Monthly Archives: June 2013

Kofta and Egg Tagine



Kofta and egg tagine is one of those dishes that can be made anytime of the day. The flavors meddle so well together and if you’re able to buy or make fresh bread to scoop it up with then you should. I like to prepare the meat early in the morning and allow the ground lamb and spices to sit for a while, it really intensifies the flavors. If your in a pinch for time I would allow at least an hour if you have it to spare.

1 pound ground lamb
1 small white onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

3 potatoes, thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small white onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 eggs
chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1. In a food processor pulse onion and place in a large mixing bowl. In the processor add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and mint and pulse, add to the mixing bowl as well. In the bowl add lamb, cumin, paprika, coriander, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

2. Shape into 1-inch balls then add the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and saute the kofta for about 5–7 minutes, browning on all sides. Transfer the kofta to a plate and sprinkle on parsley and pine nuts. Serve with fresh pita bread.

3. Add the onion, garlic and parsley to the frying pan over medium heat and saute for 5 minutes until softened. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and salt and pepper. Add water, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Cook until thickened.

4. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a oven proof baking dish add sauce, potatoes and kofta. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Make little indentations in the top of the sauce, then break eggs carefully into them. Continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes or until eggs have set. Serve immediately with some parsley sprinkled over the top.

Yields: 4 servings

  • Did you know the term tagine (or tajine) refers to a North African stew that is slow-cooked in a theatrical-looking pot of the same name.

Herbed Lamb Roast


My son’s favorite meal is lamb roast so I usually end up making it at least once a week. I usually make it the Moroccan way and use shoulder but I wanted to try an Italian version using the leg. One thing about the shoulder is that you can buy a pretty good size but it shrinks up to almost nothing while it cooks and with the leg you do not get that. You end up getting a lot more meat with the leg.

A lot of recipes say that you should substitute juices for recipes that call for wine but I have never been happy with the results and always find the meat to sweet and fruity. I have since replaced those recipes with ginger ale and wow the pan juices were as succulent as the meat.

1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf, torn in pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 (4-1/2 or 2 1-1/2 ponds) bone-in leg of lamb
1 cup ginger ale
4 small potatoes, halved
2 carrots, sliced thick

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a food processor combine salt, pepper, rosemary, basil and bay leaf; blend to a fine powder. Transfer spice mixture to a small bowl; mix with oil and sage, mix. Place lamb legs in a roasting pan and with a pastry brush use entire spices all over.

2. Roast for 20 minutes then remove from oven add potatoes, carrots and ginger ale. Tightly cover the top with foil and place back in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F.

3. For the 4-1/2 pound lamb bake about another hour and for the two smaller ones only about 40 minutes. Serve lamb with vegetables and pan juices.

Yields: 4 servings

Little Carrot Cake


The first time I had carrot cake was at Morton’s Steakhouse in Chicago. I had never tried carrot cake because I thought it would not taste good plus it was not a dessert that was ever made in my house growing up. I had just finished having dinner with my friends and I saw a huge cake on display in a stand on the bar and it looked delicious. That was my first time having carrot cake and also the best one I have ever tried. If you ever eat at Morton’s try the carrot cake.

My husband’s favorite cake just happens to be carrot cake and since we have a small family you all know I like to make small batch sweets. A 6 inch round cake pan is perfect for small batch baking and is just enough for my little family. My son Talal loves to help me bake and is getting quite good at it. I measure everything out and he adds it I the bowl when I tell him. This was a really simple cake to make and it tasted great, it’s a keeper for sure.

1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup packed grated carrot
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

3 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

1. Grease a 6” round cake pan with shortening. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the oil and sugar. Beat very well, about 1 minute.

3. Add the egg, cinnamon and vanilla and beat another 30 seconds. Beat in the carrot for about 15 seconds–you want it to break up a bit so it stains the batter orange. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder on top and beat until just combined. Do not over mix. You may stir in the walnuts at this point or save them for the frosting, your choice.

4. Pour the batter into the pan, place it on a baking sheet, and bake for 24-26 minutes. Test with a toothpick before removing from the oven–moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick is ideal.

5. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to frost it.

6. To make the frosting, ensure all ingredients are room temperature or you will end up with lumps. Beat together everything with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Tip the cake out of the pan, place it on a serving plate upside down (so that you have a flat surface on top) and spread the frosting on the cake. Garnish with walnuts. Cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.

Yields: 1 (6 inch) cake

Adapted from Dessert For Two

Ramadan Countdown: Al Quran


Wow I can not even believe that Ramadan is in 16 days. I am excited but nervous at the same time. Summer Ramadans really take their toll on you and I especially feel for those who do not live in a Muslim country. Here in Saudi most people get off work at dhur and also get a week off for Eid so that really helps a lot. Also if you happen to be out when magrhib is called there are people in the streets giving you packs of dates and bottles of water to break your fast with. MashAllah no place tops Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.

A few years ago a friend over at Cafe Muslimah shared this tip with us about completing the entire Quran during Ramadan and its something that I do every single year now and it really works perfectly so I wanted to share it with each of you. I have found it better to have a plan for everything before hand that way it comes easy.

The Qur’an has 600 pages approximately if you divide it on 30 days, that’s 20 pages a day. You see, that’s difficult to do right? But, if you divide it on the 5 prayers a day, it gets easier.

If you read 4 pages after every salah in Ramadan, then you’ve completed the Qur’an. If you want to complete the Qur’an twice, you read 4 pages before and after every salah.