FATTOUSH SALAD



Fattoush is a Lebanese salad. It is fresh and refreshing. The crisp pita bits are the best parts in the salad. (OK!Confession - I can't live without my carbs!!)

The juiciness of the tomatoes, the freshness of the mint, the sourness of the lemon etc all come together so well.
This salad is great for lunch boxes too. The dressing stays good in the refrigerator for a few days.


INGREDIENTS:
Pita bread - 2 (I used whole wheat pita bread)
butter to brush on the pita.
romaine lettuce - 1 , roughly cut
cherry tomatoes - 8, halved
english cucumber - 1
red onion - 1/4, sliced
red pepper - 1 , cubed
mint  leaves- a small handful chopped

for the dressing:
extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
lemon juice - 2 and a half tbsps
garlic - 1 pod, crushed
ground sumac - 1 tsp
salt and pepper to taste

PROCESS:
  • Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees . Cut each pita into two and then cut each half down the middle like in the pic below so each half is thin. Spread some butter on it. Place the pitas on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until crisp and toasted. Cut them up into small bite sized pieces and set them aside. 

  • Cut the cucumbers into bite sized pieces like in the pic.
  • In a large bowl, add the lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions and mint leaves. 
  • Add the pita just before serving. 
  • Drizzle with some dressing and give it a good toss. Serve.
To make the dressing:
  • Mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and give it a good shake.

NOTES:
  • Toast the pita breads in the last and keep them warm in the oven. Add them to the salad only when you are ready to serve.





















FUNFETTI CAKE WITH VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING



When i asked my daughter what cake she wanted for her birthday party, she immediately said 'SPRINKLE CAKE!!'. No doubts there! Wish we adults were as clear headed as these kids! 

So .............It's been ages since Iv baked....and a birthday cake with piping and frosting seemed like history to me. So I decided to do a test cake....just so that I don't end up embarrassing myself in front of our guests.....lol!



So I sat and googled.....pinterested..........went through numerous blogs ..........and became more confused!...............Finally decided to go ahead and follow the recipe from Shiran's blog. She's got such a good looking blog....and since this cake was such a huge success I'll definitely be trying more recipes from her blog very soon.

This cake was exactly how it should be. It was moist, soft, buttery and lovely.....just how a celebration cake should be! I did'nt add too much sugar to the cake since the frosting is gonna be sweet anyway. The cake was just perfect in every way. It's probably only the second time I'm actually doing 'piping'  in my life. ...and my cake actually looked pretty decent and neat :D
Don't you think so?? I was as excited as my daughter playing with these sprinkles :) 




INGREDIENTS:
for the cake:

flour - 2 cups
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
unsalted butter, room temperature - 170 gms
granulated sugar - 3/4 cup
eggs - 3
vanilla extract - 1/2 tbsp
buttermilk - 3/4 cup
sprinkles - 1/4 cup +2 tbsps

vanilla buttercream frosting :
unsalted butter,  at room temperature - 170 gms
salt - a pinch
icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted - 2 and a half cups
whole milk - 1/2 tbsp
vanilla extract - 1/2 tbsp
a drop of pink food colouring(optional)

PROCESS:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease 2, 6 inch pans and line them with parchment paper.
  • sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and keep it aside. Mix in the salt.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed  till nice and creamy for about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. 
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively in 3 additions starting and ending with the flour.
  • Do not over mix the batter.
  • Gently fold in the sprinkles.
  • Divide the batter equally into the 2 prepared tins. Smoothen the top and tap the tins on the work area to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire racks and remove from pan after 15 mins. Let it completely cool before frosting.
to make the frosting:
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed, for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add in the food colouring, and then increase the speed to high for 2 minutes. Beat until nice and glossy and smooth. 
  • You can add in more icing sugar if too thick or more milk if its too thick.
Assembling the cake:
  • Cut the top part of the rounded cakes so it is flat and levelled and keep it ready.
  • Keep one cake on the cake stand. spread some strawberry jam (optional) then an even layer of frosting. Close with the other cake and frost the top of the cake and the sides.
  • You can decorate the cake as you like.

PEANUT BUTTER




We've been buying peanut butter since............... I can't even remember. The kids take peanut butter sandwiches to school like every other day.  So......me being me.....................I decided to make my own. Well.............are you thinking why go through the hassle of making your own when you just buy it off the shelf??Well........true if you just eat it once in awhile. But when households like us eat it everyday...................it feels good go know that there are no preservatives and wayyyyyyy less sugar.


The result was pretty good. Very close to the store bought ones in terms of taste. just think of all the preservatives and sugar etc you can actually cut down.

Add it to your smoothies, eat it with a fruit bowl or just dig in and eat it plain.............they are full of protein. Take a look at my Almond Butter Recipe while your here. Nut butters are all the rage at the moment and a good way to add some taste to the bla stuff :D

INGREDIENTS:
natural unsalted peanuts - 2 cups
sea salt - 1 tsp
coconut oil - 3 tbsp
sugar - 1/2 tsp (or can even skip)


PROCESS:
  • Slightly dry roast the peanuts till fragrant. Let it cool and then place them in a tea towel and gently massage them for all the skin to come off. Reserve the peanuts and discard the skin.
  • If you like bits of peanuts in your peanut butter (Crunchy) then reserve about 1/3 cup of the peanuts and add the rest of it into your blender or food processor.
  • Whizz until it becomes pastey. Slowly add in the coconut oil at regular intervals to ease the blending process.
  • In the end just add the the sea salt and the reserved peanuts and give it one last whizz.
  • Store in a clean jar and refrigerate for a longer shelf life.

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