Cheese Sticks with Za’atar (A Middle Eastern Spice Mixture)

I love baking. I think it’s so much easier than cooking. And if the baking has to do something with molding and being creative, I love it even more. Here’s a regular cheese sticks recipe, with my take on the flavors/filling. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Since I’m in Dubai at the moment, I decided to incorporate my favorite local spice. Za’atar is a Herb Mixture, which is very flavorful as it’s a combination of many herbs from Mint leaves to Sage. Every household has their own variation of the herbs mix. In the Middle Eastern Cuisine Za’atar is used for Marinating Meat, in Dips and Seasoning of Bread and Rice.

Cheese Sticks with Za’atar


1 Pack Filo Pastry (Sheets can be either Big or Small)

1 Cup Za’atar 

2 Cups Shredded Cheese


Dust your counter with some flour before you start. Place a pastry sheet on the counter and spread out a spoonful of za’atar and cheese evenly (Make sure you don’t overuse za’atar as the taste may overpower the cheese). Now cover the base with another pastry sheet over it and lightly pressed them together like a sandwich.

Next make 4 partitions of 1 inch each and move them apart. Here comes the hard but fun part of twisting the strips. First start by pressing the top and bottom ends of the strips so that it’s locked from both ends. Then hold the ends with both your hands and twist simultaneously. You can go about 2 – 3 turns and place them on your greased baking tray.
Do the same for the rest of the pastry strips and bake them for about 20 minutes until they turn crisply and brown.

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Note: If you may not have Za’atar with you, try using the below fillings along with Cheese following the same method:

  • A mix of 2 or 3 types of Cheese
  • Thai Sauce (Sweet and Spicy)
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Minced Chicken seasoned with pepper, salt and mayonnaise (spread a thin layer of this smooth paste)
  • Honey, if you like them sweet

~ Shahana

The Ultimate Spaghetti… A Holiday Season Must Try!

It’s not one of the first dishes I have learnt to make yet it’s the dish I make best (in my opinion). It took me while to understand it’s just the magic of mixing in the right kinds of sauces in their right amounts.

I was in my 2nd year of University and had friends coming home to complete last-minute assignments. Take outs wasn’t an option we wanted something healthy and filling enough to finish those never-ending assignments. Aannd *drum rolls* ‘The Ultimate Spaghetti’ was created.

Since then it’s been my favorite as it’s easy to make and tastes yumm..


1 packet whole-wheat spaghetti

1 Green Capsicum Sliced

1 Carrot Sliced

2 Celery Sticks

4 Cloves of Garlic Chopped

2 tsp Soy Sauce

2 tsp Ketchup

2 tsp Thai Sauce

1 tsp Hot Sauce

½ cup Cooking Cream

Salt as required

1 tbsp Cooking Oil

2-3 Chicken Burgers (fried or grilled)



  1. Heat a deep bottomed sauce pan. Add oil and saute the chopped garlic in.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables into the garlic and oil. (Can add more kinds of vegetables if you wish. The vegetables can be chopped anyway you like, I prefer them being chopped in Julienne)
  3. Once the vegetables soften, add in the sauces and cooking cream.
  4. Cut the chicken burgers into cubes and add them into the spaghetti sauce
  5. Finally drop the boiled *spaghetti into the sauce and mix on warm heat

NOTE: The sauces already have amounts of salt in them plus I usually add salt while boiling the spaghetti so please be mindful on adding salt.


Cooking the Spaghetti

  1. Take 1 packet of wholewheat spaghetti and break into half.
  2. Put it in a saucepan with boiling water (the spaghetti must be completely dipped in water) and add 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
  3. Let it boil on high flame for about 20-25 minutes until the spaghetti is cooked
    (I check by chewing a small piece, if it sticks to your teeth then it’s not cooked yet. Be careful not to over boil it).
  4. Once done drain the water and bathe the spaghetti under cold water. Then add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to it so that they don’t stick to each other.

Tadaa… the Ultimate Spaghetti is ready. I love this dish it’s so easy to make and tastes so good plus it stays for the next 2-3 days if kept in the fridge. Hence, it’s a holiday season – must try! 🙂