Vote for my Shawerma Tuna Flavour for a chance to win AED 15,000

Friday, 24 August 2012

Announcing the Winners of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special

You Are The Stars!!

It has been a whole week since I last posted on the blog! Having blogged daily for the past month, it kind of feels strange not to write!! lol!
But hey we all deserve a little time off, and I hope you all have enjoyed your Eid break and that all is back to the healthier routines :)

Well this is a very exciting post, as I am announcing the giveaway winners of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special. You guys have cooked your way through Ramadan, have shared the photos with me, and have commented, tweeted, liked and asked your friends to vote for your photos.... it is only fitting that you get rewarded for all the fun you were having throughout Ramadan :))

As you know these giveaways have been generously sponsored by the amazing TAVOLA, CitrussTV, KenwoodMEGastronomy by Dima Sharif. Each one of which had brought goodness to our tables and kitchens with gorgeous and outstanding merchandise, products and services. Thank you all for liking their fan pages, and for sharing the love with them as they did with us here.

Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special 2012 Sponsors & Giveaways

The participants who managed to gather the highest number of points are the winners of this Ramadan Special giveaways. The points were calculated by adding up the total number of recipes carried out from this blog, the number of votes for each of the participants' photos, the number of comments, tweets and interactions participants made this Ramadan. When all was calculated the 10 winners of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special turned out as follows....

Dima's Kitchen recipe: Lentil Soup cooked and photographed by Nisreen Shawwa

In First Place - Nisreen Shawwa 
Nisreen had been reading this blog and following Gastronomy by Dima Sharif on facebook ever since it was the facebook group Dima's Kitchen!! A very long time now. I have even met her at one of my demonstrations. She has always been into cooking and has always communicated how she has a passion for food. She loves to cook and to photograph the food as you can see from her pictures.  Nisreen, took the lead this year with a stunning total of 1256 points. This Ramadan Nisreen had cooked an impressive 41 recipes from this blog and had managed to get the most votes for her photos all the while managing to leave extra sweet comments on this blog!

Nisreen won the Staub Cocotte Sponsored by Tavola :) 
Congratulations Nisreen!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Fruit Punch prepared and photographed by Amrita Jawahar

In Second Place - Amrita Jawahar 
Amrita had literally cooked her way through this Ramadan! She had carried out a super impressive 61 recipes from this blog along with the votes, comments and interactions she gathered a total of 594 points. Amrita had taken up the kitchen from all corners, she cooked from different cuisines, and prepared all types of food. She even went through the beverages label! No wonder she managed to get the 61 recipes all cooked and photographed! Love your enthusiasm Amrita :)

Amrita won the Staub Grill Pan with Silicon Handles sponsored by Tavola :) Congratulations Amrita!

Dima's Recipe Goats Cheese Balls with Lavender Honey cooked and photographed by Paulita Hesketh

In Third Place - Paulita Hesketh 
Paulita had been in contact with me for a while for cooking courses. She always said she loves cooking but can't cook or bake for her life! I had told her to take on this year's Ramadan Special and see how she was going to massively improve in the kitchen just by reading the posts and carrying out the recipes. And boy did she take this challenge up!! Paulita managed to cook a surprising 64 recipes from this blog!! Making her by far the cook of the most!!! She out cooked all the participants this Ramadan! And she is now a full on Kitchen Diva! I could not be more proud of her and she tells me now that she feels very confident in the kitchen and can host a full dinner as well as cook for her birthday party guests!!
Paulita had gathered a total of 344 points.

Paulita won the Fissler Pressure Cooker Sponsored by Tavola :) 
Congratulations Paulita!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Shish Tawooq cooked and photographed by Samah Abu Ghazaleh

In Fourth Place - Samah Abu Ghazaleh 
Samah is the sweetest blog reader ever! She leaves me the kindest and sweetest comments all the time, and she even created an album dedicated to Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special recipes on her facebook page! She had shared links, and told anyone who would listen to read this blog. I am forever thankful Samah to your kindness and good nature :)
Samah had cooked a total of 52 recipes this Ramadan and continues to cook from this blog even after Ramadan Special is over. She had gathered a total of 223 points.

Samah won the ThermoChef Machine Sponsored by CitrussTV :) 
Congratulations Samah!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe Mini Doughnut Munchkins made and photographed by Rawan Otoom

In Fifth Place - Rawan Otoom 
Rawan Otoom is a fabulous woman whose words melt the heart of a rock. She is the sweetest and the kindest commentator that you can ever meet! I had just this Ramadan got to know Rawan from Jordan, and have just - a few days ago - got to know that she too has a facebook page Rawan's Kitchen! She cooks delectable foods and has a special palate for deserts. She had cooked a great deal from this blog 62 recipes this Ramadan! The food looks gorgeous and the feedback is just as gorgeous as she is :)
Rawan managed to gather a total of 172 points.

Rawan won US$ 200.00 Sponsored by Gastronomy by Dima Sharif :) Congratulations Rawan!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Sfeeha dough used for making Zaatar Roll Ups made and photographed by Kholoud Hussein

In Sixth Place - Kholoud Hussein 
Kholoud Hussein is probably the luckiest woman I have ever met! She has repeatedly won giveaways from Dima's Kitchen :)) She really follows the instructions and conditions for qualification and she really goes all out cooking and posting...! Again Kholoud wins with Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special by cooking a total of 36 recipes and managing to gather a total of 117 points.

Kholoud won the Turkish Coffee Machine Sponsored by CitrussTV :) Congratulations Kholoud!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe Marshmallow Pops made and photographed by Virgini Shan

In Seventh Place - Virgini Shan 
Virgini decided to take up this Ramadan Challenge and cook Arabic food for her family this Ramadan. She had previously told me that it is either her mum or mum-in-law who usually cook for her family, so she was not an experienced cook. She did however decide that she wants to start cooking for her family and this Ramadan special was a very good way for her to impress everyone with a new cuisine and new flavours. She had cooked a really cool total of 50 recipes from this blog this Ramadan and totally won over the hearts of her little ones and hubby :) Also managing to get a total of 64 points. She is now the queen of her kitchen and

Virgini won the Express Grill Machine Sponsored by CitrussTV :) 
Congratulations Virgini!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Arabic Spinach Pastries made and photographed by Sarha

In Eighth Place - Sarha 
Despite the fact that Sarha had joined the cooks quite late in the game, she was able to actually gather an impressive total of 51 points. Which had won her eighth place in this Ramadan Special! Way to go Sarha, you are a true example of the saying: "If there is a will, there is a way." 

Sarha won the 4-bladed Chopper/ Mini Blender Sponsored by Kenwood :) Congratulations Sarha!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Cake Balls baked, rolled, dipped and decorated by Mehnaz

In Ninth Place - Mehnaz 
Mehnaz Cooked a total of 6 recipes and from the pictures and choice of recipe her sweet tooth shines through :) She has an eye for decoration and a palate for flavour combinations, she has done an excellent job don't you think? These cake balls are gorgeous and absolutely delicious, I know because it is a recipe I am very familiar with lol Good job Mehnaz! You have also managed to gather a total of 20 points.

Mehnaz won the High Tea Course by Dima Sharif - Part 1 Sponsored by Gastronomy by Dima Sharif :) Congratulations Mehnaz!

Dima's Kitchen Recipe: Pistachio Cake with Rosewater Buttercream baked, dressed and photographed by Nielouphar

In Tenth Place - Nielouphar 
Nielouphar is a fellow blogger who started this challenge by making my Brown Lentil Soup recipe and blogging about its goodness and how her family chose it as their new favourite soup :) She then made the very special Pistachio Cake with rosewater cream to celebrate her Anniversary - the stunning photo of this beautiful cake is above. Nielouphar you have done an excellent job, and I am so happy to have contributed to your special day in however small a way :) This Ramadan Special you have managed to gather a total of 13 points.

Nielouphar won the 'Learn the Art of making Chocolate Truffles' Course by Dima Sharif Sponsored by Gastronomy by Dima Sharif :) 
Congratulations Nielouphar!

You too are invited to join us on this fun and delicious Journey

Congratulations Ladies, what a special group you are, and I am the winner of the best gift ever! YOU guys!
I will continue posting, and you guys continue commenting, cooking and sharing photos with me, who knows you might just end up winning some more giveaways soon ;) I am starting the second album of pictures by this blog readers, and for those who missed the first album, here is a link for you to check out. Take a look and see for yourselves the awesome job that these ladies have done! 

You too are invited to join us on this fun and delicious journey. So do drop by often, let us know what you think, cook and share photos with us. Become a member of this community, we love you already for just dropping by :))

Friday, 17 August 2012

Eid Mubarak

"Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."   -   Henry Ford

Can you believe Ramadan is already over?! I guess when we are having a good time, time just flies! I had such good time, that this past month had just swept by! Thank you guys for all your enthusiasm which had made this Ramadan Special such a pleasure.

I was pleasantly surprised this Ramadan to see that most of you actually cooked the recipes at home, even before the Ramadan Special started! I am overjoyed to know how you guys feel about this blog. Very happy to hear from you how you find that my blog adds value and inspiration to your cooking and cookery knowledge; that you trust my recipes do work and rely on them for your special occasions. What amazing feedback you guys have given me, and what sweet words you have shared with me, and what overall pleasure it is to connect with you and be part of your occasions and important events! I really cannot ask for more! So Thank YOU!

I hope that we will continue to be each others inspirations, and that you guys will keep in touch and drop by often. This blog is an all year long effort, not limited to only Ramadan :) I always keep it varied, informative and entertaining so do come back for inspiration and let me hear from you. Your comments and feedback are very valuable to me, so do please keep it all coming :)

I also want to thank the amazing Sponsors who made this Ramadan Special extra fun and rewarding. TavolaCitrussTV, and Kenwood you guys are super stars! Thank you ever so much for your generous giveaways and for taking part in this excitement :)

Now that you have all cooked a tornado this Ramadan, give yourselves a pat on the back and rest in the thought that you were an absolute star in your kitchen. Relax, put your feet up, let you hair down and enjoy those confections. But do hit the gym afterwards, and get back to your healthy routines ;) I know that is what I will be doing! It was a whole month of overtime! So now, I will go and let it all sink in lol

Of course, I will not be posting daily, but I will however be posting regularly. As ever, if there is anything specific that you would like me to post, do let me know. If you are having trouble with any concoction, do let me know and I will help you out. Now you know that cooking is so much fun, so continue to cook and make delectable homely foods for your family. Make me proud :)

With this I conclude Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special.
I wish you all Eid Mubarak. Have a lovely time with your friends and family.
I will be announcing the contest winners next Friday here on the blog, so make sure to drop by and find out what you have won :)) Till then....

Peace be with y'all x
Eid Mubarak :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cakes; Chocolate Dipped! - Cake Balls & Cake Bites

This post is Sponsored by Tavola, the Middle East's exclusive retailers of high quality European fine Kitchen & Tableware brands.
As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialTavola are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post is written to explain to you how to make best use of the Staub Grill Pan (giveaway sponsored by Tavola) & to give you a delicious recipe that showcases the perfect grilling property of this cast iron grill pan.

Roll the cake into extra small balls and dip in tempered chocolate
& these cake balls will be popped like tictacs

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."  - Warren Buffet

Cakes! Aren't they the best thing ever?! The baking, the eating, the flavours, the layers, the texture and most of all the versatility; cakes are so rewarding no matter how you look at them. I had written a post on what to do with leftover cakes. This post is an extension to that one. I am sharing with you how you can utilise the leftover cakes in making these two delicious and absolutely gorgeous chocolate dipped cake balls and cake bites. They are so good, that you would want to bake a cake in order to make these, instead of waiting for the rare occasion of having leftover cakes!

Cake Balls

Cake Balls and Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles are usually confused with cake balls, cookie balls and all sorts of chocolate dipped or rolled balls. The difference between chocolate truffles and the other 'balls' is that chocolate truffles are made out of chocolate. Chocolate is the main ingredient in chocolate truffles, from the filling to the coating. Other ingredients such as nuts, brittles, pralines...etc are added to the chocolate to enhance the flavour or texture, but they do not make the main ingredients. In other balls, the opposite is true. Chocolate is the complimenting ingredient in cake or cookie balls. It is either used in a way in the filling, or as a coating. But despite the technical difference both are delightful, irresistible and both types can be part of a confections tray.

Chocolate dipped cake balls are marvelous. With a chewy soft inside against the snap of the hard chocolate coating, they offer an experience that is superb. In terms of flavour, there is no limit to what you can go for. From tripple chocolate (Chocolate cake, chocolate cream and chocolate coating), to red velvet and cream cheese, to green tea and even after dinner mints... you can do whatever combination you like. It is all a matter of choosing the flavour palate you are going for, then bake the cake in that flavour, and make cream (frosting) in a complimenting flavour, then choose the best suited chocolate for the finish. It is very simple and  completely impressive when done and served. Once done and set, you can place these cake balls on your confections tray along with all the other gems you have created, they will add variety to your assortment.

Note Cake pops, are cake balls that are mounted on sticks, skewers, toothpicks or anything that makes them look like lollies.

The Basics for making Cake balls
Bake the Cake
To make these cake balls you need to bake a cake. Any cake type, flavour or texture works well for cake balls. All you need to consider here is the flavour palate you are going for. Once your cake is baked and completely cooled, you will crush it into what will appear as big bread crumbs. If you try to roll this squashed cake into balls you will see that they disassemble. That is because they need a binding agent to bind it all together to keep the ball shape.

The Binder
Any creamy texture works as a binder. Think of it this way, the binder is supposed to be moist enough to adhere to the cake. However, a pure liquid won't work, it is too moist and will therefore change the consistency of the cake crumbs. So you can't use water, milk, liquid cream, coffee...etc. Instead you will have to make a cream of coffee for instance. Kind of like a frosting. You can though go for honey, jams, preserves and thick syrups. The sugar in these makes them sticky enough to adhere to the crumbs. The same applies to chocolate spreads, creme fraiche, and yogurts. So you see there is no limit to the flavour combinations you can go for as long as the binder is moist, creamy and super tasty :)
You will simply add enough of the binder to get a texture that holds shape. Do not add extra of the binder because the mixture will get too wet and therefore won't hold the shape. Roll the mixture into balls, place on lined baking sheets and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The refrigeration is to keep the rolled cake balls firm and ready for dipping.

Try my Pisatchio Cake with Rosewater Cream dipped in White Chocolate

The Chocolate Coating
This is the coating layer that will seal everything in place. Choose the chocolate type that most compliments the overall flavours of your cake ball.
Melt the chocolate until just melted, and do not over heat. Add some chocolate pieces to the melted chocolate and stir. If they melt completely, then add more pieces. Once the pieces stop melting, remove them and use this tempered melted chocolate for coating the cake balls. Simply dip the balls in the melted chocolate, lift with a fork, and tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place the coated chocolate on lined baking sheets, and leave to set overnight. The next day, cut off the feet and place on your confections tray.
These cake balls must be consumed within 5 days.

You can drizzle the cake balls with chocolate in cotrasting colours for a different look

As with the Marshmallow pops you can either leave them plain, drizzle with melted chocolate in contrasting colour, or even rolled in crushed or roughly chopped nuts, crushed cookies, desiccated coconuts, sprinkles, crushed dried edible rose leaves, cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar, icing sugar or cocoa powder...etc
If you go for a variety of fillings and toppings you will get a nice assortment of cake balls. You can even have a whole platter dedicated to cake balls if you do not wish to go for an assorted confections tray.

Triple Chocolate Cake Bites

Cake Bites
Cake bites are cakes that are cut using cookie cutters. They can be any size provided it is a bite or maximum two bites. The cut cake pieces are then dipped in melted chocolate (the same process as the cake balls). Cake bites do not need a binder, nor do they need shaping and refrigeration... for that they are a more convenient option. They do however have to set overnight, so do take that into consideration when planning your confection tray options. When your guests reach for these bites, they will be pleasantly surprised to find a cake filling. These are crowd pleasers, and can be used as part of your confections tray, or they can be served on their own on a cake stand, tiered platter, or plate.

Presentation Matters
Adding Decorations
Assorted Cake Balls Platter
for a Baby Shower - Tiered Stand from Tavola
You can use melted chocolate to adhere any decoration to these cake bites. This is especially useful if you are making themed foods for a party. Like sticking sugar baby shower decorations for instance.
But even for your confections tray, you can go for a little decoration if you wish. Like sugar flowers, that will look gorgeous atop these dipped cake bites. Mind you the more cartoonish the decoration is the less formal the overall look is. The closer the design to real life flowers the more elegant and formal the piece will look. Think of a real life looking mini tulip made out of sugar, going down the side of each cake bite.
 Let your imagination and style be your guide.

You do not have to stick the same serveware all the time. Besides the plates, platters and cake stands, you can go for cups, wine glasses, long flutes, and even see through glass tea pots! You can even go for baskets, small wooden chest boxes, or even mini decoration cabinetes! Yes you can place the cake balls or cake bites in any of these containers for an impressive and different presentation.
Your imagination is your guide.

The smaller the pieces the more your guests will pop :) You can make very small pieces and place them in edible or non-edible cones, shot glasses, mini boxes..etc. Keep in mind that with big size pieces you will have to consider plates, napkins...etc to catch any falling crumbs.

Assorted Home-made Confections

So you see why I think Cakes are splendid! Is there anything more delicious? These cakes just keep on giving! I hope that these kitchen inspirations are encouraging you to make your own confections tray this Eid. Just in time to get them all done and set and tomorrow you can just arrange your tray. Then be very proud and serve these lovely home-made confections that will please all your guests.

Don't forget that 1st day of Eid is the last day for submitting any photos for Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special contest. Any photos received after the first day of Eid will not enter the draw. Make sure to cook off and send through the photos by then. You have gone this far and only 2 days left! Don't give up now, because you can be the winner of this large capacity Fissler pressure cooker, sponsored by Tavola. Wish I could enter the draw for this one, because it is custom designed for Tavola, otherwise you won't find it in this large capacity! Extra special giveaway from an extra special store :)

2 more days and Ramadan will be over, Make sure to do good to others these last days of Ramadan
Ramadan Kareem

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mini Chocolate Tartlets - More Eid Confections

 This post is Sponsored by Tavola, the Middle East's exclusive retailers of high quality European fine Kitchen & Tableware brands.
As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialTavola are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post is written to explain to you how to make best use of the Staub Grill Pan (giveaway sponsored by Tavola) & to give you a delicious recipe that showcases the perfect grilling property of this cast iron grill pan.

Nothing more beautiful or more delicious than home-made confections

"We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love."  -  Mother Tereasa
Kari, Stop Laughing!

I don't think there is anything more satisfying - for the ones who love to impress with their food - than serving a whole assortment of home-made confections! I don't even think there is anything out there that tastes as good as the home-made confections, although there are many really good manufacturers there. Why? Because when you make the confections yourself you pay attention to so much detail, that no 8-hour shifter has the time or the mind set for. Worse still if these confections are machine made! They will look gorgeous, and absolutely same size and shape. But the machine, never tastes, never adjusts, never adds its mood or spirit to the food! The machine equates and calculates in its computerised mind, how to serve you the exact same formula every time! The same marzipan pear I make today, might taste slightly different if I make it tomorrow! Because today, I am feeling for cloves but tomorrow I might be more into cinnamon. But you will always have a fresh and different treat when you come here. Aren't anticipation and the surprise element way more exciting than knowing exactly what you are going to get? Not only in falvour but even in presentation. The packs are all almost identical and almost all are filled the same way! At home, you play with the design, you stack the plates, you use a cup for pops, and bowls for truffles and layers upon layers of sweetness and imagination. This is my philosophy on Home-made verses ready-packed. I am not saying that all manufacturers must shut down now! Some don't have the time, some don't have the knowledge, some can't be bothered, and somethings can be bought to save time and effort... But whenever you can, go for making things yourself. It is utmost satisfaction and a chance for complete pride in production :)

Your home, your product, your rules!

One of the best things about making your own confections tray or platter... is that you get to decide what should go in it. You get to choose whatever you fancy regardless if they belong or not to the same production unit! Meaning, it does not have to be all chocolate, or all candy, or only chocolate and candy! It can be anything you like. It is a confections tray. Provided it looks good there, any kind of confection can go on there. The only thing you must consider is storage conditions. You would want to stack the things that can be stored in the same conditions (fridge or room temperature). Other wise you will have to keep filling the plate right before your guests arrive.

Assorted Mini Chocolate Pies

In today's post, I will share with you how to make these succulent mini chocolate tartlets, which you can add to your confections trays this Eid. Whenever I have these mini tartlets on my confection trays they are usually the first to disappear! They are rich in flavour and very open for flavouring too. I have gone for nuts and fruits as toppings, but feel free to go for any topping you like.

Here are some topping suggestions to get your imagination going...

  •  Shredded Coconuts
  • Candied Orange Peel
  • Candied Fruits 
  • Maraschino Cherries 
  • Caramel Brittles 
  • even Intricate Sugar Designs...etc anything you fancy. 
Because these mini tartlets are super small in size (1-2 bites) they give the illusion that they are guilt-free! There is nothing innocent about these little cute looking tartlets, they are the maximised indulgence in its best! The rich tart shell and the even richer melt-in-your-mouth Ganache are no players in light eating heaven, they way up on the other side playing with the full on foods. But hey, occasionally even heaven needs a bit of entertainment!

Milk Chocolate Ganache

You can make these tartlets in 3 versions: Dark, Milk or White Chocolate tarts. I usually like to pair white chocolate with berries, I find them to compliment each other's flavours, also Macadamia Nuts, and rice cereals, or honey brittle all go very well with white chocolate. I like Hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds with milk chocolate. And would choose candied fruits, or Maraschino Cherries for the the dark chocolate tartlets. But go ahead and find your own flavours, you will like your tartlets better that way ;)

Mini dark chocolate pies

Ramadan Recipe 25
Mini Chocolate Tartlets
Makes 24

 I used the mini tartlet baking trays for making the shells. These trays look like a 12-hole cupcake baking tray, except the holes look like mini tart shells. I bought these from Tavola. If you do not have them and don't wish to buy them, you can use the mini cupcake tray for a rounded look. Also a very elegant look.

You Need

1 recipe shortcrust pastry 

 For Chocolate Ganache
1 cup dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate pieces
1 cup Whipping cream

Your choice of topping

Roll out your cooled pastry, and using a round cookie cutter cut into circles the size of the rim of your mini tartlet or cupcake holes. Carefully place the cut rounds in the holes, pressing down the bottom and sides. Bake in 375F oven for 15-17 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Mini White Chocolate Pies with Strawberry pieces

Make the Ganache, by heating the cream on medium heat just until it boils. Remove from heat and add the chocolate pieces to the cream and let sit for 3 minutes. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is all melted and incorporated and the mixture is smooth and shiny. If any tiny chocolate pieces remain use an immersion blender to blend all into a smooth finish. Leave the ganache to set at room tempertaure for 15 minutes.

Put the Ganache in a piping bag, and pipe it in the centre of the tart shells. Add your chosen topping. You can sprinkle with icing sugar or cocoa powder if you like.

Just note that tarts including fresh fruits have to be consumed fast before the fruits go bad. The best is to cut the fruits and add them to the tartlets, right before serving. This way it all remains fresh and in good shape.

Store these tartlets in an airtight container the fridge, for up to a week.

Assorted Confections Platter - With Compliments from my kitchen to yours ;)

Hope you enjoyed this post. As you have noticed, I am posting Eid hospitality recipes for you this week. And would love for you to try them out. Do take photos and send them through to me. The last day for submitting any photos for Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special contest is the first day of Eid. Any pictures submitted after the first day of Eid will not be included in the giveaways draw. So make sure you guys have taken all the photos and sent them by then. The winners will be announced on the first Friday after Eid :) So excited!! 
Staub Cocotte,
giveaway by Tavla
The photos of the foods you have done so far are amazing. I am over the moon to have over 250 photos of recipes made by you guys from this blog's recipes :) You guys Rock!

Come back tomorrow for more ideas to fill those confection trays of yours ;)

Don't forget to like Tavola's Facebook Page
Ramadan Kareem

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Marshmallow Pops - Eid Confections To Please The Kids & The Adults Alike

This post is Sponsored by CitrussTV, who bring you exclusive beauty, makeup and kitchenware products from around the world directly to your home. CitrussTV are known for their entertaining programmes, excellent high quality products, home delivery so you don't have to leave your home and their excellent customer service. As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special, CitrussTV are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.

Marshmallow pops are a delicious treat that kids and adults will enjoy

"I don't do fashion, I AM Fashion!"   -  Coco Chanel

Now I know that after fasting for a long and extra warm month, everyone joys for Eid. But non more than kids! I almost remember every single Eid like it was yesterday! Eid was the best time in the whole year. It was like a carnaval of activities, visitors, treats, new toys, sweets, pictures, family gatherings which also always meant we were being showered with money lol! It is a tradition that in Eid every one gives the kids money!! We used this money to buy all the things we were not usually allowed to buy; such as fire crackers, or massive amounts of sweets, the yuckiest most food coloured slush drinks in blue or fluorescent green! Then of course comes the toys shopping. My Eid as a child always felt like an unlimited happy pill that lasted for 4 days! After which, we were too tired and most probably too ill to even ask for any sweets, games, activities or anything really! It was an overdose of joy! Good fun :)

All home-made Chocolate Platter also including the marshmallow pops

In today's post, I want to share with you how you can make these really tasty and very irresistibly charming Marshmallow Pops. I make these pops every Eid with the kids, and I even incorporate the pops in the confection trays, which I make for my home's guest welcoming for Eid. Not only do kids love these, but try them and see how good they are. It is such a simple concept, but a very delightful one. Your guests will be reaching out for these before anything else!

Assorted Marshmallow Pops:
Chocolate dipped and drizzled, Chocolate dipped and coconut rolled
Chocolate dipped and rolled in assorted chopped nuts, then drizzled

Step 1 - Skewer the Marshmallows
The idea is to skewer some marshmallows on a bamboo skewer. You can go for mini marshmallows as in the chocolate platter above or for large Marshmallows as in the first picture in this post. You can skewer a group of marshmallows on the bamboo stick to make for a long pop, or you can go for 1 piece on a toothpick for a one bite pop.

Step 2 - Dip in Melted Chocolate
Once you have skewered these marshmallows, you want to melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler. (read instructions on the chocolate dipped dates for how to melt and temper your chocolate) Once the marshmallow are dipped and covered in chocolate, place them over a tray lined with baking paper and leave them to set (for a plain chocolate finish).

Step 3 - Choose a Topping

For Chocolate Drizzled Marshmallow Pops:
After setting, drizzle melted chocolate with contrasting colour over the dried pops and leave to set again. You can go for 1 or 2 shades of chocolate on the same pop. Like drizzling melted white chocolate and melted milk chocolate over pops dipped in dark chocolate.

For Nut Rolled Marshmallow Pops:
After dipping the skwered marshmallow in chocolate to coat, tap to get rid of excess chocolate, then straight away roll them in roughly chopped nuts, chocolate or colourful sprinkles, coconuts....etc. The same topping suggestions mentioned in the Nut Rolled Dates post apply to these pops.
You can also be creative and use fondant for decoration. Just roll the fondant and cut extra small shapes, using mini cutters and use melted chocolate to stick these on the pops. Shapes like mini stars, flowers, butterflies in any colour can go. You can even use melted chocolate to stick a whole nut onto the marshmallow skewer. Like sticking a hazelnut to one side, or a peanut, or an almond. These nuts can be raw, toasted or even candied. Let your imagination go, because there is no limit to what you can do with these.

All home-made Chocolate platter with Marshmallow pops.
Go for nut rolld and chocolate drizzled for the adults, these are the unanimously favourite choices

Step4 - Finish 
You have to leave these pops to completely set and dry before you wrap them and add them to an arrangement.

These pops are great because once they set, if you wrap them tightly with nylon wrap, enough that they don't get in contact with air, they can last up to 2 months, tasting as good as new. If you place them unwrapped in jars as in the picture above, then you must consume them within 2 weeks, or they become slightly stale. However an airtight container that is not opened will last for up to 2 months.

Marshmallow Pops - stored in an airtight container they can last for up to 2 months

Let the Kids In
I usually make colourful and playful ones for the children, and have them help me out. They love to dip the skewers, drizzle, roll and stick decorations. It is such a fun activity to do together, and a very good way to get them to feel the festiveities approaching and in the mood for Eid.
As for the pops I use in my hospitality platters, I usually go for the more sophisticated flavour of the nut rolled pops. I find them to look irresistible and to appeal more to the grown ups, than the colourful sprinkles! lol

You can present these pops in glasses for the tall ones or shot glasses for the short ones. You can place them in your confection platters or trays. Or they can be put in nice looking jars.
You can make an arrangement where you place the flower arrangement prop (the block used in holding flowers in place for arrangements) cover it with paper mashe and pin the pops standing in whatever arrangement you like. If you don't have access to the flower arrangement prop, then use sugar or beans to hold the pops in place.

You can make these for Eid or any other occasion. These can be part of your desserts Buffet, especially in Kids' Birthdays and get togethers. You can even make these and fill cute jars with them and give them out as party favours. Or make them as a gift from the kitchen to a friend, neighbour or colleague... Fantastic whichever way you look at them :)

Add new to the classic options
These very playful and delicious Marshmallow Pops are a super sweet confection option to add to your Eid arrangements. While you want to offer your guests Maamool, chocolates and all the traditional options, it is always very stylish to offer something new and different from the classic options. So get in the spirit of Eid, and get those kids in the Spirit too. Excitement, celebration and happy activities are all what Eid is about, so allow your kids to experience the excitement in anticipation for Eid. Let them make the kiddie pops, and you make the more elegant grown up pops, and make sure they are not completely devoured before Eid is actually there! :)

Hope you like today's Kitchen Inspiration and that you will make these with your little ones. Don't forget to take photos and share them with me for a chance to win this amazing Express Grill Set sponsored by CitrussTV as part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special. Winners will be announced the first Friday after Eid, so until then you have all the time to cook recipes from this blog and share them with me. So don't miss out! Below is a video to show you what this Express Grill Set can do for you, enjoy and come back again tomorrow for more Eid Fun and Eid Kitchen Inspirations. Do let me know what you think of these pops ;)

Don't forget to teach your kids to enjoy the kitchen too, they love it just as much as you do
Ramadan Kareem

Monday, 13 August 2012

What is Eid Without the best ever Maamool?

What is Eid without Maamool

Eid is almost upon us. Can you believe Ramadan is almost over? Well it almost is, and now is just about enough time to get the maamool going. We all know that Eid is not the same without these absolutely gorgeous date filled little samolina cookies! They are really delicious, especially with morning coffee. One of the best things about this Eid is that you finally get to wake up in the morning and have your morning coffee :) the other best thing is a piece of this sugar dusted cookie to counter balance the bitterness of the coffee. mmm, can't wait! lol

In today's post, I will link 3 maamool recipes for you to choose from. There is my maamool recipe, which includes a step by step tutorial to making maamool together with the 3 classic fillings: (Pistachio, Walnuts and Dates). Despite the common belief, maamool is actually not very difficult to make. So follow this link and follow the instructions fully and you will find that you have made some excellent maamool that looks very elegant and tastes super delicious.

Making Maamool is not very difficult and home-made maamools are super delicious!

In this link you will find Zalatimo's Maamool Recipe. Zalatimo is a very famous Arabic desserts Manufacturers who specialise in Maamool. In Jordan and other countries in the Middle East, Zalatimo Mammol is best loved and always the preferred choice. This recipe is provided by Abdullah Zalatimo himself, the man behind Zalatimo Sweets. It is the original and authentic Zalatimo Mamool Recipe! So check it out and see if you can make Zalatimo Maamool at home ;)
If you prefer or know someone who will need the recipe in Arabic, then follow this link for the translated recipe, or tell your friends to go to this link.

Zalatimo Maamool

Eid is just around the corner, so get going, and make these fabulous Maamool recipes for Eid. You will be very happy you did and so will be all your guests :)

Remember to give this Ramadan, Give out the extras instead of tossing them
Ramadan Kareem

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Shish Tawooq & Recipe Frustrations

This post is Sponsored by Tavola, the Middle East's exclusive retailers of high quality European fine Kitchen & Tableware brands.
As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialTavola are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post is written to explain to you how to make best use of the Staub Grill Pan (giveaway sponsored by Tavola) & to give you a delicious recipe that showcases the perfect grilling property of this cast iron grill pan.
Press this link for this recipe in Arabic

Home-grilled Shish Tawooq Skewers

“I want you to have big dreams, big goals. I want you to strive to achieve them. But I don't want to see you beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.”  -  Kelley Armstrong, The Gathering

I have been for a while experimenting with Shish Tawooq recipes. I must have tried over a dozen recipes. There seemed to either be something missing, or something not right, something off, or something not balanced! I was confused! How hard is a Shish Tawooq? It is essentially grilled chicken cubes! The use of garlic in Shish Tawooq is essential, and garlic can either be overly overwhelming or majorly imbalanced against the rest of the flavours. For some very strange reason, it was just not working out! I was getting frustrated and noticed that the more frustrated I got, the worse the recipe came out! I decided to drop Shish Tawooq altogether. It was giving me a headache!

I love to use my Mortar & Pestle for making Marinades,
I even sometimes use it for serving Guacamole :)
I have bought this beautiful Granite Mortar & Pestle from Tavola

Grilled Chicken is one very useful item to master. Because you can have it on its own, next to pastas, rice dishes, in a sandwich, or even over salad! Grilled chicken is super easy to prepare and can be done with many marinades and flavour palates. If you cut them into cubes and skewer them, they are a fabulous BBQ option. Most people eat chicken, and most people prefer chicken over meat. And chicken, I cooked in all shapes, methods and flavours. I even make a killer version of roasted chicken. I almost use it with everything I cook that includes chicken. Not only that, but I even use the juices for chicken broth! Ah! Delicious!
Only when it came to the silly Shish Tawooq! It just did not want to work! 
Everyone laughs when I tell them about my Shish Tawooq frustration. It seems everyone has a recipe, and it is unanimously agreed to be an easy recipe! But I seemed to be in a cubed chicken hell!

Shish Tawooq - The finished marinade

It is summer, and while in Dubai we cannot spontaneously throw a BBQ get together due to the beautiful weather outside! We can still grill chicken in a way that tastes very similar to the BBQ chicken skewers. Thanks to Staub Grill Pan (giveaway by Tavola for a lucky reader), and to the cast iron cooking properties, you will be able to achieve the same texture of BBQ chicken, and almost the same flavour. The only difference is you won't get the smoky flavour that comes from the burning charcoal in BBQs. When the weather cools down, you can use this same Shish Tawooq recipe for BBQ get togethers. Did I say Sish Tawooq recipe? 
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I have finally found my perfect Shish Tawooq balance. As it turned out, the imbalance was due to the extra ingredient I kept on adding to the recipe. I was continuously adding this stream of thoughs: 'this is supposed to be very easy recipe', 'how come it is not working'! And the fact that I forgot to focus on just the food! One day, I was in a rush and wanted to marinade some chicken cubes before I head out. I just wanted to come back home for a fast, easy and healthy meal. Without too much thought I just mixed the ingredients I felt will give the chicken a good flavour. Mixed everything well, marinated the chicken, and placed it in the fridge. In the evening, I skewered the chicken and grilled on my Staub Grill Pan. Made a Vinaigrette dressed Coleslaw and ate. To my surprise, it was the best Shish Tawooq I have made, I actually loved it! And am sure you will too. 

So get your grill pan out and let's make some delicious Shish Tawooq....

The skewered marinated chicken cubes

Ramadan Recipe 22
Shish Tawooq
Marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours in the fridge for the flavours to infuse.

Simple Good ingredients make
simple good food

You Need
400g chicken fillets
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup yogurt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
1 spring fresh thyme
1 tsp fine lemon zest
1/4 tsp cardamom
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of ground all spice
Salt & Black pepper to taste

Clean and cube your chicken fillets. Do not cut the cubes too small as they will come out even smaller when done. Go for medium size cubes. Place the cubes in a medium bowl and set aside.

Marinate for at least 3 hours before cooking

Make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together very well to make a well incorporated and not separated marinade. Pour all the marinade over the cubes chicken and mix to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Place your grill pan on the stove top over high heat. Leave it to heat up. Meanwhile Skewer the cubes on short bamboo or metal skewers. I prefer bamboo skewers because they won't scratch your grill pan.
Reduce the heat under the grill pan to medium and Grill the skewers for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and white (not pink) on the inside.

Place the cooked skewers on a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with garlic paste and some pickles on the side.

Find Grilled Meat Cubes recipe here
I hope you enjoyed today's post. If you are taking part in Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special then good luck, hopefully you will win this amazing Staub grill pan sponsored by Tavola. One more week left and Ramadan will be over, so make sure to cook all the recipes that you can from this blog and send me the photos! The competition is fierce as you can see here, but hey it is still anyone's game! You have gone this far, so go ahead and keep going :)
Come back again tomorrow for more, and let me hear from you before you go; leave me a comment ;)

Remember to like Tavola's facebook page in order to qualify for this fabulous giveaway
Ramadan Kareem