M&M Cookie Sticks


My son Talal really wanted to make some cookies with M&Ms earlier this week so I thought it would be fun to make a stick cookie instead of the traditional round one. These are so much prettier and they are much easier to dunk into your milk. You could use about any candy that you would like on to or even chocolate chips if you want. I found that it is better to gently cut while they are still warm so that it is not hard when they cool completely and can break.

1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini m&ms

1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a large mixing bowl add oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well with a hand mixer then add flour, baking soda and salt, gradually add sugar mixture.

2. On a non-stick baking mat or greased baking sheet carefully make dough flat the width of the baking sheet with a inch or two of room left of the long side so you have one long rectangle. Sprinkle M&Ms on top and gently press down into dough.

3. Bake for about 15 minutes (until sides are golden). Cool for 5 minutes then carefully cut with a sharp knife once lengthwise and then several from the other side. Allow to completely cool.

Yields: 2 dozen

Dajaj Ablama


I love to have soup anytime but especially during Ramadan. Tonight I made this Syrian chicken soup with white rice and samboosas. The way this stew is served is that you add a heaping amount of rice into the bowl or you can add the stew over your rice, whichever works for you.

6 chicken breast, skinless and boneless
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1 small white onion, diced
1/4 cup pine nuts
4-1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemons juice
Chopped parsley for garnish
White rice to serve

1. In a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat add chicken stock. Meanwhile in a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add butter. Cute chicken into cubes and coat in flour then brown in the butter. Add into chicken stock once browned (not fully cooked).

2. In the same pan cook the onions then add into the stock. Then in the pan toast the pine nuts and sit aside. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil then reduce to love and cover. Allow to simmer for 35 minutes.

3. When finished sprinkle with parsley, lemon juice and pine nuts. Serve with rice on the side.

Yields: 4 servings

Turkish Ramadan Pide


Ramadan(or Ramazan as they say in Turkey)Pide can generally only be found during the holy month. Queues outside of bakeries near sunset to grab the hot and fresh pide breads straight from the oven in preparation for Iftar time when the fast is broken at sunset.

We have a lot of delicious Turkish restaurants here in Riyadh and most of them give you a big bag of free pide every time you order and I just love it. It is so soft and warm. Here is a picture of the pide from the restaurant by our house that we often eat at. They do not add a glaze on top and they also use the traditional wood burning oven to cook the bread in.


2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 warm water
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil

1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, yeast mixture and salt, stir. Add milk a small amount at a time until a dough like consistency has formed. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into your hand and work into the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Add another small amount of olive oil into hand and coat just the outside of the dough, place back into bowl and cover then sit in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours.

3. In a non-stick or lightly greased baking pan (I used a non-stick 9 inch baking round) press dough into pan with finger. With fingers and a butter knife decorate the top of the dough. In a small bowl add egg yolk and milk, mix and carefully brush on top of the dough and sprinkle with seeds.

4. Cover and allow to rise another hour. Preheat oven to 450F and place pan on a baking sheet into oven. Allow to cook for 15-18 minutes and bread is cooked and top is golden.

Yields: 1 loaf

Quaker Soup


Quaker soup is the most popular Ramadan soup in Saudi during Ramadan and you will find that every home has it on the table for iftar nightly as well as any restaurants that you may eat at. This same soup is made with both chicken and lamb so you can use whatever you may like. This soup is also never served without samboosas they are a  traditional mix to have during Ramadan in the Kingdom.

My mother in law says to use the bones for both the meat and chicken because it gives it much more flavor. Also if it if you feel it has too much water add more oats and if to thick more water. A lot of people squeeze lemon over the soup however she does not. She also uses a spice bag to add the spices into the soup and says you can add loomi (2) as well.

1 whole chicken
8 cups + 1/2 cup water
7 tablespoons oats
1 onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 (1 inch) kholegan
4 cardamoms
2 shaiba leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes (we use Maggi)
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a food processor add onion, tomatoes and garlic, pulse until smooth. In a 4-quart saucepan add 8 cups water, cinnamon, cardamom, kholegan, shaiba and salt. Bring to a full boil then add chicken to pot then cover and reduce to low.  Cook for 30-45 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

2. When chicken has cooked strain broth and set aside. Shred the chicken into small pieces and add to the stock again
3.  In a cup add oats and remaining water, tomato paste, salt and pepper and add to stock, bring to a full boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if the soup is becoming too thick. Add butter and serve with fresh lemon wedges.