Jordanian Arabic Coffee: perfection in a cup

Learn how to make a perfect cup of Jordanian Arabic Coffee, a black cardamom-flavored coffee, a must to offer to guests as a sign of respect and hospitality.

It’s time for the MENA (Middle Eastern & North African) Cooking Group. This monthly group has for goal to help us discover the culture and cuisine of the countries found in these parts of the world. Each month we get three proposed recipes from the country of the month and the members pick one dish to make. This month we are going back to Jordan and we will make a Jordanian Arabic coffee.

Jordanian Arabic Coffee

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Gers Ogaily, an exotic perfumed cake from Kuwait

An exotic perfumed cake from Kuwait called Gers Ogely; with saffron, cardamom, rose water and toasted sesame seeds flavor notes.

It’s time for the MENA (Middle Eastern & North African) Cooking Group. This monthly group has for goal to help us discover the culture and cuisine of the countries found in these parts of the world. The host of the month will choose a savory and a sweet dish from the country and the members pick one dish to make.

This month we are exploring Kuwait and I chose a traditional and very popular cake called Gers Ogely.

Gers Ogely Kuwaiti cake 3

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Bahraini Chicken Machboos

I have again a new monthly challenge group to introduce. This one is called MENA, or Middle Eastern & North African Cooking Group, which could not fall any closer to my blog’s topic interests. The goal is to learn more about the selected country, its food traditions and how to prepare the selected recipe. The host will choose a savory and a sweet dish from the country, you pick which one to make. For my first time participating we were assigned Bahrain and I chose to go with the Bahraini Chicken Machboos. Definitely a first for me.

Bahraini Chicken Machboos

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Firnee: Afghan Cardamom Pudding and a Sofa Makeover

Have you ever ordered a pudding for dessert in a Persian, Middle Eastern or Indian restaurant? I bet if you have you were quite surprised the first time. It is nothing like the thick, very sweet, creamy pudding we are familiar with. It is much lighter in the creamy department, usually a lot less sweet, it may have a stiffer consistency and flavors can include rose water (Gulabjal ), pistachio or saffron. To the North American palette it is usually a big hit or a big miss. These puddings take on a perfumed quality. Personally I love it and it has way less calories the instant pudding.

I came across this Cardamom flavored pudding on a site that associated it with Indian cuisine. Actually this particular recipe is referred to as an Afghan recipe, called Firnee, but you will find very similar versions in the Indian cuisine (called Phirni or Kheer, made with added rice), Pakistani, Persian or the various Arab cuisines.

Traditionally Firnee is topped wit pistachios but let’s throw caution to the wind and top it with fruit, in this case strawberries.

Ξ Firnee – Cardamom Pudding Ξ
adapted from Sunset

Ingredients:

5 cardamom pods
4 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
10 strawberries
lemon juice and a bit of sugar

Directions:

Crack cardamom pods gently with a rolling pin. Combine with 4 cups milk in a pan; stir occasionally over medium-high heat until milk is boiling, 9 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix sugar, the cornstarch, and the ground cardamom. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup milk. When the milk in pan is boiling, remove from heat and gradually whisk in cornstarch mixture. Return to medium-low heat and stir just until mixture comes to a boil, 3 to 7 minutes.

Pour through a fine strainer set over a bowl; discard residue. Ladle pudding into 6 small bowls or ramekins. Let cool about 10 minutes, then cover and chill until cold and set, at least 1 1/2 hours.

Chop strawberries into small pieces. Place strawberries in a bowl and add a bit of lemon and sugar to them. Mix, cover and chill. Drain the strawberries  if there is liquid. Just before serving, spoon strawberries evenly over puddings.

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And see how the strawberries match my new couch slipcover? I know very weird segway! But I was asked by the fabulous people at Wayfair to pick an item for review. And they sell everything…and I mean EVERYTHING, yes they even sell kitchen sinks.

So usually I would pick something kitchen related like a small appliance or something but I opted for a sofa slipcover because my 14 year old couch is in a pathetic state. Well the cushions are as I would need to replace the seating foam and have them upholstered in a different material since the current material is ripped.

Partial view of my couch with a young Sati – pic is 3-4 years old

A new couch is not in the financial cards right now and this couch has a lot of significance for me: it is the first big piece of furniture I ever bought as I was planing to move out of my parent’s house. This couch represents my independence. Yeah yeah I am being to sentimental. Anyways I decided to get the  Sure Fit Stretch Sullivan Sofa Slipcover T-Cushion to give my sofa a revamped look for the next little bit it still has to live out.

The product advert pic but same shape as my couch

Now I knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge because I have what is called a T-cushion couch and the back support is pillows which I move all the time. I thought this model would mold well enough to my couch and I could stuff away the extra back material easy enough. It was a bit of a puzzle to put on but eventually I got it. I really like the claret color and the pattern, a real instant decor makeover for the living room. It’s like a stretch velour.

Now that I have been using the slip cover for a while I have mixed feeling about it. This is really not a big deal but every so often you do have to readjust the seems and bit. Overall I am really happy with the functionality. My big problem – and this is not the product’s fault – is that the cover is a cat hair magnet and the hairs gets really tangled up in the weave of the cover making hard to keep fur free. So if you have been on the fence about getting a sofa slipcover I say go for it with the Sure Fit collection…unless you have a furry pet that goes on your furniture.

Speculoos Splendor

A common question I get is: “What are some of your favorite products that you have received from the care packages you have received from the Foodie Exchange? Of course here are quite a few:the hickory smoked salt, saffron, the best mint teat ever from England, Pequin chilies, clotted cream fudge, Conney Island mustard, and Italian nougat. The list goes one and on.

But there is one item I received that has really knocked my socks off. Hello, my name is Evelyne and I am Speculoos Spread Addict.

Never in my life would I have believed I would become addicted to a spread used on toasts. I actually like my toasts plain enough with a smidgen of butter normally. But this stuff is so good I cannot get enough of it. Yes I have gone in with just a spoon and straight to the mouth. Never heard of Speculoos? Neither did I until I got a jar. But a little research online quickly convinced me I am not the only one spellbound by this product.

A bit of background on Speculaas from wiki.

Speculaas is a type of shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ Eve in the Netherlands (December 5) and Belgium (December 6). Belgian varieties use no or less of the spices and are sold as speculoos. In recent decades it has become available all year round. They are thin, have a caramel taste, are very crunchy, and slightly browned. Speculaas dough does not rise much. Spices used in speculaas are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. Most Speculaas versions are made from white flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. The most significant characteristic is that these cookies have some image or figure stamped on the front side before baking while the back is flat.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →