Lebanese spice patatoes (batata harra)

batata harra (2)Having a Lebanese husband I need to indulge him now and then with a home cooked Lebanese meal.  Something that is always part of these meals (and always a hit) is batata harra, which are spicy Lebanese fried potatoes.  It is a simple dish but very delicious – you can make it ahead and reheat it, great for leftovers.  Reheating anything fried probably does not sound like something you would associate with the term delicious, but here it works.  The coriander gives it a wonderful, almost lemony, taste which I love.


  • 1kg of potatoes (you can use any kind of potato – I like using new baby potatoes)
  • oil for frying the potatoes (any flavorless oil, for example sunflower or peanut oil)
  • 1 medium hot chili pepper
  • 4 spring onions
  • a large bunch of fresh coriander (about 40 grams, stalks and all)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


  • Wash the potatoes.
  • Cut the potatoes in bite size chunks, no need to remove the skin.
  • Fry the potatoes but do not fry them till they are crispy, they work best in this dish when they are still a bit soft.  Once fried, put them to the side.
  • Cut the chili pepper very finely, if you like it hot leave in the seeds, if you don’t take them out.
  • Cut the coriander very finely, stalks and all.
  • Slice the spring onions finely.
  • Fry the chili, coriander and spring onions in a generous amount of olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoons).  Add the salt.  Once the chili and spring onion are soft, the coriander should be ready as well and a lovely smell should come from your pan.  I prefer doing this in a wok, I am a messy cook and once the potatoes get added using a wok prevents everything from flipping out of the pan and making a mess in the kitchen.
  • Add the fried potatoes and mix them in with the fried chili/coriander/spring onion mix.

If you like lemon, just before serving you can put a generous squirt of lemon on it.

Let’s eat!



Bloglovin site & app


I am struggling to keep up with all of the blogs that I like to read and I’ve looked around to find sites or tools that will gather posts from different blogs and so far the best one I found is bloglovin.  There is the site (bloglovin.com) or you can download the app in the itunes store, either way you get a nice overview of all new posts of your favorite blogs.  I really enjoy using it and reading on it.

You should give it a try!


Let’s talk about buns …

In a desperate attempt at avoiding supermarket burger buns that taste like cotton balls, I started looking for a good recipe to make them myself.  The ‘All Recipes’ website has a great recipe for burger buns that I slightly adjusted based on the comments that had been left with the recipe and my own attempts.  They are simple to make, just take into account however that there is a good two hours of rising needed to make the dough light – firm buns are only delicious when they are attached to a man.

Burger buns

The ingredients are as follows:

– 235 ml milk

– 120 ml water

– 55 g butter

– 560 g all-purpose flour

– 10 g instant yeast

– 25 g white sugar

– 9 g salt

– 2 eggs (1 for dough, one for egg wash)

– sesame seeds

Start with heating the milk, water and butter together (don’t boil them, just heat them through), this can be done in a sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave.

Mix yeast, sugar, salt and half of the flour with the milk/water/butter mixture and one egg.

Beat the mixture until smooth.

Put in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, beating in between each addition.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Heat the oven to 40 degrees C and put the dough into an oil greased bowl covered with a damp towel and let rise for an hour.  The dough should about double in size.

After an hour, turn down the oven, take the dough out of the oven and out of the bowl.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and put them on a tray and back in the oven for another hour of rising.  Try not to handle the dough too much, leave it as is, otherwise the buns will turn out too dense.  The oven is turned of to avoid the dough from drying out.  Also don’t put a towel or cling film on them because it will stick to the buns and ruin them.

After an hour take them out of the oven, brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the buns.

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.



Chocolate strawberries

I don’t like fruit … unless it is covered in sugar or cream.

A couple of weeks ago I saw these strawberries on Pinterest with a chocolate base and some kind of cream filling which immediately sent my fat genes into crazy mode.  I attempted to recreate them, using white chocolate mousse for the filling.  They are so good and look very pretty!  The additional bonus is that you have the impression you’re only being semi-naughty because there is actually fruit involved and this will count for one of your five a day.


To make 10 of these babies you will need:

– 10 firm large strawberries (slightly under-ripe)

– 120 gr of good milk chocolate

– 100 gr of cheap white chocolate (cheap variety seems to work the best)

– 100 gr of double cream

– 1/2 the egg white of 1 egg

Cut off the top and the bottom of the strawberry  (just enough so the strawberry can stand).

Empty out a bit of the inside of the strawberry with a spoon or a knife.  If like me you have two left hands, you can just leave it like it is, it will still be delicious.

Melt the milk chocolate either in the microwave or by putting the chocolate in a bowl on top of a pan with boiling water (in fancy cookery this would be “au bain marie”).  Poor the melted chocolate into a small cup or bowl big enough to dip in the bottom of your strawberry (I used a teacup). Let the chocolate drip off the strawberry and then put them on parchment or baking paper to cool down.

Then sit down, you’ve deserved a little break, take a spoon and lap up whatever is left of the melted milk chocolate.

For the chocolate mousse start by adding the egg white to the cream and whip it up.  Melt the white chocolate, let it cool down a bit and then fold it into the cream.  If you would add the hot chocolate into the cream mixture it might curdle.  Put the mousse into a piping bag and put it in the fridge for a good two hours to firm up.  Finally pipe white chocolate rosettes on top of the strawberries and that’s it, they are ready to be devoured!

Then you can either eat them all immediately (like I did, bravo for me and my waist line) or you put them back in the fridge were they’ll keep at least for a day or so.




Baked Camembert

For work I go to Paris regularly and one of the restaurants I love going to is situated in the heart of Versailles: L’Aparthé (1 bis, rue Sainte Geneviève 78000 Versailles) has got a quirky interior and tasty unpretentious food.  It’s here I discovered the delight that is baked camembert.

aparthe-3 (1)

You start by taking the cheese out of its rapper, cutting of the top crust/rind and popping it back in its wooden container.

You can put it in the oven just like this, but it is best to season it somewhat.  Camembert at room temperature is quite fragrant and has a distinctive taste, however when it gets baked part of that taste disappears, so you need to add some flavoring agents.  Simply press some finely sliced garlic (1 clove) into the soft cheese and sprinkle some herbes de Provence on it.  If you don’t have herbes de Provence sprinkle some thyme or rosemary (or both) on it.  That should do the trick.  In order to let the cheese absorb all the aroma’s add the garlic and herbs a good hour before baking the cheese, it makes a big difference.

Before putting it in the oven I like to add a teaspoon of wine or truffle oil on the hard cheese, it adds taste but most importantly it makes the cheese nice and runny once it is baked.  Just pop it in a preheated oven of 180 degrees C for 15 to 20 minutes and in the meanwhile toast some slices of bread and you’re ready to go.


One last tip: it is always best to put the wooden container in some kind of oven proof dish, if the heat would split the container, you risk ending up with a terrible mess in your oven.



Lemon Meringue Pie

I am not much of a cake maker – don’t get me wrong – I love desserts, I have a larger then average waistline to show for it, but I have discovered that any dessert involving cake or sponge is not something I can pull of.  My cake attempts often resemble a toddlers craft project and taste like old shoes covered in icing.

A couple of weeks ago I had a lemon pie from our local bakery and it was so delicious that it got me browsing for some ‘lemony’ desserts.  I ended up on the sortedfood.com website where the boys showed how to make a lemon meringue.  It might not sound possible, but I found their version a bit to rich and sweet, it involved a digestive biscuit base and an unbaked meringue topping, all loaded with sugar.  Too much of a good thing.

lemon meringue pie

I finally ended up on the Good Food website of the BBC and tried the ‘ultimate’ meringue pie recipe, the name did not disappoint.   Baked meringue that through the use of corn starch remains chewy on the inside, and lemon curd with a balanced tang as part orange juice is used to take the edge of.  Definitely worth a try!  Check out the recipe on the BBC Good Food website: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3482/ultimate-lemon-meringue-pie.




Carrot, Coriander and Ginger Soup

Carrot Coriander Ginger soup

I am not a big soup fan, but I like this one.

It is so easy to make, it’s creamy yet it has a bit of punch from the ginger.  I tend to make a big batch of this soup and freeze it for the nights I don’t feel like cooking or simply don’t have time to.


– 1 onion

– 1 clove of garlic

– 2 kg of carrots (I did say I like to make a BIG batch)

– one tablespoon of ground coriander seeds

– one tablespoon of ginger powder

– 20 to 30 gram of fresh coriander

– 1,5 l of chicken or vegetable stock


1. Chop the onion and garlic.  I like to use a garlic press for the garlic, much easier then cutting it.

2. No need to wash the carrots: with a potato peeler you shave of the outer layers of the carrots and chop the carrots in large chunks.

3. Fry the onions and garlic in a large pot.

4. Add the carrots, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder and the stock.

5. Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes check if the carrots are soft and if they are turn the heat down.  If not, boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Add the fresh coriander (I use stalks and all).  No need to chop it, the blender will take care of this.

7. Blend the soup to a smooths consistency.

That’s it!

Let’s eat!