Opinion 1 comment on The Perks of Cooking In Group

The Perks of Cooking In Group

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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Breadonbutter Guests, Guest Chefs, Recipes 0 comments on 5 Pizza Toppings With A Twist For A Fun Night With Friends

5 Pizza Toppings With A Twist For A Fun Night With Friends

As you grow older, get married and start having responsibilities, your lifestyle slowly changes. For example, when you have kids like some of our friends do, you go out less and have to make do with staying at home more often. You then start honing some of your skills, like cooking and DIY projects, and when you’re lucky enough to find friends who share the same passions and hobbies, you hone those skills and experiment together. Instead of going out for pizza or crazy wings night, you go ahead and buy that bread-maker and start having your own “crazy” pizza nights at home.

That’s exactly what we did last week over at Khater and Lea’s house (you can check Khater’s previous guest recipes for fig jam and brie crispy shells on this link and for lemony chicken on this link). Using a Moulinex bread-maker, Khater made the pizza dough (ingredients below) and we had fun with different toppings. So here are some toppings ideas, with a twist, for your pizza night.

First, make the dough.

Pizza Toppings Ideas

What you’ll need:

  • 800 g flour (20% of which can be corn flour as it gives the dough a crunch)
  • 450 ml water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar (for the browning of the crust)
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp yeast

First steps:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Flatten parts of the dough with a rolling pin to the size you prefer and prepare it for toppings.

If you’re not using a bread-maker, you can refer to this post to read about making a dough from scratch. 

Pizza toppings ideas:

Pizza Toppings Ideas

1) Vegetarian

vegetarian

Top one pizza with tomato sauce, green pepper, black olives, corn, mushrooms and block mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

2) Brie and Rosemary leaves

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the dough with brie cheese and rosemary leaves. Top with olive oil and salt then place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

3) Zaatar (thyme) and Feta Cheese with pepper

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the pizza dough with fresh thyme leaves, feta cheese and black pepper. Place in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

4) Eggs and chorizo

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Before topping the dough with the ingredients, fold its corners to prevent the eggs from overflowing.

In a bowl, break 3 eggs and whip them with a fork. Place the chorizo on the dough and top it with the eggs.

Place it in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the eggs are cooked.

5) Proscuitto (parma ham), mozzarella and pesto sauce

Pizza Toppings Ideas

Top the pizza dough with all of the ingredients and bake in the oven until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted.

And there you have it! A trouble-free and fun pizza night! Thank you Khater! 🙂

Pizza Toppings Ideas Pizza Toppings Ideas Pizza Toppings Ideas

Any other toppings suggestion?

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Parties & Happenings 1 comment on Welcome Spring: The Ultimate Checklist For The Perfect BBQ

Welcome Spring: The Ultimate Checklist For The Perfect BBQ

Last Saturday was really fantastic. The weather was wonderful and we all headed outside the city to Batroun for a fun BBQ in the sun. We were a whole bunch of people (including Maya from Playing With Fashion and her husband) and everyone was happy and excited. The goal was to get there a bit late and to start eating around 3 pm to then enjoy the beautiful sunset. By 1 pm, everything was set: a ping pong table and darts game, drinks, and music.  All that was left was for people to get there so that the grilling could start.

A BBQ can be manageable and trouble-free. You just need to be really organized and keep things uncomplicated. To make things easier on you, here’s a checklist you can use if you’re looking to have some fun with friends around a grill.

Breadonbutter’s Ultimate BBQ Checklist

1- The Material

When you’re hosting a BBQ, no matter its size, you want to be able to have fun with your guests and not end up cleaning for hours afterwards. To do that, it’s all in the material you get. Since a BBQ is always outdoor and very casual and laid-back, you can easily go plastic: plastic plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups. No one will judge and you’ll be way more relaxed as nothing will break and everything goes in a huge garbage bag at the end of the day. Of course, skewers are essential and a nice BBQ toolkit would be a great plus. Jean got this one at Christmas from his little brother (the most useful gift ever). For those who will be actually grilling the meat (thank you Gigi and Marwan 😉 ), make sure you have a handy enough grill or grills for that matter. If you’re planning a big party, make sure you have enough space to grill enough food for everyone and not keep them waiting.

BBQ | Breadonbutter

2- The Food

If you usually prepare food for friends and family, you should know by now that not everyone eats everything. Some don’t eat meat, some hate chicken and some can’t even get near the smell of seafood. You’ll even have those friends who’ve just turned vegetarian on you! So be prepared for everything and be ready to satisfy all of your guests. What we had on Saturday:

– Two kinds of marinated chicken wings and drumsticks (recipes soon)

Kafta (Kebabs) sandwiches

– Shrimps

– Calamari

– Mini burgers

– Eggplant and Zucchini skewers (just cut them in cubes and get them ready for grilling)

– Potato skewers

– Accompaniments: bread, ketchup, mustard, mayo, tabasco

BBQ | Breadonbutter


BBQ | Breadonbutter

BBQ | Breadonbutter

chicken | breadonbutter

BBQ | Breadonbutter

BBQ | Breadonbutter

3- The Drinks

Aside from soft drinks, water and beer, I suggest you make two yummy punches your guests can start with as soon as they arrive. On Saturday, we made a nice Sangria (recipe here) the night before and a non-alcoholic punch for those who wanted something fresh but didn’t want alcohol (recipe soon). Jean also became really popular with his delicious Gin Basil drink (recipe soon as well!)

BBQ | Breadonbutter

BBQ | Breadonbutter

BBQ | Breadonbutter

4- The Music

A nice playlist with various types of music is an absolute must! Having no electricty plug is no excuse nowadays as a laptop or speaker is enough. Stay tuned for a BBQ playlist 🙂

You can use the checklist below if you’re hosting a BBQ soon!

 

BBQ checklist

So go out there, get in the sun, play some music and hang out with your dearest friends. That’s how life should be. 🙂

Are you a fan of BBQs?

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