Tag Archives: cinnamon

Recipe: Overnight Rice Pudding for a Cold Winter’s Morning

By the time I post this, the UEFA Soccer Cup will be over, and we will know whether Italy or Spain has won.  I am not, in all probability, going to get up to watch it, even though I did cunningly pick Italy in the office Soccer Cake Sweep and did, it must be confessed, derive great delight from Italy’s victory over Germany.  It was suggested by my Milanese colleague that we should both get up at 4am tomorrow to go and watch the soccer somewhere central.  Alas, I do not have the youthful energy of my Milanese colleague, so the best I am likely to do is get up half an hour or an hour early tomorrow morning to watch the end of the game on my TV at home.

(I didn’t.  Which is a good thing, because Spain won 4-0, and that would not have been worth losing sleep for…)

Since it is currently *extremely* cold in Melbourne, this calls for a suitably warm and comforting breakfast.  And let’s face it, there’s nothing better in cold weather than slow baking.  It warms the house, and makes everything smell wonderful, and, ideally, you get something to eat at the end of it (note that I am not counting my chickens at this stage – I haven’t actually eaten the results of this recipe yet, though it is now in the oven).

I saw a recipe a while back for rice pudding cooked overnight,  and I had great plans for adapting it to my slow cooker.  Since my slow cooker has decided to take indefinite strike action, I’m returning to the oven idea.  I’ve changed the recipe a fair bit – I can’t face cream in breakfast food, and why have currants when there are raisins in the world?  And spices?

… Suffice it to say that this is my recipe now.  Here’s hoping it will be a good one! (It is – lovely and orangey and sweetly spiced, but not too sweet.  Very stodgy and soft and baby-foodish, but that’s pretty much the point of rice pudding.  Definitely good winter breakfast material, and I just wish I’d thought to stew some apples to go with it.)

Your shopping list

1/2 cup arborio rice
2 1/2 cups milk (low fat works fine, as does soy or coconut milk, I understand)
1/4 cup raw caster sugar (or any other sugar of your choice)
2 tablespoons of sultanas
1 tablespoon of raisins
zest of 1 small orange
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a shake of nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp butter

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Recipe: Moroccan Snake Cake

This recipe is adapted from a Claudia Roden recipe (which I think turns up in different forms in several of her books).  It’s fairly heavily adapted, actually.  For one thing, my version is vegan, though yours doesn’t have to be.  For another thing, she claims that this amount serves 30 – 40 people, but I’ve fed this cake to hungry scientists and believe me, 30 people barely got through half of it, largely because it is very rich.  I usually halve the recipe and still wind up taking the recipe to work.

This cake isn’t as tricky as it looks, but I’m warning you now that the central section *is* tricky – your filo sausages will not want to coil tightly around themselves without breaking.  Fortunately, once you get past the middle few coils, the outer ones help to hold them in place, and the cinnamon and icing sugar will cover all the breaks anyway…

Your Shopping List
1.5 kg ground almonds (I find this works well with half almond meal, half whole almonds processed into coarse crumbs)
1 kg caster sugar (this tells you all you need to know about the glycemic index of this recipe)
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
150 ml rosewater
100 ml orange blossom water
500 g filo pastry (refrigerated, not frozen.  This would be a nightmare with de-frosted frozen pastry)
olive oil spray
(optional: 2 egg yolks for glazing, but since I never remember this, I can promise you it works without)
icing sugar and extra cinnamon for decoration

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Recipe: Preserved Kumquats (an unfinished tale)

My brother has a kumquat tree.  It’s quite an enthusiastic tree – apparently it bears fruit all year round, relentlessly.   Since kumquats are not, on the whole, a fruit you can just eat off the tree, he has been looking for things to do with them – and perhaps even more for people to give them to.  In particular, he’s bored with sweet kumquat recipes.

I have, in fact, made excellent kumquat pectin jellies in the past, but this was basically a labour of insanity, because zesting enough kumquats to make a batch of jelly is extraordinary fiddly and time-consuming.  Thus, I too was interested in a savoury use for kumquats (particularly given my brother’s increasingly pressing offers of kumquats by the tonne).

Anyway, at some point in the dim distant past, I remember seeing a recipe for kumquats preserved in the manner of Moroccan preserved lemons, and being of an enquiring disposition (and in possession of a kilo of kumquats), I decided to give the idea a try.  Of course, the recipe is long gone from my browser’s memory (particularly given that I now have an entirely different computer), but I had Stephanie Alexander’s preserved lemon recipe to guide me, so I boldly sallied forth into the world of briney citrus. 

So, will my kumquats be a tremendous success?  A hideous failure?  A curiosity?   Only time will tell…

Your Shopping List

850 g kumquats (like you need to buy them.  If you have them, you have them, and if you don’t, the supermarket won’t be much help to you)
200 g salt (yes, I mean 200 g)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons fennel seed
a piece of ginger root about the size of your thumb

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Recipe: Fresh Ginger Cake (Vegan!)

(First post on my new computer, finding new programs and functionalities as I go… let’s hope for the best…)

We had friends to dinner tonight, and I thought it would be nice to make David Lebovitz’s fresh ginger cake and serve it with Nigella Lawson’s Ruby Red Quinces.  (Which it was, but I’m going to be bouncing off the walls on a sugar high for the next twelve hours. Whee!)  I haven’t done any vegan baking for a while, and Lebovitz’s cake is already dairy-free and only contains two eggs, so I thought it would be a good candidate for veganising (veganisation? veganifying? evegangelising?).

Definitely one of my better ideas, and it’s nice to see the whole ‘swap eggs out for apple sauce’ method working well in practice (I’ve had mixed success with this approach in the past).  

Your Shopping List

150g of really fresh ginger root (you want the stuff that is still tender and pinkish in colour, not the really dried up kind, because it will be a nightmare to chop)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup treacle (if you measure this after the canola oil, it won’t stick to your measuring cup)
1/2 cup apple sauce (home made or a bought version that really is mostly apples)
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper (yes, pepper)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
2 tsp bicarb of soda

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Recipe: Delicious, But Disappointingly Un-Purple, Carrot Cupcakes

Why are these cakes green? You may well ask…

Ever since the weekend, I’ve been thinking about purple carrot cake.  Whether purple carrots would make purple cake.  How to maximise the purpleness of the cake.  Whether a vegan carrot cake (lacking alkaline egg-white) would get me a better purple cake than one containing eggs.  Whether adding orange juice, as some recipes suggest, would counteract the egg-white, and drive the cake over the line into pinkness.

What I really want to do is set up a series of purple cake experiments, in which I test the various variables and see what colours the cakes come out.  But that’s a lot of carrot cake for two people to get through, and even amusing colouring will grow old if you have four dozen carrot cupcakes to get through.  So I decided instead to start by focus on making the most purple carrot cake I could.  Not blue – I wanted to do some vegan (ish – these plans work better if you actually have soy yoghurt in the house) baking for a change, and besides, egg-whites can drive cake over the edge into green, and I’ve already done that.  And not pink.  Pink is far too easy.  So purple it would be, then.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I failed.  My batter wound up an alarming (but nonetheless entertaining) shade of deep blue-grey, which I thought was rather promising, but the cooked cake was just a particularly deep brown in colour.  Clearly, using brown sugar was a mistake.  On the other hand, the flavour was excellent.  Hence this blog post – because really, these are some of the nicest carrot cakes I’ve had.  And they are very nearly vegan (and dead easy to veganise, as you will see)!

Your Shopping list

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sour cream or soy yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda, which should make everything more blue!
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
about 2 purple carrots, peeled and grated (you should end up with about a cup of grated carrot)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
60 g cream cheese (or soy cream cheese), softened
60 g butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
zest of one lemon
blue food colouring, if you like

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Recipe: Baklava

I promise there will be a Timon post in the next day or two, but I’m still rather bushed from the last few weeks, and photo posts always take me hours, so you will just have to make do with a recipe for the time being (not an actual recipe for ‘the time being’, though.  I’m not sure what that tastes like, and I haven’t written the recipe for it at any rate). Oh, how you suffer!

Don’t be intimidated by this recipe.  It’s time-consuming and a little fiddly, certainly, but if you take it slowly it’s actually very easy.  And it’s delicious and keeps for days, so it’s worth making the time to make it. 

Two tips for filo pastry without tears (of either kind, in fact): first, never buy the frozen version – defrosted frozen filo pastry is unbelievably fragile and will fall apart if you so much as look at it cross-eyed (and after ten or so layers, you will definitely be cross-eyed).  Seriously, I’ve given up buying the stuff because it always makes me cry – if it’s a choice between frozen filo pastry and cooking something different for dessert, I will cook the something different every time.  Get the stuff from the fridge section.  Trust me on this.

Tip two is that olive oil spray is inauthentic but awesome – I don’t, in fact, use it in this particular recipe, but there is nothing to stop you doing so, and I’d certainly use it for this if I were in a hurry or feeling generally impatient.   I do use it for a lot of other things.  It’s awesome for so many reasons I can hardly count them.  For one thing, spraying a layer of olive oil onto filo pastry is much, much faster than brushing it with butter, and lowers your chance of tearing the pastry significantly.  For another thing, it’s a bit lower in fat (you use much less of it), and of course it’s also vegan.  Olive oil-brushed filo is a bit crispier than the buttery kind, and you might even find you prefer its lighter flavour.

This recipe is lightly adapted from one in Tessa Kiros’s book Food From Many Greek KitchensPretty much my entire feast yesterday came from this book, and it was all lovely, so I can heartily recommend it.

 What are you waiting for?

Your shopping list

360 g white sugar
2 tbsp honey
strip of lemon peel
juice of half a lemon
2-3 cinnamon sticks
150 g almonds
150 g pistachios
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
22 sheets filo pastry (1 packet should do it)
150 g butter, melted (or your trusty olive oil spray!)
30-50 whole cloves

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