This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service


Another Qalb El Louz or is it?

Well today is tuesday and my top tip is....always go with your gut instinct when adapting a recipe not his!

I must say it's the best looking Qalb El Louz i've made yet but it wasn't Qalb El Louz as dh knows and loves it!

It all started when my dh (dear husband) mentioned the qalb el louz here was tasty, the right texture but too thick! mmmm i was upset but kind of understand why he had said that because i used a smaller baking dish as my old 'special' qalb el louz tin i kind of scrapped earlier this year, it now sits at the bottom of my oven as a steamer for whenever i bake bread i fill it with water, needless to say it's not in the best of states and i was in no mood for scrubbing it whilst fasting. I ended up using my silicone bakeware which is soooo easy to clean but results were too thick!

Sooo while my other specialised baking tray was winging it's way in the post, dh couldn't wait a day or two and i had to make Qalb El Louz again, only this time he said use this tray pulling out of the kitchen cupboard my one and only HUGE non stick roasting tin....yeh errm this isn't going to work i said it will be too thin but the man gets what the man wants lol needless to say my qalb el louz pictured above, not only was super thin but it was well and truly roasted, tasting nice alot like algerian tamina which is delicious in it's own right, but not what I was aiming for.

I wonder next time inshAllah i can finally get it right, me wants to wait while next Ramadan to find out but i wonder is dh going to let me off the hook for a whole year, me thinks not!

Yesterday we had another confession, he is not so keen on cupcakes lol we were watching cupcake wars at the time, "not yours" he said (digging his way out of the hole) "but in general they are not all that" What do you think?

Labels: , , ,


Braided Cheddar Cheese Bread

Granted these braided loaves are not the best example of the braiding technique you will ever see.

I can assure you they are packed full of cheesy goodness and have an extremely soft interior, you won't remember the shape or form they come in but you will remember the delicious flavour, which what is most important right?

I made this bread way before Ramadan and it is what i am craving right now. Once i stock up on cheese, we are fresh out as of last night! I'm definitely making these again inshAllah (God willing).

Adapted ever so slightly from braided farmer's cheese bread

Yield: 2 braided loaves
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup warm water (100 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 ounce)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 5 cups bread flour, approximately


In small saucepan, warm milk and butter until butter is melted. Set aside until warm (100 degrees F). In small bowl add water. Stir in yeast until dissolved.  (note: if using fast action yeast there is no need to reactivate the yeast in water first just add along with the dry ingredients.) In large bowl, add warm milk and butter. Add yeast water. Stir. Stir in sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour. When batter is smooth, mix in grated cheddar cheese. Continue to mix in flour until a stiff dough is formed. Turn dough out onto floured board and begin to knead in the remaining flour until the dough is firm and smooth, not sticky.

Put dough in greased bowl. Turn over so that dough top is also greased. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size. Punch down dough and knead for about 1 minute. Divide dough in half and set one half back in bowl.

To make a braided loaf, divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Work each piece with your hands to form a long rope, about 15 inches in length. Pinch ends of the 3 dough ropes together and tightly braid the dough. Pinch ends together again. Repeat for second loaf.

Preheat oven 190 degrees C / 170 degrees C (Fan) / 375 degrees F / Gas Mark 5. Grease and sprinkle yellow cornmeal or semolina on two baking sheets. Place each loaf on a baking sheet, cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes or until double in size. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 40 minutes or when loaf sounds hollow when you tap on the bread top. Remove from heat and let cool on rack.

* You can brush each loaf with egg white and sprinkle poppy seeds if you wish, the egg white will give your loaf a nice shiny crust!

This bread i feell would work well alongside a rich and thick tomato soup!

Labels: ,


Algerian Ramadan Dessert - Qalb El Louz / Kalb Ellouze / H'rissa / Chamia

Qalb El Louz (translates to Heart of Almonds) is a rich, semolina dessert filled with almonds, baked, drenched in sugar syrup and is considered a must have in all Algerian homes this Ramadan.

The bitterness of the orange blossom water permeates the semolina / almond layers cutting through just some of the sickly sweetness, leaving behind a beautiful aroma in your kitchen once baked.

Qalb El Louz  also known as  Kalb Ellouze / H'rissa / Chamia depending on which region of Algeria you are in is an equal in my book to basbousa, try it and see for yourself.

Recipe slighlty adapted from radotouille

Qalb El Louz - Heart of Almonds

Servings: 10-12


For the semolina layers you will need:

500g coarse or extra coarse semolina
250g caster sugar or vanilla sugar
125g unsalted butter, melted
125ml liquid: 65ml orange blossom water and 60ml water
For the heart of almonds you will need:
250g almonds
60g sugar
2tbsp unsalted butter
1-2tsp ground cinnamon 
1tbsp orange blossom water
For assembly:
100g melted unsalted butter
almonds to decorate(optional)


For the syrup you will need:

1 litre water
500 grams sugar (i used granulated)
1 vanilla pod
1/4 lemon, juice only
to finish:-
1/2 cap of orange blossom water


The Day / Night before:

<><><><><><> </>

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, set aside. Measure orange blossom water and water - mix and set aside. Weigh semolina and sugar.

By hand, mix semolina and sugar together. If you want you can toast the semolina in a hot dry frying pan over medium-high heat before mixing it with the sugar, this adds a nutty flavour to the semolina and also i found improves absorption quality of the semolina.
Add slightly cooled melted butter and again using your hand mix like this:

 Like when you are making pastry, rub the butter into the semolina/sugar grains.

Add HALF the mix of waters and continue with the same motion, it will feel like damp sand.

Cover semolina and leftover water and refrigerate over night, now make your syrup.

Add all the ingredients minus the orange blossom water, stir on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then HANDS OFF NO MORE STIRRING bring to boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, add orange blossom water, leave uncovered to cool to room temperature. Cover and leave until the next day, no need for this to be refrigerated.


The Next Day:

Remove bowl of semolina from the fridge and leave it to get upto room temperature, about 30minutes on a warm day.


Make Filling - Whiz all ingredients in food processer until finely ground, set aside.


Break up the clumps of semolina in the same manner as you did the day before, rubbing the grains between your thumb and fingers then add the remaining mix of waters and continue to mix, now it's assembly time! Pre-Heat Oven to 200C / 180C Fan.

Sprinkle around a third of the semolina onto the base your bake ware, I'm using 21cm round silicone but  Radotouille uses a rectangular tin 33cm x 23cm EDIT *** after baking this again it actually does work better according to hubby in the correct size dish. which means a thinner, longer version of qalb el louz, choice is yours. Pat down lightly the semolina into an even(ish) layer.

Add the layer of almonds, smoothing out gently.

Sprinkle the remaining two thirds of the semolina over the almond layer

lightly smooth out, don't compact!

Score with a knife, yes i know my portions aren't even lol you could get fancy i suppose and do diamonds?! Pour and brush another 100g of butter over the top of your qalb el louz. You could use vegetable ghee but you will need to reduce the amount to 90g, this would help the overall appearance i.e. even browness but the flavour/richness could be lacking. Decorate each slice with an almond or nut of your choice, i won't tell anyone!
Bake for upto an hour, if you find the outer rim is blackening, your oven could be running too hot, besides investing in an oven thermometer you should reduce the temperature until the center is cooked, don't worry a little browner on the outer rim is normal but do not let it burn!

Turn off oven and remove your Qalb el louz. Immediately pour over some* of the room temperature sugar syrup until it is swimming, return to turned off oven for 10minutes. Take out and if all the syrup has been soaked up, test it with a knife that the syrup has penetrated all the layer or using your finger touch the top it should be just a litte firm, if you think it needs more syrup add more and return to oven. Leave to cool, best served the day after baking! (gives the semolina chance to soak up all the syrup or some of the water to evaporate from the syrup so the qalb el louz becomes a little firmer which helps when slicing and visually when serving to your guests, family)
**As a rough guide, i used approximately 3/4 of the syrup

Labels: , , , ,

El Ham Lahlou - 'Our' Version Of Sweet Lamb For Ramadan

El Ham Lahlou is a traditional Algerian dish served in Ramadan at the end of the day to break ones fast. Made salt free to prevent thirst and yes you have guessed right is super sweet!

Recipe Adapted from celnet

El Ham Lahlou

Serves 2


  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 225g lamb cut into 8cm strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 375ml water
  • 60g sugar
  • 6  dried prunes, soaked in water for 1 hour or 6 fresh ready to eat fresh prunes minus the soaking
  • 1  tbsp whole almonds or better still whole blanched almonds
  • 1/2 firm pear peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • A handful or frozen peas
  • 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1/2 tbsp orange juice


Melt the butter/ghee in the pan, fry the lamb and chopped carrot on low heat for about 5 minutes then add the spices, water and sugar and mix to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the lamb is tender.

Drain the prunes if you soaked dry ones and add them along with the almonds and pear wedges.

Simmer for a further 15-20 minutes then take the pan off the heat and add the peas, orange juice and  blossom water.

Allow dish to cool slighlty and serve over rice, cous cous or alone with some bread.

** You can use different fruit such as apples but try to ensure the fruit is firm so it will hold its shape once cooked i.e. not turn to mush, also you can try adding raisins, apricots, dates if you don't like prunes, which my husband doesn't like but he insisted i cook with them as that is the Ramadan tradition!
***Oh and before i forget the carrots and peas were not my idea but my husbands, yes i have to give credit where credit is due! both these vegetables are sweet so they work well in the dish and well he didn't want to eat the prunes!!

Labels: , ,


Ramadan Day 3 - My family's Iftar

Here is last night's iftar, yes those plates you have seen time and time again, apologies.....time to invest in some more me thinks (wonders what him inbed indoors will think to that) and by the way, the plate with black dots is actually plastic! perfect for kids with a touch of style for mama lol
** note the l' kebab is not supposed to look like that really. but I hadn't made it in a long time,no excuse for that now is there? when I added the fries to the chicken sauce i continued to stir (mistake 1) plus i must had too much liquid/sauce to begin with (mistake 2) so it turned into something resembling mash potatoe, oooops! but alhamduillah it still tasted good.

Labels: ,


What's for Iftar? Ramadan Day 1 & 2

mobile phone photo!


Labels: ,


Ramadan Mubarak & Lemon Lime Drizzle Cake

Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim readers & hello to you all,

Here is the recipe I followed for the above lemon lime drizzle cake which i'm slowly salivating for as Iftar (meal that breaks the fast) is approaching, of course before that will come dates and shorba/soup, how about you, what are you eating tonight?

This cake is perfect for Ramadan as it stores well for 3-5days at room temperature in an air tight container, perfect for small slice portions after Iftar inshAllah(God willing)

** please note I used only 3tbsp lemon/lim juice to make the glaze on top of the cake, the original recipe calls for 4tbsp also I used a 10cm(width) by 30cm(length) loaf tin so the bake time was reduced to 40minutes.... Oh and the green sugar crystals on top are fab aren't they? Halal and gluten free mashAllah

Labels: ,


Top Tip Tuesday: How to frost/ice a cake like a pro!

(photo taken from the daily meal)

I found this short little video how to frost a cake like a pro, hope it will be of use to you and me, once I get a cake decorating turntable that is, do you have one?

Labels: ,


Khobz dyal Zraa' - Moroccan Whole Wheat Bread

Khobz dyal Zraa' (Moroccan wheat bread) is a popular bread for women to bake at home in Morocco.

The 50/50 ratio of whole wheat to white bread flour makes this bread rich in flavour yet light in texture, perfect for serving alongside your favourite soup or stew.

If you haven't noticed I have got a thing about using recipesi find from a google search...I must get back to those recipe books / cake decorating magazines I have piling up in my living room cupboard VERY soon....

Labels: , ,


Mint Chocolate Madeleines

Earlier this week i mentioned my trouble baking madeleines, it's not that i haven't made them before but well i was out of practice and had forgotten which recipe i previously used. 
This is one  of the reasons i started to blog, so i would have a log of all my favourite baking recipes without having to search in cupboards, draws for that printed recipe you know you had but it's not in there now, dilema.

Did you know? history dates the beginnings of madeleines back to the 18th century in the French town of Commercy, in the region of Lorraine.The story goes that a girl name Madeleine made them for Stanislaw Lezczynski, Duke of Lorraine, who loved them so much that he then gave some to his daughter, Marie, the wife of Louis XV. 
Their popularity grew from that point on and if we fast forward to today we know that they are now enjoyed in many countries around the world.

Madeleines are made with a genoise sponge batter which is a combination of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and are traditionally flavored with lemon or orange flower water however, after several attempts and becoming bored of the classic madeleine flavour (me that is, hubby was quite happy with what i deemed plain) finally this morning i got a green light in my head metaphorically speaking signaling mint chocolate which is a favourite flavour of mine in cupcake form in fact any form, what about you?
I adapted this recipe from Joyofbaking.

Now i am satisfied with my madeleines alhamduillah (All praise to God) and would like you to be too inshAllah (God willing)

Makes about 24 - 3 inch (8 cm) madeleines.


113 grams unsalted butter
110 grams all-purpose flour
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated white sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon halal vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil (depending on how strongly you want the mint flavour to come through)


First, melt the butter and allow it to cool while you make the batter.

In the bowl of your electric mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla and peppermint oil, beat to combine.

fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs to lighten it. Sift the rest of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in being sure not to overmix or the batter will deflate. 

Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten it. Then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, until slightly firm.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C/170 degrees C(fan). 

Generously and i mean generously, butter two 12-mold madeleine pans.  Dust the molds with flour/fine semolina (maybe next time i will use cocoa powder because the fine semolina was apparent on the shell side of these petite four) and tap out the excess. 

(Make sure the pans are well greased or the madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.)
Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. (This will result in the classic "humped" appearance of the madeleines)

Bake the madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the centers spring back when lightly touched.  Try not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.

Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines (you can run your knife/spoon around each mold beforehand if your not confident like me)  Transfer the madeleines, smooth sides down, to wire racks to cool.

The madeleines are best served the same day but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

You can dust these with icing sugar before serving (optional).


Labels: , , ,


Pizza anyone?

Salam Alaikum & Hello,
It's Friday! no free from recipe this week (still working on it) however, i do have a top tip amongst my collection of pizza making photos which makes up (i hope) for missing tuesday's top tip post.

 Bake for 8-10minutes in a pre-heated oven set to the highest temperature.

Labels: ,


Upcoming Ramadan & Baking Experiments This Week

Can you believe we are inshaAllah(God willing) 8 days aways from Ramadan?! Yes, the count down has begun in this household.

While i am looking forward to making the traditional Algerian syrup laden sweet Qalb El Louz/Heart of Almond (i plan to feature this on blog so stay tuned!) i hope inshAllah to not focus much on over indulgent iftars(breaking fast meal) / suhoors(pre-fast meal) and concentrate on more beneficial acts such as reading the Quran etc

This week i have been trying my hardest to perfect the Madeleine. Madeleine's are classically french génoise shell shaped sponges usually flavoured with lemon zest or fragrant flower waters(Rose/Orange Blossom)
So far, nil poi > 0 points which is just typical for an English girl (anyone that has ever watch euro vision will understand) my little treats won't come out of their supposedly non-stick mold. Which by the way i butter and have even floured on occassion, maybe a different recipe is needed me thinks.
Many of you are aware my 1year old daughter has food allergies, so this week i am experimenting with various courgette and carrot cake recipes to make dairy, egg and gluten free cake/ mini cupcakes. Again, when i am happy with my baked creations i will share photos and recipes InshaAllah

In the words of my friend ''Keep Calm And Prepare For Ramadan''



Naan Bread

True Naan Bread i guess is baked in a Tandoor oven but guess what? yes, i don't have one of those, so my extra hot  electric fan oven and grill will have to do.

You will also be forgiven for thinking that from my photo it looks very much like Pita bread (i keep thinking that too) but unlike pita bread, Naan bread is denser and made, at least in this recipe using yoghurt, eggs and milk  resulting in a quite rich yet ultra soft and some would say spongy bread.

If you want to make this recipe, head on oven over to BBCGOODFOOD

Labels: , ,

Orange & Raspberry Cupcakes

Makes 11-12


For the cupcakes

180g/6oz butter, softened
180g/6oz cater/super-fine sugar
180g/6oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 eggs, medium size and room temperature
Zest of 1 large orange

For the filling

X amount of Raspberry coulis ( you can easily home make this by blending a 225g punnet of raspberries, press through a fine sieve to remove seeds)

For the icing

My raspberry ripple mascarpone buttercream icing click here



Preheat the oven to 160C (Fan) /180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Sieve flour and baking powder together x 2
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time along with 1 tablespoon of flour, ensuring egg1 is fully combined into the mixture before adding the second egg and flour.
Add zest, juice and flour and continue to mix until just combined, if using a wooden spoon gently fold in the figure of eight i found works the best.
Using an ice cream scoop divide the mixture into your paper cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool.
While cakes are cooling make up the raspberry ripple mascarpone buttercream icing

Fill your cupcakes with raspberry coulis (i prefer unsweetened but you can sweeten it if your prefer *use icing sugar though or you will get a gritty texture), the easiest method if you haven't got a filling tip or baking syringe is by using a small spoon or melon baller.

Pipe icing onto cupcakes using a round nozzle/tip (you can then spread carefully using a palette knife if you want like i did with some of mine) 

Decorate with sprinkles /orange zest and raspberries or for the classic decorating put a cherry (glace or fresh) on top - all these are optional extras that i can't do without!


Labels: ,