Baklava



Baklava ~ Delicious layers of crispy flaky phyllo pasty filled with protein packed nuts and sweetened with a sweet syrup.
Ingredients:

60 g / 2 oz shelled pistachio nuts
60 g / 2 oz flaked almonds
60 g / 2 oz walnuts
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60 g  / 2 oz butter (melted)
4 sheets phyllo pastry

Sugar Syrup:
240 g / 8 oz sugar
125 ml water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Special equipment:
1 cm diameter wooden dowel (stick)
Baking Tray

Method:

1. Coarsely chops the nuts and place them in a bowl, add the golden syrup and mix well.(Mixture should be fairly dry.)
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F
3. On a flat surface place 1 sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with melted butter. Spread half the nut mixture onto it .

4. Place the wooden dowel at the longest end of the phyllo pastry and start rolling the pastry over the dowel encasing all the filling.Keep the dowel with the rolled pastry to one side covered with damp cloth.
5. Spread the second sheet of phyllo on the surface and brush with melted butter. Place the roll of pastry with the dowel in it at the long end and tightly roll the 2nd phyllo sheet over the already rolled 1st roll.
6. Place the roll of pastry in front of you on the flat surface. Holding the pastry with both hands scrunch it up on the dowel to form pleats.The pastry roll will be shorter now as its been scrunched together.

7. Hold the roll with one hand and gently remove the dowel rod.
8. Grease a baking tray and place the roll on it. With a sharp knife cut the roll into 2 inch pieces.
9. Repeat the procedure for the other two phyllo sheets using remaining filling.
10. Once both rolls are made, brush some more butter over them . Place the baking tray in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes or until pastry turns golden brown.
11. Place the sugar, lemon juice and water in a heavy bottomed pan  and bring to boil.

12. Boil the syrup for 8 -10 minutes and then remove from heat.
13. Remove Baklava from oven and gently spoon over the sugar syrup over the baked rolls .
14. Leave the syrup to soak into the pastry for 2-3 hours before eating.

You can check out a video of this method of Rolling the Baklava rolls .

Spanish Romesco Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Orange capsicum
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 g almonds

Method:

1. In a dry pan roast the almonds  for 5 minutes stirring intermittently so that they dont’t burn.

2. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

3. Wash the orange capsicum and thread it on a skewer.

4. Roast the capsicum in the flame of your cooker, keep turning it so that the pepper chars evenly.

5. Once pepper is roasted put it in a zip loc bag for 10 minutes.

 

6. After 10 minutes wash off the charred skin from the pepper and cut it in half, remove the seeds and the membrane and chop finely.

7. In a grinder grind the toasted almonds and keep aside.

8. In a blender jug add the roasted capsicum, chilli flakes, vinegar, salt and lemon juice and blend to a fine puree.

9. In a pan add the olive oil and when it is hot add the garlic and sauté it.Add the garlic and oil to the blender together with the ground almonds and blend again for a few seconds to combine ingredients.

10. Adjust seasoning if required. Transfer to serving bowl and serve as a dip with tortilla chips.

NB- The Romesco sauce can be used added to any vegetable or pasta .

 

Dry Roast Nuts: Cashews and Peanuts

Last week I bought lots of  snacky stuff like crisps,  peanuts and cashew nuts to munch on whilst we watched the Olympics. I was shocked to see the amount of oil and salt content in the snacks we were consuming plus the cost of some of these packets was also astronomical. I remember how my parents used to roast the nuts at home and decided to try my hand at doing the same but by using the microwave. The results were amazing and we didn’t feel so guilty as the products were low in salt and virtual fat free.

Ingredients:

2 cups of  raw cashew nuts ( all available at most Supermarkets, Indian stores and health food stores)
2 cups of jumbo peanuts
2 Cups of blanched peanuts
Lo salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (Lo salt  tastes the same but contains 66% less sodium than regular salt)
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Method

FOR THE CASHEWS:

1.  Transfer the raw cashews to an ovenproof dish

2. Add one teaspoon of oil and sprinkle the lo salt and black pepper and mix well. The oil will help to coat the lo salt and pepper on the nuts.

3. Cook on high for 2 minutes, stir and cook again for 2 minutes and stir. Every microwave’s cooking time will vary depending on its size and speed.  My cashew nuts took 6 minutes to roast in the microwave.  Also remember that the nuts will be hot and still cooking for a few seconds until they cool.

4.  Transfer the nuts to a dish lined with kitchen paper and allow them to cool.

5.  Enjoy the guilt free nuts anytime.

FOR THE PEANUTS:

1.  Mix the two varieties of peanuts and transfer them to a microwave dish.

2.  Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil with the lo salt and black pepper.  Stir well.

3. Like the cashews, roast them at 2 minute intervals stirring in between. It took the peanuts 8 minutes to roast in the microwave.

4. Again allow the peanuts to cool in a dish lined with kitchen paper.

5. You can either save the cooled nuts in different jars or mix them together  depending on your preference.

Tip: You can also use the same technique for roasting almonds.

You can also some make  potato crisps using a similar technique.   Here I added some rosemary, salt and a teaspoon of oil to sliced potatoes:

Moroccan Roasted Almonds

Salted crispy almonds that you will not be able to stop munching.

Preparation Time 5 minutes
Baking time -20 minutes
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

240g / 8 oz Almonds
1 tablespoon salt

Method:

1. Wash the almonds and drain them .
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and sprinkle half the salt on it.
4. Spread out the almonds in thin layer over the salt and sprinkle the remaining salt over them.
5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Almonds should be crisp with a white salty crust.