Squash and chickpea Moroccan stew

I like to follow a few food Instagram. And if you are like me, a photo will make me want to try a dish. So there it was on smitten kitchen. A recipe that looked SO good.

So the first try was a real hit ! Made it again this week so it’s time it enters my food blog. I made a few changes according to our tastes.



Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups yellow squash, large dice
2 1/2 cups of potatoes, large dice
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (I cook mine)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices

Steamed couscous, for serving

For garnish :

Fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Toasted slivered almonds
Plain Greek yogurt
Moroccan spice


Heat butter and olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When butter and oil starts simmering, add onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until onions and spices are well mixed together.


Add diced squash and potatoes , stir to coat, and cook about 3 minutes. IMG_2609

Add broth,  tomato can.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until squash and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.


When cooked add the chickpeas and mix well. Cook a few more minutes.


Remove from heat. Serve over couscous garnished with cilantro, almonds, and yogurt.

Bon appétit


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Homemade three cheese ravioli

Cooking is fun for me.

It relaxes me. It’s creative. It’s fun. It challenges me. And it makes me so happy to serve a very good dish to my family.

So this weekend, I made homemade three cheese ravioli. A must do again. SO delicious. Served with a tomato sauce topped with pesto and fresh Parmesan.

For the little story behind my pasta machine. We live in West Africa, and many years ago when we were newly weds, my husband surprised me and brought this pasta machine from the USA for a gift. I still don’t know how he brought it without me seeing it ! We used to find very rarely lasagna pasta and it was just the perfect gift.

So here it goes … homemade cheese ravioli 



Ravioli dough

2 cups of flour

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of olive oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons of water

Ravioli filling

1 container of ricotta cheese (you can make ricotta or buy it)

4 square of kiri (or half of cream cheese)

1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella

1 egg

a pinch of nutmeg

salt & pepper


  1. On a work place, put flour and salt together and form a well. Beat the teaspoon of olive oil, 2 eggs, and water in a bowl. Pour half the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing the egg with the flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add the remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough. ravioli 1
  2. Knead the dough until smooth,  and can form as a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling. Combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set the filling aside. ravioli3
  4. In a separate saucepan, make a marinara sauce over medium-low heat.
  5. Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets -on 8. To assemble the ravioli, brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta. Drop the filling mixture on the dough by teaspoonfuls about one inch apart. Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta, pressing out the air from around each portion of filling. Cut into individual ravioli with pizza cutter. Press with a fork firmly around the filling to seal. Place on a floured cookie sheet.ravioli5
  6. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the ravioli, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain well. ravioli7
  7. Before serving the ravioli, add to a skillet 2-3 tablespoons of butter and 2 cloves of garlic crushed. Add ravioli.
  8. To serve the ravioli, divide them among four warmed serving bowls. Drizzle the marinara sauce over the ravioli and then top with pesto and fresh pamesan.

SIMPLY the best …




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New York style Bagel

We don’t get bagels in Niger. But we love a Good bagel. i have tried many recipes. But this one is the best. Soft and chewy inside and crusty on the inside. Just delicious.


Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels
Total Time:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ cups warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more)
3 ½ cups of  flour (I also made some with 1 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 egg yolk to brush on bagel

1 tbsp of honey for the water boiling

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.  We especially like the plains ones and sesame seeds.


1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

3. Pour 1/3 cup at a time of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.

4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.


6. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round.


7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.


8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.


9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Boil 2 – 3 bagels at a time. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel.


10. Once all the bagels have boiled transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet, prepare an egg wash (yolk + a tsp of water), brush your bagels and add your toppings.


11. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack

bagel 11.jpg

Slice and spread some Philadelphia or Kiri cheese and Bon appétit

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New Orleans Beignets

We love NEW Orleans! And their beignets at Le Café du monde! IMG_0593 (Edited)

IMG_0534 (Edited)

Here is a recipe I have found, it’s light and delicious and passes the most important test. You will see. Read till the end of the recipe.


  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp of yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oil , for frying
  • Powdered sugar , for dusting
  1. In a Large bowl combine lukewarm water and yeast. Let it sit until dissolve for about 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly whisk eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract , salt and sugar. Add to the yeast mixture.

  3. Mix in about 2 cups flour and continue mixing with hand whisk.
  4. Add melted butter, mix until dough is sticky but smooth. Add one more cup of flour to make soft dough.
  5. Turn dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm until doubled.
  6. Punch the dough down- remove the dough from the bowl.
  7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into ¼ – 1/3 inch thick. Then cut out dough into 1 1/2 or 2″ squares, you can use a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before frying
  8. Working in batches, fry the dough squares until they are puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oil, put on paper towels or a cookie rack for oil to drop – and quickly dust with powdered sugar.
  9. Serve hot with Café au lait. Mais bien sûr …

Bon appétit !

So how do you know your beignets are the best … they puff up and make a hole in the middle.



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The very best Pumpkin muffins

Christina LOVES pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting. Many years ago I came across Connie Knowlton’s, best recipe of pumpkin bar.  Connie lived in Niger many years and i think they are the best bars ever. But the past few years I have started to make the same recipe, but this time as muffins and they turned out so delicious. You must try!

In Niger, I make them from a pumpkin that I cook and than make a purée. In the USA, i simply buy a can of pumpkin. They always turn out the best, moist, delicious and tasty muffins.

IMG_5998 (Edited)


2 cups of multipurpose flour

1 1/2 cup of sugar (I reduced 1/2 cup of sugar from recipe)

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup of canola oil

4 eggs

2 cups of pumpkin (can or cooked)


In a mixing bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl mix oil, pumpkin and eggs. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well.

You can use this recipe for pumpkin bar or muffins

for Cream cheese frosting

You will need to beat together 8 oz of Cream Cheese (In Niger I use Greek Yogurt that I make) , 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1 tsp of vanilla. Gradually mix in 2-3 cups of confectioners’ sugar.

I keep the frosting in a Tupperware in fridge and use as needed for the muffins.




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Completely nuts quinoa Slaw-salad

Sometimes one picture of a salad brings on my own creation. Here is one example of one. It was just a beautiful and inviting picture of a feel good and healthy salad. SO I started to imagine how I could make it without reading the recipe. I love creating in the kitchen with flavors I love.



For the salad

1/2 cup of quinoa

1 cup of water

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots

1 1/2 cups cut thinly of green cabbage

1 1/2 cups cut thinly of red cabbage

1 1/2 cups of chopped broccoli

1 cup of chopped cilantro

1/2 cup of sesame seeds

1 cup of sliced almonds

top your salad with sunflower seeds and dried Cranberries


For the vinaigrette

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 lemon juiced

3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Oil

1  Tablespoons of Maple Syrup

salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water. When water is reduced, stop the burner. Let it cool. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Shred and thinly slice the vegetables.


3. In a big bowl, mix shredded carrots, thinly slices cabbages, chopped broccoli, and cilantro.


4. When cooled, add quinoa, nuts and seeds. You can use any nuts of seeds you like.


5. In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients of the vinaigrette- taste- if you need more lemon add 1/2 lemon more. You can also add 1/2 tbsp of sesame seed oil or walnut oil.


6. Pour vinaigrette in the salad. Mix well.


7. Serve on the plate, top with a bit of sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. Decorate side of the salad with apple slices.


This salad keeps well in the fridge several days.

Perfect healthy lunch salad.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Bon appétit.








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I love visiting friends and discovering some of their best recipes – this is what happened recently as we were in New Orleans. For breakfast our host Beth Perkins brought out of her fridge this amazing granola. All I love in a granola : crunchiness, wonderful taste with honey and healthiness. SO of course I had to take note of her recipe that was handed down by her daughter in law. As we just moved into our new place for several months, this granola was the first thing I made, I need to say I already modified it a bit- but that’s what is fun right ?

And it was so delicious.


Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 1 hour

Servings 6


3 cups of quick cooking oats

1 cups of All Bran buds   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1/4 cup mixture of flax seeds and Chia seeds

1/2 cup of coconut (natural)

1/3 cup of honey

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of canola oil

2 tablespoons of warm water

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla


1. preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C.)

2. Lightly grease a baking sheet

3. In a large bowl mix oats, All brand buds, chia seeds, flax seeds.







4. In a separate bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, honey, salt, warm water and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add coconut (you can replace with any other nuts- we also like with almonds, walnuts, pecans)


5. Place on baking sheet and cook for an hour, mixing every 15 minutes.


6. Remove from oven and cool before putting your granola into a glass jar.


Now I need to share a secret that Beth told me, place your jar in the fridge and it will always be crispy. I especially love granola on top of fresh fruit and Greek Yogurt.




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