Breakfast isn’t often sophisticated. It can be satisfying, sure. Or hearty. Maybe even a treat. But sophisticated isn’t a word that gets used for breakfast regularly. It is, however, the correct term to describe this dish when presenting it to your mum this Sunday for Mother’s Day.
It’s a very simple recipe, but don’t let that fool you. This plate is full of texture and dances a fine line between savoury and sweet. With persian flavours and several surprising elements, it is both interesting and delicious to eat as well as beautiful to look at. Continue reading →
The kitchen is a place of transformation. We labour to peel, chop, bake, boil, fry and combine ingredients to convert them into new states of delicious being. Often, it can be quite an involved process, taking hours to turn the flesh of an animal into succulent fall-off-the-bone meat or days to preserve the summer harvest for cooler months. Then there is simple transformation, alchemy even. And that’s what this dessert is.
It uses muscovado sugar, an unrefined natural sugar that is rich and chocolatey in colour, and in taste. It’s a sticky substance that is produced by extracting juice from the sugar cane, heating the juice with lime, drying the liquid to a solid and then pounding the sugar to the same consistency as brown sugar. This process keeps the natural molasses of the sugar cane in, rather than refining it out like white sugar. It can be used instead of brown sugar in sweets like brownies or fruit cakes to add another layer of complexity, or sprinkled on top of hot oats for a morning treat or in gingerbread or ice-cream.
Or, it can simply be used to turn a modest bit of fruit and yoghurt into a saucy, decadent dessert – and there’s no cooking involved. Continue reading →
I aspire to country-style hospitality, where there’s always a cake cooling on the table and a pot of tea on the boil for visitors who “pop in”.
But modern, city life doesn’t seem conducive to the well-catered pop-in. It’s more likely that I’ll have rubbery carrots lingering in the crisper and a half-eaten bag of corn chips on-hand for visitors instead of a freshly-baked cake. And who’s stopping by unexpectedly anyway? Life is so busy in this city I have to schedule time with friends two weeks in advance. So even if I did make a cake, I’d be waiting hopefully for the door to buzz as I picked at the edges of the crust, finally giving in to a generous slice, or three, because no friends “happened to be in the neighbourhood”.
In an effort to hold on to my romantic notion of warm cakes and fresh tea, I baked for an unexpected afternoon treat. Last weekend I had family in town and they spent their days crossing the sights of NYC off their to-see list, which can be exhausting work. I thought a little afternoon tea would soothe their weary tourist bodies.