Month: December, 2014

Carrot Cake


Carrot cake is a classic cake that is a expected favorite for both adults and kids. My family is no exception! We love it every time I make it with no leftovers!

This cake is relatively easy to prepare and makes a perfect homemade birthday cake. I prepared this recipe with whole-wheat flour, which along with raisin and carrots adds extra fiber to this cake without sacrificing the taste. The photo I took from my carrot cake makes my children’s mouths to water, and they crave for this family favorite!


  • 180g whole-wheat pastry flour150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs1tbsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp salt120g walnuts, chopped
  • 75g raisin, preferably small ones
  • 150g carrot, finely grated

Cake cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F °. Grease a 20 cm baking dish, which is about 8cm deep. Line with baking paper.

Sift the flour twice with baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time and mix well before adding next egg.

Add the flour mix in two portions at a time. Blend with a baking spatula until just incorporated.

In a spate bowl, combine carrot, chopped walnuts and raisin. Stir in through the mixture. Spoon out the cake batter into the baking bin. Bake for 45-50 minutes in preheated oven. Insert a fork to the cake and take out. If the fork is clean, the cake is ready.

Leave the cake in the bin for 15 minutes to cool down. Then run a knife around the inside edges to separate the cake from the bin; turn upside down onto a wire rack to cool down completely for another hour or so. During cooling period, you can make the icing, directions given below!

When the cake is completely cool down, place it on a serving dish or baking rack. Cut the cake in half horizontally and lift the top part carefully and set aside. Ice the bottom layer and put the top part back. Spread the ice through the top and sides of the cake. Put back in the fridge for another 2 hours to stay cool.

Please note, it is very important to cool down the cake completely before you cut the cake horizontally and spread the icing. If the cake is still warm, it causes the fragile icing to melt and losing its original texture.


Cream Cheese Icing

Preparation time: 15 minutes


  • 350g icing sugar
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 150g light cream cheese, softened
  • 1tbsp honey


Sift the icing sugar twice and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy and whitish is color. Add cream cheese and beat for another minute.

Add 1/3 of icing sugar and beat on a low speed. Add the rest of icing sugar and mix.

Add the honey and beat until you get a creamy texture. Keep in the fridge to firm and stay cold.



Persian Taftoon Bread



Hmm, first you might think that it looks like chaapati bread; and in fact, you are almost right! Flat breads like Taftoon and Chaapati are like cousins. What makes them different, is just the addition of ghee to chaapati at the end! That is all the difference. Both of them share the same ingredients and  kneading process. In bakeries, they make them in open clay ovens (tandoor); but here I have adopted the house-hold Indian style of bread making! Bread making is a task that Persian women left behind when they immigrated to large cities, and left the job to the bakers. Now, with help of Indian ladies who are great modern bread makers, I have mastered making my own home country flat bread just on my stove. The cooked bread smells exactly the same as the traditionally prepared bread, and my whole kitchen becomes like a fairy place where I walk into my past memories.

I would wait in the line-up at the bakery and just drowned in watching speedy bakers.  Their work looked magical to me, thinking it would be impossible to make those breads with my own hands. Now, I am here with making it for my family; not dependent to the proud bakers who thought they were the only ones who can make bread!

By and large, bread making is been a great experience in my life, and has totally changed my perspective. It has reconnected  me to my roots, like my great grand mothers who baked and fed their family with bread and love. I follow their legacy and blow a great deal of love to my dough! It smells heavenly, tastes delicious, and every bite transfers that great deal of love.

In my recipe, I use a little oil since it helps the dough to be softer and easier to work with. It also increases the breads’ shelf life. You can totally omit oil to get 100 percent Taftoon dough. You can use this bread for making wraps, or serve it with fetta cheese omelet and Haleem. It is also great with cream and honey mix for breakfast. I sometimes simply bite into the plain bread since it is just so delicious by its own.

I will teach you how to make Persian Haleem (a traditional warm cereal) in another blog post.


Market list

2 full cups bread flour, sifted twice, extra for coating

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp (30 gr) softened butter or olive oil

About 2/3 cup warm water

cast iron or heavy skillet

small grilling net


Add the flour into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the salt and incorporate. Then, pour the oil and massage into flour.

Start adding the water slowly and mix with with your fingers until the dough starts to come together. Add enough water that the dough is very soft and does not stick to your hand.



Continue kneading the dough for one more minute and form the dough into a ball. Cover with a plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.


After 10 minutes knead the dough for another 1minute. Make small portions of large as small tangerine. This amount of dough will make 9-10 small breads. form the portions into balls. ِRoll the dough pieces in a small bowl of flour.



Heat the flat pan on medium heat. Dust the surface with a little flour and roll the each dough into a very thin round shape. After each roll, turn the dough ninety degree to the right. Roll and turn until you get a round shape. The thickness should be 1-2 mm. .


Place the flattened dough on hot pan. When the top part starts to pop up check the bottom part; if it is golden, turn it over. With your spatula, press down the corners that you think are not well cooked into the pan. It helps those areas to be cooked. Remove the golden brown bread from the pan and place it over a clean cloth in a clean container.


Cook other portions and keep the warm. Serve the bread warm.



Classic Chicken Roast


Sometimes it is just good to have a classic chicken with not much of add on flavors and spices. You could serve this chicken with bread, sauce, and any vegetables. If you like to make your own home made chicken sandwiches- of any sort- you can refrigerate the roasted chicken in the fridge for few days or even freeze it. My suggestion to you is that just buy good quality free range or organic chicken. Believe it or not, the quality of ingredients does have a big impact on what comes out of the oven.

Market List

a whole chicken, washed and pad dried

2 tbsp butter, softened or olive oil

salt and pepper

2 celery branches, cut coarsely

2 medium carrots cut coarsely

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

2 garlic cloves

1 cup of water or vegetable broth

1 tbsp flour

How to make it

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Make sure that the chicken is at room temperature. Leave it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Fill it with 1/3 of carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Close the chicken cavity and tighten up the legs with cooking string. attach the wings with two toothpicks or wood skewers cut in half. Mix soft butter with a pinch of salt and rub it all over the chicken skin.

Pile the rest of the chopped vegetables on a baking dish. Add the water. This prevents the vegetables from drying out in the oven and creates a juicier chicken roast. Place the chicken to rest over the bed of vegetables. I just put two fresh rosemary branches I had at home. You do not have to add it or add other herbs if you have them handy.


Put the chicken in the preheated oven. Cook chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you choose an extra large chicken, more than 2 kilos, increase the time to 1 hour and half.

15 minutes before you take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with some melted butter and honey mix. This gives your chicken a shiny and crispy look that anyone would die for!

Take the chicken out of the oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes so it is ready for carving.

Meanwhile, make gravy if you desire. Empty the juice under the chicken into a saucepan. Sieve the vegetables, pressing down to get all the juice out and add it into the saucepan. Sauté a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of butter in a small skillet for five minutes. Add it slowly into the juice, stirring constantly over medium heat to achieve desired thickness. The best ratio of juice to flour is one cup to one tablespoon. This ratio gives you perfect smooth and consistent gravy that accompanies your chicken.