Cooking with Love

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fatayer - a Middle Eastern vegetarian dish فطاير

This is a simple savoury vegetarian dish. Its origins are either Syria or Lebanon, maybe even both. I'm not sure. And its got spinach, which makes it a good dish. Pine-nuts can be added to the filling, I didn't since the prices of the pine nuts have rocketed lately.

These are very easy to make, the dough is delightfuly golden & crispy.

For the dough:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil ( I used olive oil)
For the filling:
  • 500 g spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • juice of 2-3 lemons, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the dough by mixing the oil with the flour, yeast and slowly mix in the milk, water and oil. Add salt to taste and knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic.
  2. Let the dough rise foe approx. 45 minutes till double in size.
  3. Knead the dough and let out the air.
  4. Divide the dough into individual small (tennis ball size) balls and cover with a damp towel while you prepare the filling.
  5. Saute the diced onions  to soften them. Add the spinach and let Steam it till wilted - about 5 - 7 minutes. Add lemon juice, sumac and salt. Let drain while cooling.
  6. Squeeze out as much water from the spinach as you can and adjust seasoning to taste.
  7. Flatten each ball of dough and add a spoonful of the spinach mixture to the center of the disc while making sure to keep the sides clear of oil or filling. This will help create a better seal later.
  8. Crimp the dough into a triangular shape and set on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Brush  egg wash and bake in a 200 degree C oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Serve warm or room temp.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cookies Galore ... and a Special Rainbow Surprise

 Who doesn't like cookies?
We grew up with them, they made us smile on a rainy day. Even made the booboo go away. It never mattered if they were home baked by mom or store bought. If there were cookies to munch on - we were happy :-)
As we grow up we realize that what is baked at home is full of love - and nothing can beat that. So on one special Saturday morning - I showed my kids - that mommy really loves them.
The first batch were Chocolate spirals from Bonnie's Bakery
(for the vanilla dough)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
(for the chocolate dough)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla, egg, and flour into the creamed mixture and stir until it forms a soft dough.
  2. In a separate bowl, make the chocolate dough in the same way.
  3. Knead each dough separately until smooth, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out both pieces of dough to 10 x 7in. rectangles. Brush a little milk on the vanilla dough and lay the chocolate dough on top. Press down gently. Roll up from the short side to make a spiral log. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Cut the roll into (about) 24 slices, arrange 1 1/2in. apart on two parchment paper-lined cookies sheets, and bake for 10-12 minutes.

From this recipe I made "Zebra Hamentaschen" which are traditional cookies for Purim (celebrated at the end of February).


 The hamentaschen

The second batch were the prettier ones taken from Super Eggplant (I omitted the peppermint and they are fabulous, so pretty)

Peppermint Spiral Cookies from
Makes about 3 dozen (mine didn't make 3 dozen)
2 cups unsifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (omitted)
1/4 teaspoon flaming red liquid gel food coloring or 9 drops red liquid food coloring
1 tablespoon unsifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups multi-colored nonpareil decors
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugars in a food processor and process briefly to mix. Add the butter in pieces; process with on/off bursts until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal. Add the vanilla and process until the mixture just forms a ball. (I didn't really process long enough. My mixture would not really form a ball, so I ended up having to add more butter later.)
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions then return one of the portions to the food processor. Add the peppermint extract, food coloring, and the extra tablespoon of flour to the processor and process until just incorporated.
Roll out each portion of dough between sheets of waxed paper. You want a rectangle about 11 x 8 1/2 inches by 1/8 inch thick. Leave the dough between the sheets of waxed paper and slide onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Remove dough pieces from refrigerator. Pour the nonpareil decors into a shallow rectangular dish (such as a 9 x 13-inch pan.
Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from both doughs. Brush the vanilla dough very lightly with water. Using the waxed paper, lift the peppermint dough and flip it onto the vanilla dough so they are stacked. Press with your fingertips to seal the two doughs together. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and trim the edges even.
When the dough is just pliable (but still cold), roll up the dough rectangles (begin with the long side) like a jellyroll. As you begin to roll, gently curl the edge with your fingertips so you don't get any air pockets as you roll dough into a log. As you roll, lift the waxed paper to help you roll the dough neatly and tightly.
After forming the dough into a log, throw away the waxed paper, and roll the dough back and forth on the work surface to evenly distribute the dough and form a nice little log. Gently lift the log on top of the nonpareil decors in the dish and roll until the log is completely coated with decors. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice (from 4 hours to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight before slicing).
Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325°. To bake, slice the log into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick cookies and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cookies are no longer shiny on top and the bottoms of the vanilla portion are golden.

The third batch were the same - but I used blue food coloring. I'll try a different color next time - the blue non-pareils turned a weird sickish color.

And last, but definately not least.....Rainbow Cupcakes

The method can be found here, just use any favorite white cake recipe.

I used "my Sweet & Saucy" recipe which I honestly think is the best for a buttercream recipe which really isn't a favorite of mine

Vanilla Buttercream
as adapted from Demolition Desserts
Makes about 2 cups
4 oz. unsalted softened butter
2 1/2 c. or 10 oz. powdered sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. plus 1 t. whole milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. fresh lemon juice (I put 1/2 t.)
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter & salt for about 30 seconds and then add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, and the lemon juice and beat until combined.  Scrape down the bowl again.  Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.  She says that she prefers to use it the same day, but that it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped.  I have also left it out at room temperature overnight (if I was going to use it in the morning) and it was just fine.  Make sure and stir the buttercream well though before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting.  

Thursday, March 4, 2010


My daughter is a fan of sushi. I, however, am not. But for the occasion of the "Big Brother" finals I decided to make it a sushi night.

Sushi are reaaly easy to make once you get a hang of it and after the second try we were already making inside out sushi.
2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Rinse the rice very well, until the water running comes out clear.
Cook the rice with the water till cooked. 
Meanwhile heat the vinegar with the sugar and salt until completely disolved.
Pour over cooked rice and mix gently. Make sure all rice is covered. Let cool completely.

Place a nori sheet shiny side down. With wet hands spread the sticky rice, but leave approx. cm at the top. Place your filling in a row in the middle, we used carrots, avocado and an omlette - all julienned.

Roll the sushi tightly and slice.

Piece of pie.

We also made tempura sushi...

Crispy sushi

And mayo-wasabi sushi

Lol....I ate cauliflower tempura....