Monday, 13 June 2016

Homemade Cinnabon Cake


I was so apprehensive about making homemade Cinnamon Rolls, but I was shocked at how well they turned out! It was just as yummy as having a fresh bun at Cinnabon with the added bonus of self accomplishment. It goes down a treat.

Ingredients

Dough
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 cups plain flour

Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Icing:
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water
A handful of chopped walnuts to sprinkle on top.

  1. Heat oven to 165C (fan-forced). In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture and then mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually an hour. **NOTE: I used my KitchenAid Mixer for kneading the dough. Once it was coming off the sides clean and the dough bounced back once it was pressed I stopped kneading.**
  3. Combine the sugar and melted butter and set aside.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread the melted butter and sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Beginning at the 15-inch side, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 1 inch slices
  5. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the prepared tin and let them rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes (once they rise they should be 'hugging' each other). Bake for about 25 minutes or until nicely browned.
  6. Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls and top with walnuts.


Monday, 9 May 2016

DIY Cake Smash


I wanted to create a really simple but sweet cake smash set for my little Noor who recently turned one. We didn't have the option to use a professional photographer because she is really shy as well as the huge price tag that comes with it. Here is what you will need to recreate this for yourself:


  • Cake - I baked my own so I knew exactly what was in it. I used organic flour, eggs and grass fed butter.
  • Cake Topper - I used a wooden N that is usually part of the 'NOOR' wooden set from her bedroom. I bought it from ACE Hardware originally.
  • A camera - For blogging I have a Nikon D3100 which was really useful with this project. I used it in 'no flash' mode but left all the other options as normal. I'm really hopeless with RAW mode etc.
  • Light Room - I can't stress enough how much this made a difference in my photos. Life changing!
  • A backdrop - We used a big sheet of white fabric. A white tablecloth or bed sheet would also work.
  • Decoration - I made my own bunting (if you would like to use a printable version, please visit my Instagram page @qissadubai) as well as a large helium confetti balloon.
  • Natural Light - choose a place in you home that has plenty of natural light. You really don't want to be using the flash on your camera.
  • Pick a time of day that your little one is most happy. We did Noor's just after her morning nap and she was in a great mood! We also made sure it was just her Papa and I so she wouldn't be distracted by too many people.
  • A look at this post by https://thephotographymommy.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/diy-cake-smash/ 


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Qissa Dubai

Hi Friends!

As some of you may have seen posted on my social media lately, I have opened a shop within an online marketplace in Dubai. It's a small business venture to hopefully sell some of the things i have crafted to those who love and appreciate the art of design. It's a really hard thing to put a price on handmade work, especially in this age of cheap retail.  You question yourself, your craftsmanship and quality. Alas, friends and family came to the rescue with encouraging words and I finally started.

I also recently completed a Graphic Design course which has given me the skills to design prints, invites and monograms. This is also included in the shop.

I hope you like the pieces and I would love to hear from fellow designers, crafters and work-at-home-mums about collaborating in the future or just for a general chat!

To view this shop, click HERE!





Friday, 8 April 2016

The Best-Ever-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie



This recipe is a really simple variation of the Snickerdoodle recipe I posted a while back on this blog. As soon as I tasted the original Snickerdoodle, I knew it would be the perfect base for the yummiest chocolate chip cookies. I am definitely no expert but I'm sure the buttery, crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside texture is due to 2 things:

1 - You must beat your sugar and butter until really smooth and fluffy
2 - Chilling the dough in the fridge for a minimum of overnight is needed. I made the dough at around 4pm and baked the first batch at 8am the following morning. It also such a nice feeling to smell freshly baked cookies in the morning! 

Ingredients
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g butter, room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced) and line two baking sheets with baking paper. In a medium bowl whisk the flour,baking powder and salt together to combine, then set aside.
  2. Using a free standing mixer, place the butter and sugar the bowl and beat together until light and fluffy (aim for 5+ min). If you do not have a stand mixer, use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, one at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add the flour mixture in three addition, using a silicone spoon or your hands until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix your dough.
  4. Shape cookies using an ice cream scoop and take directly out of the bowl.  Place them on a lined cookie sheet and chill covered for 18-24 hours. Take out of the fridge 30 mins before you want to bake them.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle (mine took 10mins). Allow to cool on baking sheets slightly before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Defibrillator Bars

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I originally tried these little bars of nutty goodness on my trip home to Australia when Mum baked these from Marian Keyes cookbook, Saved by Cake. She says in her book that these bars would bring you back from the dead with all the energy they're packed with, hence the name. I didn't have the original recipe but remembered some of the key ingredients. They turned out great! Its the kind of recipe that you can change up according to the ingredients in your pantry as long as you stick to the most important items: butter, oats, honey and some type of sticky nut butter.

You could make this a really healthy recipe by using all organic ingredients and no brown sugar, which would turn out exactly the same! Just make sure you use a good quality raw honey for all the natural health benefits. A side note on the organic ingredients: I find that dry products like the oats and flax seed in this recipe are almost the same price of non-organic. If you are in Dubai, The Organic Shop has a great range of reasonably priced organic produce and even stock some of their products in the big supermarket chains like Spinneys and Carrefour.

The below measurements are a really rough guide as I didn't properly measure anything.

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (optional, as the honey may be sweet enough)
  • 2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milled flaxseed
  • a handful of  chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots
  1. Melt butter, peanut butter and honey together in a saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar if using. 
  2. Add oats and flaxseed, stirring to combine. If it looks like there is too much liquid, you can add more oats. 
  3. Stir in the nuts and dried fruit. Turn mixture into a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 mins in a 160C oven. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. 
They are a bit crumbly, so if you plan to make them for guests or to take to a tea part, I'd suggest refrigerating before cutting!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Butternut Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup food photography

This is by far one of the easiest health conscious meals I have created in my cooking life to date. I made sure to use good quality organic stock and no added salt as I also planned to serve this to Baby Noor. For the velvety smooth consistency, a hand blender is this soup's best friend. It really makes it so easy and less mess than using large blender. This soup is actually my husbands favourite, which is a bonus for me as its so simple to make. A win win all round!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium size butternut pumpkin
  • 3 medium size brown onions
  • 1 Kallo organic onion or vegetable stock cube (or you can use homemade stock)
  • generous pinch of pepper
  • generous pinch of turmeric
  • cream or yoghurt to serve
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (preferably organic)
  1. Peel and slice the onions into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Peel and cut pumpkin into chunks. You don't need to be too neat just make sure they are all around the same size.
  2. Heat the olive and coconut oil in a medium size pot and once hot, throw in the onions. Let the onions reduce in size slightly and then add the pumpkin. You want to get a nice golden edge on the pumpkin if possible.
  3. Add the stock cube and turmeric and stir to combine. Then add enough boiling water so that it just reaches the top of the pumpkin. I used just under 1 litre. If you are using homemade stock, you can add this in instead. 
  4. Simmer over gentle heat until pumpkin has softened. Turn off heat and use a hand blender to create a smooth soup. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. 
  5. You can serve this with a dollop of double cream and with some homemade garlic bread. 
Next time, I think I'll attempt a Thai flavour with coconut milk and some fresh red chilli! 
I hope you like this recipe! Leave me a comment below or tag me on Instagram with your lovely soups! 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Chocolate Tart & Vitamin Water

Chocolate tart with fresh figs, summer dessert done right.

Today we had a very special guest! We invited some friends over, ate lots of delicious food and enjoyed each others company. I was also finally able to try out this new way of decorating that I've seen popping up on Pinterest and Instagram lately. I think it turned out rather pretty! Here is the recipe, as well as some more topping ideas and a perfectly feminine DIY vitamin water!

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g pack all butter biscuits/disgestives
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • caviar of one vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml whipping cream
  1. Prepare the base of your tart but crushing the biscuits using a rolling pin or a food processor. Melt the butter together with the golden syrup and combine with biscuit crumbs. Press into a greased tart tin and chill. You could also use a prepared biscuit base as well as any tart tin you have. I've used a round shape but the classic rectangle would also be great (especially the ones with the removable base!).
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (you can use the microwave but be sure to stop and stir the chocolate every 30 seconds so it doesn't burn). Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whip the cream together with the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Keep a close eye on the cream, it can very quickly turn into butter! 
  4. Fold the chocolate into the whipped cream gently. Once it is combined, pour the chocolate mixture into the prepare biscuit base. 
  5. Refrigerate for a minimum or 2 hours or overnight if possible. 
NOTE: decorate however you wish. This time I used fresh figs, blueberries, creme fraiche and almonds but in the past I've used dollops of double cream and fresh raspberries. I think it'd also be wonderful with some fresh tangy passionfruit! 

I also made this refreshing homemade vitamin water. It's SUPER simple! Just get a pretty glass pitcher, pour in filtered or mineral water, add raspberries, strawberries and fresh mint sprigs and allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving. It will turn pink and lovely, perfect for girly lunches and baby showers!