens salt, to taste 1 cup water 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 2 medium onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon ginger paste, or fresh ginger, minced 2 green chilies 1 tablespoon cumin powder 2 tablespoons garam masala 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1. Place collard greens, potatoes, water, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft and collard greens are wilted (you can add a little more water and continue if it dries up too fast.) 2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sizzle the cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the ginger, garlice and green chili peppers and cook until light golden. Add the cumin powder, garam masala and turmeric and fry about one minute. At this point, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time to make a paste... fry until oil separates. 3. Transfer the onion paste to the greens and potatoes and cook over medium heat until greens cling to potatoes and water evaporates. ***** Chunky Raita: 1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces 2 green onions, sliced 1 tomato, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces small handful chopped fresh cilantro 1 cup whipped yogurt salt, to taste 1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate to combine flavors. ***** Flakey Parathas: 2 cups chapatti flour about 1 teaspoon salt sufficient warm water to make dough vegetable oil extra chapatti flour for dusting ghee 1. Combine flour with salt. Add water slowly until dough pulls together and is not too moist or too dry. Knead until a ball forms. Add about 1 tablespoon oil and knead until the dough becomes elastic and smooth. Rub a bit more oil around,wrap in plastic and let sit 10 minutes. 2. Heat an iron or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Separate dough into 6 equal size pieces. Keep covered with plastic so it doesn't dry out. Roll each piece, using flour as necessary, into a circle as thin as possible without it tearing. Brush with ghee, sprinkle with a bit of flour and roll up into a rope carefully... Once rolled, form this into a coil. Set aside and continue with the rest of dough. 3. Take each coil and dip into flour. Roll out carefully into a circle approximately 6 inches in diameter. 4. Place rolled dough into hot skillet and cook until the first side starts to bubble. Turn and brush the cooked side with ghee. When the other side starts to bubble, turn again and coat this second side with ghee. When the first side is golden, turn and finish the other side, until golden. Use your spatular to press on the bread to make it puff and bubble. Remove to a plate and finish the remaining breads. When ready to serve, scrunch them in your hands a little to release the layers and flakes. Enjoy :)

Greek Moussaka

I guarantee this will be the healthiest version of moussaka you will find. Most recipes fry the eggplants in oil but I have come up with a way to cook the eggplants thoroughly and get a roasted flavor as well as a healthy alternative. In addition, I found that cutting the eggplants thinly instead of so thick reduced the amount of eggplants you actually have to use, cooks them faster and taste a lot better. Also, when buying beef make sure to get lean. Yes it may cost a bit more but not to much more. When you buy the regular ground beef, did you know your actually paying for fat instead of meat? When you fry a goof beef there should never much grease coming off what so ever. I have cooked this very traditional dish several times over the years and it seems to get better with time. 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 pound lean ground beef 1 small onion, chopped 1 teaspoon parsley chopped 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 large eggplant 1 tablespoon olive oil Can cooking spray 1/4 cup parmesan cheese Béchamel: 4 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 cups milk 3 egg yolks 1. Cut eggplant in thin slices then place in a large bowl of cold salt water. Meanwhile in a 9-inch nonstick skillet on medium heat add beef, cook until no longer pink. Drain grease from meat and set aside. Place eggplant slices on a kitchen towel to dry. Return 9-inch skillet back to oven adding olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic, onions, salt, pepper and parsley. Cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and beef. Mix well. Cook for 2 minutes on low heat. 2. In a large nonstick sauté pan on medium-high heat, spray pan with cooking spray lightly. Place enough eggplant slices until pan is full. Allow eggplants to cook until they look roasted about 5 minutes on each side. 3. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a 9-inch baking dish or casserole dish place a layer of eggplant until bottom is covered. Pour meat mixture on top then add one more layer on eggplants. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat add butter, cornstarch and flour whisking until golden. Gradually add milk constantly whisking. 4. In a small bowl, add egg yolks and mix. Add 3 tablespoons of sauce, on at a time into egg mixture. Carefully pour egg mix into sauce. Cook on low heat until sauce thickens. 5. Carefully pour béchamel sauce over the top layer of eggplants then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Halloumi Sandwich

If you have never had the amazing Cyprus Halloumi cheese then you are in for a real treat. I love to make this filling for fast sandwiches as lunch or a snack. You should be able to find this cheese in most Mediterranean, Turkish or Middle Eastern stores. The olive oil, basil and tomato give this an extra kick. Do not worry about melting the cheese because Halloumi is extremely durable even in high heat. 1 slice of Halloumi cheese, cut in half 2 teaspoons dried basil 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small tomato, sliced 1 sandwich roll or Portuguese roll 1. In a 4-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat, add olive oil. Add basil then add cheese slices, cook on each side until golden. Remove cheese from heat, set aside. Add tomato slices, cook until warmed remove, and set aside. Cut bread down the middle and carefully add cheese slices long ways. Add tomatoes and then put sandwich together and place back into the pan. Allow bread to cook for 20 seconds then flip and cook other side. Yields: 1 servings

Peachy-Pear Cobbler

When cooking with apples and pears in dessert recipes they usually call for lemon juice. This is because both fruits have ethylene this is also, what causes them to brown quickly. The acid in the lemon juice becomes a protective shield causing these fruits to not brown. Also, always make sure you keep your pears and apples away from the rest of your fruits. Ethylene also makes other fruits ripen extremely fast. A friend of mine has been talking about peach cobbler all week and I could just not take it anymore. I have been wanting some nice warm cobbler myself. I love all cobblers I have to admit. No matter if, it is blackberry, cherry, apple or peach I have decided I love them all equally. I decided to make a cobbler with peach and pear. I had two boxes of the small beautiful gourmet style Bosc pears on hand that I just knew would give this cobbler something extra special. Bosc pears are the small nice looking pears and they are excellent for baking as they hold their shape very well. Of course, the best way to have cobbler is al a mode, to bad I was out of ice cream. 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 3 cups peaches, sliced 2 cups Bosc pears, sliced 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 egg 1/4 cup milk 1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, egg and cinnamon. Add butter and mix with hands until course. Preheat oven to 400 F. 2. In a 4-quart saucepan, add peaches, pears, water, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Bring to full boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. 3. In an 8x8 baking dish carefully scoop fruit mixture into pan. The juice should be about half way up the fruit if so do not add more from the pan. Make 6 dollops on top of the fruit with flour mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Yields: 6 servings

Lamb Kabsa

The black lime in this dish will give your kabsa a unique smoky flavor. A true Middle Eastern taste. Kabsa is Saudi Arabia's most popular dish which I have previously mentioned in my Chicken Kabsa recipe post. This lamb is so full of flavor and tender that the meat actually falls from the bones. If your in a hurry you can easily substitute kabsa or Arabic spice mix instead of the various spices in this recipe. 1 kilogram lamb chunks 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tomato 1 onion 1 teaspoon cumin 4 green cardamom pods 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Salt to taste 1 cinnamon stick 4 ounces tomato sauce 1 black lime 2 chicken bouillon cubes 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1-1/2 cups basmati rice Pinch saffron 4 cloves 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish fried pine nuts and almonds, for garnish. 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add lamb and cover with water and add chicken cubes. Allow to come to a full boil then reduce heat to low and cover. When done reserve lamb broth. Meanwhile in a food processor add onion and pulse until diced, remove and then do the same with the tomato being careful not to puree. Sit aside. 2. In a saute pan on medium heat, add oil and onions. Allow onions to cook until tender. Add tomato, tomato sauce, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt, cinnamon, black lime, ginger, cloves and saffron. Allow to cook for 1 minute. 3. Add rice and saute for another minute marinating in the spice mixture. Add meat and carefully push down so no rice is above meat. Pour lamb broth very carefully on top of mixture. Broth should be 1/2 inch above mix. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to cook 30-40 minutes minutes, until rice has fully cooked. DO NOT remove lid until finished. 4. Place on serving platter. Garnish top with nuts and cilantro. Yields: 4 servings