Friday, November 30, 2012

Fetta, Parmesan & Spinach Rolls

Feta & Parmesan puff-pastry rolls

- 1 sheet Puff Pastry
- 150 gr Feta cheese
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 2-3 cubes Spinach (chopped, frozen)

- 1 Egg (beaten lightly)

Pat-dried Spinach
Pre-heat oven at 180C (top & bottom).
Line tray with baking mat or baking paper. *

De-frost the spinach cubes in the microwave, then put over sheets of kitchen paper to absorb the excess moisture.

Mix feta and parmesan in a bowl, making it crumbles.

Feta & Parmesan mixture
Roll out the puff-pastry over a well floured counter-top, thin it out a bit.

Sprinkle the mixed feta onto the puff-pastry evenly; then sprinkle the spinach. Roll tightly leaving the last 3 cm unrolled.

Lightly beat the egg. Brush the 3cm left and finish rolling the dough.

Press and make sure the roll is tight. Then cut into rounds (about 2 cm wide), and place onto pan.

Brush the top and sides of each piece with beaten egg (so that it takes a golden brown when baked).

Rolled-out dough
All ingredients, cut edges

Rolling dough (tightly)

Tchin! Easy sophistication ;)
Place into the oven and let cook until rounds begin to have a light golden color (about 15 min).

Serve hot! :) This is definitely a crowd-pleaser!

* I would definitely recommend to invest in an AirBake tray :) you can use it for baking, cookies, or even pizza or manakish!

Tefal has a fairly affordable 15-25 USD option, Lakeland has a very durable option too! 24 USD. Its a good Christmas gift also ;)

Empanadillas de Atun (Spanish tuna turnovers)

Empanadillas de Atun

 This recipe is my grandmother's :) a really simple appetizer!

I can only think of praises for this dish: tasty, can be prepared in advanced, frozen, fried or baked! Also great for when you are running short on kitchen supplies ;)

Let's get into the rocket-science of the making! Lol

Tuna turnovers

Empanadillas Atun:
- 1 sheet of Short-crust dough
- 1 can Tuna (med/large in olive oil)
- 1 Onion (medium)
- 1 can Tomato sauce
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)

Onion, Tuna, Tomato mix

Pre-heat oven at 180C (top & bottom). You can also fry these, but this way you get crunchy healthy turnovers ;)

Chop the onion in small cubes, and sweat in a pan over low/med heat (3-4/6).
Once done, set aside to cool over kitchen paper (to soak off excess oil).

Drain oil from the tuna can, cut in small pieces and place inside a bowl. Add sweat onions & tomato sauce, let tuna soak (while you prepare the rest).
Turnovers baking
Roll out the short-crust dough (do not thin out) over a lightly floured counter-top. Cut small circles, with the help of a medium bowl.

Step 1: Place a tablespoon of tuna mixture in one half of the circle's center
Step 2: Brush exterior edge with egg
Step 3: Fold dough over (in half to create a half-moon)
Step 4: With the fork, press to seal the half-moon edge*.

*(At this point you can put the turnovers into a container to freeze. If you do, I would suggest layering cling-film or paper in between so they don't stick together, and can be unfrozen in pieces, as needed).

Finished turnovers
Place the desired turnover on to a baking tray lined with baking paper/mat (or directly onto your AirBake ;) tray <3). Brush turnovers with egg, arrange on tray, and place in the oven.

Bake until light golden color. Serve hot! Another crowd-pleaser than can be prepared in advance ;)

If your guests are not into tuna, you can always to a meat bolognese filling! (just remember to to make the mix too runny)

Fatoush (Lebanese salad)

Fatoush salad (almost ready)
So here is a classic Lebanese salad :)

This is supposed to be the simplest salad.. as Fatoush is meant to make use stale Arabic bread and whatever vegetable/salad items you have in your kitchen.. the reality of it (being a foreigner) is that you just need to get the proportions right.. (if ever you strive to have it be considered fairly 'authentic' by your Lebanese friends lol). Same thing applies for Tabbouleh (simple, but need to get your proportions right!).

I got this recipe from my bf's aunt (after several unsuccessful attempts, following the 'you see it' method for quantities....). So since sharing is caring, here we go!

Lebanese Fatoush: 
 - 1 cup Romaine Lettuce (largely chopped) 
 - 2 cloves Garlic (mashed) Spices:
 - 1 1/4 cup Tomato (largely diced)  - 1 1/2 Tbsp Summac
 - 1/2 cup Cucumber (sliced 1.5 mm)  - 1/2 Tsp All spices
 - 1/2 cup Radish (thinly sliced)  - 2 Tsp Salt
 - 1 Onion (med/small, chopped) 
 - 1/4 cup Parsley (fresh leaves, largely chopped) Seasoning:
 - 1/4 cup Thyme (fresh leaves)  - 4 Lemon (juiced)
  - Olive oil
 - 1 pack of Lebanese/Arabic bread  - Pomegrenade molasses syrup

Pre-heat oven at 220C (top & bottom) with an oven tray in the middle. When heated, place Lebanese/Arabic bread into an oven tray to toast for 3-5 min; flip it half-way through until brown. Set aside to cool.

Peel and mash garlic cloves, add generous salt and lemon juice. Set aside.

Finely chop the onions (rings halves), add all spices & generous amounts of summac. Leave uncovered in the fridge.

Coarsely chop lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish, parsley and thyme; place into a large bowl.

Add onions & lemon juice mixes, and stir together. Add a splash of pomegrenade molasses & olive oil to taste.

Once done, incorporate the toasted bread breaking it in pieces, mix, let is sit for a couple of minutes to absorb the juices prior to serving :) Sahten!

Arabic Lentil Soup

Living in the Middle East, one of the basic starters for the 'cold' winter days (or more likely days when the AC is so strong you are shivering in the restaurant! lol being 50C outside) is the Arabic lentil soup :) Light and lemon-y!

Arabic Lentil Soup

This particular recipe was given to me by a friend from a famous Lebanese dietician (who eventually wrote a cookbook). Everybody I know loooves this soup :)

Arabic Lentil Soup:
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 Onion (med, chopped)
- 3/4 cup Orange lentils
- 2 Tbsp Rice
- 3 Lemons
- 2 1/2 Tsp Cumin powder
- 1/4 Tsp Sweet pepper
- 1 Tsp Salt

Chop the onion, add cumin, salt and pepper, and sweat in the pot with vegetable oil (medium heat) until soft and slightly brown. 
Sweat onions (with spices)

Add lentils & rice to sweat onions


 Wash rice & lentils, add into pan.  

Place into the pot, add 5 cups of water and cook at high heat (6/6) until it comes to a boil. Then lower the heat (2/6) and let simmer for 20-30 minutes; until lentils are soft and cooked.

Add lemon juice. Puree mixture & serve hot!

 Accompany this with lemon slices and some baked Arabic bread pieces :)