Silky Yogurt Mousse in Honey and Saffron syrup

saffronsyrup-yogurtmousse

Let’s face it – January simply flew by and February – well to me it’s almost the middle of the month. I find myself asking the same question over and over – where has time gone? There is so much I want and need to do but it seems that I’m always busy chasing time. There are to do notes scattered around to remind me to actually get to it, including cooking which is my therapeutic activity where I find myself being 100% me, even with all the other troubles that go with it, but again, short on time. Is that an excuse?silky yogurt mousse with saffron and honey

This week I kept things simple even in cooking. I wanted to make something sweet, breakfast/dessert style that contain simple basic ingredients, uncomplicated, quick and with a twist. A dish that reminds us that time is precious and even with the most basic ingredients we can still whip up a treat we’d love to share with those around us. I’m keeping things simple. period.

saffronhoneysyrup

So I called my biggest mentor – my mother, and asked her if in her childhood she ever had any mousse, anything fluffy and sweet as a dessert besides cookies. I’m saying this because my mom is an amazing cook but her focus was solely on cooking authentic Moroccan cuisine like beef, fish and poultry but not specialty desserts accept cookies on holidays. Then she said “…oh sure…” and she started naming ingredients and desserts in Moroccan I had no clue what she meant (I couldn’t stop laughing), but I did get two words: saffron, honey. Oh, that already triggered my creative side.

saffronhoneyyogurtmousseThe conversation went on about her mother’s cooking tradition and we had a lot of good laughs. After bouncing ideas with my mom I pulled my Greek Yogurt out of the fridge and my jar of saffron. and stared at it. A long minute later I was like “…o.k. I’m ready. whatever comes out of it…it must be really good”.

silky yogurt mousse with saffron and honey

saffronsyrup

The saffron honey syrup is such a treat. Its taste is surprisingly beautiful and I mean beautiful because honestly I don’t even know how to describe it in words, which is unusual to me. You have to make it to find descriptive words and if you do – please enlight me with your findings.

saffronyogurtmousse

The mousse is elegant, creamy, fluffy and not very sweet, which is how I like my desserts. The recipe is very flexible and you can adjust its sweetness or substitute the honey or agave with sugar, but I don’t recommend it. it’s simply wont be the same.

saffronyogurtmoussedessert

So, shall we:

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2 c. low fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp white corn flour
2 tbsp water
Honey Saffron syrup* (recipe follows)

*Honey Saffron syrup:
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. light agave syrup
generous pinch of saffron

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Preparation:
Honey saffron syrup: In a small pan combine honey, agave and with your fingers crash/rub saffron, add to the pan. Low/medium heat stir ingredients until bubbly. Cook for about two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mousse: Combine corn flour and water, stir to remove lumps. Set a side. In a medium bowl place the yogurt. Whisk until fluffy. Slowly add half the amount of Honey Saffron syrup that you’ve prepared. Fold to combine ingredients. Again, slowly, fold in the corn flour mixture. The mousse will change color to a light orange from the saffron. Pour mousse into ramekins and chill for a few hours until set.

Right before serving drizzle mousse with saffron syrup, serve.

Now deep your spoon in this creamy sweetened mousse and fill your mouth with goodness. Can it get any better than this?

And yes…why wait for a special dinner? it’s perfect for breakfast too.

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Moroccan spicy caraway cookies

who said cookies have to be sweet?

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

Every time I make these cookies i think about my mother. My childhood memories are vividly brought up right in front of my eyes, a hint of smile on my face as I think how my mother made these special cookies, only a couple of times a year, as a special get together on high holidays. We would start the big meal with these spicy delicious caraway cookies and a cup of sweet fresh mint tea…we would talk…laugh…then the big meal begins. These rare but delicious treats will always stay special to me as my mother wasn’t a big baker, she cooked more than baked and sweets rarely mentioned in our household, yet she would surprise us with her Moroccan specialties she learned from her mother…a special lady I never had a chance to know.

Now trying my baking specialties I am still struggling to keep the dough together but not always succeeding at the task. The dough is soft and falls apart in your mouth, almost to a melting point and taste so delicious. The recipe is simple and contain only few ingredients but the trick is to keep the dough together while shaping it into little balls. I’m still working on improving my handling skills but I’m not intimidated and am still creating these treats. They go well with a nice cup of mint tea or your favorite cup of coffee.

The caraway seeds have a sharp flavor, almost like parsley…well it is from the parsley family, and are a beautiful savory addition to this simple dough, which i intentionally reduced the amount of sugar in it and let the seeds blend with the oil and be the star.

moroccan spicy caraway cookies

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

delicious spicy moroccan caraway cookies
moroccan spicy caraway cookies
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2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp toasted caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
tap water, as needed
kosher salt, pinch
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Preparation:

Let’s toast the caraway seeds in a small non-stick pan first. Just for a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them. Set a side.
In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, create a well in the center, pour the oil and add the rest of the ingredients including the caraway seeds. Gently knead the dough for a few minutes while adding tap water as needed and only if need. Mix until combined and you get a nice soft dough. Don’t over work the dough. Form one big ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. In the meantime, lightly grease baking sheet. Gently create small balls from the dough pressing gently to flatten them. If you get cracks while pressing, like I do sometimes, that’s o.k but if you don’t like when that happens, like me, just leave them in the form of balls. They look very cute this way and unique. Lay cookies on the sheet and bake between 20-25 minutes, until the top is light golden brown **

** I bake them 5-6 minutes longer as i like the top to turn a little darker and slightly crusty. Your personal preference.

Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite hot drink. For kids, it’s heaven with a cup of cold milk. So o.k. adults will like it too.

delicious spicy caraway cookies

Moroccan cuisine in Paris

I love authentic Moroccan food. There is no second to its richness, texture, flavors and the awesome verity in Moroccan cuisine makes it a very happy food.  One of my favorite is couscous but not the kind that comes in a box. No! I’m glad my mother doesn’t read my blog, if she knew I used instant couscous in this recipe (quick and easy but delicious), she would never let me in her house again. So lets just keep is between the two of us shall we.

But I’m hungry for the real deal here, the kind of couscous my mom prepares from scratch. The kind of couscous that if you start to cook it early in the morning, you might be able to finish on your child’s graduation day. That’s how long it takes to make it. Is labor of love worth the hassle? let’s think: it’s fluffy, airy, versatile, delicious and takes on any flavors you top it with, simply 100% customizable to your own juice buds. I’d say Yes. Do I make it from scratch? On occasions, depending on my mood. But that’s another post.

moroccan couscous

Paris is loaded with top-notch restaurants, especially middle eastern ones that prepare my kind of couscous. I will not mention what they top the couscous with but it’s…oh, I can’t even describe it. But I’ll tell you anyway, they top it with Chicken Tagine, spicy sausage, tender meat, lamb, or simply cooked vegetables that make this dish blast with flavor. Almost the same as my mom’s.

moroccan chicken with olives

Besides, when you’re in Paris can you go wrong with food? most chances, in my opinion, no.

paris cafeThis is my favorite spot when I visit Paris with my husband, located in Place de la Madeleine . This is the view from our window so it was easy to check when this place opens.

I love to explore goodies in Paris especially Moroccan food but let’s get things straight here – I am not talking about Morocco, a country that got me in every sense of the every way, the core of all everything Moroccan.

But Morocco, in a future post.