STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE

STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE (allrecipes.com)

 

Butter and Flour a 9X13 inch rectangular pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 or 175, depending on the type of oven you have.

 

Cake Ingredients:

2 Eggs at room temperature

One stick butter or half cup (softened)

One 8 ounce package Philadelphia cream cheese, it can a brand other than Kraft but it should be the American style cream cheese (softened)

I and ¼ cup of sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

Half cup of milk at room temperature

One teaspoon almond extract

One teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Crumb Topping Ingrdients:

½ cup of flour

½ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¾ cup of chopped walnuts

½ stick of cold butter

 

First, sift all the dry ingredients. Few days ago,  I was watching a baking show  on a television channel. I have no clue what she was teaching, but what I did notice was that she added every dry ingredient directly to the mixing bowl.  This is a practice best avoided. Many times, if you do not sift all dry ingredients together, you will notice baking soda or powder concentrated in one area of your final baking product. What sifting does is it distributes all dry ingredients evenly. Now, cream together  butter, cream cheese, eggs (one by one) and sugar. Next, add the dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour. Add the two extracts, mix. Pour the batter in the pan.

Now take a ziplock bag, and  mix with all the ingredients for the crumb topping. The topping should be solid, butter should be solid too. Finally, add  or sprinkle the crumb topping on  top of the raw batter in the pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clear. This is a recipe from the baking/cooking  site allrecipes.com.  I cannot praise this recipe enough. It’s a spectacular recipe, and always wins fans. Additionally, it is fairly easy and quick to put together.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, eggs should be put in a bowl of tap water to bring them to room temperature. If you’d like butter to be softened, put it in a bowl and keep it in a sunny window or close to the stove. I don’t like microwaving butter as it will  turn the butter to liquid, and can affect  the final product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLD FASHIONED POUND CAKE


 

 

INGREDIENTS

One Cup Canola Oil

4 Eggs, at room temperature. Take eggs out of the refrigerator, and put them in a bowl full of tap water. This will move the temperature of the eggs faster to the desired room temperature.

One Cup Sugar

One and a half Cup Flour

Two teaspoons baking powder

One tablespoon liquid vanilla

Splash of milk

 

 

RECIPE

Heat the oven to 350F. Take a bundt pan or any ten-inch tube pan.  Spray the cake pan with any baking spray. If you do not have any baking spray, put a few drops of oil in the cake pan. Spread the drops of oil with the help of a paper towel or a brush. After oiling the pan, sprinkle flour over the oiled cake pan. Sift the flour and the baking powder together, put it aside. In a large bowl, mix the oil and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time and mix. Add the flour mixture to the batter. Finally add vanilla and a splash of milk. Now bake for about fifty minutes, or until the cake looks golden.

 

The credit for this recipe goes to a good friend of mine named Rozina Siddiqui. Not only is she a fantastic cook, but she is also a spectacular person. I am inspired by the way she approaches life. She brings a lot of positive energy with her presence.  This is one of my favorite recipes because it takes anywhere between 8-10 minutes to put together, and the result is superb. It will leave people asking for more, and the recipe.

MORE DOHA IN A GOOD WAY

Finally, I am getting the hang of living in Doha. Actually, Doha is kind of fun, a very expensive kind of fun. At last, I figured out that the government building in West Bay, close to Adagio and Intercontinental was not really called “Office of Public Prostitution” instead of “Office of Public Prosecution.” Since June of 2016, when I came to visit and looked up at this building, I squinted in the sunlight and grossly misread the words. It was too embarrassing to ask anyone, lest someone thought I was too silly and old-fashioned. When I misunderstood the words, I was just spectacularly floored at how advanced, and modern Doha was. Now that I have that mystery figured out, it hardly took me any time to figure out that “Court of Cassation” was exactly that and nothing else, so glad I didn’t make a mistake on that one. Also, now I don’t incredulously ask the coffee baristas to repeat twice the price of a small latte or a chocolate brownie, (I am still fond of lattes, but have laid off brownies because I don’t want them to end up where they became harder to get rid of than super glue on your skin).

My maid woes have also been taken care of. After the greatly temperamental and famous Fauzia of Amoudia Village, I have been blessed with a low key and decidedly kinder helper from the Philipines. When I hear her call me madam in a soft baritone, I just about pass out with barely restrained pleasure. I clearly remember the day when a friend came to visit in Jeddah. As soon as I told her that our house didn’t have much work, a very loud snort followed by witchy cackling came from the direction of the kitchen where our erstwhile helper was working. Then this came from the direction of the kitchen, “hah this house doesn’t have work?”, followed by more laughter. Needless to say I was publically shamed. Yes, Fauzia cooked and cleaned like a dream, but having her was akin to a very expensive car. You know you love those pricey wheels, but they are rather delicate and high maintenance. My current helper doesn’t possess good culinary skills, but her attitude and work ethic is nothing short of dazzling. Her cleaning is immaculate, and her manners are exquisite. I don’t reconnect with one-year-old orange slices, bread pieces, candy wrappers and other unidentifiable food particles upon moving sofas to retrieve shoes or some other item. All the areas underneath the sofas, beds, tables and other pieces of furniture are as clean as the floors in our house.

The Uber drivers are a bit tricky though. There are all kinds of Uber drivers out there. The chatty ones who don’t let you talk even though you are the customer, and you need to unload because you paid for the privilege. Then there are also the rude ones who never get out to help with anything, and grunt out their responses, well no five stars for these ones or a healthy tip.
Just a couple of days ago, I sat in a car with a fresh-faced young man who repeatedly kept asking my five-year-old not to make his car dirty. It was all I could do not to snap at him that if a child was stressing him out, then maybe Uber driving wasn’t meant for him. I saved the best ones for last because they make a person very happy, and always get five stars from me and a nice tip. They are unfailingly polite, help out with your stuff, and smile at your child. Good news is that the good ones are the norm, and the not so polite ones are an anomaly.

I have also learned to navigate grocery shopping without getting thoroughly stressed out. It does not cause a minor panic attack to pay exorbitant prices for produce and other household items. Milk, that elusive headache, has become readily available and at much reasonable prices than before.

Things have become normalized, or maybe we have become acclimated. I have finally realized that in Doha traffic, getting from point A to point B can easily take 30-40 minutes even in short distances. It’s very fulfilling and incredibly gratifying to be able to do small things for people in the service industry here, such as offering higher tips to the grocery bagger, restaurant servers, asking how they are faring here and about their families back in their land. Finally, I am learning that Doha is an interesting place to live with much to offer if a person will open their heart and mind to newer experiences.

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