Tiger Prawns, Chips, and Kaleslaw

tiger prawns, chips & kaleslaw

When I’m on holidays, and we visit historical sites, I tend to imagine what life was like when the city we’re in was hustling, bustling and lively. Melbourne, for example, has beautiful buildings which spell heritage and stories from centuries ago. During our holiday there this summer, I would imagine Victorians in their prime – with corsets and poofy dresses, horse carriages and suited men strolling the streets with walking canes and eyeglasses. I’d ask myself “What have these buildings housed? What have they seen?” 

Old Melbourne Building

Last summer, however was a totally different story. Last summer my partner and I ventured through some wondrous wreckages in Muscat, and boy was it a sight to see! While there I imagined thin, dark-skinned men, with turbans and sheep, coming home to a simple dinner – burghul and mutton and cucumber, too.


While we traced their footsteps and reimagined their stories, I noticed & fell in love with a small tin bowl outside a small mud house. I picked it up wondering what it’d gone through, claimed it would now be mine – it would fly overseas and make it to my tabletop, and onto my blog and onto your screens. And that it did. And every time I get a glimpse of it, I think of the Omani man who ate from it his humble mutton and burghul and send a prayer his way.

Soul Food

This bowl deserves to hold soul-food. The kind you sit on the floor and eat with your hands. The kind you dig into without worrying about the mess. The kind the fills your belly and heart. The kind that creates silence around the room – simply because everyone is so busy eating and enjoying, restoring and replenishing. And that kind of food is exactly what this recipe is all about.

Tiger Prawns, Chips, and Kaleslaw


Yields: 1 bowl for 1 person


4-6 large tiger prawns (amount varies on person & how much they can eat)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbs kecap manis

2 tbs sweet chilli sauce

1 cup store bought kaleslaw

1/2 salad tomato, finely diced

2 small, or 1 large russet potato (or any suitable for deep frying)

2 tbsp roasted trio bell peppers sauce (I get it from Nando’s, make your own, or buy similar store-bought alternative)

2-3 tbs homemade aioli (see ingredients/directions below)



Peel and slice potato into small matchsticks. Rinse.

Sprinkle over with salt and rest while oil heats up.

Pat dry and deep fry until golden. Let oil drain on paper towel.

Add tiger prawns into small pan and sprinkle over ginger, add kecap manis and sweet chilli sauce. Toss to coat all prawns. Place pan on medium heat and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until pink and cooked through. Do not overcook.

Make aioli by adding 2-3tbs mayonnaise to 1 small clove of crushed garlic. Add a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Combine.

Mix diced tomato with trio of peppers sauce. Set aside.

Tiger Prawns, Chips and Kaleslaw

Assemble the dish by adding a heaping of kalelaw into the bowl, top with tiger prawns.

Place fries around the edges of a bowl.

Top prawns with tomato salsa. Drizzle aioli on top and serve immediately.


tandoori fish

baked tandoori fish

I have a huge confession to make. I love foods that have a slight redness to them. Like pasta mixed into marinara, or a taco spice mix, or a juicy piece of tandoori chicken.

On that note, usually a tablespoon of paprika does the job when marinating meats, but with a bubba under 1 who loves to eat from our food, I just can’t have any chilli whatsoever in my cooking. So I cheat with less than 1/8 tsp of tandoori colouring to give it that red and spicy look I love and crave.

And so naturally, these basa fillets weren’t spared from my criminous love of colouring, so behold… tandoori fish! I developed this recipe in search of a great baked fish that was easy and quick to make. When I opened the oven, I let out a small wow and sigh of relief and disbelief. Did I really just hit the nail on the head with this recipe?! (The answer is yes, in case I’ve left you wondering 😉 )

tandoori fish

I served the basa with chips and salad, but a brown rice or quinoa side with salad would do just as well for a healthier, well-rounded meal.


Serves: 4


2 large basa fillets

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tbs paprika (or less than 1/8 tsp powdered tandoori colour)


If using frozen fish, place in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

Preheat your oven to 180 deg c. If using fan forced 160.

marinade mix

Mix lemon, oil, cumin, salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika/tandoori colour in a small bowl.

Line a sheet pan with baking paper and place 2 white-flesh fish fillets on the tray.


Brush the fillets with marinade on both sides. A trick I use is to flip one fillet over the other so none of the marinade comes off on the baking paper.

marinating the fish

Place fish in the oven and let bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (this will vary based on thickness of fish and your oven type).

Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve with chips/rice and salad, and enjoy!


easy pikelets

I’ve started my week on a whim making these fluffy pikelets for lunch! Usually a salad or croissan’wich is in order – but with my babbling bubba on the bench beside me, I felt like I wanted something quick and easy and totally mashable by her teeny tiny little hands and toothless gums (well those 2 bottom front teeth don’t chew). She got a little peanut butter spread onto her pikelets which she loved as that sweet, sticky paste got between her fingers 🙂

And of course I got Nutella on mine topped with pomegranate arils to bounce the sweetness and add a pop of fresh to the pikelet.

Pomegranate and Nutella Pikelets

One for me.. and one for me too!

All of this was also a little practice run for Wednesday when I have my family over for afternoon tea to celebrate turning my little deck into a miniature backyard – but more on that another time. Until then, enjoy these little gems – topped with jam and butter/cream, Nutella and berries, or cheese and honey 🙂

alright, here have one for you 😉

Yields: 12


1 cup self-raising flour

1 tablespoon sugar (I confess I put 2)

1 egg

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup milk (or as needed to make the batter as thick as you like)


Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and make a well in the centre.

Add wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.

Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat. Brush the frypan with a little melted butter or coat with cooking spray. Drop the mixture by large spoonfuls until about 5cm across. Flip when bubbles appear on the surface, and cook until browned on the other side.

Serve and enjoy! 🙂

Burnt butter & pumpkin cheesy pasta

burnt butter & pumpkin macaroni cheese

Oh yes you read that right. Burnt butter + pumpkin sauce + cheesy mac. Ooohhh yeeaahh.

Please, go on and have a second serving of this better-for-you mac n cheese.. hahaha because it has a serving of vege in it 😉 What started out as a pumpkin sauce pasta, turned into this mac n cheese pasta which I’m not regretting. It’s all part of the recipe development journey I find myself on – and one that I love!

I made this back in June when the colder months were upon us here Down Under… It’s a perfect Autumn recipe for all my friends living the fall in the northern hemisphere at the moment 🙂 My partner absolutely looooved this (as did I) and we’ve added it to our repertoire of midweek dinners as it’s quick and easy to make, especially when comfort food is in call.

Burnt butter & pumpkin mac n cheese

So here’s a burning question I have to ask you all: tell us what you prefer to say … “squash” or “pumpkin”? I think this is probably due to geography what people end up saying.. Here we say pumpkin and we use it as a nickname too, I think I like that name better because using the word ‘squash’ makes me feel like the texture of my dish will be mushy (kinda like overcooked zucchini (aka summer squash!) hahaha). Plus the kids store Pumpkin Patch just wouldn’t sound right as Squash Patch… Do you see where I’m going with this? 😉

Burnt butter & pumpkin cheesy pasta

Serves: 4


500g your favourite pasta

6 tbs butter

1 onion, diced

1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable, whatever you prefer)

3 cups diced butternut pumpkin (about 1/2 a large one)

1 cup milk

1 cup cheese (I used a mix of freshly grated parmesan and mozzarella)

salt and pepper to taste



Add butter and onions into a saucepan and cook until onions soften.

Turn the heat to high until butter starts to burn (about another 2 minutes of cooking).

Once browned, add the stock and pumpkin and cook covered for 20-25 minutes until soft.

Once cooked, pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender, add the milk and blend until creamy and smooth. Set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook to packet instructions. Drain.

Return sauce and pasta into saucepan and mix until coated, add cheese and mix through until melted.

Serve with toasted pine nuts, freshly cracked pepper, or a light sprinkle of parsley.


Tried it? Let us know if you like it in the comments below! 🙂




haloumi hand pies

I’m making party pies to share around – to celebrate moving blogs and re-theming what was once ‘fati’s recipes’ 😉

It’s taken a really long time and there are still a few corners to clean up, but why not start celebrating a little early with these delicious haloumi pies? What I love about these is that they’re quick and easy to make and can be served with a watermelon salad. Plus the recipe makes plenty to go around 🙂

My mum’s secret to making extra crispy hand pies is that she turns them upside down after about 20 minutes of baking in the oven. She’d let the bottom crisp up even more for another 5-10 minutes in the oven before serving them. I don’t always do this myself, but try it out when you make these pies and let me know what you think of ‘the flip’ 😉


Yields: 36



4 sheets puff pastry, thawed

2 cups grated haloumi cheese

15 sprigs parsley, chopped

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp black nigella seed

1/2 tsp mixed spice



Preheat regular oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Lightly grease two baking trays and set aside.

Reserve about 2-3 tablespoons of the egg to brush the pastry with, if desired.

Place the cheese, parsley, egg and spices into a bowl, mix to combine.

Cut each pastry sheet into 9 squares (3 by 3).

Place one tablespoon of the filling onto each square.

Fold over the pastry and seal the edges by pressing down with your fingers.

Press and slide a fork around the sealed edges to seal firmly.

Arrange the pies on the baking trays, and place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve with a watermelon salad or iced tea.

fati’s recipes has moved!

Hello subscribers and welcome to the new “fati’s recipes” 🙂

My blog is now named “My Kitchen Kohl”, but I’ll still be posting great quality recipes as I did before on fati’s recipes.

I hope you continue to join me on my journey – one recipe at a time! 🙂


P.S. You can also find me on Facebook if you haven’t already 😉

Al-Batinah, Oman

postcard from oman

I’ve been a little hush on the blog lately… But for a good reason. I’ve been holidaying in Oman for several weeks, visiting with my partner’s family. The country here is very beautiful, full of historical sites and souqs.

Al-Nakhal Fort in Al-Batinah, Oman

Al-Nakhal Fort in Al-Batinah, Oman

As my stay here has come to a close, and my plane to Dubai is just a few hours away, I had to share with you the highlight of my trip. I call it my biggest “Oh, man!” in Oman moment 😉

About 2 weeks into the trip, we were driving by a nearby souq and in drifted the smell of “shwa” or as I say “mashaawi“. Mashaawi, in my home country, basically refers to meat that’s been barbecued on coal, often the meat is skewered and marinated, and when cooked, it’s served with bread, finely diced red onion and parsley… YUM!

So this roadside bbq gave off a teasing smell – one that brought back memories of our childhood family barbecues – and although the formula of raw meat, cooked on the roadside, by a stranger with no clear idea of food preparation cleanliness sounds like a disaster – the urge became too strong to resist!

And so the decision was made, we’ll buy 1 of each skewer… It was one of those “my Arab belly can handle it, I grew up on this stuff” and “let’s say bismillah and hope for the best” kind of thought process. 😕

And 5 minutes later, I was sitting in the car, questioning what we had just bought, thinking there was only one way to find out. I could tell two of the skewers were chicken and liver, and there was a lamb one, but what was that last skewer?

Meat Skewers

I ate one of the skewers before I took this.. Can you tell which skewer is the adventurous one?

It was a little chewy in texture, white in colour, and would have been pretty bland without the basting on it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Until my partner’s darling mother piped, “Ohh it’s sheep testicles!” right in the middle of my mouthful of the meat. 😮

Yikes! I didn’t really know what to think. I was in shock a little, I really have tried everything now, I thought. Then my mind swirled between the chewiness in my mouth, the adventurous stew of maddog, and my uncle’s wife who loves pan-frying the stuff.

Rest assured… it went down and stayed down, phew!
What has been your most adventurous holiday treat to date?

makdous and filling

makdous recipe

If I was told I had to ditch my uni job and enter full time work immediately, and that I could have any job I wanted, I’d probably choose a food magazine job – like a test kitchen chef or stylist (and I’ll attempt to fill in the photographer’s job when they’re on sick leave, too 😉 ) I mean it’s about time one of our food mags brought an authentic middle-eastern blogger into their kitchen to make things not often made… Oh when will we be recognised?! 😉

makdous jar

huh? what’s makdous? click the pic above find out! 🙂

Well… I mention this as I’ve been itching to try out a couple of things: making magdous & making a Syrian breakfast spread to photograph. Since I haven’t picked up my camera properly for many months now, I thought to combine the two opportunities and give my hand a go at styling and photographing – as though I was doing it for delicious. or Gourmet Traveller.

a typical syrian breakfast spread

…a typical Syrian breakfast spread… and that magazine shot I was aiming for 😉

So the story begins back in June of 2011 when my grandma who’d come all the way from Syria took me through the steps of making magdous. I captured her step by step technique and posted it here, and since then I’ve had so many messages & comments from people who’ve given it a go. (If this is your first time, I’d use that post for reference as my post below is more of a reflection of how I went making them alone.)

Naturally, I felt like it was time I gave it a go myself – to see if I could practice what I preached and if my grandma’s recipe really was as amazing as I’d made it out to be. And of course, over 4 years on, I’d developed a gnarling craving myself.

So, without further ado, here’s how I went solo…

makdous and filling

…makdous & its filling spiced with paprika, drizzled with olive oil & served as a dip with pita bread…

Yields: 12


12 small eggplants

2 large red capsicums (bell peppers)

100g walnuts

2 -3 cloves garlic

~ 3/4 cup salt

~ 800mL olive oil


Begin by lining a saucepan with a tea towel or cotton cloth.

Pop your eggplants into the saucepan and wrap the cloth around them.

eggplants in saucepan

Add just enough water to immerse them – do not overfill as water may spill out while cooking.

Add a plate/small lid on top of the eggplants, enough to cover the entire pot. Bring the water to a boil then add a weight (mine was a smaller saucepan with filled with water; a heavy marble mortar could do the trick, too).

steps 2 and 3

Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes, or until all eggplants are soft. (Personal note: some of my eggplants were still hard at 30 minutes, so I returned the saucepan for another 10. During cooking, you should keep a close eye on the saucepan as the water level will most likely rise (softer eggplants, more of your weight in the water = water displacement!) You may need to scoop some out and keep your weight in check to make sure it doesn’t move/fall.)

Once ready, drain from the water and leave eggplants aside to cool.

cooked eggplants

Once cooled, remove the green leaves from the tops of the eggplants.

Prepare a plate of salt for dipping. Beside it, line a sieve with a tea towel/cotton material.

making makdous

When the eggplants have cooled, cut a small slit along the centre (vertically).

Push through your index finger and rip any seeds/tissue (inner flesh) so as to make space for the stuffing to come later.

Dip your finger in the salt and spread along the slit (inside and out).

Dip the top of the eggplant in the salt and place it in the lined sieve.

Repeat this for all the eggplants. Be generous to avoid spoiling your eggplants!

Fold over corners of the tea towel/cloth in to cover the eggplants. Place the sieve on top of a plate. Place another plate on top of the eggplants (to act as a platform), and place a heavy weight on top.

draining the eggplants with weights

Here you’ve created a pressurised draining method to get all the water out of the eggplants.

Leave aside for at least 3 hours. You can leave these overnight so long they stay away from direct sunlight and the fridge! (Personal note: I didn’t stuff mine until 3 days later, so after the first night I put them in the fridge).

In the meantime, prepare the stuffing by adding chunks of a red capsicum into a food processor and lightly pulse with garlic cloves until finely chopped but not pasty/creamy.

Drain the excess water from the capsicum through a fine sieve pressing down with a spoon, or drain with cloth, you really want it as dry can be. Use your hands & paper towels to squeeze out any excess water.

eggplant stuffing

Place your filling in a bowl. Add finely diced walnuts and a pinch of salt. Mix, cover and set aside to allow the garlic to infuse.

making makdous steps 10-14

Remove the weight and check on your eggplants – now they should be ready to stuff.

Find the slit but be careful not to rip it any bigger than what it is already.

Stuff eggplants, using your finger to push the stuffing out of the way (left and right) so as to be able to fit in more. It should reach just about the size it was originally! Repeat until finished.

(Personal note: The original recipe calls for the same sieve to be lined with a dry tea towel. Once stuffed, place eggplants inside, wrap, add weights, and let drain for another 2-3 hours max before transferring to a jar. Now I forgot to pressurise my eggplants a final time, but they worked out anyway. Phew.)

Add eggplants into a jar that will cosily accommodate them. You want to stack the eggplants so they’re squashed up a little against each other and not swimming solo in oil.

Once filled, add olive oil to the jar and place in a cool, dark corner in the pantry without closing its lid. In fact, put the lid on the jar upside down!

(Personal note: back in 2011 grandma told me a reaction will take place which will cause the oil to spill over if the lid is on tightly. I managed to ignore her advise and close the lid of the jar. And sure enough within 2 days I had a pool of oil all over my pantry shelf. Put your jar in a bowl first, and check up on your magdous daily. The spill also could have happened to me because I didn’t give the eggplants that final pressurised drain.)

Now relax for a week and let the flavours infuse. Then pick up a bag of Lebanese bread as magdous are “mashed open” with it and eaten with the bread and a hot cuppa tea.

mashing open a makdous

…mashing open and enjoying a makdous…

No waste: once empty, use the oil to add an incredible tangy flavour to your other dishes when cooking. Spice left over filling with paprika, drizzle with oil and serve as a dip with pita bread.

Allergy? My partner can’t have walnuts (or pecans), so I split the stuffing and used almonds instead for his. I infused them in a separate container. If you’re allergic to walnuts but can have pecans, they’re the next best thing to use.

So… will you be brave and give these cured eggplants a go?


Passionfruit Cheesecake

no-cream, no-egg baked cheesecake

Lately, I’ve noticed my shopping habits have changed. Since a young child, I maintained the idea of “more value for money” means you’re a better shopper. I remember seeing this in my mum, too. And I remember when she also started changing her ideas on this.

When everyone was living at home, our family was pretty big, so the concept worked to a degree. But there were just some things that fell out of the rule. The most prominent example to memory is the Kraft jar of cream cheese my mum bought for us in her weekly shopping. She used to buy the larger sized jar, because we ate most of it throughout the week, and bonus: it was more value for money. Then one day we kind of all stopped. Like our tastebuds and stomachs were no longer into the creamy, fatty delight that we enjoyed on toast.

So mum had to throw out the rest of the jar – she wasn’t going to sport a mouldy jar of cheese in the fridge, after all. A few weeks later, the same would happen. And again, and again, until she decided to purchase the smaller jar, although more expensive than the bigger jar!

Mum eventually stopped buying cream cheese all together; but moving into my own place, time proved I was to do the same as her. With everything.  Yet sometimes our purchases are beyond our control – like the size of a head of lettuce, or the smallest package of something still too large. But a smart shopper, I figure now, is the one that ends up using everything they buy, because although they paid more per quota at the end of the shop, they didn’t pay more for things they threw out at the end of the week.

Mini Passionfruit Cheesecake

So why do I mention all of this? Because last week I decided I was going to buy cream cheese to make cheesecake… And most recipes call for 1.5 or 2 packets of the stuff, and some cream, too. But I wasn’t taking any of it. I refuse to throw out left over cream and cheesecake after all my hard work!

And so out of determination came this delicious recipe. An “eggless & creamless” cheesecake – which if I can add, was made with a spare knob of butter and a packet of biscuits waiting around in my pantry!

Passionfruit Cheesecake

Yields: about 14 muffin-sized cheesecakes (I did 12 muffin sized, and one 10cm tin sized)


recipe for 9-inch biscuit base (about 1pkt plain biscuits and 100g melted butter)

1 pkt cream cheese (250g) softened to room temperature

1/2 can condensed milk (just under 200g)

170g can passionfruit pulp, drained with 3tbs juice reserved

1 tbs cornflour



Line muffin tray with 12 paper cases and set aside.

Prepare biscuit base by pulsing biscuits and melted butter in food processor.

Place heaped tablespoon into each case and press firmly with the bottom of a glass.

Place in the fridge for 10-15mins while you prepare filling.

At this point, preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C if fan forced.

To prepare filling, lightly pulse cream cheese, condensed milk and passionfruit pulp in food processor (or whisk together with stand mixer whisk attachment).

Dissolve the cornflour in 3 tbs of the reserved passionfruit juice and stir through cheesecake mixture.

Evenly divide mixture into prepared cases (I made an extra cheesecake in a 10cm fluted pan with remaining biscuit base and filling).

Bake, one tray at a time, for about 12 minutes, until cheesecakes are slightly puffed and risen.

Turn off oven and leave door ajar for 15 minutes before removing cheesecakes.

Cool to room temperature, then place in fridge to cool completely.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with your favourite berries.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

orange poppyseed cake & caramel sauce

I first tried this cake when my sister made it for the family a few years back. We’d only ever really baked vanilla cakes with a brush of orange rind and a sprinkle of coconut for added flavour. This was a fresh take on the usual and we instantly fell in love with it.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

Took this one to a bake sale to fundraise for refugees 🙂

Fast forward some years to a spring afternoon, it was a warm day but breezy enough to have a nice cuppa with some cake. I still remember our small gathering and our conversations of work, uni, and politics. Since then, this recipe became my home’s staple cake and started to embody so many raw emotions. As my place fills with the wondrous scent of orange and caramel, it weaves through feelings of joy, like that of an expecting mother, feelings of sadness, like a farewell hug and a “see you later”. It reminds me of my sister, half a globe away. It reminds me of the day I met my partner. And it usually signals a “let’s make up” or “welcome home” reconnection.

So who ever said “you can’t eat your cake and have it too” needs to dig in and just bake another. Because it’s well worth it.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

Yields: one 8 inch cake (serves 8-10)



1/3 cup (80g) butter, melted

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

3 tbs poppyseeds

1/3 cup milk

juice of 1 medium orange

finely grated orange rind, from one orange

Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

4 tbs (57g) butter

1/2 cup cream (thickened/single)

1 tbs vanilla

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 19cm square cake pan, or an 8 inch round pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Place butter, orange rind, sugar, eggs, flour, poppyseeds, milk and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine, until no lumps are left.

Pour the mixture into baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (cover cake loosely with foil if over-browning during cooking).

Remove from oven. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, place a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat and add all ingredients at once.

Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes.

Turn off the heat and pour into a small milk mug.

Once cake is at room temperature, poke with a skewer (all over the top), and pour remaining hot caramel sauce onto cake. Let absorb. Repeat if desired.

Garnish with fresh orange slices and white chocolate shards if desired.

Serve with caramel sauce so caramel lovers can add more to their piece!