Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baked macadamia pumpkin

1 butternut pumpkin, (Cucurbita moschata) about 1 kg
1 small brown onion
100g macadamia nuts
fresh thyme tips or lemon thyme or both
150g cheese for baking, e.g. young gouda, or low-salt elbo style cheese with vegetarian enzymes (”Nimbin”), cheddar

Cut pumpkin lengthwise in two. Remove the seeds.
Steam the halves until quite soft for about 30 minutes depending on the size. Not too soft or it will become unstable. Let it cool down briefly for handling.
Place the halves face up in two baking dishes or in one large one.
Scrape out most of the flesh into a bowl leaving about 1 cm depth above the skin.
Mash the flesh. Add the finely chopped onion. Grate in the macadamia nuts with a hand grater. Add the chopped thyme. Mix all ingredients together.
Fill the mash into the pumpkin shells.
Top with cheese.

Bake at 190°C on the second shelf of the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until they are golden.

The amount of ingredients depends on the size of the pumpkin. The above amounts are for a small butternut, but should be increased proportionally for larger pumpkins. This recipe is also delicious with other types of pumpkin, especially if they are fleshy rather than watery. It is important that the flesh is cooked soft.
Images: 1. Pumpkin, not Butternut and 2. unshelled macadamia nuts

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Black Sapote

Most people are familiar with the orange persimmon fruit, but the black variety is better than any chocolate mousse.The Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna) has been cultured in Mexico, Central America and India. The green fruit can be obtained, the flesh will ripen into a chocolate-like mousse ("Chocolate pudding fruit"). One has to get the timing right – because over ripeness can change the taste a lot. In Mexico the fruit pulp is mixed with orange juice and honey, but it is awesome just on its own.Thanks to the Nahuan language speakers of Mesoamerica, yet again for culturing this plant.
More Images at Google

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hummus and Tabbouleh

1 cup organic washed chickpeas
3- 6 cloves of garlic
200 g organic hulled tahini
4 lemons, lemon juice (do not use preserved lemon juice!)
cooking water, to make a paste
Olive oil

1 cup of organic Bulghur
2 bunches of flat (organic) parsley or more
6-7 medium organic ripe tomatoes
3 sprigs of mint, (round leaf for tea)
3-4 cloves of organic garlic
1 lemon
Olive oil

Flat bread or organic white sesame bread - all toasted

Chickpea Hummus
Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain, add a lot of fresh water and cook. It can take longer than you think for them to get soft. When they can be squashed between your fingers, they are ready. Drain and keep the cooking water.
Put half of the slightly cooled peas into a large bowl.
Prepare the lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. of olive oil, the garlic and the tahini.
Add half of that mixture to the chickpeas and mash ( I use a puree stick, food processors probably do the trick too) Then add the rest of the chickpeas, the tahini mixture and mash.
Should it be too stiff, add some of the left-over boiling water, as if making a mayonnaise. There should be no chunks, just a smooth cream.
Most people add salt here, I prefer to leave it up to the eaters to add. Flatten in a bowl or two, sprinkle with olive oil. Refrigerate. Should you want to eat it immediately, leave one bowl out, as it tastes much better at room temperature. Before serving, stir, add some parsley or tomato wedges etc to decorate.

Soak bulghur in cold water for at least 30 min. Drain well and sprinkle with some lemon juice. Chop the parsley, not too fine. Cut the tomatoes into fine cubes. Cut the mint leaves fine. Mix it all gently together. Mix olive oil, lemon juice and minced garlic. Pour over 'salad' and mix.

This ancient Middle Eastern dish is excellent for hot days or picnics. In Lebanon it is served with Falafel, but nut burgers are ok too. Mint tea also goes well with it.

August Macke, 'In the Bazar' and 'Turkish Cafe', 1914, via Zeno

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baked honey marzipan

500g insecticide-free almonds
3 tbsp good quality honey
a little spelt flour

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
blanch the almonds, dry them in the sun and grate them finely with a hand grater. Add the honey. Mix and knead to a thick mass of marzipan. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
Sprinkle very little flour on a linen tea towel to prevent sticking. Turn a rolling pin in the flour so it becomes dusty.
Place the marzipan on the tea towel and roll it out. It should not be too sticky. Roll it out quite thinly, as much as possible given that it is more sticky than pastry, but avoid mixing too much flour into the marzipan. Stamp out biscuit shapes and collect the off-cuts for the next batch.
Place the marzipan shapes on a buttered baking tray and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden.
Store in a paper-lined tin.

Baked honey marzipan is a simple recipe and depends greatly on the quality of its ingredients. The result is easy to chew sweet nuts. Make sure the honey you use is one you really like. I prefer it to be mild but aromatic for this recipe with almonds, such as organic coastal Australian heath honey
Image: Flegel, George, still life with parrot and mouse, 1610, via Zeno

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Omelet with mushrooms and thyme

6 medium mushrooms, e.g. champignons, chanterelles, porcini
a few tips of fresh thyme, or best lemon thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
50g goats milk fetta cubed
4 organic, free-range eggs
2 tbsp water

Slice mushrooms in 4. Fry in a large pan in the olive oil on both sides until golden and dry on a low flame. Add thyme tips. Push to one side of the pan.
Add the butter.
Beat the eggs and water well with a fork until smooth. Pour into the pan next to the mushrooms. Let it fry until almost set on top and golden underneath. Cut across the middle and look under the omelet to see if it is stable. Flip the halves from the round side so they keep their shape.
Place half of the fetta cubes on each omelet half. Fold lengthwise to cover the cheese so it has the shape of a quarter circle filled with fetta. Let it melt briefly. Then serve with toast. Some mushrooms will be incorporated into the omelet, others next to it.
Image: Boletus & free range organic eggs