Sharing the love of food and trying new recipes...

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Lebanese Manouché for breakfast

A "Manouché" (plural: manaïches) is a traditional Lebanese bread that one eats for breakfast or as snack during the day. It is a flat round bread (similar to a small pizza) covered with a mix composed of olive oil and zaatar.  Zaatar is a symbolic spice from the Middle-East and it often called "thyme of Aleppo". This herb is usually mixed with sumac, sesame seeds and salt (and some other herbs depending on the region) to make up what is commonly called zaatar (as opposed to the spice alone).

I only got the opportunity to eat manouché a few times in Lebanon but I remembered that I liked it a lot and my father often tried to replicate it when I was a child. Since I received some zaatar from Lebanon this week I decided to try it myself and bake them from scratch.

Manaïches are easy to make and take about 1 hr to prepare. The first trial was ok but the dough was a bit too thick and dry, so for the second round I decided to make the breads a bit flatter (o.5 cm thick, then they rise) and to add more of the zaatar mix and to let it soak on the dough at least 10 min. And the manaïches came out great! They were delicious, crispy outside and soft inside! But it's important to eat them warm, because if they get cold and then you try re-heating them they become chewy.
Enjoy !!!

Recipe for 8 pieces

60 g zaatar
2 dl olive oil

Mix both ingredients in a bowl and let sit while preparing the dough.

400 g flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bag of dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 dl lukewarm water

In a bowl wet the yeast with the water. Add flour, olive oil, sugar, and salt, mix well. Work the dough until it detaches from the bowl walls and divide it up in 8 parts. Let the doughs rise for at least 30 min.
Flatten the doughs into circular disks and put them on an oven plate with parchment paper. Put 2 tbsp of the zaatar mix on each dough and spread it. Let it sit for 10 min (so that the dough gets soaked with olive oil). Then add a bit more zaatar on each dough and bake in the oven 10-12 min at 210C.
Serve the manouché right away and enjoy it warm!

Reference: adapted from "Cuisine Libanaise" Andrée Maalouf

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Panna cotta with berries

panna cotta with raspberries...
... and here with wild blueberries

Over Easter, I was asked to prepare a simple (and egg-free) dessert for next day's brunch. Since the sun was out for the first time this Spring in Sweden, I thought I should make a more "summery" dessert and opted for a panna cotta, which is absolutely delicious!

Panna cotta, literally meaning cooked cream, is an Italian dessert composed of cooked cream with vanilla and sugar (and some gelatin for the consistency). You can have it plain, or with fresh berries, or berry compote or sauce. Panna cotta is especially good with blueberries and raspberries, fresh or as a sauce.

The recipe is easy to follow and the ingredients are relatively cheap. It takes however about an hour to prepare, and a few more hours to cool down and refrigerate, so I suggest preparing panna cotta the night before or early in the morning.

Recipe for 4 pots

5 dl cream
1 dl milk
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla pod (+ its seeds)
3 sheets of gelatin

Put the gelatin sheets in a bowl with cold water. Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan. Heat up the mix slowly until it boils (this takes 30-40 min), then turn off the heat and take the gelatin out of the water. Add the gelatin to the warm cream and mix gently while allowing the cream to cool down a bit. Pour the cream in small pots (4 pots of 1.5 dl, or more pots of smaller size). Let the cream cool down to room T, cover them and put them in the fridge for at least 3 hrs.

Berry sauce/coulis

Frozen blueberries or raspberries
Some sugar and maybe some lemon
Mint leaves

Thaw the berries with some sugar and if you like some lemon. Once thawed, gently mix and put the berries with its coulis on top of every panna cotta and decorate with some mint leaves.
And voilà, enjoy !