Monthly Archives: October 2012

Baklava

I had my first taste of authentic baklava when I was in Turkey last year in a cold wintery stretch.
I was walking alone among the market and these baklava shops were everywhere. Next thing I knew, I bought a box of assorted baklavas in all sorts of shapes and flavors, and i ate almost all up. The sugar level was amazing but seriously, when its cold, the first thing one would want is usually sweet stuff, it’s an energy thing. And it’s quite addictive. They come is small bite sizes, chomp chomp chomp and its gone. Hee.

Zzz has never tasted baklava before, I do like his version, a good level of sweetness and nuttiness, even refreshing! According to him, it’s not difficult to make, just tedious at times!

Baklava

Recipe:

Ingredients for pastry:
Pistachio 600 g (shell-on weight, ~300 g after removing shells)
Cashew nuts 100 g
raw sugar 1/4 cup
ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp
unsalted butter 100 g
filo pastry 1 packet

Ingredients for syrup:
raw sugar 1/2 cup
honey 1/4 cup
juice and zest of 1 lemon
90 ml of water

Synthesis:
Shell the pistachio. Roughly chop the nuts with a large knife and load into a food processor to finely chop [do not over process or you’ll get nut butter (not a bad idea for other purposes though)]. Transfer into a mixing bowl and combine with cinnamon and sugar.

Melt butter in low heat. Unroll the filo pastry. From now, we have to work quickly. Place a 9 inch square pan on top and cut the filo around the pan. Save the rest of the filo for another use. Brush the pan with melted butter.

Place 1 filo sheet in the pan, brush, layer with filo, brush, layer, etc. to obtain 6 layers. Scatter half of the nut mixture evenly over the pastry. Layer and brush four sheets of filo. Scatter the remaining nuts over and layer and brush another 5 layers of filo. Brush the top layer well with butter.

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and score the unbaked baklava into triangles and diamonds (see picture). Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Add all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes and set aside.

Upon removing the baklava out of the oven, evenly pour the syrup onto the baklava. Let it sit for 2 hours for the syrup to absorb while the baklava cools. Cut along the scored lines and serve.

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Ratatouille

The un-chef side of me only know about this dish when i saw the same named movie. And even then I kept wondering if that should had been the name of a person.
I mean its not exactly like the name of a dish? Heh ok, maybe it’s just me.

Zzz makes this quite regularly and since we both like to have a huge plateful of vegetables, it suits us very well for a weekend lunch. Nice and fuss free, exactly what we need when the little one is constantly trying to pry us away from our meals.

Ratatouille, from our 862 kitchen

Zzz thinks its not quite as beautiful as this…

Ratatouille, from the movie Ratatouille…

Recipe

1 zucchini, sliced

1 brinjal/eggplant, sliced

3 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced

half an onion, diced

1 red or yellow bell pepper, julienned

Fry the zucchini in olive oil until soft and slightly brown. Remove.

Fry the brinjal/eggplant in olive oil until soft and slightly brown. Remove.

Fry onions, tomatoes and bell peppers together.

Assemble the ingredients layer by layer in a ring mould and bake in a 180 deg celcius oven for about 20 minutes or cook slowly over a stove in a heavy pot.