2.05.2014

Fudgy Brownies (chocolate cherry)

(Mobile)

As-Salaamu Alaykum,

Baking in recent months has taken a bit of a back seat but that doesn't mean I've lost my passion for it, no siree!

These chewy crusted, rich fudgy Brownies engrained in me that yes you can be pushed for time, with children pulling at your apron strings (metaphorically speaking) and still make a really tasty treat in less than an hour.

I used a naturally flavoured cherry cocoa powder I bought from sugarandcrumbs they stock a variety of flavoured cocoas and icing sugars all a bit pricey but a little goes a long way as they are strongly flavoured.

The kids and I lapped these brownies up and although yes the cherry flavour was pleasant it was the texture that made these brownies irresistible.

I'm not a black sour cherry fan, which begs the question I ask myself, why go out of your flavour comfort zone? Well I did get inspired when I saw the hairy bikers make a B.F.G. (Black Forest Gateau) a while ago on TV and thought yes I'm onto a winner so when I was umming and arrring (Yorkshire talk for pondering) over which flavour to choose from the array of flavoured cocoa and icing sugars over at sugar and crumbs, cherry came in at no.1 I have to say I can't wait to try their coffee and caramel flavoured icing sugars next, insha'Allah

For the original recipe click here but as I used wholemeal flour and I reduced the sugar a little due to the flavoured cocoa containing dextrose here is my recipe.

Fudgy Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Ingredients

2grams baking soda
80ml sunflower oil
150ml boiling water
380grams white sugar
2 medium eggs
80ml sunflower oil
165grams wholemeal plain flour (allinsons brand I prefer)
2grams fine sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda. Add 80ml sunflower oil and boiling water. Mix until well blended and thickened. Stir in the sugar, eggs, and remaining 80ml oil. Finally, add the flour and salt; mix just until all of the flour is absorbed. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting into desired portions.

1.10.2014

North African Inspired Lamb & Lima/Butter Bean Soup


As-Salaamu Alaykum,

In my opinion we all need one more soup recipe. This is one i found and adapted ever so slightly from UmmSafia

I'll admit I don't know much about beans, dh brought these home and they look a lot like Lima/Butter beans, no? I'm sure you could substitute these for any other type of bean if you prefer.

A great tip I learned recently from a friend; when soaking any dry beans/pulses overnight, use boiling water from the kettle. I hadn't been doing this previously, it's total common cooking sense which as you can tell I'm still working on.

Important: when your sautéing your vegetables/meat, season! this will draw the moisture out and speed up the softening process.

This recipe is similar but not quite the same as another Algerian favourite of mine Loubia which uses large white haricot beans without the extra vegetables.

You can use as much lamb as your budget dictates, on or off the bone but remember on = more flavour.

I substituted chicken stock for a vegetable stock cube, but again the choice is yours.

Bismillah

Lamb & Lima / Butter Bean Soup

adapted slightly from ummsafia
Serves 4

Ingredients

Note: UK Cup = 250ml

1 Cup dried Lima / Butter Beans
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
250g-750g Lamb (on or off the bone)
2 Medium brown Onions, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Teaspoon Ras El Hanout (or garam masala / spice blend of your choice)
Salt, Black Pepper
2 Medium Carrots, coarsely chopped
2 Celery sticks, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in
2 Cups Water (from boiled kettle)
4 Cups boiled water
400g Chopped Tomatoes (fresh or tin)

Method

1. Place beans in a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiled water, leave to soak overnight. Drain and rinse well before using.
2. Heat Olive Oil in a large pan on medium heat, add onions, meat, garlic Season with salt and pepper, add carrots and celery cook for 5-10 minutes add ras el hanout cook for 1 minute.
3. Add beans, stock, water. Cover pan and bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer cook for 1 hour, every 20mins skim surface from any white foam.
3. After 1 hour, check / adjust seasoning also you can remove lamb and cut it into smaller pieces if you prefer. Return meat to pan along with the tomatoes, cover and simmer soup for 1 hour more.
4. Check seasoning then serve. Feel free to sprinkle soup with coriander and lemon juice and serve with crusty bread.
12.13.2013

Hmiss - Algerian Style Flame Grilled Aubergine & Pepper Dip


As-Salaamu Alaykum / Hello Reader,

I'll be totally frank with you, this dip is quite time consuming, charring the vegetables on the stove top, peeling the blackened skins and scooping out every last bit of succulent 'meat' of the aubergine, chopping up, placing in pan and cooking over low heat until the flavours meld together and concentrate but after all that labour the result, full on smoky flavour, sweetness from the pepper with a hum of garlic and the fruity decadence that is olive oil it's irresistible served alongside a crusty baguette.

Chili / Harissa can be added at the second cooking phase to give it a kick although i do tend to stick to a clove of crushed garlic and slug of extra virgin olive oil.

I like topping this dip with more olive oil, spring onions and fresh herbs such as coriander however, I was all out of fresh herbs on this occasion. Olives and tuna are some other toppings you can try too.

I know this seems more of a summer dish especially in Algeria when these vegetables are cheap and plentiful, you could flame grill on your barbecue however, it's winter and I like to get warm by any means even if that's by the gas stove! it's a firm favourite in my home all year round and in sha Allah it will be in yours too.

What dish do you eat in all seasons?

Hmiss

Ingredients

  • 1 Aubergine 
  • 1 Pepper (i prefer to use red bell pepper as it gives a nice sweetness but any will do) 
  • 2 Salad Tomatoes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Salt, Black Pepper, Cumin (to taste)
  • Chili / Harissa (optional)

Method

  1. Rinse and pat dry vegetables.
  2. Place all vegetables on gas stop tops on high heat flame grill all vegetables, turning every few minutes until all are blackened. 
  3. Tomatoes will be the first to cook, it's not necessary to blacken the tomatoes completely, just enough so the skins starts coming away from the flesh. 
  4. Pepper, Aubergine you really need to blacken skins all over, the aubergine will start to look like a piece of coal that's burnt i.e. white in places where it's burnt so much. 
  5. Place Pepper and Aubergine inside plastic food bag and leave for a few minutes to steam, this will help remove skin.
  6. Take Pepper and Aubergine out of the bag and remove skin from tomatoes and pepper, chop and place in small pan.
  7. Cut the aubergine straight down the middle and scoop out the flesh as close to the skin as possible and place in the pan along with pepper and tomatoes, crush together with fork.
  8. Add a slug of olive oil, crushed garlic, season with a pinch of salt, pepper and cumin (you can adjust later) and chili/harissa if using. Cover and cook on low heat for around 15 minutes.
Serve hot or room temperature topped with more olive and chopped spring onions / toppings of choice alongside bread.

Tips
  • Using your fingers I find works best for removing skins, you won't be able to remove all of the char but do as much as humanely possible. It's important you do not wash the vegetables at this point or you will loose all the flavour profile you have built up.
  • Alternatively grill vegetables in oven however, i personally don't think you can ever achieve the same level of smokiness flavour.

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