Category Archives: Yummy Tummy

Enjoy the delicacies of life!

Traditional Cheesecake, just like my father likes it

I dedicate this post to all those who missed Soraya and asked me to write again, to my dear friends, to this month and to all the random things that happened in my life that made me want to write again.

This post comes after a long leave and a text saying “Would you share your cheesecake recipe?”… So my answer to you dear Nada is here.

Took from my iPhone almost half way through

Took from my iPhone almost half way through. I didn’t expect to share it.

This recipe doesn’t take a lot of work, but stays a lot of time on your mind. You have to remember to remove the ingredients from the fridge in advance because all the ingredients have to be at room temperature. Also, it will take quite some time in the oven.

Ingredients:

For the crust

The crust here is quite thin. If you like it a little thicker you can multiply the portions by 1.5

. 85g of butter at room temeprature

. 200 g of biscuits (digestive or any other dry biscuits you have at home)

. 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar (you can use white if you ran out of brown sugar)

. 1 pinch of salt

. Optional: Cinnamon

For the cheesecake filling

All the ingredients here must be at room temperature

.  1.4 Kg of cream cheese (Philadelphia) (it’s a lot but worth the taste)

. 1 cup of sour cream (it’s easier to find than we think)

. 1 and 3/4 cups of sugar

. 1/2 cup of flour

. vanilla (I use vanilla extract but you could use the powdered one)

. 5 eggs

. zest of one lemon

Procedures:

. Preheat the oven at 180 C

. Butter the pan (make sure your pan is a good one, because the mixture than will come later is quite liquid)

. In a food processor (Magimix for us Lebanese) add the biscuits and mix until sandy, then add the butter, the sugar and the salt. Let is mix until all the ingredients have blended in properly. The texture should be wet and sandy.

. Poor the crust in the pan. With the back of a glass, flatten the crust until all side are equal and place the pan in the oven for 15minutes.

. In a big electric mixer: Mix the cream cheese until it is soft, then add the vanilla. Then add one third of the sugar, then one third of the flour, and then one third of the cream cheese, then one or two eggs. Do this 3 times until all the ingredients have blended in.

. Finally add the lemon juice and the lemon zest.

. Optional, but very recommended: Wrap the pan with aluminium foil (to avoid water from coming in). Pour the mixture in the pan (on top of the biscuits). Then place the pan in a roasting  pan and add boiling water (Bain Marie). This way the cheesecake pan will sit in a bigger pan (or deep tray)half-filled with water. The steam created will keep the air in the oven moist and humid to prevent the top of the cake from drying out and cracking.

. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 C, then reduce the heat to 170 C and bake it for another 40 minutes (or even more sometimes) until the top of the cake is golden brown.

. Run a long thin knife around the cheesecake as soon as you remove it from the oven.

. Let the cake cool completely. Remove it from it’s pan, then place it in the fridge for at least 5 hours. I like to serve it the next day.

. Forget to count the calories and enjoy it with people you love!

Sweet kisses,

Yesterday’s Deserts Class at Kitchenlab

Take Away DesertsThe deserts I baked at Kitchenlab and brought back home

Yesterday Jessica and I took a deserts class at Kitchenlab in Beirut… Each one took back home the yummy deserts you see her on the table.

The apple pie is the one I liked least, but I liked the fact that apricot jam was put on top of the pie. It goes really well with it. As for the pound cake, I liked its texture a lot. But I would like to find some other ways of presenting it. The cookies tasted like magic. And the chocolate lava cake, I have no clue. My mouth was already full of sugar… I couldn’t taste anymore. My taste buds weren’t intact =).

I will adapt some of these recipes to my taste and will then share my version of it with you…

Kisses,

Soraya

 

I Cooked for Myself! Crepes with Salmon and an Asparagus Salad

I very rarely cook for myself! I tend to think food always tastes better when shared! Thank God everyone I love enjoys yummy food as much as I do (some even more, hard to believe but true ;) ).

The Dinner I cooked for meLast Saturday on my Kitchen Table

Last Saturday and right after a morning of photo shooting I decided to cook for myself. I had spent the morning staring at a model posing with her perfect body for Lebelik with Hassan’s beautiful dresses. Needless to stay her beautiful pictures did not stop me from going to the supermarket straight after the shoot! I wanted to cook a Salmon Crepe Gratin, and I did….

Here is how:

Ingredients for the crepes (for 6-8 crepes) (I used the recipe of my sweet crepes because the paste doesn’t have a lot of sugar anyway. It tasted really good):

  • 1 ¾ cups of flour
  • 2 cups of milk at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 TBL of vegetable oil
  • 1 TBL of sugar
  • One pinch of vanilla
  • One pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 50 g of butter
  • 50 g of flour
  • 50 cl of milk
  • salt and white pepper  (optional)
  • nutmeg (optional)

Other ingredients:

  • 2 salmon filets cut into strips the size of a finger
  • 30 cl (or a bit more depending on preferences) of cooking cream
  • grated cheese (optional) I didn’t use any in my recipe but for the cheese lovers you can grate most of the yellow cheeses on top of your gratin before baking it.

Procedures for the crepes:

  • Whisk the milk + eggs + sugar
  • Sift together the flour + salt + vanilla
  • Add the milk mixture to the flour and mix
  • Add in the oil
  • Let the mixture rest for 2 hours minimum or up to one day in the refrigerator
  • Preheat a medium sized pan over medium heat and brush it with vegetable oil or butter. Cook your crepe until the center is lifted by pockets of air. (The crepes should be a little bit under cooked because they will later stay in the oven for 20minutes)
  • Flip your crepe with a spatula or for the most adventurous ones try flipping it without spatula just by giving your pan a little push :)

Procedures for the Béchamel:

  • On a low fire, in a medium pot let the butter melt.
  • Still on a low fire, add the flour and mix for two minutes until well combined.
  • Remove the pot away from the fire and add the milk (slowly, and keep on stirring). Once the milk is completely incorporated, but the pot back on the low fire and mix for about 10 minutes or until the béchamel takes the desired texture.
  • Let is cool a bit.

Salmon Crepes Before Going to the OvenThe gratin before going to the oven in one mould and the cut edges in the smaller one

Procedures for the Gratin:

  • Preheat the oven at 180C.
  • In each crepe put two tablespoons of béchamel and two salmon stripes. Roll them like a sandwich.
  • Place the crepe in the mould. If the crepes is too long for the mould cut the edges.
  • Repeat with the other crepes and place them close to each other.
  • Once all the crepes are places close to each other. Pour some cooking creme in strips between each crepe. It will give your gratin a delicate moist texture.
  • For the cheese lovers you can put some grated cheese on top of your gratin before putting it for 20 minutes in the oven.
  • Once out, cut some dill on top of your gratin just to give it a little bit of colours.
  • Serve with a salad or asparagus.

Crepe au Saumon en Gratin from Louise Doumet AlbumThe colours are not very vivid but it tasted super good! And it doesn’t feel heavy at all…

Asparagus and Eggs from Louise Doumet AlbumJust Asparagus and Eggs

That same day I also baked biscuits in the shape of little feet for my new friend Shadi. He is 40 days old!

Fruits and Biscuits form Louise Doumet AlbumI ate the fruits and offered the biscuits to my new friend!

Today I attended a deserts class…I hope to share the pics tomorrow on my blog…

NB: I honestly cooked this because someone very dear to my heart loves this meal and I wanted to try it first! Now I  can easily put a smile on his face =) …

PS: My mom ate several halves of the gratin, which means she first tried a piece of one crepe! Then she liked it! Then wanted to make sure she liked it! Then thought it wasn’t heavy! And when only one piece was lest she thought it’s stupid to keep a little half alone! I took it as a good sign… =)

Love always,

Soraya

Cooking for Friends

Dear Ayla,

I am posting these pics for you just because I promised I would! The thing is, I had in mind to take pics of all the plates I had prepared but the truth is, I forgot. When the pasta was ready and still in the kitchen I took one picture of it, and promised myself I would do the same with the other plates, but as I was preparing the rest it slipped out of mind… So you will see here some iPhone pics with a-less-than-averge lighting.

I am sorry for the quality of these pics.

pasta from eataly cooked the way the chef recommendedRavioli, tomatoes and dried basil

letuce and nuts saladLettuce salad

parma ham and melonParma ham and melon

Red Berries Tart for friendsRed Berries Tart (the recipe was already posted a while ago, it’s one of my father’s favourite deserts)

madelaines et petites bouchees au chocolatMadelaines and little chocolate cake bites (These are also some of our kitchen’s classics)

Ici cream cake designed at homeRose Loukoum and Pistachio ice-cream (I bought the ice-cream and presented it like this) I remembered to take the pic too late =(

I wish I had pics of the full menu… But don’t worry I’ll see you in the gym this afternoon and will be able to tell  you all about my diner.

Kisses,

Soraya

Lemon Tart: A Fresh Summer Desert

My cousin loves lemon tarts, so I promise her that I would try every recipe I have in to order to propose to her the one I find to be the best. And since I don’t particularly fancy lemon tarts, the fact that I love this one is a very good sign…

So here you are dear cousin:

For the dough (for one big tart):

You can use digestives and butter. I call this the lazy version and it consists of:

  • 250 g of digestive biscuits
  • 100 g of melted butter

Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin until crumbs are all broken into tiny pieces (almost powder-like texture).  Poor the biscuits in a large bowl and add the melted butter over the biscuits. Mix well. Then transfer into the baking pan, press firmly down into the pan evenly and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

But I prefer using this dough: (It’s the pate sablee I use for all my tarts. I love it!)

  • 450 g of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 800 g of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt

Procedures for the Dough:

  • Butter the pan and add some flour for the dough not to stick on the baking pan.
  • Mix the butter with the sugar.
  • Sift the flour then add it to the mix.
  • Then the egg (with a pinch of salt on top of the egg).
  • Then the vanilla.
  • Mix them well with a dough blender or with your hand.
  • Shape into flattened disk, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Remove it from the refrigerator and flatten it with a rolling pin and place it in the baking pan.

For the Lemon Mixture (for one big tart):

  • 75 g of corn flour (Maizena)
  • 110 g of sugar
  • 120 ml of lemon juice
  • 60 ml of orange juice
  • 250 ml of water
  • 80 g of de butter (cut in cubs)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • zest of one green lemon, one lemon and one orange (or more depending on the taste)

Procedures:

  • Mix the corn flour and the sugar in cooking pot.
  • Add the juices (lemon and orange) and water and mix until well combined.
  • Put the pot on the fire (strong fire) and stir until the mixture starts boiling and it becomes stronger.
  • Reduce the fire and keep on mixing on a slow fire for one minute.
  • Remove from heat and add in the pot the butter and keep in mixing until fully melted. Add the egg yolks and the zest.
  • Let it cool for 10 minutes before using it.

Procedures for Tart:

  • Spread the mixture evenly on the dough with a spatula.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Lemon Tart with Meringues Before the OvenLemon tart with the Italian meringues before I started browning them

For the Italian Meringues:

  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 5 egg whites
  • 280 g of sugar

Procedures:

  • In a pot, boil the water and the sugar.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed, add the sugar whites and mix well until it starts looking like snow.
  • Then on medium speed add the sirup (prepared with sugar and water).
  • Mix (on medium-to-high speed) until the mix starts getting cooler and until the texture becomes stronger. It does not have to be liquid. It has to have a creamy texture)
  • Put the meringue mix in the pastry bag and use it to create the design you like on top of your tart.
  • Use carefully a blowtorch to brown the edges of your meringues.

Lemon Tart almost doneLemon Tart just done!

Lemon Tart with meringues (italian and french)Lemon Tarts, one with Italian meringues and the other getting ready to be toped with french meringues

Lemon Tart in the making with meringuesLemon tart naked getting ready for her meringues

Lemon tart doneLemon Tart with the Italian Meringue

NB: The recipe of the french meringue will be posted very soon…

Kisses,

Soraya

Morning Platters

For the past two months I got used to sharing my morning platters on Lebelik’s Instagram… This morning I realised that all my readers, and especially my father (who doesn’t have Instagram) are missing a little part of my morning little pleasures…

So here are 5 of my favourite platters:

Morning - Brunch PlatterMorning – Brunch Platter

Morning - Brunch Platter with CarrotsMorning – Brunch Platter with Carrots

Morning - Brunch Platter with Cucumbers Morning – Brunch Platter with Cucumbers

Morning - Brunch Platter with AnanasMorning – Brunch Platter with Almonds (We almost always have almonds)

Morning - Brunch Platter Lebanese StyleMorning – Brunch Platter The very Lebanese way =)

Kisses to all,

From my yummy kitchen,

Soraya

Back To Food… Fruity Tart

Yesterday as I was doing my crunches, abs and squats, my sports buddies and I started talking about food, food and again food, enough food-talk that we almost convinced our trainer he should have a whole chocolate cake for diner.

So, to all my food-sports friends, I share my sweet-tart recipe today…

My mom and I prepared it together a while ago… She usually prepares the dough, I do the “creme patissiere” and we fight over the fruits! I took this picture with my Iphone.

Red fruits Tart, using the same dough and the same cream. Again an Iphone picture.

Ingredients for the Dough – I use a “Pate sablee” for the tart, I love its texture:

  • 450 g of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 800 g of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt

Ingredients for the “Creme Patissiere” (“custard”)- I don’t like to have a lot of cream on my tart. If you do, double these portions:

  • 3egg yolk
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 20 g of flour
  • 25 cl of milk
  • vanilla stick

Procedures for the Dough:

  • Mix the butter with the sugar.
  • Sift the flour then add it to the mix.
  • Then the egg (with a pinch of salt on top of the egg).
  • Then the vanilla.
  • Mix them well with a dough blender or with your hand.
  • Shape into flattened disk, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Your dough is ready to be used! =)

Procedures for the “Creme Patissiere”:

  • Mix on a medium speed egg yolk + sugar until the mix becomes a bit white (more or less 3 minutes)
  • Sift the slower and Slowly add it to the surface of the mix. Do not mix
  • Boil the milk with the vanilla stick. The vanilla stick has to be open and cut in the length of the stick, so as to permit the vanilla taste (and the little vanilla black dots) to get incorporated into the milk.
  • Once the milk is boiling, remove the stick and add the hot milk to the mix. Mix with a wooden spoon until you get a homogeneous texture.
  • Pour back the mix in the warm pot and mix it slowly from time to time on a low fire. The mix will slowly start getting a thicker texture. Turn the fire of when the cream had reached the texture you like. I personally like it a bit soft, but most people like it when it has a puree-like texture.
  • You can also add to the cream extra vanilla or coffee extract if you wish.
  • It can be refrigerated for 24 hours. But if you wish to do so, you should put a bit of butter on top of the mix while it is still warm to avoid having a thick yellow layer on top of it. You can do this with a piece of butter at the end of s fork and just rub the top of the cream.
For the tart:
  • Preheat the oven at 180 C
  • Butter the tart-pan and add flour to avoid having a sticky pan.
  • Flatten the dough and slowly put it on the pan. Make sure it is flat and all levels are equal. Press the dough firmly firmly into the corner and cut the extra dough going out of the corners.
  • With a fork prick the dough all over.
  • Bake for 25-30minute or until the crust has reach a golden color.
  • Let it cool completely
  • Then add the “creme patissiere”. I put very little cream. If you are of those who like to have more of it you can double the portions.
  • Add whatever fruits you have at home. Mangos, Strawberries, any kind of berries, peaches, etc… You can also add almonds, pistachios or mint to decorate.
  • Enjoy with those you love
NB: You can use the extra dough that you didn’t use as biscuits and add jam to it if you wish. It tastes like magic!
Kisses to all,

Soraya

 

Sandwich Bar…

We are familiar with the idea of Salad Bar, and with the Subway concept, but at home we sometime have Sandwich-Bar-Diners…

Here is an idea of what our Yummy diner contains: chicken, ham, turkey, cucumber, labneh, eggs, cherry tomatoes, different kinds of cheese, broccoli, caramelized onions, bacon (for the ones with American taste buds), different types of breads, different sauces (I think they’re too fattening and sometimes useless but they still have a lot of success), mustard (two different types), mayonnaise,  pickles,  oil. olives, vinegars, salt, pepper and a lot of love!

I hope this gives you some idea…

Kisses,

Hungry Soraya

Wake Up to a Yummy Carrot Cake

A little naughty hand could not wait until I took the picture to taste the cake…

I had a certainly intense week…

I spent time with friends I had missed and haven’t seen for a while. Funny enough even though one is now close to being married, two of them are pregnant, one is married and growing in her catering business, the other still speaks like a little excited chiwawa but is now a successful young entrepreneur within their family business, another still walks around with Venezuelan Rum but is now in a different state of mind, (I can’t tell where I stand) things seem like time hasn’t passed, like we were 5 years back (only skinnier – for everyone – ;) ) as carefree and twice as excited… I love i!

I also got a professional proposition that definitely affected the direction in which I saw my life going so far. I had intense talks with my brother; we shared long laughter, a super American burger and of course had small fights. I helped a friend cook for the first baby-shower I go to (here, in Lebanon, we congratulate the mother after the baby is born rather than celebrate it’s future arrival). I also realized I missed dressing up (I was Cleopatra for Halloween).

I guess I’ve had so much junk food this past week that carrot cake for me today sounded like “salad plate”. But I promise you each mouthful of this little piece of heaven is worth every calorie…

Ingredients for cake:

  • 450 g of carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 small pinches of salt to put on the eggs before beating
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • one pinch of grounded nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinanamon
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 340g of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of walnuts (crushed or finely shopped)
  • 1/2 cup of water

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting:

I use less frosting than most people do! I don’t like it when there is too much cream! So depending on your taste, you might have to double the proportions here.

(NB: measurements cannot always be divided or multiplied. Here they can)

  • 225 g of cream cheese (Philadelphia for example)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 110g of butter
  • 400 g of confectionery sugar (fr.: sucre glace)

Procedures:

  • Preheat the oven at 180C
  • Peel and grate the carrots.
  • In a large bowl: flour + baking powder + baking soda + 1/2tsp of salt + ginger + nutmeg + cinnamon. Whisk together.
  • In another bowl: Butter + sugar + brown sugar. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the eggs (one at a time). When one egg is the mix, add a small pinch of salt on the egg before mixing.  And Mix until well combined. Repeat the same process with the two remaining eggs.
  • Beat well.
  • Add the vanilla while still mixing, then the water, and then the carrots. Mix well until well combined.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture.
  • Then add the walnuts
  • Butter the 2 similar (ideally round and not too big cake pans. between 18 to 25 cm should be ok. You’ll have a more or less pop-up cake). Add flour so that the flour will stick on the butter and the cake will not stick. Dump the remaining flour in the second cake pan.
  • Pour in the batter in the pans and bake for about 35 or until toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  • Turn the oven off and keep the cakes in the oven for a 3 to 4 minutes inside.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the frosting (if you have prepared the frosting in advanced, keep it in the refrigerator, but remember it should be used at room temperature):

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed: cream cheese and vanilla. Beat well.
  • gradually add the butter (at room temperature) until well combined.
  • Gradually add the sugar and mix on a low speed for at least 3 minutes.

For the layered cake:

  • Remove the cakes from the pans.
  • The lower level cake should be used up-side-down so as to have a flat area on which to spread the frosting.

First layer of the cake (up-side-down)

  • Spread with a spatula as much frosting cream as you feel is right. I would suggest not more than 1cup though.
  • Top with the second cake and again spread frosting cream. I would suggest not more than 1 1/3 cup
  • You can also spread the frosting cream on the sides if you have prepared enough for it. (To be able to spread frosting on the sides, you should have doubled the proportions I suggested.
  • Serve Directly or refrigerate a bit before serving.
  • Indulge with people you love…

I have a father that likes to choose his proportions of everything… That’s why he always gets a special treatment!

Organically yours,

Soraya

Spanish Gazpacho for Lebanese Friends

Last Sunday a very special person and I cooked for very special people…

The thing is, that night I was more like the assistant and unfortunately I was too distracted to take clear pictures and write the measurements, so out of the several yummy things we cooked I can only share with you my Gazpacho recipe!

This picture is the only I have. (From a smart phone)

Ingredients (recipe for 6 yummy tummies):

For the Gazpacho

  • 1 KG of  tomatoes without the seeds. (whatever you have at home is OK. It’s preferable though if they are ripe. I like mixing tomatoes. Last Sunday I used some cherry tomatoes, some of the dark tomatoes and some “normal” one)
  • 4 to 5 crust-less sandwich breads (pain de mie).
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 2 small cucumbers peeled (or 1 medium size)
  • 1 small green pepper without the seeds (or half a medium sized pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar (Vinaigre de Xeres)
  • 2 teaspoons of red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of cold water (+more for soaking the bread)
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • ground pepper

For the Toppings:

  • Olive oil
  • green onions (cut in small pieces)
  • cucumbers (Typically it should be cut in cubes, I like to cut them in thin long circle slices)
  • Tomatoes (Typically it should be cut in small cubes)
  • Rustic bread cut in cubes and grilled
  • Optional and for fun: strawberries, watermelon, shrimps, fresh crab, avocado, and anything your imagination tells you)
  • Salt and Pepper

Procedures:

For the Gazpacho

  • Cut the sandwich bread in cubes and let is soak in cold water for about 15 minutes.
  • Then squeeze to remove the extra water.
  • In a small saucepan, put the garlic gloves and cover with water and bring to boil. (5 minutes)
  • In a blender: Transfer the garlic to the blender, blend.  Add the soaked bread, the salt, the tomatoes, cucumbers and green pepper. Blend.
  • Add the vinegars while the blender is still running. Then the oil slowly. Then the ground pepper.
  • Optional (I do it even though it is rarely recommended): For a smooth texture I like pouring the mixture in a sieve (on top of a big bowl). This way, the liquid gazpacho will the retrieved and the puree texture will remain in the sieve. Then mix both the liquid and puree in the blender for a smooth texture.
  • Refrigerate the gazpacho for at least 3 hours.

For the toppings:

  • Some people like frying the bread crumbs (like croutons). I just grill whatever bread is left at home.

Propose the gazpacho to your friends, with olive oil, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bread, salt and pepper… They will enjoy making their own!

Besos,

Soraya