Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tabbouleh with Pomegranate

With Spring in the air, people seem more inspired to eat healthy and light food. And what is better than a fresh salad or a side dish with lots of fresh greens to jazz up a meal or barbeque. 

I love creating salads and sides with produce that is in season. And you know it´s always fun combining different ingredients to create new colours, flavours and textures. One of my latest discoveries is this tabbouleh salad with lots of fresh herbs, tomatoes, cracked bulgur and olive oil with an exotic touch of pomegranate.

There are various recipes out there for this salad but here is my version:

Tabbouleh Salad with Pomegranate


50 g fine bulgur
1 bunch of spring onions
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber (optional)

200 g fresh parsley
15 g fresh mint
white pepper
juice and zest of two limes
3 tbs oilve oil
8 tbs fresh pomegranate seeds

Wash bulgur thrice in cold water and cover generously with enough water to moisten. Set aside for about 30 min. Itll automatically double in size.
Cut tomatoes and cucumbers in cubes. Chop the herbs. In a bowl mix olive oil with the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Add in the lemon zest.

Toss the cucumbers tomatoes, soaked bulgur and herbs together in the bowl with the dressing. Add fresh pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator to use later (up to one day).

This salad is even great for parties and crowds. Click here for ideas and inspiration.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A touch of Persia

Watching food-related shows can be dangerous sometimes. My husband recently learnt why I am so addicted to it after he watched a couple shows on Youtube one night with me. Every recipe you see makes your mouth water and makes your hungry. A few weeks ago we both found ourselves drooling over some Egyptian delicacies. A few nights later, it was Morocco we wanted to book our next vacation to. The Mexican burritos look so worth a try. While Mr. Schee is busy planning our next culinary voyage, I have already started testing out recipes in my kitchen to figure out whether the cuisines are really worth a trip for us or its just the TV that makes them look so inviting.

Ive tried my hand at making some seriously delicious and quite guilt-free dishes lately. Instead of typing all the recipes in one post, I am going to provide links to each one of them. Click on them and say aloud, "God bless you, Fatima". Come on, thats the least I deserve for an hour of my valuable time Ill be spending typing all these recipes for you :)

The pictures are from the surprise dinner I hosted for a friend on her birthday last week. The spread included beetroot carpaccio with orange vinaigrette, Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad, zeytoon parvardeh, lemon olive chicken, dolmeh, herbed salmon in tomato-paprika sauce (Ive used dill, parsley, red chili paste and taragon this time), Persian jewelled rice, minced chicken grilled kebabs, Persian potato kotlets, tzatziki, Dalcha.

Appologies for the terrible photo quality, Ive lost my camera :( Another reason why I am not posting any step by step instructions with the recipes.

Enjoy going through the blogs and dont forget to say Amen ;)

Zaytoon Parvardeh - Marinated Olives with Pomegranate and Walnuts

I love olives! I love pomegranate and I love walnuts. And when I combine the three, the result is what everyone around me falls in love with. The authentic Zaytoon Parvardeh is a lovely mezze from the Gilan region of Iran. The seasoning generally requires golpar seeds but if you cant find them in your area, just improvise by replacing the spices with dried mint.

Zaytoon Parvardeh - Marinated Olives with Pomegranate and Walnuts

450 g pitted roughly smashed green olives
1 cup crushed walnuts
1 tsp crushed garlic
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp dried mint /golpar
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
salt, pepper

Mix all the ingredients except fresh promegranate seeds in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Add in the fresh pomegranate seeds. Trasfer to serving dish.
Drizzle some pomegranate molasses on top and garnish with fresh mint and some fresh pomegranate seeds.

This can be served as a starter or side dish to complement any Persian / Middle Eastern meal. Click here for ideas!

Lemon and Olive Chicken

Got lemons? Olives? Make chicken!

This easy lemon olive chicken recipe is one of my favourites when I am entertaining. Its relatively easy to make, healthy and satisfying.


Lemon and Olive Chicken

8 chicken drumsticks /thighs
2 tsp chopped garlic
Zest and juice of a Meyer lemon
Few slices of a Meyer lemon
1 tbs crushed black pepper
2 cups chopped pitted green olives
3 tbs olive oil

Take the chicken pieces in a non stick pan, add 1/4 cup water, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until the meat is almost done and the liquid is evaporated.

Add in the olive oil, 2 lemon slices and the juice and zest. Increase the heat and cook over high flame for a few minutes. Eventually add the olives. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes on low heat.
Tip: You can stop at this stage and do the rest just before serving.

Add the black pepper and carefully stir fry for a minute or two. Tip: Dont stir a lot, the chicken will be very tender and possibly falling off the bones.

Garnish with lemon slices and anything green!

Click here for more ideas!

Beetroot Carpaccio with Orange Vinaigrette

How many of you liked certain veggies when you were a kid? Now, how many went through that phase in your life where you magically began to like all sorts of food? As a kid, I would not even want to see beetroot in my plate. And today, I have no problem including it in my smoothies, salads or dips. The credit goes to Gabi Köhnen, a nutritionist in our town who made me eat this impressively delicious and super-easy-to-make starter with beetroot in one of her cooking seminars a few years back.

This colourful, sweet and tangy starter can be made a day ahead of time. And what I like the most about it is that it goes well with almost everything and any cuisine.

Beetroot Carpaccio with Orange Vinaigrette

200 ml orange juice
1 small chopped onion
3 tsp mustard paste
6 tbs sunflower oil
salt and pepper
500 g preboiled beetroot
2 tbs parsley / dill / fresh herbs of your choice

Cook the orange juice with onion in a small sauce pan until the liquid reduces by half. Add in the mustard paste and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Start adding oil to the mixture using a whisk. Set aside to cool.

Trim the tops and bottoms of the beetroot and slice into very thin slices using a very sharp knife.
Arrange these slices on a serving platter and spoon over the dressing. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and cover with cling film. Chill in the refrigerator.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Nael is Six

He came into the world quite early but so easily, calm and without any troubles that it took everyone a while to believe that our baby was actually there. A tiny little angel with a perfect everything!

And youve continued to stay the same even today. A beautiful child with a beautiful soul. I can’t believe you are six already, our handsome number one boy! So kind and full of love and energy. You look serious but your heart is so full of happiness and love. You're smart, sensitive, thoughtful, obedient, funny and your cute smile that goes from ear to ear is the best.

You are the best big brother to Raed. Even when he is always after your toys, you try to remain kind and generous (mostly) with him and are always looking out for him. I hope you continue to do so.

I love that you are still generous with your hugs and kisses, even in public. And I really hope you continue to do that for a long time too. 

You are such a baba's boy.You don't just share a name with him, you share a lot of his traits too (and  my looks, ofcourse).  I love watching the two of you doing things together, especially when you both do simulator flights. Watching you sitting in his lap and landing the plane makes me feel so proud and thankful for the family I have been blessed with.

Mummy loves you so much.  I could write and write about all the wonderful things you are. I just love how you get lost with your imagination in the world of your toys. And I love listening to you talking about your collection of planes and cars, and watching how excited you get. Your concentration and systematic thinking while making lego never fails to amaze me!

By the way, when you said you wanted a lego cake for your birthday this year, I had literally freaked out at first but the moment you added, "My mama makes the best cakes in the whole world", my heart knew instantly, itll be just a piece of cake once we get started. And together, we did it once again, my boy. Within two short days, look what we were able to conjure up for your 6th birthday party! You wanted a lego cake, lego presents and a big friends party.

Your invitation cards this year

Your best friends building memories for you :)

You wanted cookies, finger fish, cake and legos!

chocolate coated lego wafers


chicken and cheese lego sandwiches

favor boxes

thank you cards for your friends

Birthday cake for your Kindergarten celebrations

It was a loooonnng day for all of us but a great one with lots of memories and entertainment.

So my little Me, let's see what the year ahead brings, and I hope being six is even more fun than being 5. Love you to the end!