Tag Archives: syrup

Peach and Almond Spelt Cake with Passionfruit Syrup

20 Aug

Summer is all about fruit in Andalucia. It is at the moment anyway. Fruit and tomatoes, which are technically a fruit anyway. We went to the market this weekend and bought two kilos of peaches for a euro and quarter of a kilo of passionfruit (which is a lot) for the same price, one euro. Passionfruit are usually ridiculously expensive, I couldn’t believe it.

I have been photographing these peaches while walking the dog and today we saw some almonds hatching out of their furry jackets on the trees next to them.

I have been blending peaches, passionfruit pulp and orange juice for breakfast smoothies (with flaxmeal, flax seeds and flax seed oil) but still nowhere near using them all and I saw two gorgeous peach cake recipes, both on beautiful Italian blogs, that I couldn’t get out of my head.

A Peach & Mead Cake on Juls’ Kitchen and a Peach & Hazelnut Cake on Lucullian Delights both had me desperate to try something similar. I added Amaretto (my liqueur of choice) in the absence of mead and swapped the hazelnuts to ground almonds. I also decided to use a mix of white and wholemeal spelt flours and used coconut oil and olive oil instead of butter. So it’s dairy and wheat-free. As well as moist and delicious.

You could obviously serve it with some cream or ice cream but to keep it dairy-free and because of the pile of bargain passionfruit, I made a passionfruit syrup/coulis or sauce, whatever you want to call it, to pour liberally over the top. Make sure you buy the old and wrinkly looking ones that are ripe.

Peach & Almond Spelt Cake with Passionfruit Syrup

Makes 1 cake, Vegetarian, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free. Adapted from Lucullian Delights

  • 500 gr peaches (I used 4), peeled and sliced
  • 3 tbsp soft brown (or raw) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 or 3 tbsp Amaretto
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch (maybe)

Put the peaches, sugar, cinnamon and 2 tbsp amaretto in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. If it is still a bit liquidy you can dissolve the cornflour in some amaretto and stir that in. Keep cooking until it thickens like jam. Leave it to cool while you make the cake.

  • 3 eggs
  • 175 gr soft brown (or raw) sugar
  • 1+1/2 tbsp oat milk (or any milk)
  • 1 +1/2 tbsp amaretto
  • a few drops of almond extract
  • 75 gr olive oil plus 75 gr coconut oil (or 150 gr melted butter)
  • 100 gr ground almonds
  • 180 gr white spelt flour (or normal flour)
  • 120 gr wholemeal spelt flour, or normal wholemeal flour ( I used 100 g wholemeal spelt flour plus 20 gr flaxmeal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a big pinch of salt

Whisk the eggs and sugar together for a few minutes until light and fluffy then add the milk, amaretto, almond extract, both oils (or melted butter) and mix well. Sieve over the dry ingredients, tipping  any wholemeal bits left in the sieve into the bowl too, and fold them into the wet ingredients gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix or it will be tough. It is quite a sticky batter.

Preheat the oven to 175 C and oil and flour (or breadcrumb) the inside of your cake tin. I used a 23 cm 9″ cake tin with a removable base. If your cake tin is smaller you will get a deeper cake and may have to cook it for longer.

Pour about two-thirds of the batter into the cake tin then cover with an even layer of the peaches. Tip out the rest of the batter onto the peaches and cover as much as you can. Cook for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned and a cocktail stick come out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar if you like before slicing.

Passionfruit Syrup Recipe

serves 4-6, vegan, gluten-free

  • about 9 passionfruit
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tbsp soft brown (or raw) sugar

Halve the passionfruit and scrape out all the pulp with a teaspoon into a small saucepan. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add the sugar. Bring to the boil stirring occasionally, then lower the heat and simmer for about four minutes. Taste and add more sugar/lemon juice as required. It should be tart and sweet at the same time and your kitchen will smell amazing!

Serve each slice of the cake with a generous drizzle of the passionfruit syrup.

Buen Provecho!

Quince Frangipane Tartlets

2 Dec

Quince are definitely an unusual and underrated fruit. Until I moved to Spain I had never even seen one let alone tasted one. The Spanish love the quince and make an exceedingly sweet paste/jelly called Dulce de Membrillo that is delicious served with Manchego cheese. It’s a classic tapa. If you would like to make some, Chica Andaluza has the recipe.

They look like a big yellow, gnarly apple and have a kind of peach fluff on the skin when they are on the tree. The flavour and texture are similar to an apple but it has a delicate floral perfume. They are in season here at the moment so I wanted to make something gorgeous with them to showcase their delicious flavour.

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Mint Julep Peaches via Iran

5 Jul

I’ve been saving this recipe for a long time, waiting for when peaches came into season here. There’s quite a complicated reason why I wanted to try it so much, that I will explain. But first, here are the beautiful peaches. I was so happy to see them.

  I read a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Set in Iran in the late 90’s, it is a true account of a teacher and her former students, seven young women, meeting every Thursday to discuss forbidden works of Western literature.

The books discussed are Pride & Prejudice, Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Their personal stories are intertwined with those they are reading, creating a rare glimpse into women’s lives in revolutionary Iran.

Reading about these classics made me want to discover them for myself. I am particularly interested in The Great Gatsby but still have not got around to purchasing a copy, mainly because most of my time is now spent cooking, photographing and blogging about food. That leaves little time for anything else.

 Which brings me back to the peaches. I was watching an episode of Nigella’s Forever Summer when she started talking about The Great Gatsby too, this is what she said:

There’s something about mint juleps that I associate with the deep heat of midsummer. I have to say this association is an entirely literary one: I’ve never sat in the wilting sun drinking a mint julep in my life; the most I can muster is a few in cold college rooms in my cocktail-drinking student years (which certainly dates me). But there is, I always remember, I hope not erroneously, from The Great Gatsby, that pivotal scene, when they’re all sitting around in the airless heat, deranged, before everything happens, drinking mint juleps. Anyway, there is something intensely summery – leafy, fresh, spicily aromatic – about these peaches, poached in sugar-syrup and bourbon and sprinkled with mint”.

That was it, I was hooked. I had no choice but to make them. I don’t have time to read the book but I can make the Mint Julep Peaches. It’s a definite case of food over fiction at this moment in time.

In case you are interested, this is how you make  a Mint Julep:

 From drinksmixer.com

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water
Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
 
Mint Julep Peaches Recipe
 
Serves 2 – 3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer
  • 350 ml water
  • 350 gr caster sugar
  • 125 ml bourbon
  • 4 peaches, white flesh with pink skins if possible
  • fresh mint leaves & sprigs to garnish

Put the water, sugar and 100 ml of the bourbon in a large frying pan, swirl it about to start dissolving the sugar, then put it over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Let it boil away for about 2 minutes then turn it down and let it simmer.

Meanwhile, cut the peaches in half and remove the stones if possible (you can remove them later when cooked if not). Put the peaches, cut side down, into the gently bubbling syrup and poach for a couple of minutes before turning them over and poaching for another 2 or 3 minutes cut side up.

It depends on the ripeness of your peaches as to how long they need.  You can test the cut side with a fork to see if they are tender but not too soft. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and continue until all the peaches are cooked.

Pour any of the pink syrup on the plate back into the poaching liquid. Then measure 100 ml of the liquid into a small saucepan with the remaining 25 ml bourbon (or maybe a bit more), put on the heat and boil until reduced by a third. Don’t reduce it too much or you will get a toffee- like syrup that won’t pour out of the jug and hardens on contact with the plate (like I did)! Luckily I still had the rest of the poaching liquid to use.

Meanwhile, carefully peel off the skins of the peaches, they should come away easily. You can leave them, cut side down, on a plate covered with cling-film until you are ready to serve them.

Pour the reduced syrup into a jug and leave to cool. You can freeze the rest of the poaching liquid to use next time, just add a bit more water and bourbon and reheat.

To serve place 2 or 3 peach halves cut side down on a plate and pour over the thick pink syrup. Sprinkle over some chopped mint and garnish with a few sprigs.

Retire to a shady spot, sit back and enjoy……

Halloumi Tikka Kebab with Turmeric and Cardamon Risotto and Tamarind Syrup

3 Apr

I know I’ve got a slight Halloumi obsession but this recipe is awesome and I don’t use that word lightly. In fact I never use that word but never has it been a more fitting description. Okay, you get it – it’s really good.

It is yet another recipe adapted from Terre a Terre The Vegetarian Cookbook and so far, by far, the best. What they have done is taken the best-selling Indian restaurant dish “Chicken Tikka” and veggied it up the way they do and taken it to another level. The Halloumi cubes are marinated for 24 hours in the yoghurt and spices which gives the cheese a much softer texture and an amazing flavour.

The “risotto” is a new experience for me as well. I have made loads of risottos before but never with Indian spices and I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about it. I don’t generally like it when classics are mucked about with in the name of  “Fusion”. Usually because it is done with such a heavy hand and lack of knowledge. Namely a risotto with four cheese and soy sauce. Can you imagine anything more hideous? I didn’t order it, by the way, and I never went back to that restaurant again. I have my principles and the marriage of soy sauce and creamy cheese is not a marriage made in heaven, not in my mind anyway.

Having said all that, this risotto is stunning. Another superlative, I know, but it is worthy of the praise. The stock used to cook the risotto is flavoured with cardamom, turmeric (originally saffron but I don’t have any), coriander seeds, star anise, cloves and peppercorns. The risotto itself is made with onions, ginger, mustard seeds and chilli oil. The risotto is finished off with fresh coriander & mint , toasted flaked almonds and freshly grated parmesan. I know, parmesan after everything that I said, but it really works, trust me, these people know what they’re doing….

The whole thing is finished off with a drizzle of a sweet & sour tamarind glaze/syrup that brings the dish together beautifully. You could substitute a spoonful of your favourite chutney if you not up for making the glaze as well. The original dish has two more components, podi spiced tomatoes (I just skewered some cherry tomatoes in between my halloumi cubes) and a smoked almond custard (I toasted some flaked almonds to sprinkle over the top).  Three elements in one dish is enough for me..!

Remember the Halloumi is marinated for 24 hours so start this the night before.

Halloumi Tikka Kebabs, Turmeric & Cardamom Risotto and Tamarind Syrup

serves 3, vegetarian, adapted from Terre a Terre The Vegetarian Cookbook

For the Halloumi marinade

  • 1 pack Halloumi cheese 250 gr
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped mint
  • 60 ml plain/greek yoghurt
  • 25 ml water
  • 9 small cherry tomatoes

Rinse and dry the Halloumi and cut it in half through where it’s folded so you get two “rectangles” about the same size. Cut each of these into 6 cubes/chunks so you should have 12 cubes.  Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, add all the ground spices and warm them through, stirring so as not to burn them. Put the toasted spices in a bowl with the yoghurt, garlic, mint and water and stir to combine well.  Add the Halloumi cubes to the spicy yoghurt and stir to make sure every piece is coated well. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to marinate for about 24 hours.

When ready to serve, thread 4 Halloumi cubes on to each skewer alternating with a cherry tomato. Sear the kebabs on all 4 sides until coloured in a hot dry pan. This should only take about 2 minutes.

For the Turmeric & Cardamom Stock

The original recipe makes the whole stock from scratch but I already had some of my homemade veg stock and added the spices to it.

  • 1 litre veg stock ( see above)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • a handful of coriander stalks
  • 3 cardamom pods, bashed/bruised to open slightly
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, cracked
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric/saffron strands
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 curry leaves or bay leaves
  • water

Make this the day before if possible. Put the stock and the rest of the ingredients, except the water, in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t reduce too much, add some water if necessary. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse. When ready to use it, strain through a fine sieve, put in a sauce pan, increase to 1 litre with water and heat gently.

For the Risotto

  • 1 litre Turmeric & Cardamom stock (see above)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp panch pooran (an Indian spice mix available from EastEnd Foods)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli oil or 1/4 tsp chilli powder added to the olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 100 gr, chopped onions (about 1/2)
  • 2oo gr brown shortgrain rice (you can use arborio which cooks quicker and will need less stock)
  • a knob of butter
  • 5o gr parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime juice plus wedges for garnish
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • a small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 50 gr flaked almonds, toasted in a dry pan

Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan then lower the heat to a simmer. In a large pan, over a medium heat, fry the mustard seeds and panch pooran in the oils until they start to pop then add in the onions, ginger and a big pinch of salt & black pepper. Cook gently until the onions have softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn up the heat slightly and add the rice , stirring to coat in the oil.

When rice starts to look translucent after a minute or so, turn down the heat to medium and add a ladleful of the hot stock, stirring or swirling the rice. When all the liquid has been absorbed add another ladle of stock, stir or swirl until that has been absorbed too. Keep adding ladles of stock and letting them be absorbed until the rice is tender, about 20 + minutes for the brown rice or 15 – 18 for the arborio. If you run out of stock use hot water.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter & parmesan. Taste for seasoning then cover with a lid and leave for  2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, coriander & mint and serve immediately with the halloumi skewers, lime wedges and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds. Serve with some chutney on the side or drizzle over some delicious tamarind syrup (below).

Tamarind Syrup/Glaze

makes about 150- 200 ml, vegan, vegetarian

  • 150 gr caster sugar
  • 70 ml sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 150 gr tamarind paste

Put the sugar and vinegar in a stainless steel pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer then add the tamarind paste and cook about 4 minutes until the mixture thickens. Pour into a sterilised jar, seal and cool. When cool store in the fridge. Drizzle over Halloumi kebabs or use as a dipping sauce. If it becomes to sticky to pour just heat it up slightly.

 Enjoy!!

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