Makanek recipe

Makanek with pomegranate molasses picture

Makanek with “debs el remmen”

For today, I chose a very simple recipe that I love, despite the fact that I know how unhealthy it is. The famous makanek, also known as Lebanese sausages, are usually smaller than a hot dog, made with a mixture of fatty lamb and beef (sometimes with only one of them), to which they add a lot of spices (you can mainly feel the cloves).

The makanek have a distinct aroma, but are not hot as soujouk is. Sometimes, you can feel pine nuts inside of them.

You can also find a pork version of makanek in some specialized Lebanese butcheries.

There are mainly two ways of preparing makanek. Either you grill them on a barbecue, or you put them in a pan, without any oil, and the fat inside the makanek will melt, giving you some deliciously fried sausages.

Some people would serve these little makaneks as they are while some others would add lemon juice or pomegranate molasses (I love pomegranate molasses!).

I got my makanek from Mano in Burj Hammoud. You can usually find them in any butchery or supermarket, but Armenian neighborhoods have been famous for doing very special soujouk, makanek and pastrami.

For the recipe, can you think of an easier one?

Makanek recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 g makanek
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Method:

  1. Cut the makanek into single pieces.
  2. Put the makanek in you pan on medium heat and stir them until they are cooked on all sides. They will release their juices.
  3. Add the pomegranate molasses and stir for one minute before serving them hot with Arabic bread.

Bar Tartine Menu: Some Appetizers To Share!

I think most of you living here in Lebanon already know BarTartine. It’s a restaurant that I usually recommend when asked for a place that serves interesting international food.

After their success in Mar Mkhayel, the restaurant opened another branch in ABC Achrafieh, and a third one in Dbayeh.

The menu is interesting, with some starters, salads and soups, pizzas, tartines (sandwiches), burgers, pastas and other platters.

As for the desserts, they have some excellent tarts & eclairs, in addition to the almond mille-feuille, which is really special. I’ll be telling you about all that later on, because, for today, I’ll share with you my review of their appetizers.

The choice is not huge: 4 interesting “not so common” platters to share, in addition to French fries and a quiche du jour that can be one of the following: tomato goat cheese, asparagus or the traditional quiche Lorraine. I did not try the asparagus one lately, and therefore I did not include it in my review, but as far as I remember, and even though it was my least favorite, it was still delicious!

Now, let’s see all these appetizers, under the “Count me in” section in the menu:

Garlic shrimps with cream cheese picture

Garlic shrimps with cream cheese

Garlic shrimp with cream cheese:

Those are excellent; they reminded me of the garlic bread that I prepare, but in a creamier version, because of the garlic cream cheese spread on the 2 pieces of toasted baguette. They’re topped with yummy grilled shrimps, and served on a bed of lettuce. Beware, they’re a bit hot! The whole plate is sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and it costs 15,000 LBP. I highly recommend them.

Artichoke and spinach dip picture

Artichoke & spinach dip

Artichoke & Spinach dip:

This quickly became one of my favorite starters: a  lovely gratin combining two strong flavors that I really love – artichoke and spinach, loaded with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and baked in the oven. Served with some bread crackers on the side, it costs 17,000 LBP. and is recommended unless you’re not fan of one of its two main components.

Lentils & Sundried tomato crostinis picture

Lentils & sundried tomato crostinis

Lentils & Sundried Tomato Crostini: 

This appetizer kind of disappointed me, probably because my expectations were too high. It  consists of a lentil and fresh basil dip, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and served with little pieces of toasted bread, all for 10,000 LBP. Very healthy, I would have enjoyed it better if I didn’t have mjaddra on the same day for lunch. Yeah, they are very similar, but the basil gives it some extra flavor. So, if you are not fan of that traditional Lebanese dish, do not order this appetizer.

French Fries picture

French Fries

Pommes Frites:

 Delicious fries, crispy & golden, with no frying oil unpleasant taste, for 7,000 LBP. They need a lot of salt though.

Ricotta croquettes picture

Ricotta croquettes with Marinara sauce

Ricotta croquettes: 

Breaded ricotta and parmesan fingers, seasoned with thyme and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Served with a marinara sauce, they are good if you’re fan of fried foods. The contradiction between the crispy outside and the melting inside of these croquettes is interesting. They will cost you 15,500 LBP.

Quiche du Jour:

Goat cheese quiche picture

Goat cheese quiche

Tomato goat cheese: 

The tomato goat cheese quiche is superb. It is divided into 2 pieces, both covered with a thin dough crust. Even though I felt that it contains some excess of dough compared to a traditional quiche, but the cheese and tomatoes that melt in the mouth make it an excellent starter. For 15,000 LBP. with a side salad (lettuce and tomatoes), this starter is highly recommended.

Quiche Lorraine picture

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine: 

The quiche Lorraine is delicious as well. The crust is the same, but this one is a traditional Lorraine, stuffed with bacon and a lot of cheese. I love it. For the same price than the other quiches, and served with the same side salad, this appetizer will surely please you.

Tomato, Cheese & Dijon Mustard Tart

Tomato tart picture

The eggs & cooking cream version

Today’s recipe is always a hit! It’s a delicious tomato tart recipe, very easy to prepare (using ready dough of course!), and it has a very strong cheesy taste that everyone will melt for!

If you’re a big fan of Dijon mustard – which is our ingredient of the month, you can always brush your tomatoes with it, but beware if you have guests as they might find it a bit too much.

There’s another way to prepare this recipe. If you want the flower on your tart to be perfect, then you can replace the eggs and cream mixture with canned cream (Ashta). The taste is always great!  I’ll add pictures of both ways, so you can decide which one you like most!

Tomato tart in puff pastry picture

The “more perfect” version

Tomato Cheese & Dijon Mustard tart

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 puff pastry roll
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cooking cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Unfold the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking pan. Using a fork, prick the dough all over to prevent it from puffing up during baking. Brush dough with Dijon mustard.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs then add the cream and mix well. Season with the salt, pepper and ½ tbsp oregano then add in the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Spread the mixture evenly on the dough.
  4. Slice the tomatoes into thin circles. Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese, overlapping slightly, to form a flower shape. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper in addition to the remaining oregano. Top with the grated parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the top has set. Remove the pastry from the baking sheet. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

Chinese Chicken Noodles Recipe

Chinese Chicken Noodles Picture

A delicious dish full of veggies!

I love Chinese food. My first Chinese recipe trial was the regular chicken with cashew nuts – and a lot of vegetables, and since then, I’ve been experimenting with different veggies and sauces.

My very first achievement when it comes to Chinese cuisine was to understand the difference between a stew and a stir-fry dish. For a very long time, I always added a lot of stock to any Chinese dish – thanks to our Lebanese cookbooks, and had therefore a stew that would take forever to be ready. Plus, I wasn’t ready yet for crunchy vegetables inside my plate. Then, I tried thickening my sauces with corn flour, but they were never as thick as the ones I would order from restaurants. Plus, my vegetables were always overcooked. So I had to use fewer liquids apparently.

Honestly, I still cook my carrots and bell peppers more than I should. But this is how I love them, and food is mostly about eating what you love!

So, for today, we’ve got a Chinese chicken noodles recipe, prepared with some veggies and both soy and oyster sauces. Enjoy!

 

Chinese Chicken Noodles Recipe

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • ½ cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water
  • 200 g canned baby corn cut into 2
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 large carrot cut into thin circles
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 200 g noodles
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the sesame and vegetable oil in a wok (or pan). Add the ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the onions, stirring until tender.
  2. Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook for 7-8 minutes. Add the chicken and stir until it changes in color, and then add the baby corn and drained shiitake mushrooms.
  3. Boil the noodles for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the soy and oyster sauces to the wok and season with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is done. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add some more soy or oyster sauce if you think you need it.
  5. Add the noodles and toss for a minute before serving hot.

Potato Curry with Chickpeas Recipe

Potato curry with chickpeas picture

A delicious Indian dish

I have a lot of cookbooks. People have started getting me cookbooks as gifts for a long time now, in addition to new the ones I get regularly. And guess what? I rarely use them!

Since I started this blog, I decided I should be trying some new recipes from these cookbooks every now and then. So here we are today, with a potato and chickpeas curry recipe. I love Indian food.

The recipe is from a very small cookbook that I received when I was still 18 maybe, called “Curries: make it tonight” (Past of the Australian women’s weekly mini-series).

I did only a few changes and the result was excellent. Serving this healthy dish with yogurt is a must, just like with the red lentils and cauliflower curry recipe that I shared with you previously! Delicious and easy to prepare, it is also suitable for vegetarians.

If you ever try it, let me know how it goes!

picture of chickpeas and potato curry with yogurt

It’s all about the yogurt!

Potato Curry with Chickpeas Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 800 g canned chickpeas
  • 800 g crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp curry
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 large green bell pepper cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Mixed spices to taste
  • 2 tbsp red vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Yogurt to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot. Add onions, garlic, curry and bell pepper and cook until onions are soft, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add drained chickpeas, vinegar, potato cubes and crushed tomatoes. Add turmeric, salt, black pepper and mixed spices.
  3. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning according to taste.
  4. Serve with yogurt.