Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Kitchen Series: Tumeric Cake and a Spicy Almond Pilaf with chicken, recipe link up - Syrian Series Part 2

Welcome to another of The Kitchen Series and the final post for the Kitchen Series for this year. Santa is nearly here. Thanks to everyone that has linked up their recipes this year. I'll be starting back with the series next year, so stay tuned. Today l am sharing Part 2 of the Syrian series, it's been a couple days in the making, sorry for the delay but it's nearly Christmas and l can honestly say l am hanging out for the holidays.

In our household it isn't uncommon for us to eat Middle eastern, Mediterranean and Asian dishes with loads of spices and herbs. I think food should be exciting, not just healthy. My tribe look for adventure in food and it's not uncommon to find recipe books on the coffee table and greens harvested daily from our garden. Lately, I've been busy harvesting the last of the coloured carrots, parsnips, broad beans and beetroot from the garden, along with the first harvests of long green beans, summer herbs and lettuce. I've been making loads of salads {here, here and here}, made sausage rolls {recipe here}, amazing meat sauce and lasagna ready for the freezer {recipe found here} and brownies {recipe here for beetroot, here for chocolate brownies}.  I also came across this great recipe resource the other day called Green Kitchen Stories found here, so many recipes that l want to try and such a great blog. 

The Spicy Almond Pilaf I'm sharing with you has a great flavour my little ones would eat it with natural yoghurt or sour cream stirred through.  I find using sour cream makes anything spicy mild enough that Poppy will try it. There is also a great Almond, pea and coriander pilaf recipe here for another recipe idea. I've been getting into my recipe books of late and borrowing others from the library for inspiration. You really should check out Sharon Salloum's recipe book The Almond Bar, the pilaf isn't in there as it's one l have made up, but the book has inspired numerous dishes at home. And there was so much I wanted to make given the time. There's rose of Damascus, which are these filo pastry rounds filled with clotted cream, orange blossom jam, sugar syrup and pistachios {drool worthy and pistachios are a fav of mine}; or semolina fudge topped with rosewater, a simple fig sorbet {I'm making this for Christmas}; and also rosewater ice cream. Have I got your mouth watering yet. 

Today l am sharing a Spicy Almond Pilaf inspired by the book and then a recipe for turmeric cake. As with many other Middle Eastern sweets, Sfouf is often made with semolina, giving it a great flavour and texture. It's not overly sweet but it's great with a cup if tea or a Turkish apple tea. I first tried this on Sydney road after a day op shopping and buying spice years ago. Just a tip though, before baking, place almonds in parallel lines; after all, sfouf means “rows” in Arabic. If you’re feeling fancy, slice the finished cake into diamond shapes to complete the Middle Eastern look.

Spicy Almond Pilaf with chicken| recipe one

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red capsicum, diced {you could also add eggplant}
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 1/4 cups of rice, rinsed
600 ml of chicken or vegetable stock, hot
150g cooked chicken, shredded 
1 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp of coriander, chopped
1/2 cup or 45g of flaked almonds, toasted
Coriander leaves for serving

how to make in thermie

In the TM bowl add an onion and chop for 2-3 seconds. Add a tsp of oil and cook for 1 minute/Varoma/speed 1. Add the ginger, garlic and capsicum and another tsp of oil and cook for 1 minutes at Varoma/speed 1 and stir. All all other ingredients and cook for a further 30-60 seconds at Varoma/speed 1.
Put ingredients out of TM bowl and place in a bowl, coat the rice grains in the oil and spices.
Add rice to the TM basket and stock and two cups of water to the TM bowl. Cook for 15 minutes/Varoma/speed 3. Check rice and cook for several minutes longer if you would prefer soft rice for the little ones.
Transfer the vegetables and rice to a large bowl and mix through. Add almonds and coriander and stir.

how to make {normal}
  1. Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Gently cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and capsicum and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in all other spices and stir for another minute.
  2. Add rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil and spices. Pour the hot stock in and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is just tender.
  3. Stir in the chicken and lemon juice and gently heat for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is hot. Remove from the heat and toss in the chopped coriander and flaked almonds. season and cover and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
  4. Spoon the pilaf into a warmed serving dish and scatter with some coriander leaves.

Turmeric and Almond tea cake {Sfouf} | recipe two

1.5 cups of Semolina
1/2 cup of polenta
1 cup of canola oil
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2- 1 tsp of natural almond extract
1 1/4 cups of caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 tbsp of tahini paste {recipe for it here to make your own}
Handful sesame seeds of blanched almonds to garnish

how to make {normal}
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease your baking dish {brownie tin} with the tahini, smoothing over the base and the sides in the same manner you would with butter. Alternatively you can grease and cover with baking paper. Soak peeled whole (or half) almonds in boiling water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the semolina, polenta, turmeric and baking powder. Pour in the oil and whisk again to make a paste.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, milk, almond extract until sugar dissolves and then add semolina mixture and whisk well.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the tahini-greased pan. Sprinkle all over with sesame seeds. Pat dry the almonds and decorate in rows.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean. Slice on the diagonal to make diamond shapes and serve with a hot tea.

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Thanks to everyone for linking up this year, it's been an awesome year of community and l can't wait for what 2014 holds. Have a great time in the kitchen over Christmas l am going to try my hand at some thermomix recipes margaritas {recipe here}, fig ice cream {here}, bagels in the thermie {here} and try to manage a sleep in or two if the kids let me. Merry Christmas everybody and a foodie New Year !!!
x Mummafox

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