How to handle عزومة like a BOSS !


We all have been there at least one time ! messy kitchen, burnt food and a crazy stressful person standing in the kitchen shouting at every single person cross by even the kitchenware has taken its share from shouting and throwing.

And only one thought is dominating your mind right now ! why I did this to myself ?

I still remember one of those days in Ramadan, it was a seafood Iftar and I stood frying shrimps/calamari and fish fillets for more than two hours in the summer heat for 40+ persons ! Can you imagine this !

Yes handling such gatherings are difficult but not impossible !

How ?  identify the gathering type and by this I mean; brunch, lunch, dinner ,casual, formal, coffee/tea gathering and the list goes on !

By being goal oriented, organized and planning ahead, this will remain challenging yet a lot easier !Sounds academic huh? Excuse my career background !

Since cooking has been my passion for ages so I have handled all kinds of gatherings and from A to Z without any assistance ! so if I can do it, surly you can do it !

Let’s get straight to the point and I am going to simplify my experience in Tips ,Dos and Don’ts and recommendations!

  1. Get your ingredients:

Usually most of us take this step slightly and depend on the home delivery service  in case of missed an item ! but if you want to escape the hassle you have to take this step seriously

  • The best time to get all ingredients is 3-4 days before the gathering ! too early some ingredients might be not fresh anymore or even expired, too late you will definitely do this step in a hurry that will surely lead to missing some items so the safest is always the in between !
  • Write all the menu on a note on your mobile and under each dish write every single ingredient you will be using; this step will never allow you to forget any of the ingredients you are looking for, you will have in front of you what you have and what you don’t, and when you go to the hyper market you can easily erase every single thing already in kart so you will never get lost !
  • Choose a cozy small hyper market; believe me those large hyper markets will cause you dizziness and you will keep rolling and go from the east to the west and your energy will be drained on literally nothing ! make sure before you leave each section that you get all your needs so you don’t get back and forth.
  • Don’t exaggerate in the food quantities ! it has nothing to do with your generosity level ! we always end up having so much leftovers ! Choose Quality over Quantity !
  1. Preparations:

It is time to get things done ! I used to do a very common mistake; I escape this step and I do everything on the same gathering day waking up early believing that by doing this all food are fresh ! I ended up dramatically exhausted  and barely I can walk !

The most convenient plan is to start the night before for a general preparations divided into sections  as follows:

  • Marinating and breading: whether chicken, beef ,fish. All items that need to be marinated have to be left over night to get all the flavors together.
  • Salads: any salad that does not contain fresh greens like potato salad, pasta salad, Most important tip is to be covered with cling film firmly to maintain both freshness and not to catch any other’s food smell.

For the salads that contains veggies such as lettuce, cucumber etc…; you can prepare the dressings and if it contains croutons you can also prepare it a day ahead.

  • Desserts: This has to be done a day ahead for many reasons:

  1.  First of all it takes a hell of time.
  2. It is always better to leave the desserts a good time to rest before serving.
  3. Some desserts need to be refrigerated and I do believe so much in the “overnight “ philosophy !
  4. All preparations could be done a day ahead except if it the dessert is Ice cream !

  • Baked dishes: I usually prepare these a day ahead except the oven baking step and it remains fresh and delicious such as lasagna, potatoes gratin, macaroni béchamel etc…

  1. Final touches and Serving:

Tik Tok Tik Tok ! Here comes the big day !

Here you go some general tips to follow for a smooth day :

  • Don’t stress yourself, don’t wake up so early and don’t rush. Everything will be OKAY!
  • 5 mainly things are meant to be done on the same gathering day; pasta, rice, salads that include fresh greens, appetizers and tagines. So get things done in the morning while you have all the time.
  • In most of the cases, the invitees do not come on time ! it is our nature in Egypt !So what I did and worked well ! I put the food on the serving dishes and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm and cling film for cold items ! so whenever they come I serve immediately to the dining table !

At the end, yes preparing food and serving it perfectly is important ! but what it is important too are the warmth welcoming, serving from the heart and the good vibes!

Cooking from the heart will always reach the hearts despite your cooking skills and techniques.

All those tips is upon my personal experience, I really love to hear yours ! I am sure you all have valuable tips to share so this blog will be a very good reference to any person who is planning to do such gatherings!

Photoshoot by : http://instagram.com/itsbumbledee

For the love of dips and sauces ! 

For the love of dips and sauces !

What I admire about dips and sauces is the twist to any dish just by serving a dip or a sauce aside so all the flavors would change for good !

In addition, they are super easy and quick to make ! And some of them could be frozen for future using.

I will be sharing in this blog, some of my favorite dips/sauces and the most suitable dishes that go with each di/sauce!

A general tip that applies on all dips and sauces that you have to either refrigerate or rest them before serving to allow  all flavors to meld.


 Marinara sauce:

For the Italian food lovers, this is your kind of sauce and dip ! I am crazy about it actually and I insanely use it in many unusual ways!

Let’s discover the super tasty recipe and will let you know how to serve it !

Ingredients:

  1. 8 medium peeled and crushed tomatoes
  2. 2 pealed diced tomatoes
  3. 1 small white onion, diced
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  6. 1 Tbsp. Minced fresh basil
  7. 1 tsp. salt
  8. 2 tsp. sugar
  9. ½ tsp. onion powder

Method:

  1. Add everything to a sauce pan. Cover and cook on LOW HEAT for 1 hour without opening the lid during the cooking time.
  2. After the sauce is done cooking, uncover and let cool for about an hour before start using it.
  3. You can freeze it for upcoming uses for maximum one month.

As a sauce, it goes well with any pasta, chicken parmesan, pizza sauce, escalope Milanese and veggie lasagna.

As a dip, with pizza slices, garlic bread, spinach rolls and any Italian bakery! It tastes amazingly delicious and you smell Italy!

Basic Pesto paste:

This also an Italian one that I love but honestly I am not crazy about it! It is nice to have it once every now and then.

It is so strong in terms of flavors ! Yet so refreshing and rich.

Ingredients:

1-cup fresh basil.

2- 4 garlic cloves.

3- 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts or almonds.

4-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

5- 1/4 cup olive oil.

6- salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

  • In a food processor, blend together basil, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing, and then add in salt and pepper. Scrape down the sides and mix once again to make sure the mixture is well blended.
  • Store in a jar and tightly seal. To keep it fresh, pour a small layer of olive oil. You can freeze it if you do not use it often.

The most common usage of the pesto sauce is with pasta ! Either with fresh cream or without it ! But you can use it as well as drizzle over steak, grilled chicken or grilled fish, filling for both chicken and fillet rolls and finally as salad dressing/sandwiches spread !

As a dip, add some extra olive oil and serve it with bread, pizza slices or crackers. 

Teriyaki sauce:

Sushi lovers know exactly what I am going to introduce now !

As I am not a soya sauce fan, teriyaki is my thing! I love the mix of bitterness, sweetness and the strong flavors combination.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar ( if not available, mix the same amount of white sugar with one tablespoon of dark honey)
  3. ¼ cup soy sauce
  4. 1-2 tablespoons honey
  5. 1 large clove of garlic smashed.
  6. ½ teaspoon ground ginger. I personally prefer a pinch because Ginger is already very strong
  7. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  8. ¼ cup cold water

Method:

  1. Combine the 1 cup water, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the ¼ cup water and whisk until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Heat the sauce until it thickens to your desired thickness. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more water to thin it out. Remove the smashed garlic clove.

This sauce you can use it as both to marinate chicken or meat and drizzle for fried chicken, steak, grilled salmon, chicken wings, chicken strips or a sauce for sautéed vegetables.

 Thousand Island:

One of all-time favorites dipping as it combines two yummy ingredients; ketchup and Mayo!

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  2. 3 tablespoons ketchup
  3. 1 tablespoon minced pickles.
  4. 1 tablespoon honey.

Method: 

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Taste and add additional salt if desired.

This sauce goes perfectly with any fried platters; veggies, chicken, onion rings, spring rolls,  roasted garlic potatoes, fries, dressing for salad and spread for sandwiches.

I personally love it with onion rings the most.

 Honey mustard:

This sauce is the only reason why I eat Mustard! I don’t like it at all!

The sweet and sour formula is just irresistible!

Ingredients:

  1. 1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
  3. 1/3 Cup Honey
  4. 1 tsp lemon juice
  5. Pinch of paprika

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Chicken strips ! Period.

Tartar sauce:

One of the most tasty sauces of all times and not very popular though its deliciousness!

That sourly lemony taste is what make this sauce very distinguish.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 3 tbs lemon juice
  3. 2 tbs chopped pickles.
  4. 2 tbs firmly minced spring onion.
  5. A pinch of black pepper.

Method:

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Serve.

This sauce goes really well with any seafood platters. Especially with fried calamari;DIVINE!

This blog will be updated every now and then with new dips and sauces so it would be easy for everyone to have it all in one article.

Feel free to send me any desirable dip/sauce so I will add it to the blog with its recipe.

Photoshoot by http://instagram.com/itsbumbledee

Meeting the love of my life ! 

 

I still remember my 1st time meeting the love of my life back in 2013 like yesterday! I was suspicious and curious! I went with my friends to one of the few restaurants here in Cairo that serve Sushi and they ordered their favorites rolls.
 

The waiter served 4 soya sauce dishes/soya sauce bottle and chopsticks! One of my friends asked him to bring easy chopsticks!” Interesting there is easy chopsticks and hard chopsticks”; said in my mind.

And the moment of the truth , when I saw the waiter coming over with the order and placed it on the table! My friends were busy talking and I was very passionate to try it without asking what to start by! As I am a desserts’ person, my eye spotted something green looks like a frosting! Yummy! I took the chopstick which I don’t know how to use it but I used to get a big bite of this frosting and I swallowed it in one move! I suddenly felt a great heat storm in my throat to the extent I could not tell my friends that I need water, to call the emergency or to ask for any help! I am obviously dying! They did not even notice me moving my hand because they were very busy discussing a very dynamic topic! 2 to 3 minutes, I came back to life and ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you the “Wasabi”.

After this dramatic experience, I am happily sharing with you all some guidelines in your journey with Sushi upon my own experience and hopefully it will help anyone who does not know what to do in the adventure of trying new exotic food in my sushi articles’ series.

This is my 1st time sushi experience, Share with me yours. Hopefully will be less dramatic!!  


 

Chicken Parmesan Pasta 

Photoshoot by: http://instagram.com/fakhr_eldin_mostafa

Only the people who tried a similar plate in famous restaurants will feel excited as same as me when I was in the process of finding the secret behind this irresistible deliciousness.

I call this dish ” the holy sacred dish” simply because any recipe compiles both pasta and fried chicken is a holy damn sacred.

I tried this plate in a famous restaurant in both Cairo and Dubai and from the first bite I was sure, I found my true love that ain’t letting me down !

This taste of crispy chicken with the creaminess of Parmesan and fresh cream, “Al dente” pasta  and in the background the sweetness of marinara sauce which perfectly complete the scene.

In this recipe, I only depended on my sense of taste to get all these ingredients together  and it came out heavenly good and I claim it is way rich in terms of taste and much lighter !

You will have a taste as if you are in your favorite restaurant ordering your favorite plate and I guarantee you it will satisfy your craving at home with your beloved ones.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 chicken breast marinated in; yogurt,paprika,salt,pepper and dried thyme.
  2. For the crisp coating; 1 beaten egg, flour,bread crumbs,1 teaspoon dried thyme and Parmesan cheese.
  3. 200 grams cooked penne pasta.
  4. Fresh mushrooms,slices.
  5. 3 cloves garlic,firmly minced.
  6. 150 fresh cream.
  7. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Fresh basil,chopped.
  9. Marinara sauce( two minced pealed tomatoes,one tablespoon of each dried thyme/sugar,one small white onion; mix all and leave on a low heat for two hours and let it cool completely before using it)
  10. Salt/black pepper and dried thyme.
  11. Two tablespoons vegetarian oil.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
  2. Press the chicken breast in the flour,dip in the egg , press it in the bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan and dried thyme,dip once more in the egg then press it in the bread crumbs mixture. Leave it for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. In a pan on medium heat, put the oil,add the mushroom,stir while adding black pepper, dried thyme and finally the minced garlic. On a side note, Include “Dina in the kitchen” in your prayers when you smell what you are smelling right now ! A hell of mouthwatering essence around the kitchen !
  4. Add the fresh cream, salt then the cooked pasta and turn off the heat. To get a perfectly cooked pasta,check out my blog: https://dinainthekitchen.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/pastaholics-attention-please/.
  5. Put the chicken breast in the oven until it gets golden and crispy.
  6. Let it cool for 10 minutes then slightly slice it horizontally but not completely to stuff it with marinara sauce.
  7. Get your serving baking dish , put the pasta, some marinara sauce, the chicken breast and sprinkle great amount of Parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. As a final move, chopped fresh basil on the top will lead this dish to perfect ending.

Et bon appétit

Photoshoot by: http://instagram.com/fakhr_eldin_mostafa

Cheese Cake toppings !

One of the greatest things about cheese cake is that you can add a tiny item that twists it all to your favorite flavor! You can play with the crust, the cheese mixture, the topping or you can do it all!

According to my sweet tooth I have some favorite toppings that I am going to share with you in this blog.

Get ready for some mouthwatering toppings.

P.S: all these toppings, I applied it on my lazy cheese cake. Check out the recipe via https://dinainthekitchen.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/my-irresistible-cheese-cake/

Fresh Strawberry with Jelly:

What I love the most about this topping; the freshness, the slight of bitterness followed by sweetness in the jelly and the lightness make this topping my all time favorite.

All you need is the following:

  • 1 kilo fresh strawberry.
  • Two packs strawberry jelly.

Once you put the cheese mixture on the spring form pan, you arrange the strawberries in a circle form till it is full. i prefer to put the strawberries as a whole without cutting it into half even if it is big  size. Trust me it tastes heavenly good !

Leave it in the fridge for 4 hours minimum.

Prepare the two packs jelly with only two cups of water. The first one is hot followed by one cold and mix it very well.

Use a soup ladle and put the jelly over the cheese mixture and strawberries slowly and nearly to avoid the jelly from getting in the cheese cake.

Leave it overnight until firm et Bon appétit !

Snickers:

This works the best for anyone loves Caramel, nuts and of course a glimpse of Snickers’ flavor !

All you need is:

  • 4 snickers.
  •  4 tablespoons fresh cream.

Take a bowl, put in the snickers, melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Add two tablespoons fresh cream and put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir.

Add another two tablespoons of fresh cream till you have a smooth sticky mixture.

Spoon on the top of cheese cake! You can add also pieces of snickers for garnishing !



Oreo:

I have to admit that I wasn’t an Oreo fan until I tried this topping ! I madly loved it !

I do not use the Oreo as only the topping but as the crust too.

You need to bring:

  • 5 packs Oreo.
  • 4 Tablespoons of melted butter.

Crush 3 1/2 packs of Oreo but firstly remove the cream between the two biscuits. You can add the cream to the cheese mixture this is how I make use of it.

Add the butter to the crushed Oreo and press it down in the spring form pan and put it back in the fridge.

The rest of the Oreo, crumble it to medium size pieces and sprinkle it over the cheese cake, you can put also whole pieces of Oreo as garnish.

It tastes creamy and crunchy.


Smore’s:

People are going crazy about Smore’s ! They turned cookies,brownies and ice cream to smore’s flavor ! So I said cheese cake ? why the hell not !

You need:

  • Crumbled biscuits.
  • Melted dark chocolate or chocolate sauce.
  • Marshmellows.

Get your cheese cake, spread chocolate, sprinkle crumbled biscuits and finally put the marshmellows !

To melt the marshmellows and get the toasted look ! I used a lighter ! Because simply I do not have the kitchen torch !


Nutella Peanutbutter :

This is the easiest one ! You need plastic bag, nutella and peanutbutter.

  • Put the plastic bag over a measurment cup.
  • Spoon nutella and peanutbutter into the bag.
  • Hold it and squeeze out the air.
  • Cut carefully the diagonal hole.
  • Get your cheese cake and put the spread on a circle form.

You have a Nutella peanut butter swirl cheese cake !

For special occasions, I make two of each in cups ! Very easy and rich.

your guests will enjoy !


Photoshoot by http://instagram.com/fakhr_eldin_mostafa

Pastaholics…Attention Please ! 

Trying cooking pasta at home but still a failure and you don’t know why! You are in the perfect place!

Pasta with all its types and different sauces is so easy yet so tricky. As a big fan of  Italian food, I have spent a quiet big time as self-taught cook to finally have pasta at home as same as you are eating it in an origin Italian restaurant.

I will share some common mistakes and some key ingredients that illustrate the delicious pasta taste in all its shapes and different sauces upon personal experience and definitely what my stomach craves to taste. It is not dos and don’ts upon neither academic nor profession background.

“Toxic relationships are like good pasta that has been overcooked.”

― Asa Don Brown,

Cooking the pasta is the easiest part in the process for most of the people or it is how it appears! Actually it is the most critical part and upon this step all following steps will be very easy and rewarding in terms of final result!

My grandmother used to cook the pasta in boiling water till it becomes mostly dough again! It is how most of the Egyptians cook pasta! They over cook it which leads that any added sauce will turn to be like pasta pudding. Surely my mom did the same and so am I.

When I tried many Italian restaurants around the world, I found that the pasta is meant to be cooked to be firm to the bite. So I discovered the first fatal mistake I was making.

After many trials at home here is my final way to get the perfect cooked pasta “Al Dente”.

  •  Boil water in a large pot; add 2 tablespoon vegetarian oil to avoid stickiness and salt.
  •  Add your favorite pasta and stir the first minute.
  • Leave it boiling for more 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the pasta in the pot for two minutes to continue cooking without boiling.
  • If you are serving it in a while, drain it without wash it with cold water like the Egyptian legend says, don’t worry it won’t stick, we added oil!
  •  If you are serving it immediately, remove it from cooking water both using a spoon-shaped claw or a scoop and put it in its sauce.

And Voila! You have “Al dente” pasta

Many of Egyptians have fallen very hard for the pasta white sauce yet they have try it many times at home and the comment mostly said it does not taste like my favorite restaurant.

After many researches through my friends and my friends’ friends including myself, we have all done it!!

We made white sauce two ways only; either milk and flour which makes Béchamel not a creamy white sauce or using fresh cream and add two tablespoon flour which complete idiot and I have done both !

White sauce = fresh cream! That simple!

Don’t worry, if it seems loose it will get more sticky when the fresh cream cool down!

Two key spices go really well with all pasta sauces in my opinion; black/white pepper and dried thyme. Both have magical effect on whatever sauce! Tasty, not too strong, goes well with other ingredients.

The final secret ingredient that helps all flavors to appear strongly on your craving mouth is my all-time favorite final kick! Parmesan Cheese! Yes it is! The combination of moderate saltiness, creaminess and richness in taste put the final call on whatever pasta you are preparing! It is quite expensive in Egypt but it worth the try at home if you want a glimpse of the Italian taste in your home!

See guys! Such simple tricks can turn your ordinary pasta meal to tasty delicious pasta dish and pure Italian!

All my pastaholics fellows, I urge you to try this at home! And send me pictures of the final results.

My irresistible Cheese Cake

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   Photo Credit :

http://instagram.com/omar_walied_

I love Cheese Cake! I just love it! That combination of salty sugary thing! I am so into this!

I still remember when I first get introduced to this delicious invention; I was in high school meaning two years ago! (Yes yes I am only 18) I tasted it and I was like this is the dessert I am talking about guys! This is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.

Everything I am crazy about in terms of food I love doing it at home, so I have tried many cheese cake recipes with different toppings, stuffing and flavors. You can count; caramel, strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, snickers, Oreo, Nutella peanut butter and my latest creation S’mores.

I have tried the baked one and the non-baked, the baked; it is so rich in taste but it is too heavy in terms of fats, the non-baked one using the gelatin ; I did not like it at all because I felt it is artificial a little bit, there is no remarkable taste for the cheese layer till I found this Magic recipe and people are going crazy about it because it is so light yet tasty, you taste all the layers and feel the freshness of the cheese and the crunch of the biscuits.

The recipe follows my rule in the kitchen” the lazy rule”! I love turning all the complicated recipes to lazy ones yet appear for the people so complicated! So easy and take almost no time to prepare.

Ingredients:

  1. 300 grams cream cheese.
  2. 250 fresh cream.
  3. 1/2 cup sugar ( you can add more if you like it sugary)
  4. 1 1/2 cup of crumbled biscuits.
  5. 5 table spoons of melted butter

And that’s it! See! lazzzzzy!

Method:

  1. Add the melted butter to the crumbled biscuits, mix it very well then put the mixture in the spring form tin (medium size) and press the edges to get the pie shape. Put it in the fridge until you prepare the cheese
  2. Beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat the fresh cream for 3 minutes until it gets fluffy then mix it with the cheese with a spatula from upside down to the top to keep the fluffiness.
  4. Put the mixture over the biscuits and put it back in the fridge overnight.

Et voilà! The yummiest and lightest cheese cake ever! You can put whatever topping you want!

A blog will follow; accumulate all the possible toppings I have tried so far!

Enjoy and I would be happily seeing your cheese cake applying this recipe !