Alright! So I wanted to post these earlier but I was very busy the last week (unpacking, work, obligations, cleaning, the beach and all manner of other things).

I was originally going to make a longer post but I think I shouldn’t cram too many things in here. So here we go!

It seems Salem and I have developed a bit of a tradition for weekend mornings (one day every weekend). It’s basically Lebanese breakfast time! For the last 2 weekends, we’ve been having “labneh” which, to me, seems like a halfway point between yogurt and cream cheese. You can find this in just about any grocery store in Ville St-Laurent (just go to the cheese/yogurt/olive counter). Otherwise, you might try other Middle-Eastern grocery stores. There are 2 kinds of labneh that I know of, but we tend to stick to the Phoenicia one.

MMMM Labneh!!!

Here’s how I prepped mine (serves 2)
In a dessert plate, take about 3 Tbspns of labneh and spread, making a small circular depression (as if you had pushed a bagel into the labneh). Next, sprinkle with dried herbs and spices of your choice. One weekend, I used paprika, sumak (another spice to be found in Middle-Eastern stores), a bit of cayenne and some chili spice. Last Sunday, I used the same as above, but added zaatar which is a herb mix of thyme and sesame seeds (there are a few different kinds, everyone has their preference). Some people like to add salt but I don’t as I really do not feel the need to have it added in at all. Drizzle olive oil on top (adjust amount to your preference) – that’s where that little depression comes in handy.

You can eat this with pita (toasted or not) or with Manoush (we had manoush bi zaatar – manoush with zaatar in it) – we toasted ours.

And for you olive freaks out there, Salem says it’s a great accompaniment. I’ll have to take his word for it.

Yum, yum, yum!!!

Lebanese breakfast 1: Coffee, olives, labneh and toasted pita. My little extra: almond (badam) burfi (an Indian sweet) pictured in between the coffee and the olives.

Lebanese breakfast 2: Coffee, olives, labneh and toasted manoush bi zaatar.
Manoush bi zaatar (purchased at Boulangerie Andalos, 264 boulevard Lebeau in Ville St-Laurent)

Coffee, badam (almond) burfi (see below for recipe) and olives.

Badam burfi (almonds)
Recipe thanks to Manjula’s Kitchen

First, let me tell you just how much I love Manjula’s Site! It’s chock full of great Indian recipes. Also, she makes YouTube videos to show you just how to make these dishes. She looks like the sweetest lady ever and I wish I had a neighbour like her (although I’d be over there eating all the time and probably weigh about 300 lbs!). I highly suggest people check out her website, YouTube videos and maybe even give a few recipes a try. Mine have always turned out wonderfully!

Here’s the recipe along with some of my personal notes.

Recipe makes 20 pieces.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds ***I buy almonds which already have the skins removed, therefore saving me some time and frustration
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Cardamom powder ***After making this recipe twice, my taste buds demand that I add more      Cardamom powder – I love the stuff, what can I say?
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee (clear butter)
  • 1/3 cup milk

Method

  1. Soak the almonds in hot water for 30 minutes.
  2. Peel the skin off the almonds. Blend the almonds into a fine paste using just enough milk as needed to blend. *** I find this part horrendous if using my blender. I should remember to always use my little chopper/processor that came with my Cuisinart kit.
  3. Add the sugar and whip it for a couple of minutes.
  4. Heat the ghee in the frying pan on low-medium heat.
  5. As the ghee melts, add the almond paste and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously.
  6. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens to the consistency of bread batter, and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  7. Add the cardamom powder. Remove the frying pan from the heat.
  8. Whip the batter using a spoon in a circular motion for about two to three minutes.
  9. Pour it into the prepared greased pan.
  10. Smoothen the surface of the mixture to about a quarter inch thick.  ***Often easier to do when you pray spatula with non-stick spray or ghee
  11. Let cool for about 20 minutes until burfi is just look warm.
  12. Cut into 1-inch squares or any shape you like.
  13. Cool to the room temperature and store burfi in an airtight container.
  14. Almond burfi has a long shelf life and can be kept outside for up to one week. When refrigerated, almond burfi will last a couple of months.

Suggestions:
You can make burfi using almond meal or almond flour. If you are using almond meal, mix one cup almond meal with the sugar and milk and knead the mixture for two minutes. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then follow the directions above. The almond flour burfi will be a little chewy.