applesteamdream


Egyptian Dukkah, a great nibble….
October 21, 2011, 5:27 pm
Filed under: baking, cooking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had tried this at a friends house a few years ago and have been trying to buy it at local delis, in the end I made my own. Dip broken pieces of bread in extra virgin olive oil, then into the dukkah, and eat as anibble or a snack, nice as a starter. Egyptian Dukkah is a blend of toasted nuts, seeds and spices plus a little brown sugar and seasoning. Such a delicious combination and i’m not surprised that this is a popular pre-meal nibble.

Egyptian Dukkah

the quantities below make a lot of Dukkah but  it’s not worth reducing the quantities. Use Dukkah in place of breadcrumbs or layered between buttered sheets of filo pastry. Use whole spices which you should buy in small quantities so they don’t go stale; toast and grind your spices rather than use bought spice blends or powdered spices. Use different combination of nuts  to that in the recipe, be creative and aka use up whatever you have in your cupboard!)

50g almonds

50g pistachio nuts

50g hazelnuts

35g sesame seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

½ a tablespoon black peppercorns

1 small piece of cinnamon bark (this was my one cheat – i used the cassia powder i
bought in new york last year)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (i used dark muscovado)

1 tablespoon sea salt

toast the nuts and seeds in a large dry frying pan over a medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the nuts are golden (i added the sesame seeds a few minutes before the end so they didn’t burn). place the nut mixture in a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

toast the spices in a dry frying pan over a medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. grind them to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. toss the nuts and spices together, with the sugar and salt, until well combined.

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Green message sent to us by a friend…

Green Thing

Anonymous

In the queue at the store, the cashier told an older woman that  she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be      washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t  have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and  didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in  every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.      When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a  wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic      bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But      she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have  the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.



Pantry Plans

We haven’t posted since before the visit we had to Grand Designs Live (GDL). We’ve had lots of things to sort out, and we haven’t had much time to go through all the information we gathered there. One project that has progressed in the planning stage, through discussions around being carbon neutral is our plans to have a vented pantry.

At GDL we noticed a simple pantry cupboard design which utilises some basic principles of food preservation. “In the old days”, they used to have a pantry to keep food in. These were often bare brick walled with shelves attached. In some cases the shelves, or a specific shelf for dairy produce, would be made of stone, slate or granite. These cold stones used to stay even in summer months, reducing the need for refrigeration. Other methods of cold storage have included root cellars, ceramic or terracotta jars. The design we saw utilised two of these principles, it had a slab of granite as the main shelf, and terracotta, lidded jars for further storage of bread and potatoes.

 you can just make out the shelf and the terracotta jars. These jars were set into pull out drawers for ease of access. The design has the added benefit that the granite slab is above the jars; this means that the cool air generated by the granite will sink down, cooling the jars further.

We have done some planning and research and have come across various ideas to increase the efficiency of this idea. Our pantry needs to be on the north side of the house, thus avoiding sun from the south warming the outside wall. We intend to make all the shelves out of stone to create more cold zones and an insulated door. To increase the cooling process we intend to fit the pantry with a chimney in the roof and a vent in the floor. This would be utilizing basic principles to keep the food cool: hot air rises, (through the chimney) as it does this, cool air is drawn in from lower down. All we need to add to this is a filter system to keep mould/fungus out and voila, nice cool pantry.

Ric & Richard

x



Applesteam Dream- Apple Jam and Fresh Bread

First trial of Apple Jam

 I tried a setting on my breadmaker I’ve never used before. I’ve always, in the past used it to make bread from start to finish, but have never been overly impressed with the results. Now I use it to make the dough, but then transfer it to a bread/cake tin to rise a little more, and place it in the oven, much better loaf, and no hole in the bottom because of the mixing paddle.

But today I decided to try the jam setting. I had been given some apples by a friend of my Mum’s, lovely lady that does errands for my parents. So I decided to make some apple jam, with a little cinnamon added at the end. I didn’t realise how easy it was to make, and how few ingredients you need: apples, sugar with pectin (to help it set), lemon juice, a little water, cinnamon.

It filled the flat with the lovely smell of “Applesteam” when it was heating and stirring itself. It has set rather nicely too. We haven’t tried it yet, that’ll be in the morning when Richard comes over to pick me up to go to Grand Designs Live in Birmingham www.granddesignslive.com

We are having toast, made with homemade bread, my Mum’s homemade damson jam and my homemade apple jam…lovely.

xx

Ric



A Lovely Gift

Last evening Ric surprised me with a ticket to the Grand Designs Live show (which is tomorrow, Sat 8th Oct). The show has a massive section on Eco building, straw bale construction and different heating/cooling systems. I’m not sure I have enough brain space to take it all in in one day so a reusable bag filled with hopefully recycled leaflets will be required.
We will return with ideas & photos soon.
I can feel some tired feet coming on.

Take care, Richard