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Yaaammmiiii Potato Bolanee

October 24, 2010

This is my favorite Afghan dish in the world. It’s a total comfort food for me and just so filling  and comforting. Must be cos of all the carbs. So much carbs. Mmm. This is also a dish that appeals to everyone, I mean everyone. I remember as a kid giving some to my teacher for some reason and she loved it! Because it is just downright yaaaaammiii!!!! It has no spices in it, unless you want to add it. It’s a totally vegetarian dish that’s a stand alone main. It needs nothing but a very important bowl of thick natural yogurt.  It’s incomplete without this this so if my mum makes it and there’s no yogurt in the house, I will moan and complain.


  • 500 grams of plain flour
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast (7 grams)
  • A mug full of warm water
  • Salt
  • Any oil to use for the potatoes
  • 8 medium sized potatoes suitable for mash/boiling
  • Couple of spring onions or one medium sized white onion cut into small cubes.
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Natural or Greek yogurt


I have to say, this is a very easy dough! But then again it’s not exactly french bread we’re aiming for in Afghanistan!

  • First things first, get a large mixing boil and add 1 tbsp of salt, the whole contents of the yeast packet and half of the warm water in the mug. Give it a stir.
  • Add all of the flour and give it a mix with your hands!
  • Now the thing with this dough is that it has to be sticky, NOT SOPPING WET. So the remainder of that water is to make it a little wet if its too dry and if it’s too wet to then add a little bit of flour. Okay?

  • Mold it in a smooth ball of dough and cover the top of that ball with cling film and then cover the bowl with a tea towel. The dough should be warm cos of the water but put it in a warm place although my mum just put it on the table in the kitchen to rise.
  • Leave it for an hour.

Directions for the potato filling – Do this while the dough is rising.

  • We all know how to boil potatoes so I don’t think I need to write much :p. Just add the potatoes to salted boiling water and wait until they are cooked. Shouldn’t take too long depending on the size of your potatoes.
  • Once they are cooked, wait for them to cool down so you can peel them.
  • The peeled potatoes should be mashed and salted.
  • If you’re using spring onions, just cut them thinly. If you’re using an onion, cut in half and dice them semi-finely. It ‘s meant to be rustic. Add the onion or spring onions to the mashed potatoes and give it a stir. There should be flecks of onions that you can see through the mash.
  • Pick off the coriander leaves and add them to the mash.
  • Add a small glug of oil just to emulsify it. It should be a mash that is not chunky but it’s a little rough, if you know what I mean 😉
  • Leave that to the side while the dough rises.


After the dough has risen divide it into 8 balls. There should be enough filling for 8 so don’t have a heavy hand unless you want loads of filling if so then I suggest you boil some more potatoes 😛

  • On a lightly floured surface, get a ball of dough and flatten it with your hand. You should spoon and flatten enough filling for one half of the circle.
  • Fold it over and you should push along the edge of the semi circle to ‘glue’ it together.
  • So all my family in Holland have this contraption. It’s basically like an catering tool! We use it when we need to make a dish in large quantity! The size is great cos you can fit two bolanees in it!

  • Add a small dollop of oil in the middle and put the bolanee on one half of the pan. Use your fingertips to push the dough around the edge of the pan. That way you get a nice segment shape.
  • Cook it until the side is golden brown. Then flip it over and do the same.
  • Keep adding a little drop of oil to the pan every bolanees that you cook.
  • Soon, you’ll have a massive pile of them! Stack them neatly on a nicely decorated plate with a nice big dollop of yogurt on the side.

P.S I love leftover bolanee.  The only trouble is that there never are any leftovers! These are ideal to eat hot or cold. I blitz it in the microwave cos I like the soft, pillowy texture. This is great veggie lunch fare to take to work! They will keep for a good couple of days in the fridge for you to take to work or have as lunch 🙂

Dinarik’s Birthday Brownies with the peanuts!

April 27, 2010

Well as you know it’s Dinara Safina’s 24th birthday today! She’s currently in Stuttgart loving the tournament, about to receive her chocolate cake and tweeting up a storm.

I also am alive! I know I haven’t been posting a lot but I guess you need that in order to miss the blog and come back to it! And it’s a nice to know I did a dessert post on DinaRA’s birthday to herald my comeback as well as hers (Please be kind on her back, God)

This are some CRAY-ZAY brownies and it makes about 30 handy sized pieces so no need to double the recipe! It’s from Ina Garten and you know how crazy she gets in the Hamptons! Ha! Ha!…

Yes she uses a pound of butter and about 1000 grams of chocolate but it’s all good when you think of it in moderation. Just have 1 brownie a day. Like you have 1 drink in the morning, another during the afternoon and another during the evening!

The recipe can be found here!


  • 1 pound/450 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 pound and 6 oz and just used Cadbury’s rather than chips. Save 1 oz to put in the brownie mix at the end to make it even more chocolatey)
  • 6 ounces/200 grams Dark chocolate
  • 6 medium eggs 
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules (I used 1 teaspoon which I added to the melted butter and chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar (I used agave nectar cos I’ve broken up with sugar and I used about 125 ml)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I forgot to add the 1/4 cup!)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cups chopped walnuts
  • I also added dollops of crunchy peanut butter for obvious reasons 😉 But only if you are a über fan of Dinara’s, sorry!


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/Gas mark 4. I bought 2 foil roasting trays which measured 31cm x 21cm and sprayed oil onto them.
  • Melt together the butter, the dark chocolate and  the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. I added the coffee granules here. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla, and agave. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 1 ounce of chocolate chunks you saved in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. (I forgot to do this :P) Pour into the greased tray and drop small spoonfuls of peanut butter and swirl it in.
  • Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out semi-clean. (I removed from oven when moist crumbs stuck to toothpick) Do not overbake. Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

Yes, I stuck on a photo of DinaRA on top of the brownies. Why? Cos I’m like that. And you know after 7 months of not having chocolate or sugar, she will be torso-deep in chocolate cakey goodness.

Stamppot Boerenkool

February 9, 2010

I admit it: I’ve developed a slight obsession for all Dutch things lately.

First there was lovely Aniek, who is the third member of the Trifecta of Twitter Greatness (along with Maz and me). She is Dutch. That might have been enough to spark my obsession. But then she told me her brother was moving to Cincinnati for work. So I figured if I was going to actually meet someone who is Dutch, then I ought learn something about the Netherlands.

Anyway, what do you think I started learning about the Netherlands? History? Politics? Geography? Hah!

Food. (Okay, and sport too.)

They have delicious food in the Netherlands, apparently. There are stroopwafels, oliebollen, speculaas, pannenkoeken, drop, vla… that’s just sweets and desserts! And they have so many different kinds of cheeses. That’s how I know it’s the place for me. Sweets and cheese.

There’s also hutspot and pea soup. And french fries with mayo, which I cannot wrap my mind around just yet. And then under Advanced Dutch Cuisine is herring and onions. Not sure that I’ll ever try that one. Seriously, just go read the whole Wikipedia entry on Dutch cuisine.

For my first foray into Dutch cooking, I made stamppot boerenkool. That is, mashed potatoes and kale. Of course, because I do not have a Dutch mama (my mom makes awesome German food though), I did not grow up eating this dish and, thus, have no clue what it is supposed to taste like. I just made this how I think it ought to be made. Normative cooking, I guess you could call it. Or stamppot boerenkool ala Americana.

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Dinara Safina Risotto

January 23, 2010

Dinara Safina is just the greatest tennis player ever. FACT. That’s why Maz and I started this blog.

The inspiration for this post comes from her post-match interview after she defeated Elena Baltacha on Friday at the Australian Open:

Q. You looked really relaxed out there. What did you do on your day off?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, yesterday what I do? Nothing. Practice as early as possible because I want to have as much rest as possible. So I practice early. Then I come back to the hotel. I eat somewhere close to the hotel. Then just hanging around in the room, watching movies.

The only thing I did yesterday, I went to the bookstore, and I bought from Julie and Julia cookbook. This is what made me walk out of the room.

Q. Did you see the movie?

DINARA SAFINA: That’s what made me buy the book. I had to buy two books. I like cooking. I’m having new apartment in Moscow. I’m like, Okay, instead of library of books, I’ll have cookbooks. I want to cook.

Q. Did you watch any tennis?

DINARA SAFINA: Yes, a little bit of Baghdatis against David Ferrer. Very good match. Was somewhere else playing? I think that’s it.

Q. Are you a good cook?

DINARA SAFINA: I’m just starting, you know. Until now nobody got sick, so this is the positive (smiling.) They might like, not like, but if they have problems with the stomach, it’s not good.

But until now, nobody would complain about the stomach (laughter).

Q. What is your signature dish?

DINARA SAFINA: Actually, I can make not bad asparagus, risotto with asparagus. This is the thing that I can do. And, of course, green salad with olive oil.

THIS is why we’d be BFF if we ever met. I am a STUD at making risotto. It’s yummy, creamy comfort food. You can do it up a million ways too.

My recipe is orginally from Mario Batali (if ever a person knew risotto, it’s this dude), but I am so awesome at making it now that I don’t even use a recipe. Yup, I am bragging again. It just feels so good when you can go renegade. It’s like driving alone for the first time after you get your license. Or something.

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The best scones ever

January 5, 2010

Scones are just the GREATEST.

It’s winter, it’s super-cold, we’re forecast to have a snowstorm on Thursday, and I am downing cups of tea… and yet somewhere out there, it must be warm because Meyer lemons are showing up in the stores. This means it is time to bake scones!

(Last winter I had to hunt high and low for Meyer lemons and, when I found them, they were like $5/pound! Now they sell them at Kroger in 3 pound bags for under $4. How can you not buy a bag when they’re so cheap?! I eat them like other people eat oranges. I cannot get enough of lemons.)

I zest a lemon and add that to the cream I use for the scones.  I had a bag of cranberries going soft in the fridge, so I chopped some of those and added them to the dough as well. You can customize the fixin’s you add to the dough. Lemon-cranberry is a good combination, orange-cinnamon-cardamom might be good too, add some walnuts, or even just plain… I love scones!

These are infinitely better when they are fresh out of the oven, with crispy little corners and a little steam rising out of them. Do you want to know my secret? I flash-freeze these babies. I pat the dough out into a circle, cut into wedges, separate and place on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer until they are hard on the outside. Then you can just cram them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you are ready to bake them! In the morning, I preheat the oven and put a scone on a baking sheet. I put it in the oven, go put makeup on or something, and exactly 12 minutes later, I have breakfast.

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Crema de Calabaza

January 3, 2010

It wasn’t until I graduated and made an very short, ill-advised move to Illinois with my now-ex-boyfriend that cooking became less about sustenance and more about having fun and trying new things. We’d tune in the Food Network to watch Good Eats (Alton Brown is, I am sure you all agree, just THE GREATEST). I remember I once had a hankering for buffalo wings, but rather than go to a bar, I bought a huge pack of chicken wings, disjointed them, slathered them with sauce, and broiled them. That was delicious. Anyway, food was one of the things we had in common, and we still talk about knives, techniques, and recipes. He attends a weekly potluck and liked this soup so much that he sent me the recipe with the note: “this soup is HIGHLY delicious.”

I finally got around to making this soup last week, and invited him ’round to sample a bowl and take some home with him since he was in town. What, you mean you don’t invite YOUR exes to dinner? Whatevs.

This is a really good winter warming soup, with a little bit of cream and chorizo to make it hearty and a chipotle pepper to make it spicy. It is HIGHLY delicious indeed.

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Melted Sugar: Toffee and Caramels

December 23, 2009

Here is another old Christmas picture of me and my little brothers! I am 7 years old here... I think by this time I had figured out the Santa Claus story.

It is Christmas Eve.

I had huge blogging ambitions for December. I was going to carefully document every holiday recipe I made and share them with you all so you could have a Martha Stewart Christmas. But of course, nobody ever has Martha Stewart Christmases in real life, so it seems my idea was destined to fail. Either way, here I am, finally showing you some of the candies and sweets I made.

I made a slew of different candies: caramels, toffee, turtles, and buckeyes. As for cookies, there were mocha nut balls (which turned out not so ball-y), chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies decorated with my niece. And for the grand finale, two huge loaves of Christstollen mit Marzipan.

The first recipe I’m sharing with you is the easiest. It’s English toffee! I found the recipe while digging through a stack of old cookbooks in a cabinet in my house. It’s written in my mom’s handwriting, but she claims the recipe is actually her first mother-in-law’s. Thus, it’s at least 30 years old, if not older!

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Roux Awakening: Broccoli Cheese Soup

December 12, 2009

(Isn’t that the greatest title ever? I’ve had it in my head for a month and I am so proud to use it!)

Let’s be honest here, folks: Panera has the best broccoli cheese soup EVER. I apologize to all the non-Americans out there who have never experienced the awesomeness of dipping a baguette into Panera’s broccoli cheese soup, but take my word for it: this is the soup to aspire to. However, it is definitely not the healthiest item on their menu: a 12-ounce (~350mL) serving has 390 calories and 1500mg of sodium. I am not a fan of all the added sodium in restaurant food. This recipe is slightly healthier because there is no cream, but there is lots of milk to make it creamy – would you eat broccoli soup if it wasn’t creamy?! I know I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I was a little nervous about tackling this recipe because it requires making a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour. Roux are the basis of many sauces and gravies, so it’s important to be able to make a simple one well. But they are also slightly tricky, because if not done well they can end up lumpy instead of smooth. I don’t know why I was afraid of making a roux, but I am not alone; this recipe book I have from the 1960s says:

“It is strange that the most feared recipe by a young homemaker is, perhaps, the easiest and most simple recipe to make – the basic sauce, the basis of all creamed dishes, scalloped potatoes, chicken gravy, and a thousand other dishes. From it springs a myriad of other sauces, all the essence of simplicity, once the technique of making the basic sauce is mastered.”

And after watching my mom make a roux, then making it on my own, I can say that it truly isn’t that difficult and I am confident you will have success! Besides, a few tablespoons of butter and flour aren’t expensive, so if you ruin the first try, you can pick yourself up again and re-try!

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Pies 103: Apple Streusel Pie

December 5, 2009

I know Thanksgiving is long gone, but I made – and consumed – so many delicious pies that now’s the first time I can even contemplate talking about pie again. I also didn’t take many pictures of this pie, which is a testament to how popular it was and how lazy I was feeling after baking six or seven pies in a 1 week timespan. In fact, there were almost not enough slices to go around… I had to keep making the slices smaller and smaller!

A few weeks ago on Twitter, I put out a call to borrow someone’s French rolling pin. I have a regular one, but I really want a French rolling pin (I hope my mom is reading this!). One follower, a writer for our local paper, responded with an offer to GIVE me one of her rolling pins. So off I dashed to the Enquirer’s offices downtown, where she gave me not only her rolling pin, but also her apple pie recipe! And can I just say it was totally awesome to meet a tweetfriend? 😀

I did modify her recipe, because I have to make it my own somehow. Not because I was a little afraid to make a double-crust pie, nope, not at all. I replaced the top crust with a layer of crumble topping. Really this turned out amazing, a combination of apple crisp and apple pie! My family said it might just become a new must-have pie at Thanksgiving, along the pumpkin and chocolate pecan. Why do we even do turkey anyway?!

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Pies 102: Fillings for a single-crust pie

November 24, 2009

So, in my last post I made a pie crust (well, two of them technically) and blind-baked it before adding the fillings.

Now it’s time to fill them with something delicious and yummy! My family traditionally serves two pies on Thanksgiving: pumpkin and chocolate pecan. Pumpkin is far and away my favorite, so my pie quest this year has been in search of the best possible pumpkin pie. But I am still going to tell you about chocolate pecan pie- you just have to wait til the end of this post.

Okay, so this pumpkin pie recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen. It is a pretty fussy recipe, what with the canned yams, maple syrup, and pulsing in a food processor. However, it is mind-blowingly delicious. How delicious? I made one this weekend and it was gone in 15 hours. And people who are not related to me even told me it was the best pumpkin pie they had ever had. So if you, like me, think Thanksgiving isn’t really about the turkey but the pumpkin pie… this is YOUR pumpkin pie!

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