I have to confess to you that I did not expect this to work today. When it did I felt I needed to share it with the world.. well maybe not the world just those who are constantly looking for delicious yet healthy foods. It is a cheese cake minus the butter, full fat cream cheese and eggs. After gobbling two mini ones down, as I needed to test one and photograph the other, they do feel light…. . I must warn though that because I did not use any butter in the digestive base, it does cumble quickly but who cares right? Also it must be served immediately after chilling and not left at room temperature. Do you ever just want to have your cake and eat it too?
- 150g of digestive biscuits
- 100 g low fat philadelphia cheese
- 50 g zero fat Total Greek Yoghurt Strained
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 packet lemon crystals Jello (I used 85g Jelly vegetarian lemon falvored crystals)
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- 15 strawberries halved and quartered, macerated in juice of another half a lemon and 1.5 tablespoon castor sugar
I used an 8-10 cm fluted loose bottomed individual mini tins. Basically the jelly will hold the cream cheese mixture together. It it important that you strain the yoghurt to make it less water on the base of the biscuits. Follow the instruction on the jelly packet, making surr you refrigerate once cooled down. Keep in the fridge over night or 3/4 hours.
Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and beat with a wooden spoon. I simple pressed the biscuits carefully into the mold, constantly pressing the sides and middle part. Place in the refrigerator over night or for 1 hour.
Add the lemon juice and sugar to the cut strawberries and leave to macerate in the fridge for an hour.
With an electric mixer mix the strained yoghurt, the cream cheese, the zest, juice, sugar and Jelly for 5 minutes until everything is
smooth. Place on top of the biscuit base and return to the fridge for 4 hours. Once set, very carefully lossen the fluted base out of the mold. Keep the metal base undearneath and serve with the strawberries and juice. Bon Appetite
My grandmothers passed away this week. My sweet Lamiha who lived around 95 years of life, left us. She was fully aware of everything going on inside and outside herself, mentally alert and still completely beautiful to me. She was my friend and my laughing partner and she lives on inside my heart.
‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep’
The Tempest, Shakespeare
I have been away from this blog for far too long. I have attempted to post on three separate occasions, once a Sahlab Ice cream that would not freeze, and two other times interrupted by a flu bug. Anyhow, here I am in Amman on a bright spring morning enjoying all that is crisp and cool. So just sharing a few new things in my Jordanian kitchen this month. These irresistible bowls bought from Le Pain Quotidien. I serve a delectable middle eastern version of porridge in them every morning. Sprinkled with Cinnamon, toasted coconut and blanched almonds, you forget you are eating porridge. For the recipe see below.
Honey, blanshed almonds , toasted coconut and cinnamon.
I decided to try my hand at baking bread. It was easy. Perhaps it is this simple no knead Recipe from The Clever Carrot blog that made it so easy. It was a simple exercise of mixing the flour with the water and Instant yeast, letting it rest over night for 12 hours inside a cool oven, waking up to fold it and resting it further. I guess all the work happens while the dough is resting. I placed the dough in 3 1/2 Quart Le Creuset Pot (a term called cooking in a dutch oven). I followed the recipe meticulously except for the yeast which I decided to dilute in warm water first. I get very mixed up between instant yeast, dried yeast and quick yeast… so I just wanted to be safe and diluted it first before adding to the flour. I also do not own a 6 1/2 quart Creuset so used half the size and it worked well.
Then there is this Marble Cake adpated from Celia in Fig jam and Lime Cordial. I added a heaped teaspoon of instant coffee to the cocoa mixture and did not add the white pepper suggested in the original recipe. I made it for my grandmother and wonderful uncle who is tirelessly looking after her at the moment.
These two Green&Black’s will be enjoyed at one point this Easter
These are sugar coated almonds. Quite popular here and known as Mlabas. My daughter insists on calling them Absa.
Pickled Baby Cucumber
Porridge Recipe for two persons
- 1/2 cup Quick cooking rolled Oates
- 1 cup semi skimmed milk
- Table spoon Cinammon
- Tablespoon Honey
- Ten Blanched and peeled almonds
- Tablespoon toasted desiccated coconut
Cook the oats in the milk on medium heat for 5 minutes. Keep stirring until the desired consistency. I like a bite to the porridge so I cook half the time and remove from heat as soon as the milk starts boiling. Add the honey and mix. Divide between two bowls. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, almonds and coconut. Enjoy!
Recipe for pickled cucumbers
- 500 baby cucumbers
- 600 Ml water
- 2 tablespoons Sea salt
- 1.5 tablespoon white vinegar
Simple using a knife cut through into each cucumber (I guess it is done to make sure the cucumbers get brined). In a bowl Mix the water with the salt and taste. Its meant to taste very salty, add the vinegar and pour into an airtight container and add something to weigh down the cucumbers. Let it rest under a window in the light for a week Bon Appetite
I post when I have something to say. When I don’t, I won’t post. I wonder if that makes any sense to you?. I am also not one to post for the sake of celebration. I don’t get excited about New Year’s events, wedding anniversaries or any prophet’s birthdays. That can’t be a nice thing if I am your mom though. I dread my daughter’s birthday ever year. Just like I dreaded my own wedding, one year. Not sure if it is shyness, laziness or just can’t push myself into that sort of thing.
I guess what brings all this to the foreground is Valentine is coming up this week, and I don’t really celebrate that either. A one year mark has arrived and passed to this blog’s existence, birthday if you like and I have not put a candle up like many dotting bloggers do. Gladly there is no one to point out “how could you not” to me. Here I am free to just BE. On the other hand, I remember coming across a beautiful post on Valentine written last year by my friend Oz in her Kitchen Butterfly, Even though it was written for that occasion, it celebrated the self and its livelihood more than anything else. Her post made me think and feel a lot of things. It made me realise why I blog, and how much I learn when I share life stories, struggles and loves. I also fell in love with Oz’s courage and energy to share her personal experiences with food. Her writing actually resonated deeply with my own struggles and relationship with food. I will write about that at a later stage on this blog. For now and on the subject of love, food and life.. I woke up last friday and all I wanted was to bake this new chocolate cake recipe. “An ode to a chocolate cake” comes to mind. I had this recipe on my shelf for years but never took real notice to it. I am not going to marvel about its greatness. Just to say make it if you ever feel like a light sponge chocolate cake with a deep red color sponge. It is adapted from William Sonoma’s ‘Cake’.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment (baking) paper.
On a baking sheet, or foil sheet, sieve the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, set aside. Mix the Cocoa in the water. Leave aside for a few minutes then add the butter milk and Vanilla to the cocoa mixture. Beat the butter first in a cake mixer until soft, then add the sugar and beat untill pale and well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time and mixing very well after each addition. Add the dry mixture in 3 additions alternating with the cocoa wet mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. Don’t over mix, just enough to scrape down any unmixed liquids from the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter equally in the 2 cake tins and bake until firm to the touch for 30 minutes. I use level 2 and 4 in my oven and alternate the two cake tins hlaf way through the baking time so they both cook evenly.
Take out the cake tins, allow to cool down, flip them out securely and let them cool further on wire racks. Add 1/3 the icing in the middle and smother the rest on the top and sides of the cakes. Bon Appetite
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 170 g or 3/4 cup unsaulted butter at room temp
- 1/2 cup butter milk room temperature (I used low fat strained greek yogurt mixed with 2 tablespoons low fat milk.
- 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 dutch processed Cocoa
- 1 teaspoon Bi carbonate Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 225g or 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
For the Icing I simply used this old and easy recipe
Do you feel that Christmas has caught you by surprise this year? I really do feel that way. Last year this time, our tree was up and gifts were being bought. This year it’s not been that way at all. Even though we are not Christians per say, we do celebrate and love Christmas, having lived most of our adult life in Christmas celebrating countries.
Melomakarona: Greek Cookies
So instead of posting a single recipe, I am taking a leaf of my friend OZ from Kitchen Butterfly who herself has also leaved Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, featuring a ‘what’s in my kitchen’ for the month of December. I did say that I was going to be away from blogging till I am done with my projects but I could not stay away for very long. I guess it’s all the festive cooking and baking I am witnessing around me.
So the cookies you see above are Linzer Cookies I made yesterday. I followed that with baking Melomakarona: Greek cookies that are usually baked at Christmas time. These two cookies deserve a separate blog post each really. It’s like doing a joint feature on Cecilia Bartoli and Kiri Te Kanawa. Two distinctively different opera divas with great pizzaz and very different personalities. But it is Christmas and one can indulge both on food and imagination!!
So another two things that featured in my kitchen this month is Butterscotch Bars adapted from Celia in her Fig Jam and Lime Cordial . I reduced both the sugar content to just 150g and butter to 150g. It was still amazing considering all the wonderfully sweet and bitter chocolate that goes into them. Last but not least I baked a chocolate trifle for my friend Reema that was fit for a good friend. Just baked the same chocolate cake from Halloween and layered that with some whipped cream and the chocolate icing that is also in the Halloween post. That cake is one of the lightest and darkest sponges I have ever baked. Note: I will be adding the recipes for both Linzer and the Greek cookie later this week.
Enjoy your Christmas and may all your wishes come true!