Spice Blends

Photo from NY Times Magazine online

Photo from NY Times Magazine online

Do you make your own spice blends or do you use store-bought blends?

Honestly, I make my own blends most of the time. I made a fresh blend of ras el hanout spices for this dutch oven chicken recipe. Ras el hanout spice blend is from North Africa, commonly used in Moroccan recipes. If you can’t find it at a supermarket, try getting the spices apart and make your own blend.  It is one of my favorite spice blends. I’ve also used a similar blend to make the vegetable and veal tagine.

Here are 10 spice blends that you might find very useful for several kinds of dishes, including a recipe for ras el hanout.


Chocolate Ganache Recipe

This is a basic chocolate ganache recipe.

– 140g dark chocolate

– 1/2 cup cream

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt them in the cream on low to medium heat. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and silky and the chocolate has totally melted.

I will be referring to this recipe throughout the blog, so always come back to check basic recipes on this page.

Short Grain Rice with Vermicelli

This is the classical recipe for short grain rice cooked vermicelli to be served alongside any Lebanese stew (more or less).

Ingredients (for 2):

– 1 cup short grain rice
– 2 Tbsp vermicelli
– 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
– 1 and 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 tsp salt


1. Wash the rice well under running water. Place in a colander and set aside.

2. In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and fry the vermicelli till they become golden. Be careful not to burn them.

3. Add the rice to the vermicelli. Give it a gentle stir.

4. Add the salt and the water, bring to boil and then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water and has doubled in size. The rice should be fluffy.

Serve alongside any stew.

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting is perfect for cupcakes, party cakes and any basic sponge cake.

– 225 (8 oz.) g cream cheese
– 1/4 cup powdered sugar
– 2 Tbsp butter

Whisk the three ingredients together into a creamy mixture.

You can an additional ingredient to get a flavored frosting.

Suggestions for flavors:

– Orange zest

– Lemon zest

– Coconut

– Vanilla

– 2Tbsp pineapple juice

– 50g Nutella