An Andalusian Polea Porridge with Roasted Celery Root

Imagine yourself poor and starving, making the best with what you have to feed your family. This is exactly how the Andalusian Polea Porridge was created, a common dish consumed during the Spanish Civil War.

Sometimes you come across a recipe that is quite plain. But your evil mind wants to accompany the dish with a playful, forbidden and magical ingredient. Such was the case with my Andalusian Polea Porridge with Roasted Celery Root which was inspired by the mandrake root seen (and scene) in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Celery root was a safer alternative!

Andalusian Polea porridge recipe

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Cilantro Parsley Soup for Saint Patrick’s Day

Nothing say Saint Patrick’s Day like a fun vibrant green recipe. This Cilantro Parsley Soup fits the bill perfectly and it will let you go threw those bunches of herbs just sitting in your fridge.

Let me tell you how this Cilantro Parsley Soup recipe came about. Here is a story we are all too familiar with. A situation we are all guilty off. You buy a big bunch of coriander or parsley for a recipe…because you need like 1/2 cup of it only. You put practically the whole bunch back in the fridge and promise yourself to use it before it wilts. Next thing you know that whole bunch of herbs is being tossed into the garbage because it went bad. Sounds familiar?

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Muhallabieh (Milk Pudding)

Are you looking for an exotic and light (on the calories) dessert that takes very little time to prepare? A favorite of mine is called Muhallabieh. It is a rose water flavored milk pudding which is quickly thickened with cornstarch. This is a very traditional Lebanese dessert but you will find it all over the Middle East; particularly in Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt.

Muhallabieh 1

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The No Cook No Bake Cookbook: Tofu Carpese Stacks and Fig Chia Jam

Its a scorching hot and humid summer heatwave, the 7th day in a row, and you just spent your day traveling to and from work in an hot steamy airless packed subway and bus.  There is a respite for a few hours at work, thankfully there is AC there. When you do get home you strip and plop yourself on the couch with your fan on High aimed right at you because you only have AC in the bedroom. After 30 minutes of ‘chillin’ a horrible thought comes to mind: there is NO WAY I am cooking dinner but what am I going to eat? Panic stricken, you remember to reach for the new practical book you just got: The No Cook No Bake Cookbook!

Tofu Carpese Stacks

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Coconut Lime Tofu Pudding Verrines

The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge which is all about baking and making sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it is Lime and Coconut. So summery and tropical! With the amazing and unusual summer temperatures we have had I wanted something light and healthy so I went with a modified version of my tofu pudding recipe.

Coconut Lime Tofu Pudding Verrines

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Lemon Rice Pudding Verrine with Chocolate Ganache

Everyone in the food blog world is backing up lemon and citrus treats. To me this means spring and summer are a coming! I love citrus sweet treats at this time of the year. So for Mother’s day I wanted to have a lemon twist to the dessert. As I mentioned in my last post I chose simple fancy recipes, the first a Maple Apple Brussels Sprout Salad while my wrist is in physio rehab. Both my mother and I love rice pudding too. So a Lemon Rice Pudding was natural choice. How about topping it with a little chocolate ganache and serving it all fancied up in a verrine? A success!

I have been actually looking for verrines for a long time, a small glass where ingredients  are layered. All I ever found was too small or too big. I felt like Goldie Locks ha ha. Well finally I got some…for free. I sometimes order beauty products by mail from Yves Rocher and they always throw in a free gift. This time it was a set of 4 verrines the exact size I wanted even if the design is simple. Expect more verrine recipes soon.

Ξ Lemon Rice Pudding with Chocolate Ganache Ξ
adapted from TheKitchn

1 lemon
1/4 cup rice, jasmine or Basmati rice
2 cups of milk (I used homogenized)
3 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
2 oz dark chocolate
2 tbsp Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 260°F. Peel the lemon rind (no white) with a vegetable peeler and cut the peel into very fine strips. Reserve the lemon.

Mix the lemon peels, rice, sugar, milk, salt and rum in a small ovenproof dish. Place in the oven and cook uncovered for about 2 1/4 hours, stirring every 45 minutes.

When ready the rice will have almost dissolved and the mixture will have thicken. No worries if it seems a bit liquid still, the mixture will thicken as it cools. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and stir in the juice of the lemon. Divide equally into 4 verrines.

Melt chocolate in the microwave, 30 sec at a time. Ad d the yogurt and mix in. It will be more pasty then smooth, this is normal with yogurt. Divide ganache into 4, topping each verrine. Serves 4 in verrines

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.