Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

When the lovely Claire from ClaireKCreations contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in joining a ‘Foodie Secret Santa’ with other food bloggers from around Australia I squealed with delight. Why of course I’d love to receive gifts in the mail so the answer was yes. She then said its not one present or two, but 3 different presents and I squealed some more!

This was back in November so for the last month I had ideas swirling through my mind as to what I would mail out to my 3 secret Santa participants.

I settled on orange and spice because those flavours remind me of Christmas and decided I’d make dark chocolate coated candied orange peel. I absolutely love orange and chocolate anything and it was so hard not to just polish the plate I had to mail out.

So yes lucky Secret Santa recipient’s, twas I, the Gourmet Wog that made that box of yumminess.

What I didn’t really take into consideration though was the weather and as I was standing at the post office with my 3 goodies all boxed and wrapped up searching through my blackberry to find the email with the recipient’s home address’s is that all 3 were located in the sunny north. QLD. Nice.

My beautifully decorated choc coated orange peel would arrive as one box of melted chocolate mess with orange things floating through it. I’m sure/hope it still tasted good!

I skinned 3 kilos of oranges to get enough peel for 3 participants. It turned out to be just enough and I ended up freezing the actual oranges once they were peeled for later use.

If you’re curious to see what other bloggers received, we tracked our goodies using hashtag #foodiesecretsanta in twitter, facebook and instagram.

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What did I receive? Well this lucky gal was just so grateful to receive something other than bills in the mail, and even luckier because all 3 goodies were so delicious. Present one was Bread and Butter Pickles and homemade dukkah, present 2 was home made honey mustard, and present 3 was salted caramel peanut brittle and maple dukkah. Amazing! Thanks Secret Santa!! xx

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

  • 3 kilo’s oranges, peeled.
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • About 10 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 200 grams good quality dark chocolate

Remove the skin from the oranges (pith/white part too) and cut into strips. If you’re fussed about presentation or OCD you can make square them up and make them all even in size but I went for the ‘rustic’ look (or the ‘I can’t be bothered doing the extra step because I have a crazy cat two year old running amok beside me). Actually, I like the rustic look, it makes them appear home made!

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Put orange peel into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring it to the boil for 2 minutes. Drain it, then repeat the process 3 times. This helps reduce the bitterness from the peel.

After you do this 3 times, bring all the listed ingredients (except the chocolate) to a boil and simmer away on a mid to low heat for 1 hour until the peel is translucent.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Remove the peel from the syrup and place on a drying rack for a minimum of 6 hours. I did this step at night and left it to dry overnight for a better effect.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and carefully dip each orange peel into the melted chocolate. Place the choc coated orange peel onto some parchment/baking paper to dry.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Once the chocolate has set, you can store them for up to 2 weeks.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Yummy Crunchy Oven Roasted Curry Chickpeas

crunchy curry salty baked oven roasted chickpeas

Every year I say I’ll do my Christmas shopping in November and get it out of the way.

Every year.

Every single year I end up doing it last minute, battling car park rage, shoving the crowds out of my way, while dealing with aching pregnancy feet/ screeching baby/one year old with pooplosions/terrible two tantrums.

It seems this year is no exception.

With 13 nights left till Christmas day we’re yet to put our tree up let alone do our shopping for the big fat wog family and I’m starting to stress just thinking about it.

Apologies in advance to my blogging friends and loyal readers for the lack of posts lately. I just have so much on and so much yet to do.

This working full time, being a mother, wife, chef, cleaner and blogger gig is hard work!

Yesterday I could have done some shopping but instead decided to enjoy a cold one under the sun, with my feet up, nibbling on curry chickpeas and it was bliss. Christmas stress can wait another day.

My recipe for crunchy baked curry chickpeas is the ultimate beer snack. Perfectly crunch, salty and yummy it’ll have you going back for more. And the best part of it is they’re pretty good for you

crunchy curry salty baked oven roasted chickpeas

Yummy Crunchy Oven Roasted Curry Chickpeas

  • 2 cans (400g) chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Rinse and dry your chickpeas thoroughly with a paper towel. You don’t want any excess moisture.
Combine all the ingredients together, toss well to evenly coat and spread out onto a flat baking dish
Bake for 20 minutes, switch the oven off and leave chickpeas inside the oven with the door closed for a further 20 minutes to dry out.

Open a cold beer, guzzle it down while you enjoy your salty crunchy chickpeas!

Chickpeas will keep crunchy for up to 3 days if stored in a air tight container.

Flavour variations: Don’t like curry? Why not go for these combos: cumin/paprika/salt …cayenne pepper/garlic powder/salt….sweet tooth? Cinnamon/sugar…

Garden Share Collective – December 2013

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Last month I mentioned Sydney decided to chuck a tanty and forgo spring because the weather was hot hot hot. Then like 30 seconds later, it chucked another tanty and the weather became cold cold cold! I sit here, it my robe and uggies writing this up on the first day of summer.

Welcome to the last Garden Share Collective post for 2013, a collection of vegetable patches across the globe all thanks to Lizzie from Strayed from the Table
Please take the time to take a sticky beak at my previous Garden Share collective posts to catch up or take a refresher on my progress.

3 of our 4 pallet beds are finally planted up. We’ll get to the 4th when I catch my breath!

A lot of prep work went into getting the patches ready. First weed mat was lined along the sides to stop the grass from growing through the pallet boards.

Gourmet Wog

Then 3 layers of thick cardboard was laid down to stop the weeds from sprouting through. Then the fun and smelly part of preparing the soil. My husband spent many weeknights sifting soil to make sure there were no onion weed seeds and to that he added compost, cow manure, mushroom manure, 5 in 1 mix, dynamic lifter and finally chicken shit. Noice.

Next it was time to plant!  We planted up the first bed with tomatoes and basil. It looked like this when first planted up (first week of November):

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And 3 weeks later (the power of a shit load of rain and a shit load of shit) it looked like this:

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The 2nd bed turned out to be a ‘bits and pieces’ bed and contains tomatoes, eggplant, basil, parsley, chilli, leeks and poppy flowers

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The 3rd Bed (my favourite) is neatly lined with our new crop of leaks, more tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. We planted these up 2 days ago, just in time for this post

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I love the way the leaks border the patch. We made sure to plant the leaks at about 20cms below the rest of the veggie patch to bank up the soil as they grow throughout the next few months.

growing leek plants

The other veggie patches are coming along nicely. I won’t show you the kale because you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about it, but just know that they’re still there, they’re thriving and they’re still going berserk.

The purple climbing king beans are doing just that, climbing. We’re yet to see any beans yet.

climbing purple king beans

Our dwarf French beans though are producing masses and masses. I pick a generous handful every single day. Most of the time it doesn’t make it back to the kitchen as they get devoured straight from the plant.

dwarf green beans

Our Hungarian yellow chillies are rewarding us well. They are surprisingly incredibly chilli!

hungarian yellow chillies

Finally, as hoped, we had much more success with our Pontiac Potatoes. I wanted to leave them to grow a bit longer but we had some really crazy storms in Sydney throughout November, and lots of rain so it was time to harvest them before they rot or go mouldy. These red gems were uncovered after planting only 4 potatoes in the hessian sacks.

pontiac potato plants undercovered

And there it is, my last Garden Share Collective for the year. Happy Gardening everyone 

In My Kitchen – December 2013

It’s finally here: summer in Sydney!!  Welcome to the last IMK post for 2013. This series has certainly been fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. It’s all thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In My kitchen: Is Smoked FALKSALT.

FALKSALT smoked sea salt flakes

It’s no secret I love salt. I’d pick savoury over sweet any day of the week and my absolute favourite cocktail of all time has to be the Margarita, salt crusted of course!

I was given this lovely jar of Smoked Salt by FALKSALT  by my gorgeous Sister who just got a job at one of Sydney’s finest deli’s. The salt is imported by Simon Johnson and comes all the way from sunny Cyprus. As soon as you lift the lid, the smoked hickory aroma hits you and I find I have to stop myself from eating the salt crystals as is.

Adding the smoked salt to roast veggies take them to a whole new dimension and it’s amazing how much flavour they contribute.

In My kitchen: Is this hand painted spoon rest from Dubrovnik, Croatia

olive painted spoon rest

I bought this gorgeous spoon rest on our travels throughout Europe many years back. I love the olive design and colour scheme and at only $1 Australian it was a major bargain.

It adds a splash of colour to my dull and beige kitchen

In My Kitchen: Green Tea with Certified Organic Ganoderma

green tea with organic ganoderma

A close friend has become a distributor of Organo Gold products and kindly gave me some samples to try. I had never heard of Ganoderma before and when she explained that it was a cancer fighting mushroom, I was intrigued to say the least. Ganoderma, or Reishi as its known throughout Asia has been used for the promotion of health, longevity and treatment of cancer in traditional Chinese medicine. The tea thankfully tastes very much like any other green tea with no mushroom aftertaste.

In My Kitchen: Hangs this gorgeous Christian art work.

Armenian artwork from 1980

My gorgeous Armenian friend kindly gave me this art work to hang in my house. I don’t know the story behind the artwork but I can clearly see it is a religious piece depicted by the halos and angel wings the two figures. The artwork was purchased by my friends Dad in 1980 in the USSR, current day Armenia and it is very special to my friend as her father has since passed. She went on to marry a kind Muslim man many years ago and requested the artwork be hung in a Christian house where she feels it belongs. I felt very humbled when asked and it hangs proudly in my kitchen, the heart of the house.

In My kitchen: home-grown garlic

homegrown organic purple garlic

My last listing for the IMK 2013 series is very special to me. It was listed on my very first IMK post in April this year and that was garlic. I bought a gorgeous bunch of organic and locally grown garlic from my farmers markets  and was so taken back by its taste I decided to try my luck at planting a couple of cloves. I really do mean a couple, I didn’t want to waste any of my precious garlic and thought I could ‘spare’ 2 cloves. Well, I really do wish I planted more because from those 2 cloves, I just pulled out 2 large bulbs from the garden 7 months later. They are currently drying near my kitchen window and I can’t wait to eat them, raw and in all their glory in garlic dip

homegrown organic purple garlic

Thank you for joining me the last IMK for 2013. My previous entries can be found here.

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

My daughter has started going through a fussy toddler eating stage. It’s not that she doesn’t like the flavours, it’s because she’s defying me and just wants to be stubborn.

The one thing she will eat though is cake.

So everything that comes out of our kitchen is now called cake.

Savoury quiche for dinner? We’re having “ham cake” for dinner tonight! Hooray!

Breakfast? “It’s tomato and cheese omelette cake” Hooray!

After saying the word cake 3 times a day for the last week, I actually woke up with a craving of cake today but couldn’t be bothered to venture outdoors. With no eggs or milk left in the fridge, I started trawling the internet for vegan recipes and came across this beauty. Tahinopita, a Greek tahini cake that is completely vegan and uses no fat, except for the natural oils found in tahini. Hooray!

This cake is not overly sweet. It is however quite dense and a stick to your teeth kind of cake. The tahini flavour is quite dominant but the subtle orange zest does shine through. Perfect with a cup of tea for breakfast!

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon oil to grease the cake pan

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease your cake pan of choice

Before you pour a cup of tahini, be sure to use a spoon and give the jar a good mix. Beat tahini, sugar and orange zest for 3-4 minutes until fluffy on a high speed. Gradually and slowly add the orange juice until all combined and smooth.

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Meanwhile sift together all the dry ingredients and fold into the tahini mix

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The mix will be quite dense and not at all like a traditional cake batter. Pour it into you pre-greased tin and bake for 40 minutes. Let the cake cool down before you remove it from the tin.

Pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

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Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Ok, now let’s set things straight, this stuff is potent. I mean ‘brush your teeth eight times and you still have garlic breath’ and ‘garlic is coming out of every pore’ potent. You will be burping garlic for 12 hours and cursing yourself the following morning. But fear less, it tastes SO good you will make this again time after time.

If you haven’t tried Toum before, I’m so sorry you poor thing. Grab yourself these pantry essentials, blend and emulsify then come back and praise me. Lebanese Garlic dip is a gastronomically sensation, and must be experienced by all!

All Lebanese restaurants will serve up their version of fluffy and creamy garlic dip with charcoal chicken or shawarma, along with pink turnip pickles. They also usually sell the stuff on the side for about $5-$8 for a small 100ml pot. Now you can make your own for a fraction of the price, but be warned, it’s truly addictive and you may never be able to eat chicken without it.

I have found through experience there are two ways of making this. Those scared of raw egg can make the first version (however it takes a lot longer and requires a lot of patience) and those who aren’t really concerned about raw egg can make the easier and quicker version that takes less oil

The first version requires a heavy duty food processor. The food processor will be on continuously for ten minutes so please use a good quality processor so that the motor doesn’t burn up. The second variety uses a blender and can be made in 3 flat!

I have also found through experience that Sunflower Oil is by far the best to use for this recipe. Please do not use olive oil. It is too strong and will completely change the taste of the dip. Also, try to buy local garlic, not the Chinese variety. It makes all the difference. Unless of course you live in China and Chinese garlic IS your local…

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Version One: Eggless ‘Food Processor’ Toum:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups Sunflower or any other neutral Oil. Do not use olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled whole garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put salt and garlic cloves in food processor and pulse. Scrape the sides until all the garlic is the same in size.

Turn on the food processor once again and do not stop it until done. In a very thin stream, add ¼ cup oil very gradually. Please do add it very slowly, don’t rush it or the sauce will split. Once you have added ¼ cup oil, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice also very slowly, drop by drop. Add another thin stream of ¼ cup oil then 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Keep doing this until you have used up your lemon and oil. The process will take 10 minutes. Be patient. If your sauce has split by the end of it and isn’t a fluffy dip, you can try to add 2 teaspoons of cold water or add 1 icecube and wack on the processor again for a few minutes. If that hasn’t worked, abort mission or *gulp* add a raw egg white and process for another 3 minutes.

Version Two: Quick and Easy ‘Blender’ Toum

  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 egg white
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • 1 cup of Sunflower or any other neutral oil. Do not use Olive Oil

 Put the garlic cloves and salt along with ¼ of the lemon juice in the blender, and blend on medium, scraping down the sides. Add the egg white. Add ½ cup of oil in a slow and steady pour.

Turn the blender onto its slowest speed and add the rest of the lemon juice slowly then once again add the second half of the oil slowly and steadily.

Finally, add the 2 tablespoons of ice cold water and it’s done.

If the dip has split, try adding another egg white and blitz on high for a couple of minutes.

Slather and spread. Devour. Burp. Regret. Eat some more.

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Garden Share Collective – November 2013

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How is it November already? Unfortunately Sydney has decided to chuck a little tanty and forgo spring, prematurely offering us summer instead. I wish I could be happy about this but given that our street backs onto a National Park and that we are in the midst of a bush fire crisis, a cooler spring would be most welcome. Surely our wildlife and plants must be confused too.

For a quick recap on this series, or if you’re new here (Welcome!), please take a moment to read through these 6 short posts.

I’ve mentioned our bandicoot and possum family before, the bastards who trawl our backyard at night time and eat our plants. Last month I heard a bit of rustling in one of the Camellia bushes we have and there it was. One very cute little possum, munching down a white Camellia flower bud, guilty as charged.

Now, when i saw this little guy, first instinct was to go ‘Awww how cute’ then the reality hit. This was the critter who had not only been eating my flowers, but also the vegetables that were meant for us. My next reaction was to clap my hands really loudly, like if you were trying to shoo away a seagull, but it didn’t scare the little guy. I screamed and clapped loudly again. Nope, nothing. The possum kept eating away on its Camellia bud, completely ignorant to my tactics. I started waving my hands around like a maniac, nothing. I thought maybe the flash on my camera might shy him away. Yeah right.

This little dude was one brave possum. I, however, must have looked like a fruit loop to my neighbours, screaming, clapping and acting like a retard on my front porch.

possum in camelia tree

Here’s that same tree during the day. You can see how close it is to our front door.

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Fortunately though, the bird netting we installed last month has been working at keeping the critters away from our patch. I suppose I can sacrifice a few Camellia flower buds in order for them to stay away from our vegetables!

Our silverbeet:

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and kale…

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We planted some ‘King Purple’ climbing bean seeds and within a few days they were already chasing the sun. They remind me of graceful flamingos

purple king beans

Our String Beans we planted last month have started flowering, however we are yet to see them fruit

french beans

After a long 6 months growing period, we are finally harvesting leeks! We have around 50 still in the ground!

leek plants

We didn’t get much luck again with out carrots, they just seem to grow in the most absurd and deformed shapes. Never mind, my daughter loves pulling them out and having a giggle at the funny shapes.

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It’s taking longer than we originally thought to give our raised pallet garden beds a permanent spot in our garden. Because of our unlevel land and slope, we’re going to have to make a retaining wall to one side and at the back, the raised garden bed is no longer ‘raised’. In order for them to be at the same level and be straight so when we water, the soil doesn’t puddle or slide out, we had to cut into the grass. Hubby is still working of the beds in the front however the back two have are good and ready to go! The plan is to have tomatoes and eggplant’s in the back, and cucumbers and zucchini’s in the front.

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I hope I can have a picture of the finished and final product for you by next month. Our seedlings are crying out to be planted already!

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The leaves on our kipfler potato sack hessian bags started to yellow and die. I thought it was the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Sydney (we’ve skipped spring and gone straight for summer!) that killed our plants, but my husband assured me that wasn’t the case and it just meant that the potatoes were trying to tell me they want out! It’s harvest time! I got the scissors out to rip open the bag but it wasn’t necessary, as soon as we tried to lift it onto a wheelbarrow, the hessian sack had completely disintegrated and turned to mush.

potato hessian bags

We managed to lift it somehow and sift through the soil to find these gorgeous little potatoes.

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I was disappointed at our harvest. For some reason I had grand dreams of kilo’s and kilo’s of potatoes and from the 200 grams we planted, we harvested about 1.5kgs worth. This won’t deter me, I might wait for a few of them to sprout, so some more research and try again next month. My Pontiac Potatoes leaves have started to yellow but they’re very much alive still so hopefully in a couple of weeks when I rip open their sacks, we’ll have better luck with them.

kipfler potatoes

Thank you for joining me on another Garden Share Collective post, brought to you by Lizzy at Strayed from the Table.

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Happy Gardening!

In My Kitchen – November 2013

A pinch and a punch, it’s the first day of the month, and you know what that means? It’s time for another round of In My Kitchen, hosted by Celia at Figjamandlimecordial.com

So in my kitchen this month:

lahmajoun box

Lahmajoun

You’d be hard pressed finding an Armenian without a box of lahmajoun in their freezer.

Lahmajoun is a traditional Armenian pizza, with a mince meat, tomato, chilli, smoky paprika and capsicum topping.

Of course home made lahmajoun is always certainly going to better but having a box in the freezer just helps on those dates when you just can’t be bothered. I buy a box of 10 every month for $15 from my local deli and as they’re already precooked and only need to be heated through.

Every Armenian has their own way of eating lahmajoun. I personally like to add tomatoes, gherkins, fresh mint or parsley, and extra chilli sauce. Sometimes a sprinkle of sumac and squeeze of lemon. Wrap it all up like a kebab and devour.

armenian lahmajoun

In My Kitchen:

Anchovies

anchovies in lebanese bread

I know, I know, I’ve just turned off half my viewers but stay with me here.

Anchovies are the bomb. Really. You know how sometimes you get the sweet tooth and hit the lolly jar, well I get the savoury munchies more often and when I do, I reach for the jar of anchovies, wrap a couple up in fresh soft Lebanese bread and smell like an alley cat for the rest of the day. Mmmm

In My Kitchen:

Californian Pomegranates

Californian pomegranate

Another staple in Armenian households worldwide are pomegranates. The pomegranate is the national fruit and is one of the most recognizable symbols in Armenian arts, celebrated for centuries in mythology, religious texts and literature. In Armenian mythology it symbolizes fertility, good fortune, abundance and marriage

I support Australian farmers for all my fruit and vegetables, Aussie beef, Aussie lamb, Aussie chooks and seafood fished from Australian waters. The only exception I make are pomegranates. I find the quality of the Californian variety, far more superior than any grown here. The seeds are fleshier, more tart and sweeter at the same time.

I see celebrity chefs on the screen cut the fruit in half then tap the underside with a wooden spoon to release the seeds. I personally prefer to cut my pomegranate in quarters, and manually pry out the seeds one by one, red juice dribbling down my arms, staining my skin to remind me of the deliciousness I devoured earlier.

Pomegranate Molasses

pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate Molasses is a concentrate of pomegranate juice and not a molasses per se. It is incredibly tart in flavour and makes my absolute favourite salad dressing. Mix equal parts of pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of minced fresh garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well and pour over your favourite salad leaves. Tangy and oh so good, you’ll be fighting your other half to drink the leftover salad dressing straight from the bowl (tell me I’m not the only one that does this?!)

Thanks for stopping by on another addition of IMK 2013. My previous entries can be found here.

xx

Crunchie Baked Kale Falafels.

baked kale falafel

There’s no stopping my Kale plants. They seem to be thriving in their little home and the more we cut them the more the flourish.

We’re eating kale every single day! Honestly, do yourself a favour, get down to your local nursery and buy a punnet of kale. They just doesn’t stop giving.

When I made my Kale Tabouli last month I started to look think of other recipes that I could substitute kale with. I figure if kale could easily replace parsley then why not falafels?

I decided to bake them instead of frying to keep things healthy. Hot out of the oven, they looked good and I teamed them up with a tahini sauce and simple garden salad for the photo, however when it came to the taste test I wasn’t sure If I liked them. They tasted quite ‘grassy’ however teamed up with my Lebanese turnip pickles, cos lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, a garlicky tahini sauce and a dash of chilli all wrapped up on Lebanese bread, they made quite a tasty meal and I forgot these falafels were even kale.

Crunchie Baked Kale Falafels.
• 4 cups kale leaves (stems removed)
• 1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 Tablespoons tahini
• 4 table spoons lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 4-5 tablespoons flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Small bunch of fresh mint leaves.

Pulse the kale, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and cumin in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the flour. I added 4 spoons of flour, but if your mix is still wet and not solid enough to form small balls, add more flour.

baked kale falafel

baked kale falafel

Form them into ball like shapes and squish them down a bit to flatten

kale falafel

Pop them into a preheated oven and bake until golden brown
Best eaten hot and crunchy.

baked kale falafel

Basbousa Revani Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

Basbousa/Revani Semolina Cake with Orange syrup

I love my desserts, especially Middle Eastern desserts.

The one ingredient I hate is Rose Water. Yes, it’s a harsh word, but seriously, I hate, hate hate it!. I just can’t get my head around the taste.

Have you seen the Devondale Milk ad series currently on Australian TV where the man tries a soy milk based drink and pulls the most disgusted face, relishing in the aftertaste? There’s a few different versions, but my favourite one is when his poor daughter enters the room and assumes her idiotic father is pulling faces at her lovely painting.

Here’s the hilarious clip for my overseas friends:

Well, that’s exactly what I end up doing when I taste even a smidgen of rose water. I can’t help it, it’s a reflex! My face distorts, tongue automatically protrudes and stays that way till I change the taste in my mouth.

So what happens is if we’re dining out and I eye some glistening Baklava or Basbousa in the shop window? I have to get hubby to take a lick of the syrup. If he gobbles the piece afterwards in one go, I’ll know it was laden with rose water (well, I have to take his word for it!!)

I’ve had packet of semolina sitting in the cupboard, lonely for a long time. It was time to let it shine with a delicious Semolina Syrup Cake. This recipe is so well known throughout the Wog World with different names depending on where you’re from; Basbousa in Egypt, Namoura in Lebanon, Ravani/Revani in Greece and Semolina Syrup Cake or slice for the rest of us!

Most countries do a version that uses Rose Water in the sugar syrup, however if you’re anything like me and just can’t stand the taste, rose water can easily be substituted for Orange Blossom water or Lemon juice in pretty much all sweets or sugar syrups.

Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups fine semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ cup yoghurt (plain)

Syrup

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • juice of half an orange
  • 2-3 pieces of orange rind. More if you like it zesty!

Preaheat oven to 180 degrees

Start by making the Sugar Syrup by combining the sugar, water and lemon juice and briging it to the boil. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and let it reduce for 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and let it completely cool.

orange syrup

To make the cake: In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until fluffy. Add the two eggs, one at a time.

Sift the Semolina, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the creamed butter mix. Fold in the yoghurt until well mixed.

basbousa

Basbousa/Revani Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

Spread the mixture into a baking paper lined shallow baking dish and bake for 25 – 30minutes. When the cake is golden brown and cooked, run your knife through the cake to make diamond like shapes and gently pour all the cold sugar syrup over the top of the hot cake, and hear it sizzle!

Basbousa/Revani Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

Serve with some double cream and a cup of tea!

Basbousa/Revani Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup