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Food

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Lately, the country’s agricultural economy has been suffering. We’ve been cultivating amazing produce when it comes to fruits and vegetables and farmers are now capable of exporting their goods and therefore make our economy better. What I understood is that things are apparently not working properly to encourage and allow those farmers to export their goods and expand, or even sell locally due to all imported goods we get. I don’t know the story very well, but I know we – the Lebanese people – have been encouraging the production of our apples for over a month now. Every Lebanese person I know has cartons and cartons of apples at home. Apple pies, apple cakes and apple crumbles are THE go-to desserts this fall.

Nowadays, lots of people in anyone’s entourage are obsessed with gluten-free diets. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I have done some research and even tried not having gluten for a full month, but I guess I still need more information to make up my mind as to when and to whom is gluten bad.

Yesterday marked the first day of fall. Although the heat is still on and humidity is more stable than ever, this date instantly makes me think about cooler temperatures, fresh air and a light cardigan.

I’ve been looking at recipes lately and I find myself drawn to soups and comfort food. This year, I have come to the decision of making more and more one-pot dinners. I collaborated with Bibayti to create recipes for Happy – the supermarket chain. Here’s a simple and inexpensive chicken and rice (in one pot the whole time, I promise!). Stay tuned for warm food and new recipes throughout the new season!

In the world of Therapy, cooking and having a positive entourage have always been recommended to boost serotonin levels and increase relaxation and happiness. Over time, I have found that baking cakes have the superpower of calming me down, bringing me to impressive levels of serenity – something I didn’t know I was capable of, being the anxious person I am.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

In the past year, I was lucky to make new friends who love cooking and food as much as I do. Since I’m prone to sharing my recipes and not greedily keep them in a secret notebook, I’ve engaged in a new venture: gathering people around our stove. I find it so much fun and gratifying to have friends over with their favorite ingredients and recipes to cook all together and learn from each other. Laughs are also guaranteed!

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Based on these good times and on the atmosphere of family meals and children wandering around the cook in the kitchen to learn and get a taste of what’s cooking, we had our first cook-off not long ago. Hisham from Cookin5m2, Sarah who owns Dulce n’ Banana, Maya who writes Playing With Fashion, Betty who’s the great photographer behind BetKet Photography, Sleiman who’s the one behind K-frame, and of course my husband and favorite Chef Jean, were all here to lend a hand in a meal we all had together. Hisham made a delicious chicken pot pie, Sarah made a special apple crumble and we all worked to concoct entrees of all flavors and genres.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Food has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s culturally, ethnically, or religiously, it brings people together. Baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing is a pure pleasure of life.

Cook-offs are not only meant to give a chance to meet new people, but also to discover food and ingredients that people might not have come across before. Also, everyone can leave with leftovers and a new recipe.

In the future, I’d love to bring experienced winemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, etc. to teach others tricks and techniques.

The main focus of cooking in group is on socializing, learning to cook and to cook together, learning about new ingredients and types of food, maybe even how to shop for food before learning how to cook it.

The cook-off affected all of our moods positively. Having this meal gave us greater satisfaction because we cooked it together.

Cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and intrapersonally. Physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in upper limbs for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping. Furthermore, sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects.

This is the therapeutic value noted by the University of Alberta.

Here are more photos of our cook-off if you’d like to see. There will be other cook-offs organized so if you wish to participate, all you have to do is send an email to: breadonbutterblog@gmail.com ! 🙂

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Photos were all taken by the great Betty from BetKet Photography.

Dining table and chairs from Dfouny Technotel  – available for rent

cooking in group | breadonbutter

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching so it got me thinking about the kind of food my mom cooks at home. The first thing that pops into mind is her famous beef stroganoff. She knows how much I love it and surprises me with it when I’m having the worst days and pop by for a visit. I can smell it when I enter their house and it just makes the happiest girl!

Today, I was lucky to have lunch at home. Since everyone, including my mom, was busy, I decided to make myself a healthy version of beef stroganoff. I had some serious doubts at first since I decided to use yogurt instead of cream, but it turned out to be delicious and guilt-free 🙂 Here’s the recipe.

Healthy Beef Stroganoff

What you’ll need (for 2 persons)

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 500 g lean beef, sliced
  • 8 medium fresh white mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 g fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it

  1. Melt the corn flour in the warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the canola oil (on low heat).
  3. Add the diced onions, beef and sliced mushrooms. Toss until the meat is cooked while seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside in a bowl or plate.
  4. In the same pot, add the yogurt and melted corn flour and stir until it thickens.
  5. Add the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the mustard and tomato paste and mix until combined.
  7. Season with more pepper and chili powder, add the wine, and stir until you obtain the preferred thickness.
  8. Bring to the boil then let it simmer for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

And you’re done! You can choose to have it with brown rice or a fresh green salad (that’s if you want to cut carbs on that specific day).

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

Bon Appetit! 😉

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If you’re faithful readers of this blog, you’ll know that half of my heart lives in London, the city of my childhood travels and last student year. What’s more, is that my sister’s been living there for the last three years so I’ve been visiting frequently. Inspiration strikes when I’m there and we constantly find loads of things worth sharing. So if you frequently visit London for work or to visit family and friends, here’s a series destined to give you a glimpse of the city through our eyes. 

This week, it’s all about workweek lunch. Here are 5 places to grab a quick lunch in Soho/Covent Garden.

Grabbing a cheap and delicious lunch in soho / covent garden can be a bit of a struggle when you’re indecisive and looking for a good value and satisfying meal. The overwhelming choices and the fear of falling into a tourist trap can be paralysing (too dramatic?) next thing you know, it’s 2 pm and you still haven’t decided where to eat!
After months of exploring, we bring you 5 great places to eat a cheap (ish) and exciting lunch:

Koshari st (A small Egyptian shop on St Martin’s Lane which serves only a couple of dishes – perfect for a filling and cheap meal. Try the hot sauce which is not killer hot and will add flavour to your dish!)
Wellbeing kitchen (A low budget korean cafe in covent garden which serves a number of Korean favourites for a surprisingly low price. The chicken katsu curry is one of the best we’ve ever had. The free miso soup that comes with almost every meal is a real treat.)
Smack lobster (A small cafe style space on Dean street that serves a variety of lobster rolls and lobster chowder. The seven samurai lobster roll is a must. The buttery soft but slightly crunchy bun is heavenly)
Pepe (An all time favorite, also on St Martin’s Lane, serves a variety of italian food. Get a box with a combination of two different pastas and thank us later. Unless you’re on a diet, then we’re really sorry)
Tobiko (Although slightly on the more expensive side, this small sushi shop on Garrick street is well worth it. Their hand rolls are honestly the best, with a proper crispy seaweed wrap – as it should be! The crab and avocado hand roll is so good you’ll feel a bit sad when it’s over.)
Bon appetit!

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I know I’ve written about these pancakes before, but I kind of wanted to remind you about this guilt-free delicious breakfast. To make it even more fun, here’s a video and the recipe!

Video by Zein El Cheikh

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup oat flour
  • 1.5 cup rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp natural maple syrup

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients and whisk until combined. Grease a pan, cook your pancakes, then have them with pure maple syrup and bananas on top. Delicious and guilt-free!

So, are you making them anytime soon? 😉

I must admit I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I can’t really explain why. It might be work overload or wanderlust, but I know that eventually, it shall pass. Meanwhile, not so surprisingly, I search for comfort in food. This doesn’t mean fast food and carbs. On the contrary, I’m craving healthy and delicious dishes that I learned to make myself.

This low-calorie noodle soup is all you need after a long day or during a weekend at home (I hear rain is coming back this weekend and I like it 😉 ).

Low-Calorie Noodle Soup Recipe

low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter

What you’ll need (for 2 persons)

  • 300 to 400 g of noodles (of your choice)
  • 200 g of mushrooms of your choice
  • 300 g of chicken
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1.5 cups of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • A bunch of fresh coriander washed and separated
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 4 Spring onions, sliced

How to make it

  1. Wash and clean the chicken and add it to a pot of water, lemon slices, and ginger. Bring to the boil then let it simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender.
  2. Make the noodles (as indicated on the pack).
  3. When the chicken is done, heat the sesame oil and the fish sauce in a small pot (on low heat), then add 1 cup of the chicken stock (i.e. water from the pot in which you boiled the chicken), soy sauce and sriracha. Mix until they’re all combined, then place the sauce in a serving bowl.
  4. Now for serving it, the idea is for you and your guests to construct your own soup. Serve the noodles and the mushrooms in the main bowl, and the chicken, coriander, spring onions and sauce in separate little bowls as toppings.

That way, you can have your ideal noodle soup made of only healthy and lightly cooked ingredients. Isn’t this awesome? I think I’m not feeling down anymore! 😀

low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter

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Over the past few years, I have come to embrace winter and its cold weather. I never find myself complaining about the rain or wind during this time of year simply because I enjoy cozying up at home and having great conversations with family and friends over food. Some of you might be thinking this weather is ideal only if you get to stay at home all day. On the contrary, I appreciate home even more when I’m away at work all day. There’s something actually comforting about getting home to take a hot bath and curl up in front of the TV with a nice snack. Since tea is my go-to drink during weeknights, the best snack to go with it is a bowl of fluffy madeleines. My friend Hisham thinks it weird to love fluffy shell-shaped mini cakes so much, but for me, they’re little pieces of heaven. Besides, they’re the easiest dessert to make and the satisfaction you feel after removing them from the mold is kind of weird to describe. You have got to make it! Here’s an easy and hassle-free recipe:


madeleine recipe | breadonbutter

What you’ll need (for 21 madeleines)

  • 150 g flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 70 g butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of a clementine (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

How to make it

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 190 degrees celsius
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mix is foamy
  3. Add the melted butter, the zest, the flour and the baking powder, and mix well
  4. Fill 2/3 of each madeleine mold, and bake for 10 minutes, checking constantly

madeleine recipe | breadonbutter

Are you a madeleine fan?

December is one of my favorite months. It’s crazy and hectic but well worth it. I love waiting for my loved ones to step out of the plane, I love the lights, I love the cold and warmth in the atmosphere.

During that month, there is rarely a free evening at home doing nothing. There’s always an event to attend, someone to see, or just too much traffic. But there’s always that one day, where you find yourself with nothing to do and you sneak back home after work to relax. Two nights ago, we made these delicious mini fusilli with extra tomatoes and basil we had in the fridge. These kind of meals are best had on the living room floor, with an excellent bottle of wine and a great movie.

tomato and basil fusilli | breadonbutter

What you’ll need:

  • A box of mini fusilli
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 medium red tomatoes, diced
  • 8 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese

How to make it:

  1. In a pot, boil water and cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until slightly golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes, the rest of the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil.
  4. Once it’s boiled, lower the heat and mash gently with a mixer handle.
  5. Taste and season accordingly, then add the basil, mix for a minute and turn off the heat.
  6. Remove the pasta from the colander and place in the dish. Add the sauce on top and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy with red or whichever wine you prefer 😉

Sobremesa topic for this meal: The Christmas menu, how to decorate the house for Christmas Eve, plans for New Year’s Eve.

tomato and basil fusilli | breadonbutter tomato and basil fusilli | breadonbutter

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