Baklava

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I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while and just haven’t had time, sorry! I made a big batch for our engagement party and it got rave reviews. It’s dead simple to make but tastes far more complicated than it is! The recipe says it makes 30 pieces but that comes down to how big you make them. I prefer bite sized pieces to bigger chunks. The recipe is taken from Tess Malos The Complete Middle East Cookbook.

For 30 or so pieces you need:

For the pastries

  • 20 sheets of filo pastry
  • 3/4 cup melted butter (that’s 190g to you and me…)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

For the syrup

  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup runny honey – use a good quality one
  • thinly peeled strip of lemon rind
  • small piece of cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 crushed cardamon pods
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Butter the sides and base of a 33cmx23cmx5cm tin.
  2. Layer up 9 sheets of  filo pastry into the base of the tin, buttering each well before placing in the tin.
  3. Mix the nuts and sugar with the spices then sprinkle half over the pastry.
  4. Layer a further two sheets of pastry on to the nuts, buttering each as before.
  5. Spread the remaining nut mix on top of these sheets.
  6. Top with the remaining filo, buttering each.
  7. Trim the top and sides and tuck in neatly.
  8. Sprinkle some water over the top to stop it from crisping too much in the oven.
  9. Score into pieces, taking care not to cut all the way through to the base.
  10. Bake in the centre of a 180 degree oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, move one shelf up and cook for a further 30 mins. You want the pastry to be golden brown and crisp all over.
  11. Whilst the baklava is baking make the syrup. Place everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, boil rapidly for 15 mins until reduced and syrupy in consistency.
  12. Take the baklava out of the oven and drench in the hot syrup.
  13. Leave for at least four hours before eating. Then scoff!

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Peanut Butter Flapjacks

These are based on a recipe by the huge furry whipping tool. I’ve adjusted the quantities of dried ingredients to suit our tastebuds and preferences. Don’t be tempted to ditch the orange and lemon zest, it makes a real difference when you include rather than omit them. 

For 16 bars you need 

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 125g crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g honey
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g oats
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g coconut
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 100g chocolate chips
  1. Begin by melting the first six ingredients together until mingled 
  2. Add everything else apart from the chocolate chips. 
  3. Press into a lined tin 20cm x 20cm tin
  4. Scatter over the chocolate chips and bake in a 160 degree oven till browned all over.
  5. Leave to cool completely before trying to scoff. They do not slice well hot!