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These caramelized nuts are proof that us cooks just love coming up with our own stuff. Getting ready-made dishes is just not enough anymore and with time, we become addicted to trying things out by ourselves. Jean, our beloved guest Chef here on Breadonbutter, fits this description exactly. He slowly became the type of cook who can’t even think of not making his own ingredients and recipes. So yesterday, he decided to make his own caramelized nuts recipe on a cheese and wine night in, and he brought to it a delicious twist. I found it to be an excellent addition to the holiday Christmas treats around the house and a great idea for elegant and tasty party food when you’re hosting a party.

Here’s the recipe of these delicious Christmas treats.

What you’ll need:

christmas treats | breadonbutter

– 2 cups of raw pecan

– 2 cups of raw almonds

– 2 cups of raw walnuts

– 0.25 cup of maple syrup (the purest the better)

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 2 tbsp mixed herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano

– 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper

– Salt and Pepper

How to make it:

1) Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius

2) In a bowl, mis the raw nuts with the syrup, olive oil, herbs and cayenne pepper

caramelized nuts | breadonbutter

3) Spread the tossed nuts on a baking sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until brown

caramelized nuts | breadonbutter

4) When they’re out of the oven, season with salt and pepper and toss them until cooled

caramelized nuts | breadonbutter

You can make them and use them for 2 whole weeks, provided you reserve them in an airtight container.

A very easy recipe that brings a twist to your Holiday food traditions! 🙂

caramelized nuts | breadonbutter

caramelized nuts | breadonbutter

What do you think?

 Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM 

Guest Chef Jean Fares

Our favorite guest chef is taking a lot to the grill lately. The way he does it, is that he heats the grill pan for about 7  minutes until it  becomes so hot that when you drop a piece of meat on top, it will grill almost instantly.

A few nights ago, he made us these beautiful lamb racks with a compote that you will keep on eating long after you’re  done with the  whole dish. Along with a nice green salad, this meal is all you need for when you’re having friends over.  They will be licking their  fingers after this!

What you’ll need (for 2 to 3 persons):

lamb-racks-and-their-compote-ingredients-2

– 8 Lamb chops

To marinate:

– 1 teaspoon of 9 spices blend (see recipe here)

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– The juice of 1 lime

For the compote:

– 20 g of unsalted butter

– 4 red onions, thinly sliced

– 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon of honey

– 6 dried figs

– 4 tablespoons of sherry vinegar (or vinaigre de Xeres)

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 1 teaspoon thyme (zaatar)

1) Marinate the lamb chops in the marinade ingredients, cover and leave them in the fridge for a minimum of an hour, 2 hours if you have time

2) Make the compote:

caramelizing-onions

In a pan, melt the butter on low heat, then add the onions, sprinkling with the sugar and honey

Mix well and cover, cooking them for 15 minutes on low heat

Add the figs and half of the vinegar and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated

Add the remaining vinegar and cook until the liquid has completely evaporated

Add the olive oil and mix until the consistency of the whole thing becomes jam-like

Remove from heat and add the zaatar, then cool

 

3) On a hot grill, cook the lamb chops on high heat until golden brown

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Present them beautifully and savor! Bon appétit! 🙂

Guest Chef Jean Fares After quite some time, we are proud to welcome back our beloved Guest Chef Jean Fares! This time, he outdid himself with this delicious and all-fresh seafood pasta. He bought fresh calamari, fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and most importantly shrimps that were still alive (yes, that’s how fresh it was!) to make this absolutely phenomenal spaghetti dish that I keep on longing for ever since. Believe me, try to make it and you’ll definitely adopt it.

Jean’s birthday is tomorrow so I’ll be baking him a nice and yummy cake for the occasion (the one I had baked here).

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

– Fresh Shrimps. Keep the heads and shells aside to make the juice

– Fresh Calamari

– Coriander leaves

– 3 to 4 small tomatoes (choose them very red), chopped

– White wine

– Spaghetti

– Salt and Pepper

– 1 Onion (diced)

– 3 cloves of Garlic (diced)

How to make it:

1) Boil your spaghetti al dente and drain

2) Chop the onions, the garlic and chili pepper (If you want to spice it up)

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2) In a wok or pan, heat a bit of olive oil and cook the onions, garlic and pepper, then add the shrimp heads, white wine and chopped tomatoes. Let it simmer and reduce

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4) On a grill, cook the calamari

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5) Mix them all when they’re done, top it all with some fresh coriander leaves and experience an explosion of flavors 🙂

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In August 2012, inspired by many readings and travel photos on the internet, we took the decision to do it. Backpack in the true sense of the term. Choosing the destination was a piece of cake as Sri Lanka had been on my mind for literally a decade. Listening to stories and having Sri Lankan food had been one of my favorite activities for a long time and it was time I saw the real deal. Planning the trip was no trouble at all as there was no planning to be done. Just booking the ticket sufficed.

backpacking | breadonbutter

After carefully organizing our gear and packing the least of things in our backpack, off we went. You can view our whole trip on this link and this link, but now, I want to share what I learnt while backpacking to Sri Lanka.

I knew backpacking was not going to be easy and that there were going to be moments where I’ll be longing for a proper bedroom and shower, but boy did I learn things: about myself, about Jean, and about the world. Basically, I completely changed perspectives.

When you head to the unknown, that’s when you discover what you’re truly capable of. You discover to which lengths you can go, how much you can take – physically and mentally. I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t sometimes cranky and hungry, hot or tired, neither am I going to pretend I wasn’t scared of nature and what I saw. But I learnt my limits and how to overcome those little fears that creep in uselessly.

When we live in a comfort zone, we get used to having everything easy. No insect here to bug you all the time, you rest whenever you feel like it, you don’t have to climb a mountain if you don’t want to. But there, I had to. Not only because I was in the middle of a mountain and couldn’t take the same way back, but also because in my head, I couldn’t not do it. I had to, to prove myself I was strong and in control of my feelings and actions. While we were climbing the famous Ella Rock, known to have the most breathtaking view on top, I reached a point where I literally broke down. The level of hiking difficulty suddenly became too much to bear, but yet again I was so close to the goal. That’s where my mind took over. Had I come so close to the best feeling of being on top of the world, only to stop and go back? Never would I have thought I would continue and get there. But I did, and that’s one of the dearest life lessons I hold on to now. It is actually true that when you feel like giving up, when times become just too tough to bear, the goal is just a few miles away. Never give up, even if you think you can’t move on anymore, the truth is: YOU CAN.

I also learnt to let go of small things and go with the flow, because life is much bigger than the small of you really. I overcame my fears of nature (except cockroaches – go figure) and the unknown and saw how it’s all a matter of mindset.

I learnt about people and different cultures. I saw that people you never even thought of meeting one day would come in your path for a reason, either to show you something or teach you something. I also learnt a lot about my husband, surprising things that made me sure he was the one I could spend the rest of my life with.

Finally, I learnt a lot about myself, what I truly love and what I truly don’t, and about the length I would go to to save something I love or to get it.

And most of all, you learn that life is just: Perspective, perspective, perspective! Switch your perspective and you’ll open the door to complete happiness. I guarantee it 🙂

backpacking | breadonbutter

Have you ever been backpacking? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

If you’re a cook at heart, you surely know about the food network. Their portfolio of cooks and chefs is the most fascinating and diverse. Naturally, I have my favorites, and Giada de Laurentiis is unquestionably one of them. Italian by origin and Emmy Award winner for outstanding Lifestyle host, this woman fascinates me and inspires me.

A few days ago, Jean showed me this delicious ricotta lemon cookie recipe to try at home, knowing how much I love baking. Turns out it was a recipe from Giada on the foodnetwork.com. So I had to try it right away! And then of course, give it a Christmassy feel. So here goes!

Ricotta Lemon Cookies Recipe

What you’ll need:

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

For the Cookies:

  • 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • The zest of 1 lemon

For the Glaze:

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsps lemon juice
  • The zest of 1 lemon

How to make it:

Make the cookies:

1) In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.

3) Add the eggs one by one, mixing in between until combined.

4) Add the ricotta, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat to combine.

5) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

6) On an oven tray, place a baking sheet and spoon”how much” the dough on top, evenly and leaving a bit of space between each so they don’t stick together later.

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

7) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on the sides then let them rest and cool 20 minutes.

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

Make the glaze:

1) Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir until combined and smooth.

2) After the cookies have cooled, spoon the glazing on top and let it harden for 2 hours.

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

Have it with a dark coffee or mint tea!

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

ricotta lemon cookies | breadonbutter

 What do you think?