Muhallebi

Muhallebi, where do I begin?

A traditional Turkish dessert, it’s popular throughout the Middle East, as well as in Cyprus. It’s as pretty as a picture, served in individual dishes or one large shallow dish, sprinkled with pistachios, almonds or cinnamon.

It is the most delicate of desserts – milk pudding thickened with rice flour and perfumed with rose or orange blossom. Perfect for hot summer days, and even better after an over indulgent mezze session! Continue reading

Gooey Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Brownies

There is nothing better than a super gooey chocolate brownie. I’m pretty sure I can confidently say that on behalf of the entire world.

Sometimes I eat far too many brownies, but I’m not that bothered about it. Here’s another fun fact, I also really like eating my brownies frozen – however, that’s an entirely different story for another day. Now, let me share this with you.

Think wonderfully gorgeous, melted dark chocolate and roughly chopped pistachio’s – it’s a good thought.

Ingredients:

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 230g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe)
  • 160g all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g unsalted shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°c and place the rack in the upper third. Butter a deep 9 x 13″ baking pan.

In a heatproof bowl melt the dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler (sit the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water, making sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl). Whilst the chocolate is melting, in a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, coffee granules and vanilla extract, for around 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and smooth (don’t worry too much about the coffee dissolving fully). Once the chocolate has melted, leave to cool for around 5 minutes before adding first only a couple of tablespoons to the egg mixture and mixing well. Then add the rest of the chocolate in one go and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the mixture and whisk well for another 2 minutes. Fold in the chopped pistachios reserving one handful.

Pour the brownie mixture into your baking pan, sprinkle with your reserved pistachio’s and cook in the oven for around 35 minutes.

These brownies are totally awesome fresh from the oven and so gooey you’ll question whether or not you cooked them for long enough. Trust me on this, you want them gooey. However, leave these badboys to relax for a while and you’ll find they get even better…if that’s even possible. Mmm…

Makes around 12 chunky pieces of gooey goodness.

Chilli and Cumin Lentil Salad with Pistachio Nuts

Chilli and Cumin Lentil Salad with Pistachio Nuts

For anyone with similar taste buds to mine, you will love this. If healthy yet tasty food is your thing, you will love this. If chilli and cumin grace most of your meals, you will love this. If however you are strictly carnivorous, hate pulses and dislike nuts in salad, then I suggest you click here.

This recipe brings back the summer months and casts my mind to being in Cyprus where the only thing I like to throw together in my kitchen is a tasty refreshing salad – I have never understood those who can eat a hot meal in 40°c heat!

For a heartier version you could throw in some roasted butternut squash, beetroot, cooked chickpeas or even all three. Yum.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of salad leaves (spinach, lambs lettuce, herb salad)
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • Handful of sliced cucumber (if you can get Lebanese cucumbers – do it!)
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 5 asparagus, chopped with the woody ends removed
  • 1 medium to large carrot, finely grated
  • 150g puy lentils, precooked
  • Unsalted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Dressing:

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Method:

Blanche the asparagus in boiling water, drain and immediately put into a bowl of ice water – this keeps them nice and green. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, reserving some pistachio nuts for garnish. Add the asparagus.

In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, chopped red chilli (or alternatively a teaspoon of jarred chilli), and finally some cumin, salt and pepper to taste – I love cumin so I add quite a lot.

Drizzle over the salad, toss well and serve with extra pistachios.

Makes 1 portion

The Dream Cake

The Dream Cake

There is reasoning behind the name of this cake apart from the fact it tastes absolutely heavenly. In fact the truth is, it all started with a dream. A dream which woke me up at 4am a couple of weeks ago which seemed so genius that I had to get up and formulate said dream into a recipe right then and there, pyjamas and all.

What exactly is the dream cake you ask? Well, it’s a perfectly moist, sweet, nutty pistachio cake with an equally gorgeous strawberry and white chocolate buttercream frosting. Swoon.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 300g butter, room temperature
  • 300g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 210g flour
  • 75g unsalted ground pistachios

Cream filling:

  • 250g  butter, room temperature
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Strawberry flavouring, 1-2 teaspoons
  • 200g white chocolate, melted and cooled

Decoration:

  • Crushed pistachio’s
  • White chocolate cigarillos

Method:

Preheat oven to 190°c, butter and line cake tin.

Cake:

Cream together butter and sugar until a pale yellow. Add half the eggs and half the flour, mix well. Then add the rest of the eggs, flour, pistachios, pinch of salt and baking powder, beat for 1-2 minutes. Ideally you want the mixture to be ultra smooth and fluffy.

Pour the mixture into a lined cake tin (I used an 8″ here) and bake for 30-40minutes, as ovens tend to vary.

Cream filling:

Cream together butter and icing sugar. Add strawberry flavouring and mix well. Melt chocolate over a pan of simmering water and leave to cool slightly before mixing into the butter icing mix. Mix again to ensure a smooth and lightly whipped texture.

To assemble:

Once the cake has completely cooled, place it bottom up so you have a nice flat surface as the top. Cut into two halves and ice the middle before sandwiching it back together.

Cover top and sides of the cake in icing then put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes so the icing can set. Remove from the fridge and add another layer of icing. Make sure the top of the cake is nice and smooth, but don’t worry too much about the sides if you are using cigarillos.

Carefully place the cigarillos around the sides of the cake. I didn’t want the cigarillos to come up above the height of the cake so I simply broke them in half, however, if you would like to do a Lorraine Pascale and fill the cake with fruit, then I suggest leave the cigarillos as they are.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed pistachio nuts and voila. Heaven.