For the July daring cooks challenge, Kouky from “Cuisine à 4 mains“,challenged us to make Griwech, a popular Algerian dessert that is a full flavoured delicacy that has both a melt-in-the-mouth and a crispy texture

“Griwech” in Algerian Arabic means” crunchy”. These beautifully shaped pastries are made from a yeasted dough that is shaped, fried and then sweetened with orange blossom water flavored honey. The golden exterior is crunchy but the center is soft and chewy. .They are kind of similar to awameh if you have ever tried it.You bite into them, the crunchy outside crackles and you get a little burst of orange blossom honey perfectly balanced by the light and fluffy cooked dough. Simply addictive!

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For the March Daring Cooks’ challenge, Ruth  from Makey Cakey invited us to start the day with something warm, nutritious and filling, . We got to experiment with different techniques and flavorings to create our own perfect personal porridge.

Before I started this blog, the word porridge would conjure images of a sloppy, pale , tasteless mass. Little did I know that, when properly made, porridge can be a tasty, flavorful and nutritious way to start the day

Baked  banana apricot oatmeal

For the month of May, it was my pleasure to host the Daring Cooks challenge

A year ago I hosted my first challenge, at the time, I chose cheese making because it is a wonderful skill to add to your repertoire. This time around I wanted to choose a challenge that represents my own heritage. Something Palestinian, something fun and tasty, something challenging but worth the trouble.

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

I LOVE making my own salad dressings! if you have not tried that before, believe me, you are missing out!A  few  simple ingredients and some imagination and you can turn your salads from boring to mouthwatering in a matter of minutes.

Salad dressing ingredients

The idea of making your own salad dressings may sound intimidating at first but in reality it is easier,cheaper, healthier and the taste is phenomenally better than the over-priced, preservative filled dressing you buy at the store.

For this month we chose to challenge the daring cooks to go beyond the dressings in a jar .The challenge was an invitation to dive into the vast and wonderful world of homemade salad dressings.

For this challenge I have made 7 mouthwatering salad dressings, I’ll post the first recipe today which is for my favorite tahini salad dressing and then a new salad dressing recipe every Sunday, I am thinking of calling the series “salad dressing Sunday”. If you have any special requests for recipes you want me to add to the series, please let me know in the comments. The recipes I have lined up for you are :

Tahini salad dressing (recipe below)

Tahini salad dressing: Chef in Disguise

Homemade Italian salad dressing

Italian salad dressing

A wonderful herb vinaigrette

Amazing herb vinaigrette: Chef in disguise. I will never buy salad dressing in a bottle ever again!

Citrus poppy seed dressing

Citrus poppy seed salad dressing

Ginger soya sauce salad dressing

sushi salad with ginger dressing 2

Homemade ranch dressing from scratch

ranch flavored Coleslaw

ingredients

We’ll start the series with one of my favorite dressings. Tahini salad dressing. Tahini if you are not familiar with it is  a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in cooking sweet and savory dishes. The best part about it is that it’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals!

This tahini dressing is super creamy and tangy. It works as a dip or a salad dressing. I usually use it to make a tahini salad which is very popular here in the middle east. A tahini salad is simply some chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley and this amazing tahini dressing. Simple, I know. But packed with refreshing flavors. You can also use it to top your favorite greens or add some grilled  eggplants to it and then turn it into baba ghanouj.

Creamy tahini salad dressing

Tahini salad dressing

1/2 cup tahini paste
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on how much zing you like)
1 clove of garlic minced (optional)
2 tablespoons yogurt
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons water (IF you want the dressing to be thinner)
1 tablespoon dried mint

Whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, at first it will get runny then it will thicken up and become lighter in color
add the garlic, yogurt, dried mint and salt and whisk until homogeneous.

stuffed cabbage rolls

The weather forecast promises a winter that is the coldest in 70 years and December delivers! After 3 days of none stop rain and snow, all you crave is comfort food.Something warm, that transports you back to your mum’s kitchen. You are a kid again, at your family’s dinner table, hungry, cold and a little gloomy but  the hot steam coming off the plate that mum set before you with a smile makes you feel better just by looking at it.

snow

Stuffed cabbage rolls is one of those recipes. Something my mum used to make on cold winter days. The cabbage leaves are neatly rolled and then cooked to perfection. They are so tender that they nearly melt into your mouth, the slow cooking brings out a subtle sweetness in them that pairs beautifully with the fresh tang of lemon juice and the faint garlic note from the garlic cloves nestled between them.

Spanish tomato soup chef in disguise

We all start blogging for different reasons. Documenting a journey, venting emotions, dealing with stress or tragedy, finding some creative outlet, using up spare time, the list goes on and on. What no one tells you when you start blogging,though, is that at the end of the day, the part that you will cherish the most is the connections you will make. The people you will cross roads with.

I know many will argue that the virtual world is no place to “meet” or “get to know” anyone but if you have tried blogging for a while you will know that there is a precious connection that you can share with your readers, fellow bloggers and people you meet on this journey. A connection you can only feel with people who share your passion, who understand the spark of madness that is in every creative soul.

How to poach eggs perfectly

The perfect poached egg. Tender whites around a warm liquid yolk that oozes out like liquid gold when you cut into it. Place it on top of a salad and it turns into a meal. Place it on top of your favorite vegetables and you have brunch. Layer an English muffin with smoked cheese, roast beef and a poached egg and you have a fancy breakfast to rival that served in hotels and restaurants.

If you have never poached an egg before and you are intimidated by it, don’t be. It is much easier than you think. There are just a couple of “secrets” to learn and you will get perfect  poached eggs every single time.

gnocchi

If you are passionate about food and have a sense of adventure, I am sure you have a “recipes I want to try” list. If you are passionate about food, have a sense of humor and you are a food blogger then that list must be a mile long, at least, and it keeps growing with every new blog you follow and every cook book you add to your collection.

If you were to read my list , you’d find that Gnocchi has been there for quite sometime. I wanted to give it a go so many times but somehow I never got around to it. That is why I was super excited when this month’s daring cooks challenge was announced. The challenge was to make potato gnocchi from scratch!

Gnocchi if you have never tried it before are Italian dumplings made of potatoes, flour and occasionally eggs. You can think of them as potatoes meet pasta to yield light and fluffy pillows that are simply irresistable .