tagged ‘honey’

Nutty & crunchy baklava

in Desserts, Taste -

One of my all time favourite desserts, this nutty & crunchy baklava may take a while to prepare, but it’s sure to make your hearts beat a little faster. 

Nutty & crunchy baklava

Baklava was the first dessert I shared here. It was back when I was experimenting with almost every sweet recipe under the sun: from chocolate chip cookies and spicy buns, to seasonal cakes and fluffy muffins, I did not discriminate, I was game for it all. I had an impossible sweet tooth and was eager to try everything- both in terms of cooking and shooting alike. And, as it often happens, most of my shots and culinary efforts were all over the map. Yet, I remember that time so fondly and with some nostalgia- finding one’s voice, discovering likes and dislikes is usually not an easy process and for me, it was both very frustrating and lots of fun.

Nutty & crunchy baklava

Nutty & crunchy baklava

I still like cookies, muffins and cakes, but my sweet cravings are now more likely to be satisfied with a couple juicy dates or a few chunks of dark chocolate with sea salt flakes. And as time went by, I realised that the dishes that made me most happy to cook, shoot and eat were the ones that were somehow connected to the food I grew up with. Hence this revisited baklava: thought it is very sweet, it still is one of my favourite things to make and serve. I love the many steps in requires- playing with filo is always a treat for me and the flavours always bring back so many memories. Nutty & crunchy baklava

This version is the one closer to my heart- and tastebuds. Each piece is bursting with crunchy nuts and the syrup here is minimal- almost just enough to gently embrace all the crunchy goodness both inside and outside. You may want to double it if you prefer a more syrupy baklava, or leave as is for extra crunchiness and a somewhat lighter taste. I hope you enjoy both the process and the dessert itself- it is made to be shared and, like most things, tastes even better like so.

Nutty & crunchy baklava

Nutty & crunchy baklava

Nutty & crunchy baklava

Nutty & crunchy baklava

WHAT

for the syrup:

200g caster sugar

150ml water

3 tablespoons honey

1 orange, quartered

for the baklava:

300g unsalted butter, melted

400g nuts (I used primarily pistachios and some almonds and pecans)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

450g filo pastry, thawed

to serve: additional nuts, very finely chopped (optional)

HOW

  1. Start by making the syrup, so it’s cold by the time the baklava comes out of the oven: place the sugar, water, honey and orange wedges in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes, until the sugar is dissolved, and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC FAN); place the nuts on a baking tray and in the oven for about 5′, allowing them to release their aroma. Set aside to cool slightly and chop finely (but not into a powder). Combine with the spices and set aside.
  3. Have your melted butter ready on one side and your filo cover with a dump tea towel so you can easily and quickly assemble your baklava.
  4. Using a brush, generously butter the bottom of a round pan. Layer your first piece of filo and drizzle it with some butter using the brush (don’t brush directly on the filo, as it will weight it down). Continue with 5 more pieces of filo, rotating them so they hang evenly over the pan.
  5. Add half of the nuts in a single layer and cover with 3 more pieces of filo, buttering each as you go.
  6. Add the remaining nuts and top with the last 6 filo pieces, again buttering each as you go.
  7. Place in the fridge for about 10′ so it is easier to cut. Just before putting the baklava in the oven, cut it diagonally- don’t cut all the way, just firmly trace it, so it’s easier to cut into pieces after it’s baked.
  8. Place in the oven for about 2 hours- or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and ladle the syrup on top.
  10. Allow it to cool completely and serve sprinkled with additional nuts if desired.

 

Lemonade with lime, spearmint & honey

in Small bites, Taste -

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Lemonade with lime, spearmint & honey

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in All recipes, Desserts -

Celebrating this year’s Mother’s Day with this a dessert as sweet and pretty as my mom: a strawberry, basil & lime cream cheese tart!

Strawberry, basil & lime cream cheese tart

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in Savoury, Taste -

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in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

Honeyed kumquats are a real treat, especially for breakfast, served with thick yogurt & fragrant thyme over crunchy toast. 

I’ve gone back and forth before deciding what to do with the heaps of kumquats from my parents minuscule trees. While your suggestions inspired both research and tremendous appetite, I found it almost impossible to settle on a recipe. While I was trying to make up my mind, I must have eaten a third of them, with no preparation at all, pith, seeds and all. I just find them so very delicious, impossibly fragrant, lightly bitter and with a lovely texture. I’ve added them to salads in place of oranges and in warming, creamy oats and, before deciding anything else, I knew I had to make my mom’s delicious kumquat marmalade. And yet, I didn’t. See, they were so pretty, so bright and shapely I refused to chop them down. Instead, I made a preserve of sorts. [READ MORE]

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in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

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Cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing

I’ve been thinking about holiday meals a lot these past couple of weeks; ’tis the season I suppose, for gatherings, big or small, and tables filled with dishes reflecting seasonal colours, a celebratory mood and family or other traditions. There’s so much to enjoy during the colder months, so many beautiful ingredients, some discrete yet always reliable and others filled with wild colour and irresistible flavours. Cauliflower I feel is often left in the shadows, what with its pale skin and less than desirable cooking aromas; somehow though, it’s always been dear to my heart, much like a beautiful blank canvas, inviting and welcoming all at once. So when Blas Y Tir sent beautiful bundles of it, I could not wait to play around with the crunchy, snow white beauty. I’d already had very fond memories from working with their chubby, delicious spring potatoes and mixing them with fresh greens and smoked salmon, I was sure their winter produce would be qually satisfying, both to work with and to savour. [READ MORE]

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in Desserts, Taste -

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Days designated specifically for celebrating anything tend to make cringe; be it grilled cheese or Valentine’s Day, my first instinct is to revolt and mock relentlessly. Yet, I have made my peace with Valentine’s Day, mostly because I love any excuse for a decadent dessert; and I have occasionally hoorayed for other, food related, days. Today, on International Women’s Day, my first instinct is to celebrate. [READ MORE]

Vegan nut, cocoa & olive oil spread

in Breakfast, Taste -

Vegan nut, cocoa & olive oil spread

Every time I’m reunited with my sister, there are certain things that always take place (almost in this specific order): we hug and kiss (dramatically, on my part- Alkyoni is way cooler than me to gasp and whisper sweet nothings to my ear); we exchange gifts, have our first coffee and gossip enthusiastically. And then, on to the main course, our first brawl. It’s loud, usually for a dumb reason and it escalates quickly. And then, like ten minutes later, we’ve apologised to each other, made up and are swiftly moving on to what really matters: food. [READ MORE]