Tuesday, 26 February 2013

raspberry brown butter blondies

not so neat around the edges brown butter blondies
brown butter. i call it crack for bakers. every so often the baking blogosphere explodes into a new craze. brown butter is from sometime ago. right now it’s caramelised white chocolate. yes. i’ve got it on my list too. but in the meantime these brown butter blondies will do. i’ve had blondies on my list of things to bake but personally i’ve never seen the appeal in them. i mean when one can eat a brownie then why settle for something sans the chocolate. a blondie is just a brownie bereft of the chocolate. but brown butter is a whole other ball game.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

pom molasses pulled chicken

pomegranate molasses pulled chicken slider
i have had pomegranate molasses on my mind. it is essentially pomegranate juice reduced to viscous syrup and is the beloved of middle eastern and mediterranean cuisine. it is sharp, sweet and sour at once and its assertive character makes it a wonderful partner for meats, root vegetables and squash. i love making butternut puree with tahini and garlic adding a swirl of pomegranate molasses and olive oil to finish it. it calms the sweetness of the butternut. when i make a batch of these sweet potato falafel i smear a pomegranate molasses whipped greek yoghurt on the insides of the pita pocket before tucking in the falafel. it is good for breakfast too – think a sliced banana and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses on greek yoghurt.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

marrakech; spices in the souk and street food

piles of khobz at a local shop
mountains of spice 
the fruit of the prickly pear cactus
lentils and such
the spice souk 
the spice souk

edible marrakech

djemma al-fna at night
i did not know what to expect of marrakech but my first and lasting memory of it will be as the city of contrasts. it is a city that necessitates new understandings of how to move and how to deal with people. the centre of the medina (old town) is djemma al-fna. the square is the hub from which the city extends outwards into a maze of alleys. some of these end abruptly whilst others twist into a labyrinthine like maze leading to the souks. one competes with the tide of humanity, motorcycles, horse carriages, donkey carts and the monkey and snake charmers. the women here ride as precariously as the men. i am amazed at the ease with which the people especially women and children navigate. there is no concern even when a motorcycle is within a hairs breath. there is only a dogged determination to get to where they are going. walking is precarious, an activity that engages alertness and the faculties of sound, sight and reflex. and here is the contrast for in all this noise and chaos one can step into a sanctuary like the ben youssef madrassa or jardin majorelle or even in the privacy of a riad and have no sense of the chaos outside.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

a recipe for salted treacle fudge

salted treacle fudge
in my mind making fudge has always been synonymous with the soft ball test. this mama said was the way to check the fudge for readiness. she would keep a glass of cold water next to the stove. on the stove the mixture of sugar and cream would make its displeasure at being heated and reduced felt. angry boils marked the surface bursting to a residue of steam. the hiss and sputter was audible. there is a curious comfort to the sound of sugar fury.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

a memory of the tandoor-wallah and a recipe for rye and honey soda bread

honey and rye soda bread, blood orange marmalade
and godminster brie
i am in my kindergarten years. on our way home from school we stop at the tandoor in the local bazaar to get roti for lunch. it is searing hot and i am seated on a ledge peering into the tandoor. the heat rises in a constant wave. it distorts the image of what is seen through it. our local tandoor is an assembly of a few men – one who kneads the dough, another who shapes the peras (rounds of dough) and rolls them. the last in line is the tandoor-wallah who stretches it and slaps it onto what resembles a small rectangular but hard pillow. in swift motion he lowers his hand into the tandoor and transfers the dough to the wall. the hollow furnace cooks the dough in under a minute. it gives the roti or naan angry blisters in some places. every order is wrapped in newspaper and the very tall stacks are topped with another piece for easier carriage. i could never resist the temptation of stealing a thick crust of hot roti on our way home. even now when i visit pakistan mama and i will get roghni naan from the tandoor and eat some on the way home.