A Sweet Gift & Bite-Sized Cinnamon Pancakes

When my Canadian friend arrived in Egypt this month she came bearing a sweet gift: Maple Syrup! This is by far the sweetest gift I have ever received from another country. Now that I had an imported Canadian trademark in my hands there was only one thing to do: make pancakes. And because I absolutely love cinnamon, I usually make cinnamon pancakes. Here’s my favorite recipe.

Although I have made pancakes many times before, I felt like browsing around on the Internet for a different recipe approach. That’s how I came across a delicious food blog and was sold just by looking at the incredible photographs. Before I usually used white sugar for my pancake mixture, but this recipe uses brown sugar. The brown sugar, along with the cinnamon, gives the mixture a lovely caramelized look.

But the thing is, I love my pancakes bite-sized. Just popping them into your mouth like you would with chocolate is so much more fun. I also love having my pancake with scrambled eggs; the different tastes and textures make a delicious marriage that my family and I can’t do without.

With the smell of cinnamon pancakes wafting in the kitchen, memories of my childhood bubble to the surface like the batter in the pan in front of me. I remember Pancake Day; the children programmes on the television would mark the occasion with a song and a bite. I still remember one of the songs, which just goes to shows how repetitive they were. Back then we used to make pancakes with a lemon and sugar topping for breakfast on the weekends. We’d tuck into the soft papery-like pancakes with the delicious realization that we didn’t have to get ready to go to school; we had a whole two days of pure bliss.

This recipe uses what looks like a delicious cinnamon roll glaze topping, but because I wanted a much more savory breakfast, I topped up my pancakes with a cube of butter and a generous drizzle of the famous Maple Syrup starring the lead role. It just goes to show that being flexible can make you experience (and taste) new things; I didn’t stick to my much-loved-and-used recipe but went on the hunt for something new.

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Kishk – My Favorite Egyptian Dish

Ever since I was a little girl I loved eating homemade Kishk. Like a savory rice pudding, my favorite ingredients of rice, milk, tomato sauce and fried onions unite into this spectacularly tasty marriage that makes my taste buds dance. It was also a favorite dish while I was growing up because it would bring a piece of Egypt to our London home, brightening up any rainy day. It would remind me of our times in Egypt when my relatives, family and I would gather around the dinner table, breaking bread together and diving into its creamy white texture whilst drowning the Kishk with its delicious and quite special tomato sauce.

But because Kishk is a carb-fest meal – flour! rice! bread! – and I cannot stop eating it when it"s around, we only make it once a year during Ramadan, for the sake of our health. It’s a pure indulgence during Ramadan, without a hint of guilt.

Kishk is usually made alongside chicken or duck, to add protein to the meal. The chicken or duck stock is used in the Kishk, adding an extra dimension to its taste. The fried onions are like icing on the cake, and the darker, the tastier. It’s pure comfort food. Nervous about exam results when I was in high school, I would ask my mother to make Kishk. During the freezing cold winter evenings, its aroma would warm up our home. There are so many comforting memories attached to this dish, and it would have the same delicious, heart-warming taste every time.

I remember I was a student at university when I first made Kishk. It turned out beautifully and I found the steps quite simple, even if there were quite a few things to do it was worth it when it was finally time for dinner. It’s the tomato sauce that gives it that extra flavor and punches and it’s one of the many reasons why Kishk will always be my favorite Egyptian dish. Because I have so much of it when I do eat it and I’ve filled up my quota for this year, I feel quite satisfied with waiting until next year’s batch.

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