Posts in Bahrain
Baklava
Baklava slice

Baklava with a cup of just sweetened, cardomom scented coffee is perfect for breakfast, midday snack, or dessert. Or perhaps all three if we're honest.

I have a Quick Turkish Coffee recipe on the site that would go fabulously well.

Baklava Tray

Baklava


Adapted from Simply Recipes

For the baklava:
1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios, a combination is great!)
1 lb of phyllo dough (1 package)
1 cup of butter, melted
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

For the syrup:
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
rose water

1 Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.

2 Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer's directions (this may take overnight). When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

3 Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.

4 Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being "painted" with the butter.

5 Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered. Do not worry if the sheets crinkle up a bit, it will just add more texture.

6 Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

7 While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool. One mostly cooled add up to 1 tablespoon rose water.

8 Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours.

 

 

Baklava with Coffee
Hummus and Mezze Platter Tidbits
Hummus platter

I know, I know, hummus is so easy to get in any store and why would you make your own? Let me say, there are plenty of delicious hummus brands out there... but homemade it also SO easy! And you can control the spiciness, garlickiness, saltiness, creaminess, deliciousness! 

 

Ambitious hummus maker: cook up your own garbanzo beans and test different flavors and combos. 

Want it easy: can of garbanzo beans, tahini optional, garlic level of your choice.

Ready? Set, Go!

HUMMUS

Recipe adapted from Inspired Taste and Serious Eats

1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon) plus more to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
3-5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water (if you cooked your own, use the cooking water)

Olive oil, for serving
Dash ground paprika, for serving

If you choose to cook your own chickpeas (which I highly recommend) use the following instructions:

1/2 pound chickpeas
2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
1 small onion, split in half
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves

The night before combine beans, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp salt in a bowl, cover with 6 cups cold water, cover with a towel and let rest overnight. 
Drain and rinse beans thoroughly. 
Place beans in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Add 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid slightly cracked. Cook until completely tender, to a point of falling apart, about 1-2 hours. Remove vegetables and bay leaves. Drain and reserve some liquid, approximately 1/4 cup. 

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.

2. Add the garlic cloves and blend until garlic is mixed thoroughly. 

3.Add the olive oil, cumin, and a 1 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

4. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.

Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water (or cooking water if you cooked your own chickpeas) until you reach the perfect consistency.

5. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

Serve with sliced vegetables or pita bread. We love broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and cucumber. 

Feta and Herbs

Feta, Herbs, and Onions

Soft Feta
White onion, sliced
Various Herbs (Parsely, Tarragon, Basil, Cilantro, Mint)
Pita bread, lavash, or other flat bread

Layer bread with feta and herbs and slices of white onion

We learned this combo of yummy flavors and textures of fresh feta and herbs from one of my best friends and her husband who like experimenting with Persian and Middle Eastern dishes from her Iranian heritage. Many thanks to their many nights of hospitality and for introducing us to this fabulous appetizer and addition to a perfect Mezze Platter. 

2018 Bahrain GP: Falafel with homemade Pita

Bahrain is one of those enigmatic places that you just can't place your finger on. It is a clash and mix of cultures that make it lovely, full of life, and fantastical. On top of it all, the race is a night race which shines bright and adds that element of sparkle to the race calendar. This race tends to include plenty of passing opportunities and makes for exciting racing and lots of drama. This year did not disappoint! 

As for dinner, it also did not disappoint. I found some amazing recipes for some Bahraini favorites: Falafel, Pita Bread, and Tzatziki. As mentioned previously, these tasty Middle Eastern bites are not indigenous to Bahrain but favorites nonetheless. We also made some fabulous hummus and finished it off with Baklava, so yummy! (Recipes to come.)

Falafel

FALAFEL

From Epicurious

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red and  1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt to taste

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. 

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the food processor. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. (Before rolling all the balls you may want to test one to check that it stays in the formed ball when fried.)

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 5 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

6. Mix tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and bell peppers with lemon juice and olive oil, salt to taste. 

7. Serve with tzatziki and chopped vegetable salad. Serve in pitas or simply with a fork and knife!

 

Pita

PITA BREAD

From Serious Eats

1 cup (8 ounces) water, 105–110°F
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1. Mix water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.

2. Using clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and very elastic, adding only very small amounts of extra flour if dough is extremely sticky (see note). Alternatively, knead dough at low speed in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment until dough is very elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, then rub oiled hands over the top of the dough. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, place a baking stone on the top oven rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a plate with a large, clean kitchen towel and set aside.

5. Punch down the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into 6 even pieces. Form each dough piece into an even ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

6. Roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick, taking care not to tear dough and keeping the thickness even all around. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp towel, and let proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

7. Working with as many pitas as will fit on the stone at once, pick up each pita and place onto the stone top side down. Immediately close the oven door and bake until pitas have puffed and are slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Place baked pitas onto towel-lined plate and wrap with the overhanging towel. Repeat with any remaining pitas.

8. Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat until smoking. Working with one pita at a time, briefly heat each side until charred in a few spots, about 30 seconds. Return pita to towel and cover. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve immediately. Alternatively if you have a gas stove simply toast pita over flame being careful to be quick so as not to burn the pitas on either side. 

 

Tzatziki

Tzatziki

½ medium cucumber
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1clove garlic minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt to taste

Partially peel  and grate half a cucumber. Squeeze grated cucumber to remove excess water. In a small bowl combine grated cucumber, yogurt,  juice and zest of  the lemon, grated or minced garlic, and a pinch of salt.

Bahraini GP - Art instead of recipes

  Bahraini food is indeed delicious. Serious depth of flavor, seafood, lots of lamb dishes (yum!), and much more to offer. Unfortunately, time did not permit me to make any of those delicious things. This year I had intended on making a fried fish with tahini (al samak al maqli with salsat al taheena) but I guess it will have to wait until next year!

In the meantime here is a round up of some of the awesome things the F1 world has to offer so far this season...

Ferrari's epic race posters:

And Renault's 2017 posters which are reminiscent of Manor Racing's gorgeous posters from last year.

And last only because I found out about them later than the others WILLIAMS!

How amazing are these??

Can't wait to see the rest of the season! Anyone else want to decorate their entire house with these?

 

Last but not least for today, F1's official youtube channel does some fun videos with current and former drivers. The Grill the Grid has some fun trivia, and when they bring the teammates together you get to see the chemistry (or not) in the teams!

For your enjoyment, here is Sir Jackie Stewart playing Grill the Grid:

BahrainMariaDArt, FunComment
Bahraini Grand Prix - Machboos
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The Bahraini Grand Prix in Sakhir is a great track. So many chances for passing and excitement. This race should be an early highlight of the season. When it comes to picking what to cook for this race, well, Bahrain definitely has A dish: Machboos.  Machboos is a meat and rice dish, the rice is cooked in broth made from either chicken or lamb, which is then added back to the rice or cooked right back in the same pot. It can be amended with tomatoes, lentils, onions, and additional spices. This year we went even more traditional with this Lamb Machboos recipe. Last year we tried the chicken version, recipe is also below.

Machboos is wonderfully fragrant. The flavors come together with a spice mixture called Baharat a combination of a lot of my favorites: cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, and more. Make sure you have a few hours (maybe while the pre-race is on?) to let the flavors meld into the broth, you'll thank yourself for it when it all comes together.

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The rice is deceivingly simple, cooked in the lamb broth, it has an amazing flavor of it's own.

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Lamb Machboos

Adapted from Ingredient Matcher Blog

2 lb lamb, cubed
8 cups water
1 small onion, quartered
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp peppercorns
½ tsp cloves
5 pieces cardamom
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tsp baharat (recipe below)
salt
pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil

4 cups long grain rice (basmati)

2 onions, chopped
2.5 ounces yellow split peas (lentils)
2.5 ounces raisins
½ cup water (for soaking raisins)
1 tbsp oil
1 pinch ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
ground cloves
black pepper

1. Soak the raisins in ½ cup water

2. In a large pot, combine lamb cubes 8 cups water, all whole spices, salt and a quartered onion.

3. Bring to boil. Once water has come to boil remove the froth that floats on top with a spoon. Cover and let cook over medium-low for 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the lentil mixture.

4. In a small saucepan put split peas, cover with water and add 1 tsp of salt. Over medium-high heat bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, until peas are tender. Drain and set aside.

5. Chop the remaining onions and sauté them in oil, until tender and golden brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cooked split peas and drained raisins. Add cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, sugar and black pepper. Continue to cook 1-2 minutes, until well combined. Take off heat and set aside.

6. After 90 minutes drain the lamb cubes in a colander that is set over a large bowl. Save the stock and discard the spices.

7. Preheat oven to 350F.  

8. Wash and drain the rice several times, until water runs clear from the rice. Add rice to pot, pour enough meat stock to cover the rice by 2 cm. Bring to boil over high heat, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until rice absorbs all the liquid and is cooked and fluffy – about 15-20 minutes.

9.Mix all the ground spices. Rub the dry ingredients over the meat cubes. Arrange meat on an oven pan.

10. Mix 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp of the meat stock. Drizzle over meat, cover pan with aluminum foil and enter oven for 10 minutes while the rice cooks.

11. When it is time to serve, fold meat with lentil and onion mixture and serve over rice.

For a homemade Baharat: 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon green cardamom seeds, 1 tablespoon paprika powder ,¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Set the paprika and nutmeg powders aside. Place all remaining ingredients (whole seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves) in a small frying pan and dry roast over medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, for 3-4 minutes or until very fragrant. Transfer to a spice or coffee grinder and let cool. Add the paprika and nutmeg and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store left over baharat in an airtight jar.

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2015 Machboos:

Last year's Chicken Machboos in the initial F1 Cook Book, was adapted from: The Daring Gourmet

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Making friends jealous with photogrids of tasty food on Instagram #f1cookbook