Ramadan Recipes: Spinach and feta puff pies

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Updated 16 April 2022

Ramadan Recipes: Spinach and feta puff pies

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  • Hundreds of years later, puff pastry is a time-tested favorite that can be paired with cheese, chocolate, fruits, vegetables and meat

Puff pastry is one of the most versatile pastries; it can easily be adapted to a sweet or savory recipe.

Originating in France, where it is called pate feuilletee, puff pastry was invented in 1645 by Chef Claudius Gele. Gele wanted to create something new for his sick father, who was on a diet of flour and butter. Using these simple ingredients, which can seem rather bland at first, Gele produced a result that surprised him — kneading the dough, folding it multiple times and baking it, he had created puff pastry.

Hundreds of years later, puff pastry is a time-tested favorite that can be paired with cheese, chocolate, fruits, vegetables and meat.

The recipe we are presenting here today is a savory one that is simple to make: spinach and feta puff pies. For the filling, you will need 250g of spinach, 200g of feta cheese, one small onion, one clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, salt and pepper. The puff pastry can be store-bought.

Slice the onion and fry it in some oil. Once the onion is soft, add the chopped garlic, followed by the spinach until it is reduced in volume and dries up. Then add salt, pepper and lemon juice to the mix.

Leave the mixture to cool down. Once completely cooled, add the feta cheese and mix thoroughly. Roll out the puff pastry and cut it into large squares. Place a tablespoon or so of the filling in the center of the square and fold the puff pastry over it so it becomes triangular. To seal the puff pies, press the edges with a fork, pinching the puff pastry together.

Beat an egg and brush it over the pies to get the shine on top. Sprinkle the pies with sesame seeds. Place them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or until the pies puff up and get a beautiful golden color on top.


Where We Are Going Today: THAT Cafe

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Updated 09 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: THAT Cafe

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When you enter the glass doors of THAT Cafe in Riyadh, one word comes to mind: serenity. If you’re looking for a new place to have intimate discussions with friends, work remotely or even spend some alone time with a good book, this is your spot.

THAT Cafe, which opened in January of this year, is a specialty-driven coffee shop offering a diverse selection of drinks inspired by both Saudi and Japanese culture, ranging from traditional Saudi coffee to Bom Ji lattes.

You’re met with an endless array of local and international drinks and a full menu of drip coffee — your choice of single-sourced or limited yield — that you can top off with any plant-based or dairy milk.

The iced Saudi coffee is an option you won’t easily find anywhere else, as is the iced Hojicha latte, a type of Japanese green tea.

On the Zen garden-style upper floor, the ambiance is set by the melodic sounds of oud playing in the background.

The sleek coffee shop design and workspace tables make it perfect for any purpose, whether that’s work or pleasure.

THAT Cafe’s dessert menu makes it difficult to choose just one option. A must-try is their muhalabiya cheesecake — a piece of Middle Eastern heaven bursting with the flavor of sweet rose water.

As you leave, you’re welcome to take a small packet of fresh coffee to try later — all you have to do is add water, and you can enjoy the taste of THAT Cafe from the comfort of your own home.


Where We Are Going Today: Chatime

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Updated 07 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Chatime

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  • They offer interesting fruit-mixes in their teas too, such as mango, grapefruit, lemon, and peach passionfruit to go with green and black tea

Bubble tea is my favorite drink whatever the season, and Chatime is one of the most popular bubble tea shops in Jeddah, with a branch in Jeddah International Market in Al-Rawdah district, and another in Corniche Center in Al-Balad.

Chatime offers a variety of milk teas, fresh teas, espresso, fruit teas, tea lattes, smoothies and juices, using real tea leaves.

The milk tea flavors include Chatime milk tea, pearl milk tea (with brown sugar as an option), taro milk tea, taro red bean milk tea, superior cocoa, grass jelly milk tea, jasmine green milk tea, winter melon milk tea, QQ milk tea, hazelnut milk tea, and cocoa hazelnut milk tea.

They also offer mousse in jasmine green tea, black tea, matcha, and chocolate.

Their fresh teas and refreshing juices include jasmine green tea, black tea, lemon juice, winter melon dew, and winter lemon juice.

Chatime also offers smoothies in different flavors, such as mango, passionfruit, coffee, matcha red bean, chocolate, banana and chocolate, peach, strawberry, and mango with banana.

They offer interesting fruit-mixes in their teas too, such as mango, grapefruit, lemon, and peach passionfruit to go with green and black tea.

Chatime also offers fruity, chewy toppings, including Taiwan mango, passionfruit, grapefruit, lemon, peach, grass jelly with milk, and winter melon with milk.

Their coffee options include superior blended coffee, americano, lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas.

My favorite drink at Chatime is the taro milk tea with tapioca pearls, because taro has such a unique, balanced flavor — not too sweet but not at all bitter. The tapioca pearls are satisfyingly chewy, and add so much to the experience.


Where We Are Going Today: Siblings Restaurant and Cafe

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Updated 05 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Siblings Restaurant and Cafe

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  • The outlet is open daily from 8:15 a.m. to 12 a.m., and until 1 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays

Breakfast is one of the most popular meals of the day for bringing families together, and Siblings Restaurant and Cafe in Jeddah is a well-known meeting place for brekkies, and brunch.

Established in 2019 by siblings Tarek, Ibrahim, Farah, Haneen, and Talal Naaman, the eatery offers a varied menu to suit most palates.

Located on Al-Imam Malik Road in the Red Sea port city’s Al-Rawdah district, the premises provide a relaxed environment to gather with friends and family, with white walls, wooden floors, tables, chairs, and mirror frames, and decorative pieces. Coffee and food are served by friendly staff using pink and blue mugs and plates.

My sister and I enjoyed a breakfast of black truffle toast; a brioche with scrambled eggs infused with truffle oil and a mix of mozzarella and parmesan cheese topped with fresh black truffle and black grape juice.

We shared the restaurant’s popular vanilla French toast for dessert, with a top-notch cappuccino.

The outlet is open daily from 8:15 a.m. to 12 a.m., and until 1 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

 


Popular French dictionary adds Levantine food term to its pages

Popular French dictionary adds Levantine food term to its pages
Updated 03 August 2022

Popular French dictionary adds Levantine food term to its pages

Popular French dictionary adds Levantine food term to its pages

DUBAI: A new Arabic word has entered the 2023 edition of the well-known French dictionary, "Le Petit Robert," established by lexicographer Paul Robert in the 1960s. The word is “labne” or “labneh.”

Derived from the Arabic word “laban” (yogurt), it is a creamy yoghurt cheese that is a staple of a typical Levantine breakfast.

“I am happy and proud to have parts of our products, dishes and traditions recognized internationally, and especially in France,” the French-Lebanese chef Karim Haidar told Arab News. “Adding a new kind of cheese to the country of cheese is amazing.”

The Paris-based chef said that the decision did not come as a surprise as over the years his French clients and friends have come to love labne, found in countless restaurants and delis in the French capital. Not only does it taste good but it has health benefits as it is high in protein and calcium, he said.  

According to Haidar, labne is traditionally made with goat’s milk. It has great acidity, prepared in terracotta, rolled into small balls, and later preserved in olive oil. Labne can also be made with sheep and cow’s milk.

While labne can usually be found in any Middle Eastern supermarket, preparing labne at home is easy — it requires adding salt to yogurt and straining it in a cloth overnight.



It can be eaten in a number of ways. Whether consumed in a sandwich-to-go or as a dip, it is drizzled with olive oil and often topped with either zaatar, mint or sumac. In recent years, international chefs have incorporated labne into dessert dishes.

The introduction of labne into "Le Petit Robert" comes at a time when Lebanese immigration to France has increased in the past few years due to the economic crisis hitting Lebanon. But Haidar believes that French interest in this yogurt goes back a few decades.

“I don’t think the last Lebanese emigration episode had an effect,” he said. “Labne arrived on French tables since the 1975 emigration. We are witnessing for years now the love of French people for labne, and French food culture opened itself to foreign food cultures in the last 30 years. Just like mozzarella or parmigiano, you can find labne on the shelves of some big supermarket chains now.”


Saudi entrepreneurs solve food surplus problem

A market research revealed that 40% of all food is wasted; in monetary terms, this amounts to $1.2 trillion globally.
A market research revealed that 40% of all food is wasted; in monetary terms, this amounts to $1.2 trillion globally.
Updated 31 July 2022

Saudi entrepreneurs solve food surplus problem

A market research revealed that 40% of all food is wasted; in monetary terms, this amounts to $1.2 trillion globally.
  • The app began operations in selected zones in Jeddah this month, with many local restaurants partnering up with the app, such as COZ, Biscotti Amna Bakery, Broots, Meraki, and more

RIYADH: The growth of the restaurant industry has led to a significant amount of food waste at the end of the day, posing a challenge for restaurant owners.

A group of young Saudi entrepreneurs have set up an app called Barakah to help prevent food waste by creating a medium for restaurants to tell consumers about deals on cooked meals.

Rabah Habiss, one of app’s co-founders, said: “Barakah is a Saudi start-up that aims to harness innovation and social awareness to tackle food waste in restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and grocery stores by offering a discount on their surplus goods through an innovative mobile app in real-time.”

The app helps companies increase their revenue and enables them and their customers to take part in the global movement against food waste.

“What sparked this idea is that we identified an ongoing problem in the food service industry; fresh consumable food being thrown away. This is food that consumers can enjoy, guilt-free, and food that restaurants can still sell all while contributing to reducing our carbon footprint," Habiss said.

The startup founders, Abdulaziz bin Saud, Munira Almuammar, Rabah Habiss, were driven to create Barakah by a commitment to sustainability and a desire to address the widespread and systemic problem of food waste.

“We did market research and found out that 40 percent of all food is wasted. In monetary terms, this amounts to $1.2 trillion globally and SR40 billion in Saudi Arabia. Another significant factor that influenced the initiative was our Islamic teachings, which stress the value of preserving food rather than discarding it.”

Barakah has an impact that goes beyond financial savings and increased revenue; it fosters a sense of community and environmental stewardship, making it simple for both businesses and individuals to be more effective and sustainable.

The app began operations in selected zones in Jeddah this month, with many local restaurants partnering up with the app, such as COZ, Biscotti Amna Bakery, Broots, Meraki, and more.

The app will be scaling out across the Kingdom in the next few months, aiming to cover major cities in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2022.

“We target both businesses and consumers. For businesses, we work with restaurants, bakeries, cafes, hotels, buffets and grocery stores to put their surplus on the map, generating an untapped source of revenue for our vendors. For consumers, our app appeals to value discerning and eco-conscious customers,” Habiss added.