Make {Sunday Crêpes }

amazing crepes from Leelouz husband!

Leelouz World

crepe fromage-001

crepe 2-001

Sunday morning is the day we make crêpes (thin pancakes)! Usually my husband makes them, but this time it will be me as he is away on a business trip and won’t be back before tomorrow…:(

The recipe is quite simple and needs 5 minutes to prepare. However I remember my mother placing the batter in the fridge for half an hour, to rest she said, but I am not a patient person, and I frankly don’t think it makes any difference in the taste, only in its consistency, it becomes a bit thicker while standing!

So for the ingredients: (for approximately 8 crêpes)

1 egg

1/2 cup brown flour (any kind would do, buckwheat flour…)

1/2 cup white flour (I like mixing these because it gives a nicer, thicker and healthier texture)

2 cups milk

2 tbsp melted butter

pinch of salt

pinch of sugar

Whisk all the ingredients…

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Leelouz cookbooks {a passion}

It is no secret that I collect cookbooks, more than fifty stacked in my library or shelves around the house and in all languages (mainly English, but French Danish and Arabic should account for some). The funny thing is that I love buying them, looking at them, browsing each one of them and dreaming of making all recipes during a month (project that never really saw the light!), but if you ask me how many recipes I have tried from those books I would say a mere 5%? meaning 2-3 recipes per book? that is even a bit exaggerated…

My last acquisition “The jewelled kitchen” by Lebanese Bethany Kehdy made me realize what a treasure i had lined up on my shelves and that it was about time to explore them one by one…Huge and impressive task you may say.. well, this blog should have a new direction or at least a fresh input so why not start with my passion?

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I will tell you how I am going to proceed with this journey, and will be sharing my views and feelings as I cook along those books. My inner secret is to be able one day to created my own cookbook (yes) and this journey is definitely going to provide me with a load of material on the how’s, do’s and don’ts… I must confess that my current work at Hachette Antoine publishing house is yet another step towards my secret dream…writing and publishing…the creation of a cookbook is not as it looks (i am experiencing this first hand with my colleagues); it is a very hard and long road where several people must be working in tandem and harmony to be able to give us readers an enticing and inspiring book. Every single entry in a cookbook should be well dosed, controlled, checked and tried! every picture has hours of work behind it (involving up to 5 persons if the cookbook’s budget permits it, more of this in my next post about my food blogger workshop with Bethany Kehdy and co.).

So what characterizes my collection of cookbooks? see for yourself:

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a bit of everything really… love Nigella (its is obvious, have 3 of her books), Ramsay Gordon (even if his character seems a bit amplified on TV), and The naked chef (you have to be as quick as Jamie O when trying out his recipes!)… William Sonoma was also a discovery, and the book most used on those shelves must be The soup Bible (a must have in every kitchen if you love soups…). This book has probably food stains on more than one page!

What about you? Do you also have a passion of cookbooks? if yes I would love to hear about it… my library is definitely not complete yet!

Here is a peak on what my next post will be about (today’s menu, inspired by “The Jewelled Kitchen”)…

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See you next week!

Eat @ Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue (Bhamdoun area)

When my husband tells me to go to Bhamdoun for dinner, my first reaction is lethargy! Bhamdoun is a summer resort for Beirutis, escaping the draining and humid heat of  the city during the months of July and August. A retreat. But not a quiet retreat during these months, as the city of Beirut transplants itself in the cooler shades of the Mountains…That is why I am not very fond of those crowded places. Nevertheless I give my skeptic mind a rest and tell him “yalla” (a Lebanese version of OK in Arabic!), and Friday night we venture with some friends at the quest of “Le TELEGRAPHE de Belle-Vue“, a newly opened gourmet restaurant in the vicinity of the old city of Bhamdoun.

{photo from le telegraphe facebook page}
{photo from le telegraphe facebook page}

l telegraphe map

30 minutes away from Beirut, Le Telegraphe meets you with its charm, its quietness and a garden full of lovely colorful flowers.

The place is cosy, adorned by its two meter long rustic wood table mixing conviviality with elegance, and a lovely fire-place with a myriad of orange and red candles . The table is set for us, and we are the only privileged guests of the restaurant. As mentioned, the place is newly opened and the summer season has barely begun.

garlic detail from our dinner
garlic detail from our dinner
lovely wine, lovely atmosphere
lovely wine, lovely atmosphere

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The wine is exclusively created for the restaurant, from the neighboring winery “Chateau Belle-Vue”. Exquisite taste, matching perfectly the refined main dish (we chose lamb shanks and duck breast).

Le Telegraphe is a place to explore sooner than later, especially that an adjacent two floor building is finishing its construction, offering for the interested a delightful place to spend few days. A bed and breakfast is opening its doors in the very near future.

le telegraphe resto

To connect with the crowd of  “Le Telegraphe”, join their Facebook page or just hit the roads and try it out one lovely evening!

Make {Sunday Crêpes }

crepe fromage-001

crepe 2-001

Sunday morning is the day we make crêpes (thin pancakes)! Usually my husband makes them, but this time it will be me as he is away on a business trip and won’t be back before tomorrow…:(

The recipe is quite simple and needs 5 minutes to prepare. However I remember my mother placing the batter in the fridge for half an hour, to rest she said, but I am not a patient person, and I frankly don’t think it makes any difference in the taste, only in its consistency, it becomes a bit thicker while standing!

So for the ingredients: (for approximately 8 crêpes)

1 egg

1/2 cup brown flour (any kind would do, buckwheat flour…)

1/2 cup white flour (I like mixing these because it gives a nicer, thicker and healthier texture)

2 cups milk

2 tbsp melted butter

pinch of salt

pinch of sugar

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl.  The batter should be liquid. Heat a frying pan very well, and pour 1/2 cup of the batter (or less if you want them thin) on the very hot pan (first one might stick to the pan, you can avoid this by adding a little bit of oil or butter to the pan). Cook 1-2 minutes, flip over the crêpe and cook for 1-2 more minutes. I like the crêpes to be golden and crispy.

For salty crêpes, serve with either cheese (i used goat cheese), ham, or even a slice of smoked salmon. For sweet crêpes, nutella is the favourite in our house, but I personally prefer a squash of lemon with a dash of sugar, or a teaspoon of marmalade…Be creative, try out your favourite flavors…If you have some crêpes left, wrap them in aluminum foil and keep them in the fridge.

Extra trick: something I learned from my husband; add 1 or 2 tbsp “zaatar” (Lebanese mixture of dried thyme and sesame seeds) to the batter, this will add a totally new flavor, the crêpes will be flavored, salty and crunchy.

Enjoy!

Christmas Inspirations {food, crafts & more}

Last year, Alfie the elf visited my blog and supplied us with numerous ideas for home made Christmas Decoration! This post is just an update of the different ideas, gathered in one place!

You will find recipes, crafts to make with or without children, inspiration for lovely Christmas decoration…

Enjoy with your kids, while listening to good music ( I prefer world music to Christmas ones!) and let the creative juices flow!

Recipes to make (your will be directed to the post by clicking on the words below)

Search results for inspiration1

Glogg or mulled wine

Chocolate Christmas cookies

Heart shaped Honey cookies

Pepper nuts mini cookies

Orange cake

Orange poppy seed cookies

Crafts to make

Search results for inspiration2

Braided paper hearts

Paper snow flakes

Christmas crib

Orange and cloves

Inspirations

Wreaths

Search results for inspiration

Christmas trees

inspiration

Gift packaging & more…

images from {pinterest}
images from {pinterest}
Christmas calendar from {eighteen25.blogspot.com}
Christmas calendar from {eighteen25.blogspot.com}
white angel...{google}
white angel…{google}
{jarrodfletcherhayden}
{jarrodfletcherhayden}

Happy DECEMBER…

the coziness of home baking

Some of my friends are complaining that winter has arrived in Beirut! First of all i want to clarify the word winter as understood in this part of the world: blue sky, 18-20 degrees, some rain, possibility of swimming (yes it is possible in November!), light clothing including jeans and t-shirts… the difference with our summer? We are not sweating, the air condition is off, we have a jacket in the car in case, we start drinking hot cocoa, we wear darker and richer colours…(at least I do) and we start baking all these delicious cakes!.

So, to really enter the spirit of winter in my part of the world, I am baking with a frenzy attitude lots of cakes, adding  spices to my regular recipes, to make you want to  curl up under the Christmas tree and drink toddy.

I actually have an old recipe for carrot cake (that is always a success), but in the lack of carrots I used red apples, added more cinnamon and nutmeg and voila, my lovely cake is ready to be enjoyed with a cup of Kusmi tea and a friend!

Ingredients

3 eggs

3/4 cup canola oil

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar (using half of each is also fine)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 cup white flour

1 cup full wheat  flour (this adds texture) – in the lack of, use 2 cups of regular flour

a handful of white raisins

2 big red or yellow apples, peeled and shredded (don’t start with this as the apples will turn brown in few minutes)

How to make

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

Whisk the eggs in an electrical mixer  until foamy, then add the sugar and whisk. When the egg mixture is fluffy, add the oil and whisk again.

Then add all the powder ingredients (spices, baking soda, coconut, flour) and whisk few minutes.

Add the shredded apples. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be wet and light. Add the raisins.

Pour the batter  into a round or rectangular oiled baking pan, bake for 35 minutes or until your toothpick comes out dry!

For decoration, either go for the simple powder sugar or a good old butter icing.

The cake should be cooled down before spreading the icing.

Icing recipe

  • 50g  soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon citrus rind, I use lime
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (kiri would do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (can use seeds)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of citrus juice (lime)
  • Mix all the ingredients with an electrical batter.

All this baking made me go back to a wonderful vacation we had few years ago in Denmark, where the summer weather was pretty much like our winter weather here in Beirut. My sweet friend Mette had given us her little black wooden cottage for 2 weeks. Red apples were laying everywhere that summer on her grass lawn. The pictures show what a cosy place it was….

Food {loubieh bi zeit} a lebanese dish

Lately, one of the big changes in my daily life is that I am cooking Lebanese food for the first time. Yes I am half Lebanese, married to a Lebanese and back in Lebanon since the year 2000, but i have been so fortunate to have a house keeper that loved cooking, especially Lebanese dishes (which she learned by staying at my in-laws during the horrid times of war in 2006). I simply relied on her to make the Lebanese part of our gastronomic life, while i was experimenting Food-network, Fatafeet, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver!

Since my house keeper got pregnant and left to start a new life, I have been venturing slowly into the Lebanese cooking, finding it more and more delightful and, interesting and fun to explore.

My first dishes needed more punch, says my husband, used to his mom’s delicious cooking, which made me understand more and more the concept of Lebanese flavors. They are based on OLIVE OIL (and i mean a nice portion, not just a little spoon, this is not for the dieting, but more for the gourmet and food lover!), GARLIC, CORIANDER, SUMAC, ALL SPICE, CINNAMON and lots of TOMATOES & ONIONS.

{from stock photo}

Once you have mastered these ingredients, you have the base and can slowly build up the most interesting and flavoured dishes.

I already shared the tabbouleh recipe, and will stay in the vegetarian arena.

Today I will share a traditional recipe with green beans called Loubieh bi Zeit (beans in oil).

You will need

1kg green beans (the ones we use in Lebanon are flat and light green), but thin green beans will work as well, washed and cut into 2-3cm long pieces.

2 big onions, sliced thinly

2-3 cloves garlic , sliced thinly

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato pure

3 big tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (to peel the tomatoes, place into boiling water few minutes, then remove the peel)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper or all spice

300 ml water

how to make

In a deep pot, fry the onion, garlic and oil until light dark gold (do not burn them, the taste will be harsh).

Add the green beans, fry until they get a crispy green color.

Add the tomatoes, tomato pure and water.

Taste with salt and pepper. Cover the pot.

Let the stew simmer on low fire for 20 minutes, the green beans should be tender when ready.

Enjoy hot or room temperature with a squash of lemon and chili (this is really delicious and give the stew some oomph!). Can be served with bread, as a side dish to chicken or meat.