Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kanafeh (Kadaif) & Hummus recipes

I just love healthy disagreement. However, when someone is too craven to introduce themselves on a blogpost that I have written, I'm not dignifying their comment with a publication and/or a reply. Simple as that. I made an exception recently, just because it was too funny not to.
When you come on my turf, it is my castle-my rules, it can't get simpler than that. I don't expect (or want) the whole world to agree with me, it would be boring and mind-numbing, but oh boy, do the research before you enter into the ring, as 'just because I said so' is not an acceptable argument... except when my mom or my dad says it.
And remember: I'm responsible for what I have written, NOT for the way you interpret it!

On a cheerier note, for the people of the Muslim faith, it is the Holy Month of Ramadan. That means that the ethnic shop in my town is stocked to the gills with delights that usually aren't on the menu.

A simple thing like kanafeh is not easy to come by around here and it is a pity, because I do love it! I remember my mom cooking it, usually in winter. The syrupy sweets were always reserved for winter, while the creamy, fluffy ones we were indulging into were sort of 'summer sweets'.

Originally, I went into the shop to purchase some tahini paste, to make me some hummus when I spotted 2 large dishes of ready made, sliced kanafeh. I didn't wanted to get the ready one, as it is too sweet for my taste, so I asked the lady on the checkout if they have the pastry. To my absolute delight, she went to the freezer and came out with a bag of fresh kanafeh pastry. I felt like hugging her! 
"Armed" with my goodies, I knew that it was going to be a good day, and indeed it was.
I made myself batch of hummus and happily dipped with toasted pita bread. Some call that a snack, but I call it dinner. 

OK, OK, I'll get to the recipes before you get bored of my rant.

Kanafeh (Kadaif) recipe


400 grams fresh OR 500 grams dried kanafeh pastry
350 grams sugar
600 ml water
juice of 1/2 lemon + slices of the other half
1 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 generous handfuls sultanas
100 grams chopped walnuts* (I used cashew nuts this time)

*see note*


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Arrange half of the pastry into a baking dish taking care not to break too much of it. Sprinkle the sultanas and walnuts, saving just about 1/3 and then arrange the rest of the pastry on top. Sprinkle the reserved sultanas and walnuts and put in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown on top.
While the pastry is in the oven, you have to make the syrup by combining the water, sugar, lemon juice & slices and vanilla. Put all ingredients into a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble for 7-8 minutes.
When you take out the kanafeh from the oven, fish out the lemon slices and arrange on the top. Using a ladle, pour some of the syrup all around the pastry. Do NOT pour it all at once. You have to use up all of the syrup.
Pop in the oven for another 10-15 minutes and then remove. Leave it to cool completely before serving.
This dessert is best made a day in advance.

Some recipes call for melted butter, but I find it best not to use it. In my personal opinion, it loads the dish with unnecessary calories and fats. However, if you do decide to use it, you have to melt 200 grams of butter and pour over the pastry before putting it into the oven (before the syrup too, the syrup is just about the last step).
You can completely omit the walnuts and/or sultanas. The dessert can be served plain or with topping of your choice. I never tried it with cashews, but it was too hot outside to embark on an adventure of going out to buy walnuts, so I made a do with whatever was available in the pantry. The result? Excellent, of course!


There are just about million recipes for hummus on the internet and every imaginable cookbook, but I'm going to share the one that works best for me. It is not exactly a labor of love, as I use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), but still, the result is decent dish.


1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) that amounts to 200-260 grams of drained weight
1 clove of garlic
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch of ground cumin 
pinch of smoked sweet paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1 generous tbsp of tahini paste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
water as needed


Drain and rinse the chickpeas and remove the outer skin. Put them in a food processor together with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until you get homogeneous mixture. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or two water and continue pulsing until you're happy with the consistency. 
I like mine on the dry side for spreading and on the runny side for dipping :)
Serve with toasted pita bread or crudities.
Enjoy every bite!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Hot. I mean really, really hot. And I'm not talking about me, I mean the birds outside know that I'm hot, let alone the people.
I don't function well in the heat, I'm getting the strangest of ideas and sometimes I even bake. Scary thought at 42ºC (or 107.6 ºF if you will). The kitchen is kinda the hottest room in the house even before I turn on the oven, so you can only imagine how it feels having the oven turned at 200ºC. Hell, I'm tellin' ya!

In a fit of insanity (courtesy of the heat), I decided to make profiteroles. I haven't done them probably in 15 years or so, but one thing I remember was auntie Desa telling me 'do not be tempted to open the oven while baking them!'

You see, it was the village/town feast here and as every year, I was to go for lunch at my mother in law. I knew that she will have the traditional trifle (she makes mean trifle, by the way), but every year we get her a bottle of wine and some store bought sweet. Not this time. I mean I didn't made the wine, granted, Mr. F bought it :)

I'm admitting, before I even type out the recipe, I cheated... I didn't made the custard that went in them from scratch :( I'm kinda bummed about that, cause my home made tastes awesome, but again, blaming the heat for that. I simply did not have the will to stir and pay attention to my custard, so I took the easy way out... got ready made :( 

I'm going to go on a limb here and tell you that these are quantities for 2 dozens profiteroles, but that depends on the size, so more or less, it's just right.


300ml cold water
6 tsp sugar
128 grams unsalted butter
173 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten


Preheat the oven to 200ºC and place small roasting tin filled with water at the bottom of the oven. You need to generate steam in order to have crunchy choux pastry.
Place the water, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Crank up the heat and in one go, pour the salt and flour into the pan. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the pastry comes away from the edges of the pan. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
Beat the eggs with a fork in a measuring jug and add some to the pastry while beating with electric whisk. It will look crumbly, but do not fear, all is good. Pour the eggs into 3 times and when everything is mixed, place the pastry into a piping bag fitted with plain nozzle, or you can use 2 teaspoons to drop pastry onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Leave about 2cm space between each.
Bake for 25-35 minutes (depending on the strength of the oven), and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.
After taking them from the oven, pierce them with a knife at the side, so the steam will go out. This will prevent your profiteroles from being soggy.
Cool on a wire rack.
You can fill them with custard or whipped cream after they have cooled down and glaze them with some chocolate ganache.
For the chocolate ganache, scald half a cup of double cream and add 60 grams of dark chocolate chips into the cream. Add small knob of butter and stir until you have shiny, glossy mass. Pour over the profiteroles and let cool down before storing them.

Enjoy responsibly :D