Rice pudding with cardamon and rosewater

A wonderful desert that is easy to make and just perfect if you have some leftover rice. The taste is a delight, like walking in a scented garden.

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I used cooked rice with raisins. The raisins can be added during the preparation if you prefer, and dates as well.

For one cup of prepared rice with raisins:
1- Place the rice in a large pot and cover with milk. (I only use whole milk) Bring to the point of boiling, then lower the flame.
[At this point you can add some raisins and/or dates cut in small pieces.]
2- Add a pinch of salt, the seeds of seven cardamon pods and half a cup of brown sugar, or less if you prefer (you can always add some later). You can replace the brown sugar with honey as well (maple syrup might change the taste too much). Use less honey as it has a “sweeter” taste than brown sugar.
3- Mix from time to time while it cooks. Let it cook for about 20 minutes.
4- Add one tablespoon of rosewater at the very end and mix.

Place in the fridge. It should be eaten cold.

Tomato jam

Yes! Jam with tomatoes! A Mediterranean treat that is so tasty and so easy to make!

It is best served with bread and white cheese. It is most delicious with a smoked cheese, or one similar to Manchego. Personally, I like it simply with Panela. Try it any way you want and serve it as an aperitif or a snack. It will make everyone smile!

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For 500 gr. of tomatoes (one jar of jam)
1- The first thing is to peal the tomatoes. For that, place the tomatoes, preferably medium size and organic, in boiling water for five minutes. Take them out and cut a small line in their skin with a sharp knife. Let them cool enough to be handled.
2- The rest of the process I love to do it by hand, feeling the texture of the tomatoes and wishing well to the ones of cultivated them and the ones who shall eat them. For each tomato:
– Peal it with your hand, cut out the green stem with a knife, then squeeze out gently the seeds and liquid.
– Then squeeze the tomato on top of the cooking pot letting the pulp come out from the sides of your hand.  (alternatively, just cut it in small cubes).
3- In the pot add: one and half teaspoon of freshly crushed black pepper, a generous pinch of salt, a tiny dash of cinnamon (I just scraped a cinnamon stick lightly three of four times) and 220 gr of sugar.
4- Bring the tomato mix to a boil and mix constantly for about 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the liquid should have evaporated. Keep on mixing so that it does not stick to the pan. Even if you see some pinkish foam, just keep on mixing it will eventually blend with the rest.
5- Finally, place in a sterilised jar. Place in the fridge once it has cooled. It can stay up to three months.

Traditional French Mousse au chocolat

Wonderful traditional mousse au chocolat! “Chocolat de chez chocolat” as we say in French. I will be taking it to a friend’s place for dinner. It serves 12.

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1- Melt 200 gr of high quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao content) au bain-marie.
2- In the meantime, mix six egg whites very firm (I used seven eggs since they were organic and rather small). Set aside.
3- In another bowl mix six egg yolks with two tablespoons of brown sugar, until it is homogenous. Add two cup (400 ml) of heavy cream and mix again.
4- Mix the melted chocolate with the yolk mix. Then gently fold in the whites.
5- Pour in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Carrot jam – Persian delight

This is absolutely delicious. When you take a bite, close your eyes and you will feel you are entering a fragrant garden.

I tasted it recently when I traveled to Iran, but it did not taste so good as the jam was generally of the commercial kind. Preparing it at home, as with any food actually, makes all the difference.

Here a recipe I put together from reading various sources. It is a small portion (only 250 gr of carrots) so that you may first try it, and see how it tastes. I used brown sugar, hence the dark color of the jam.

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1- In a deep pan, bring to a boil: 200 ml of water, 100 gr of brown sugar, the seeds of five cardamon pods and the juice of half an orange. Let it boil then simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
2- Grate 250 gr of organic carrots. I like do to it by hand and never use any machines. It is in many ways my form of meditation.

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3- Add the carrots to the pot and stir well. Let it come to a boil then reduce the fire just a little bit and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. The mix should become sirupy and the carrots very soft.
4- Finally, add the juice of half a lime and a tablespoon of rose water. I used some I bought in Kashan, Iran, made of the wonderful “Gul Mohammedi” rose. Let it simmer for about five minutes.

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5- Place in sterilised jar and refrigerate once it has cooled down.

Serve with fresh bread, either with butter or a light white cheese. It is delicious for breakfast or a snack. Enjoy! 

Gâteau aux mûres, pommes et citron vert

A lovely cake made with blackberries, apples and lime, inspired by one of the recipes from this book. I changed a few things from the original recipe replacing white sugar with brown sugar, and using lime instead of lemon. It was delicious with a welcome tang and a consistency somewhere between a cake and a clafouti.

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1- Melt 40 gr of high quality butter and let it cool.
2- In a large bowl whisk two eggs with 50 gr of brown sugar.
3- Using a spatula, add the melted butter, then 120 gr of sifted flour, then 50 cl of milk and finally the juice of one small organic lime. Mix well with the spatula.
4- Cut three or four large apples in very thin slices and add to the mix.

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5- In a prepared baking dish (lined with butter and flour), place half of the apple mix. You may have to use your fingers to make sure the mix is nice and flat. Top with a generous amount of blackberries and finish with the rest of the apple mix.
6- Place in a 180º C. oven and bake for 50 minutes.

Let it cool thoroughly and serve with a nice cup of tea or coffee. It is also delicious the next day after some time in the fridge.