Author Archives: nottooshaabi

Terrorist Fist Jab Cake

The "gesture everyone seems to interpret differently," Fox News' E.D. Hill said: "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?"

For a long time we were afraid of baking. But because we have wicked sweet teeth and tire of eating Roz bi-Laban from Abu Tarek and McDonald’s caramel sundaes (not to demean their achievements in their respective fields), we got over our fear of exact measurements and took to the oven. It turns out that baking is not that hard.

But it does require some special equipment, unless you have really strong arms and an iron will. Since we’re 0 for 2, we were exceedingly happy when the reigning queen of Cairo baking bequeathed her mixer (to which some of you might refer as a “hand mixer”) to TBE HQ upon her departure to more blustery climes. To say that owning a mixer has revolutionized our life would be an overstatement, but to say it has revolutionized that part of our life that involves baking would be a patent truthhood. Therefore we suggest that you buy one immediately if you haven’t done so already.

So that’s our baking spiel. Basically it’s a field of cooking endeavor with high fixed sunk costs, but we can almost guarantee that your enterprise will enjoy many happy returns.

With that we turn to today’s featured recipe, which some amongst you may know as pound cake, but which we refer to by the more evocative title given above, since everyone knows terrorists have been trying to get their hands on this yellow cake for years, they hate us for our baked goods, etc.

Our recipe is adapted for Cairo from this one from the Smitten Kitchen, our favorite recipe blog. We made it in this loaf pan, which might not be available in Egypt but if you’re on the market we suggest El-Ebiary.

One additional note: Your correspondent is a notorious lover of rich foods, and even he found this cake rich, since it consists almost entirely of butter and sugar. So a loaf will probably feed more people than one would expect from its diminutivish size.

Recipe after the jump.

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Sir Francis Bacon

Don’t call it a comeback, but it looks as though pork might be returning to Egypt.

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Umm Lady HaSha’s Fuul

"Hmmm... Should I serve it with fried or hard-boiled eggs?"

Al-Masri al-Yum recently attended a brunch, “Brekkie with Mama,” which might more aptly’ve been titled “Much Ado About Pancakes,” but we digress. The pancakes were delightful, though they were, in the final analysis, simply a vehicle for some contraband maple syrup smuggled in from the cold, cold north. (It should be noted that we take a soft editorial line on foods, like pancakes and some french fries, that function as condiment conveyance devices.)

Pancakes notwithstanding, the real star of the brunch, in the eyes of many, was the fuul whipped up by the guest of honor, Umm Lady HaSha.

We understand that some readers may question why one would ever make fuul at home, considering its abundance in the streets and alleys of this fair city. The answer is simple: Unlike people, all fuul is not created equal, and it can sometimes be risky to order fuul from an unknown address. Furthermore, this is not your standard fuul recipe, but a triumph of Iraqi-Egyptian fusion cuisine.

Recipe after the jump.

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Houellebecq Girl*

Sorry for the recent lack of posts. To make up for it, TBE is today featuring a recipe for banana bread, which is delicious and eminently doable even in the most ill-stocked of Cairo kitchens, so long as it contains a mixer (about which we’ve recently learned that some people refer to it as a “hand blender,” which sounds rather sinister). Also bananas are currently in season and the bananas of Cairo are far better than any one is likely to find in the US, so one should take advantage.

But first, some topical humor dreamt up by TBE’s team of highly trained comedians:

What did the banana do when he wanted to talk to someone on the other side of the café?

Answer, and the recipe, after the jump.

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Things To Eat In Cairo When It’s Cold


Real talk: Back in the late 1990s, a TBE correspondent used to work at the now-defunct location of Blockbuster Video in the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. One evening a number of men wearing wool greatcoats swept into the building. DC not yet having been overrun by czars, TBE was unsure what to make of their uniform attire, other than to remember his training, which called for increased vigilance when people in baggy coats stepped into the building, lest they be thieves.

They were not, as it turns out, thieves. Rather they were members of the secret service escorting Tipper Gore as she picked up a couple movies. One of the movies she rented was Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.

So that’s where we got the title of this post.

Fittingly, considering that Al Gore was once a Democratic dauphin of sorts, the first recipe we’re featuring is Gratin Dauphinois, which is really simple and delicious aside from the tedious slicing of potatoes.

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Cairo Gems 1: El-Ebiary

Prescript: “Cairo Gems” is a new gimmick TBE is developing in conjunction with the unknowing city of Cairo, in which we highlight some of our favorite spots. We stole the idea from “MA,” “JJ” or “JL” or some combination thereof, so all due respect to them. Our idea is to self-publish a book with our text and luscious photos by our photographer or maybe this fellow, TBE’s portraitist-in-residence. We will then sell the rights to AUC, so they can include our guidebook in the orientation packets distributed to study abroad students. Enjoy!

"This is what springformocracy looks like" ... "And you will know us by the trail of springform pans" ... "Leopard-Skin Springform-Pan Hat" ... etc.

El-Ebiary: The name alone conjures up visions of Moorish Spain, or a place where birds are kept, perhaps in gilded cages. Alas, it is neither of those things. Instead it is a store, or rather two stores with one name and two other stores separating them.

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Golden Brown

With TBE's Lensman on assignment (not for us), TBE has been forced to use this gross approximation of the golden brown color one should aspire to when making grilled cheese.

TBE recently went through a thoroughly disheartening financial crisis unheard of in the annals of modern and postmodern journalism. As such, we were in no position to enjoy the lavish buffets and champagne-fueled lunches to which our staff had become accustomed. Instead we set our sights on those luxuries that were still within reach. That is how we developed an intimate acquaintance with grilled cheese, a very precise recipe for which follows after the jump, along with a song to inspire you.

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