Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding

This delicate dessert has all the looks of showstopper without the forty steps of a complicated recipe. I love custards and especially a french egg and vanilla bean creme pastry but this milk pudding is egg free and thicken with cornflour. Ive gone a little off the norm by using stevia to add sweetness and poached fruit.

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Lets start with I don’t know the exact origins of this pudding and at the risk of looking it up on Wikipedia it appears as a dessert loved by many different cultures. Lets face is desserts should have no boundaries. Flavoured with lemon in Italy, rose water in the Middle Eastern also called “Muhalbiyah”.

The Greek pudding called “Alevria” which can also be lactose free is often made with a reduction of grape juice to make a syrup or the milk version flavoured with mastic or orange blossom water. It is the Greek versions that I am most familiar with and most probably the first ever custard I ate as a child.

A variety of toppings common in to both the Middle east and the Mediterranean almost always include crushed walnuts or pistachios and spices like cinnamon.

Ive add poached fruit and its juices for freshness, like apricot halves but peaches are also perfect and if you preferred passionfruit or a raspberry coulis then go for it.

This pudding is flavoured with orange blossom water and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios and for added decadence Ive added a few dry edible rose petals.

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“Apricot & Orange Blossom Pudding”

4-5 serves

Ingredients

500ml Milk

40g Stevia

35g Cornflour

1 tablespoon Orange Blossom water

5-6 Poached Apricot halves reserve the juices

50g Pistachios – Crushed

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan add the stevia and the cornflour mix well.
  2. Add Milk and whisk together till no lumps of cornflour are visible.
  3. Continuously stir to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix while on medium heat till it thickens and large bubbles rise to the top and keep mixing for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water stir to combine.
  4. Pour the pudding into individual heat proof ramekins
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature then cool in the refrigerator
  6. Top with an apricot half, pour a little syrup over the top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

*For extra decadence Ive used edible dry tea rose for a little WOW! Factor 🙂 …………………..(I purchased the roses from T2 the tea shop)

*This recipe can be doubled if required

*Fresh edible flowers can be used (please be mindful to purchase these for consumption purposes as you do not want to be serving up flowers sprayed with pesticides)

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Walnut Soda Bread

I have one recipe and about 100 variations of a classic soda bread. The original recipe was in a very old cookbook (in ounces and measurements which make me think it was all estimated)  I found it in an opportunity shop in Bendigo, country Victoria, Australia ….…(A little travel information for my non Aussie friends). Now Im going to pay it forward. This is my version of a Walnut Soda Bread and it sounds fancy but its oh so easy.

 

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Every time I make a soda bread I find my faithful recipe and depending on whats cooking the recipe will be adjusted to compliment the main meal. *Pairing flavours to suit the meal, herbs, walnuts, olives, parmesan or pine nuts these are a few ideas.

Today its just simply adding crumbled walnuts as Im going to be serving it with my Greek lentil soup. The addition of walnut will add texture and flavour to the overall meal.

Flour, buttermilk, salt, sugar, walnuts and bicarbonate of soda. The oven is always preheated and after a little very light kneading, shaping and a dusting of flour and four purposeful cuts to the dough ball its into the oven…..now I hope I didn’t make that sound too complicated.

Remember this is more like a scone than a traditional bread….so keep the kneading to a bear minimum. The technique to making a great soda bread is to minimise the formation of long gluten strands so KEEP IT SHORT 🙂

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“Walnut Soda Bread”

Ingredients

500g Plain White Flour or Bakers Flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Caster Sugar

2 teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

60g Walnuts (roughly chopped)

420ml – 450ml Buttermilk

extra flour for dusting

Method

Preheat your oven to 190 Degrees Celsius

  1. In a bowl add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add the buttermilk without too much force or kneading bring the dough together into a ball
  3. Place the dough ball onto a tray lined with baking paper or alternatively you can dust the base of the baking tray with more flour and place the dough directly on top
  4. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cut a cross through the top straight down to the bottom creating four quarters.
  5. Place into the oven for approximately 35 – 45 minutes.

As the Soda Bread bakes it will rise and expand. You want it to have a lovely golden crust on the outside.

Once baked cool the soda bread on a cooling rack.

*Just a note as you can see from the pictures the extra flour you added over the dough ball before you baked it will NOT necessarily turn golden so look for the baked signs on the expanded surface of the soda bread.

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Lentilicious Greek Lentil Soup

 

This Greek soup is a staple, this thick moorish soup will have you printing out this recipe and permanently fixing to your pantry door for quick reference……….or is that just me!

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Although Im not a vegetarian I do love my vegetables and pulses, this is one of those dishes that always made young Greek children giggle as its name “Fakes” AKA Lentils sounds a little rude but when I was growing up it was always a dish we looked forward to. Oh, ps yes we still get a giggle out of the name…… priceless 🙂

 

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Served with fresh crunchy bread either slathered with butter or  just used as a mop to scoop up more flavour. (Ive also served it up with the addition of crumbled feta or grilled spicy chorizo, see  * note bellow 🙂

Greek Lentil Soup

Serves 4 

Ingredients
1 x 400g cans of brown lentils rinsed
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 brown onions, chopped fine
1 small leeks chopped diced fine
1/2 teaspoon cloves garlic, crushed
1 Lg carrot, grated
400g finely chopped tomatoes (fresh or good quality canned)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

400ml Hot Water or good quality Beef or Chicken Stock

3 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (I know thats not Greek but it works well….trust me)

Salt Flakes
Cracked Pepper

Crusty bread for serving

Method

Rinse the lentils in cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil add the onion, leek and bay leaf and saute for approximately 3 – 5 minutes on moderate heat stirring constantly so as not to burn.

Add the garlic, grated carrot, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Mix all to combine.

Add the lentils, tomatoes and hot water, mix and simmer with the lid on the pot for approximately 35 minutes. If your soup has reduced to quickly add another cup of liquid.

When you are ready to serve add the Worcestershire Sauce, season with salt and pepper and stir through the remaining olive oil.

Finally taste and check the seasoning. (For a little extra heat add half a little dry chilli flakes Ill leave that up to you 🙂

*If you forgot the fresh crusty bread don’t forget Soda bread is another great option especially a Walnut Soda bread. Another option is a good crumbling of feta and a sprinkling of freshly chopped oregano.

*To satisfy the meat eaters of the family a chorizo sausage sliced and grilled added to the dish is another flavour sensation. Reduce the amount of salt and instead boost the flavour by adding a couple of Beef stock cubes or chicken instead of just salt.

Walnut Soda Bread

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Kali Orexi

Maria