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Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Ottolenghi’s Rosemary, Olive Oil and Orange Cake

 

This is a lovely cake from the wonderful Middle Eastern inspired food impresario Yotam Ottolenghi.

It’s fragrant with rosemary inside the cake, and the orange and lemon icing gives the cake a great citrus tang.

Although there are few steps to the recipe, it’s actually quite easy. You could leave out crystallising the rosemary sprigs to save time, but the sprigs are a nice aromatic touch plus they look great on the cake!

You could bake the cake in an ordinary tin, but if you have a bundt tin, make it in that, so the icing can drip down the centre of the cake.

I made the recipe with unusually, no tweaks of my own, so here is Yotam’s recipe largely unaltered.

Ingredients

FOR THE CRYSTALLIZED ROSEMARY:
10 small rosemary sprigs, no more than 3 cms each in size (see note)
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons caster sugar
FOR THE CAKE:
About 30 grams unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the tin
240 grams plain flour plus more to flour the tin
160 mls extra-virgin olive oil
120 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from about 1 1/2 oranges)
1 ½ tablespoons/7 grams packed finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 large free-range eggs
130 grams sour cream
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
FOR THE ORANGE ICING:
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
150 grams sifted icing sugar

Method

At least six hours before you plan to ice the cake, prepare the crystallised rosemary: Brush rosemary on all sides with a little of the egg white and then dip it in the sugar, so the needles are lightly coated on all sides. Set aside on a wire rack to dry. Repeat with remaining rosemary. *Note: You want small, decorative clusters of needles. The simplest way to do this is to pull the smaller, bottom-most clumps off of large sprigs, or trim off the very tops of several sprigs.

Make the cake: Heat oven to 160 degree C. Generously grease a 9 inch/23 cm Bundt tin with half the butter and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Butter again, generously, and then flour it, tapping away the excess.

Put olive oil, superfine sugar, orange zest and chopped rosemary leaves in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until combined, then add eggs, one at a time. Whisk for another minute, until thick, then add sour cream and mix until combined on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the whisk.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the olive oil mixture and mix until combined. Increase speed to high and whisk for 1 minute.

Scrape batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top with a small spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. (You may want to trim the cake at this stage, if it rises unevenly, to allow it to sit flat on the plate.)

Prepare the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. When the cake has cooled, drizzle icing on top, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake, then top with the crystallized rosemary and serve.

PS Spot the Quirky Cat!

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Jamie Oliver’s Pomegranate and Chicken Stew

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A beautiful, fragrant and easy dish to prepare. The pomegranate molasses gives it a really spicy and rich flavour. Somewhere between a stew and a tagine.

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The dish has all those wonderful Middle Eastern flavours, but unlike a tagine, cooks in less than an hour in a cast iron casserole or heavy bottomed pan on the stove top.

Here is the original: http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=pomegranate-aamp-chicken-stew

As usual I have tweaked a couple of things in my version.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 higher-welfare whole chicken, jointed  (I removed the skin from the pieces for a more healthy dish)

2 tsp paprika

2 onions, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp sambal oelek

2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, plus extra for the rice

300 ml tomato passata

4 tbsp pomegranate molasses

200 ml pomegranate juice (use store bought + the juice from the pomegranate from which you derived the seeds)

Coconut rice*

Pomegranate seeds

3 fresh figs, quartered

Method

Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, then brown in the hot oil for 7–8 minutes. Remove the pieces to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add another splash of oil with the onions. Stir well, being sure to catch the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook slowly for 15 minutes, till onions are soft, adding the garlic, chilli and the coriander for the last 5 minutes. Stir in the passata, molasses and pomegranate juice, season well, then bring to the boil.

Return the chicken with any juices to the pan, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened, checking often that it’s not sticking.Toss in a handful of pomegranate seeds.

Scatter the rice with the extra coriander, then place the chicken on top and scatter with the remaining pomegranate seeds.

I served the dish with fresh figs on the side as a refreshing taste to offset the pungency of the sauce.

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*Coconut rice

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cup boiling water

1/2 lemon

Method

To make rice, combine the rice, coconut milk, boiling water and lemon in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost cooked. Turn off heat and leave rice to finish cooking.

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Moroccan Fish with Couscous and Harissa Yoghurt

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This recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s Moroccan Bream from his 15 Minute Meals. It’s a simple dish, although it took me a little longer than 15 minutes to prepare…
Some wonderful Middle Eastern flavours, with a heady mix of fiery hot harissa, sweet pomegranate and apricot, tart preserved lemon and cool yoghurt.
Jamie uses bream. I’m not sure if bream in the UK is the same fish as in Australia. Visiting the fabulous Sydney Fish Markets, http://www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au/, I bought some yellow tail bream which looked perfect for the recipe. They certainly tasted delicious.
Jamie’s recipe calls for whole fish, heads and tails removed, but obviously still on the bone. I would recommend fish fillets, preferably with the skin on, if you don’t like picking out the bones…

Ingredients
Salsa
1/2-1 preserved lemon (be careful that the brand you choose isn’t too bitter – if possible make your own)
A handful of dried apricots
A couple of strips of preserved red pepper
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 pomegranate
Fish
2 whole bream, heads and tails removed, scaled and gutted OR 4 fish fillets of choice, preferably skin on
Rock salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 spring onions
A few sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon or to taste of harissa
3-6 saffron threads covered with 100 mls boiling water and left to infuse for a couple of minutes
Couscous
1 cup couscous
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
Salt to taste
To serve
1/2 cup fat free yoghurt
A  handful of pistachios

Method
To make the salsa, blitz the lemon, apricots, peppers and the parsley in a food processor until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and squeeze in the juice of half the pomegranate. Mix, season to taste.
For the fish: score the the fish in a crisscross fashion on both sides, down to the bone if using whole fish rather than fillets. Season all over with rock salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the fish, cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes each side for whole fish, 2 minutes for fillets.
Add finely sliced spring onions, thyme sprigs, harissa to taste and saffron threads and their soaking water. Scrunch up and wet a sheet of greaseproof paper and tuck it around the fish. Cook on low heat for the time it takes to prepare the couscous or until the liquid is half evaporated from the frying pan.
To make the couscous, add couscous to the boiling water in a small saucepan. Add salt, cover and stand for about 3 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, fluffing up the couscous as you stir.

To serve:
Pile the couscous onto a serving platter and spoon the salsa over the couscous. Lay the fish on top, spoon over some of the pan juices, and scatter over the pistachios. Hold the other pomegranate half in your hand and bash it with a spoon to release the seeds and juice. Serve with a bowl of yoghurt on the side with a little harissa swirled through for a pretty colour.

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