Makhluba – Upside down rice cake

This can be cooked in many different ways. I am putting this recipe here so that I can try it tonight. This is from Marwa in the cooking group i’m in.



Chicken – 1 Whole (1.5kgs)
Potatoes – 3-4 medium size
Egg plant – one large
Onion – 1 big I used 3
Butter – 1 tblspn
Olive oil – 2-4 tblspns
Vegetable oil for frying
Basmati rice – 3 cups

Spices for the chicken:
Cinnamon ground – 1/2 tspn
Cardamom ground- 1/4 tspn
Coriander ground – 1 tspn
All spice ground – 1 tspn
Seven spices ground – 1 tspn
Cumin – 1 tspn
Turmeric – 1 tspn
Spices for the rice: Salt and pepper- 1/2 tspn each; All spice – 1/2 tspn; turmeric – 1 tspn.

1. De-skin the chicken, cut into 12 pieces at the joints, clean, wash, drain and keep aside.
2. Heat a tblspn of butter in a big pot and add the diced onion to it.
3. When the onions sweat a little add the chicken to the pan followed by the spices and mix well. Keep turning over and brown the chicken in the pan.
3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water and let it cook for sometime till the chicken is done.
4.Slice the egg plants and potatoes separately. Rub a little salt and keep them aside for sometime. The egg plants sweat a little on rubbing salt. Press them gently to drain the water and wipe with paper towels. This way they don’t absorb oil when frying.
5. Deep fry them separately. Drain on paper towels.
6. Boil water in another pot. Add the basmati rice. When the rice is 80% cooked, drain well, then add the spices to the rice, mix well and set aside.
7. Take a small round roaster and grease it with some butter (1tspn) on the inside. Then sprinkle a little of the spiced rice at the bottom.
8. Now spread a layer of the chicken pieces (reserve the broth) on top of the sprinkled rice.
9. Then spread a layer of baked/fried egg plant on top of the chicken. Then a layer of potatoes on top of the egg plant or you can layer both together – one eggplant and one potato slice, all stacked together.
10. Finally add the spiced rice on top. Press the rice with a lid and then pour the reserved broth on top of the rice. Close the roaster lid and put it in the pre-heated oven (at 350 degrees fahrenheit) for 15 mins till you see the steam gushing out as soon as you open the lid. You have to be careful when you are opening the lid and avoid keeping your face close to the roaster.
11. Keep a round serving platter ready. Remove roaster lid and close it with the serving platter.
12. Put your oven gloves on (thick insulated ones) and holding the roaster bottom with one hand and the top of the closed serving platter with the other, overturn the roaster carefully on to the serving platter and slowly rest the serving platter on the counter top. Remember it is very hot so you have to do it very carefully and tactfully balancing it really well. Otherwise ask someone to help you.
13. Let this rest for 2 mins. Take a serving spoon and tap the roaster on the top and all the sides slowly to release the makhlooba from sticking to the roaster.
14. Uncover the roaster slowly. Lo and behold! You have the whole makhlooba with the chicken on the top like a cake. It looks beautiful, smells great and tastes heavenly. Hmm, so yummy! Enjoy.


Kefta Bi Saniyi

I love Arabic food, and Kefta is one of my all-time favourites. You can buy Kefta mince already made in some butchers or you can easily make it yourself. Google will give you hundreds of wonderfully different ways. I hope you’ll love this recipe here from Hanan in a cooking group I’m in.


Preheat oven to medium heat

2. Using your hands, divide the Kafta into balls, each the size of an egg, and then flatten each ball into a circle to obtain kafta patties

3. In a baking pan, arrange the Kafta patties one next to the other.

4. And put them in the Oven

5. While the Kafta is in the oven Cut Vegetables (i put Potatoes, tomatoes,Capsicum and Onions) Once Kafta looks cooked take out of the oven

6. Put the capsicum and onions over the Kefta then place the potato slices as a layer on top.

7. Then pour a can or 2 of diced italian tomato (depending on how much you have made) dissolved a bit of tomato paste, salt, pepper and water mix well and then pour evenly over the baking pan and sprinkle dried mint over the food.

8. Cover the baking tray (saniyi) and then place it on stove on high until the sauce for the dish starts to boil. Once it starts to boil cook on low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.

9. Serve with white rice on the side.

Shepherds Pie

One of the cooking groups i’m in have so many talented people sharing their favourite recipes. I could never remember them all so i’m putting in the blog here for us all to enjoy. (All credit to those who have created them of course!)

This beautiful shepherds pie is made by a lady named Imad n Huda Mabsout. It looks soooo good! But aside from that it looks wonderfully economical, which is a big plus in my book!

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do. I can’t wait to try it!


This pastry is seriously super simple and tastes so good as a pie base! I don’t usually measure or weigh anything so this is a rough guide.

For pastry

2 cups of plain flour
About 100- 120g cold butter cut into cubes
2 dollops of either sour cream or Greek yoghurt
A tiny splash of warm water or as much as needed
Pinch of salt and sugar
Mix flour,salt, sugar and butter until it forms breadcrum like consistency then add yoghurt and water. Knead until it forms a nice firm ball. Wrap with glad wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins or so. Roll out and place in baking dish and put back in fridge for another 30 mins. Prick base with fork a 3-4 times. Place a sheet of baking paper and some chickpeas, rice or those fancy baking beads. Bake until lightly golden and almost cooked.

Meat mixture

Sautéed on medium heat 2 diced onions, add 500g lamb mince and 5 crushed cloves garlic, once cooked add chopped mushrooms and cook until soft. Add 3/4 tin diced roma tomatoes (I dice them first and remove seeds) , 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 cup chicken stock mixed with 3 teaspoons gravy powder, a good squirt of BBQ sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer for a good 15 mins. Add to pastry then top with mashed potato and a sprinkle of cheese and bake until cheese has melted and become golden


Baked Garlic Chicken with Potatoes

I’m sure that recipe title should read baked lemon chicken with garlic and potatoes lol it’s VERY lemony!

This lovely recipe is from and as long as you love both garlic and lemon you will LOVE this recipe!

When I make it again next time (because I WILL be making it again) i’ll likely use a quarter of a cup less lemon juice as the recipe stated. It was nice but the lemon was very overpowering.

Photo from Hanan Khaled Hamzy in a Facebook cooking group I am in.
                 Photo from Hanan Khaled Hamzy in a Facebook cooking group I am in.

Summary: A traditional garlic chicken dish from Lebanon.

Baked Garlic Chicken Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 4 lbs of chicken legs/quarters/breasts
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 20 cloves of garlic (or 1.5 heads)
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 table spoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • A pinch of Lebanese 7-spices
  • Vinegar (optional)

Baked Garlic Chicken Preparation Method

  1. Soak chicken in vinegar for 2 minutes (to help remove the “chickeny” smell), rinse them well with cold water then dry them with paper towels.
  2. Make cuts in chicken in order to allow for garlic sauce to seep deep inside.
  3. Rub chicken with a table spoon or two of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of Lebanese 7-spices.
  4. Peel potatoes then cut them in disks of about 1/2 inch, salt lightly.
  5. Place chicken on bottom of baking tray (preferably metal), place potatoes on top, and bake at 400F (medium heat) for about 40-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  6. Meanwhile place the garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 table spoons of olive oil in a blender/food processor and spin for 4-5 minutes, add the lemon juice and spin for another 4-5 minutes until you have a nice lemony-garlicky sauce.
  7. Once the chicken has baked, take the tray out of the oven and very carefully drain any excess liquids/fat/water that you see on the bottom.
  8. Pour the garlic sauce all over it while mixing it well with the potatoes, put back in the oven and  broil for another 5-10 minutes until the potatoes turn reddish
  9. Serve warm.
  10. Note: You may need to consume an unusually large quantity of toothpaste afterwards.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4

Potato Smiles

YUMMY! for kids AND mama 😉

These are the perfect way to get some extra veggies into my fussy little 3 year old Ali.

Adding some grated carrot, some peas, some extra sneaky veg is always a great extra inside these too. Ali is at that fussy stage of loving a food one day but hating it the next. The WORST stage of toddlerhood. It seriously drives me crazy. He’s loving chick peas at the moment so i’m making so many different tagines with them in while I can, last month he hated chick peas so we were unable to use them. He would flat out refuse to eat the meal if he noticed that chick peas were cooked with it too.


  • 6 potatoes

  • 9 tbsp of cornstarch (cornflour)

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 eggs

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Cooking oil


  1. Cook the potatoes in small cubes in salted water.
  2. Smash up the potatoes (plus other veg if using) and add all other ingredients.
  3. Spread the dough on a floured surface to 1 cm thick, form circles and eyes with a straw, and use a spoon for the mouth.
  4. Fry in hot oil until golden.
  5. Serve with a small salad (if they eat that) 😉 and some sauce for dipping

If you make them please let me know what you think!