I have a confession to make… I imagined, long ago, that blood oranges were wounded. You know, bleeding, and that they’d taste (pardon me) the way a cut on your finger would taste; salty and rather bloody, if you know what I mean. It didn’t occur to me that in reality, they taste much like… flowers? Yep flowers… rosy and floral amidst all that citrus. Since my first taste, I had become both fascinated and obsessed with them and their gorgeous marbled red-orange coloured flesh. 

The blood oranges in Cairo this season are intense! So red, so rosy, and so succulent that its impossible not t...

It's summer, and hence funky fruit season (particularly grape season), here in Cairo... for a couple of weeks last month, a batch of gorgeous seedless black concord grapes appeared on the market. Being an avid grape fan, I've always wanted to create some kind of baked grape dessert. But it's a little hard -- they're not like berries, where they pop and ooze and become a delicious part of whatever is being baked; grapes tend to get soggy, and bog dough down because while their skin stays in tact, all the goodness on the inside turns into a runny fluidy-goop making it difficult for dough...

I'm in love with red velvet. Like, literally, in love. And while red velvet 'anything' is basically made of a sh*tload of red food coloring poured into batter and hence pretty tasteless -- i taste 'something' extraordinary. I do believe it's the subtle addition of cocoa powder into the batter, which also helps darken the deep deep bloody crimson that red velvet is so well-known for. Whatever the reason though, I'm a sucker, and here I am -- giving you my prized recipe on probably the most important day of the year for any baker or cook; you guessed it! World Baking Day :). The thing is...

Lazy, solitary afternoons are always best for baking — afternoons just like this one. It’s Labor Day, hence a day off, and I’ve not only slept in, but I’m still lounging about my place in my sleepwear, sipping coffee out of my NYC mug, and looking out at a sunny Cairo through my modest kitchen window. In other words, it’s the perfect time to roll up my sleeves, turn on the music, and bake something amazing while the sun is still shining and the day is still young :). Breads and cakes are my favorite, mostly because they fill both my kitchen and entire house with an inexplicable warmth...

Poppy-seeds were my first thought when I came to baking a cake that looked like this. Believe it or not though, poppy-seeds are supposed to be illegal in Egypt, and several other Middle Eastern countries. Thinking it was just simply unavailable here, I once asked a friend to bring me a pack or two from Kuwait during his visit, only to be told that the vendor freaked out by the mere mention of the seed. When I tried my own luck here at a local herbalist, the man behind the counter looked at me as if I’d gone insane. He warned me, quite severely, never to mention it out loud unless I wan...

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