Pomegranite Molasses At Home

Pomegranite Molasses At Home

What to do when you can’t get pomegranite molasses but have unfettered access to fresh pomegranites? Do the unthinkable and make your own. Absurdly easy to make, for flavour your molasses will outcompete any store-bought version by 1000 miles – and that’s a conservative measure

 Pomegranite molasses is a middle eastern staple used in a multitude of dishes from salads to sauces, stews and desserts. I love it in my homemade baked beans

While many recipes call for sugar I’ve never found it necessary to sweeten my molasses. On the contrary, the sweet syrup often needs balancing with lemon or lime juice. I realize I’m talking about Spanish pomegranites, so if your fruit is on the sharp side, go ahead and use your judgement to adjust the sweetness

 

METHOD

 Pomegranite molasses needs just freshly squeezed pomegranite juice and maybe a little lemon juice. Heat to boiling point and cook at medium heat until it reaches a rolling boil and the color has deepened. This can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes, depending on how deep or shallow your pan is and how thick and dark you like it. Finally adjust the taste with a little lemon or lime juice or agave syrup and when cool enough store in a jar in the refrigerator.

The recipe is for a small jar of molasses using 8 pomegranites. Double or triple it to your needs.

Check the video tutorial at the end of the recipe

Fresh Pomegranite Molasses

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Cuisine: Mediterranean, middle east, Worldwide
Keyword: fruit, no added sugar, vegan

Equipment

  • orange squeezer

Ingredients

  • 8 large pomegranites or multiples thereof
  • lemon or lime juice to taste

Instructions

  • juice the pomegranites as you would an orange. The citrus squeezing attachment of a food processor is ideal
  • Keep the seeds back and squeeze out the remaining juice using a piece of muslin or similar thin cloth. You don;t have to do this, but you;ll find there's a lot of juice still left in the seeds
  • place the pomegranite juice in a pan. A wide, shallow pan will speed up the process, but you can use any pan
  • bring the juice to a boil and let it cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally for a good 30-40 minutes. After this time look out for a rolling boil, meaning the juice has turned syrupy. If the result is too thin you can cook it some more, but if you;ve overcaramelized or even slightly burnt the molasses there's no going back
  • adjust the sweetness with a light syrup such as agave syrup, and the sharpness with lemon or lime juice to your taste. I never use a sweetener. On the contrary, I find the local pomegranites, even the pale looking ones really sweet and adust only the acidity
  • when warm store in a small jar with a good seal and keep in the refrigerator to use in your favourite recipe

Roasted Tomato And Garlic Soup With Sautéed Figs

Roasted Tomato And Garlic Soup With Sautéed Figs

Too late to make it to the supermarket yesterday I woke to just enough milk for coffee and no bread. Oat porridge, then, with rich, thick soya cream for Sunday breakfast: veganly delicious! StillI I thought I’d better try to make the 2pm deadline for the corner shop for emergency supplies. Little bags of green thingummies in the fridge were figs. Eyeing big, ripe beef tomatoes out of the corner of one eye lunch was sorted

I’m not overly attached to eating things in season. We humans have come a long way in farming since our hunter-gatherer days, and I’m OK with that. Still, I have to admit that things taste best when in season, and figs and beef tomatoes are in season here in Extremadura. As are cherries. Paprika, mercifully, is a condiment for all seasons.

Spanish tomato soup is served with figs and slices of toasted or fried stale bread. I skipped the latter in favour of using up left-over buckwheat risotto in a frittata. Some crisp endives over rocket and a bowl of Jerte cherries rounded off the meal

 

Roasting Tomatoes

There many ways to skin a tomato: the most straight-forward is under a hot grill. you want the skin quite charred, but the fruit still firm. Roasting by this method cooks the tomato quite a bit, so no need to sweat them: jump straight to peeling them once they’ve cooled down enough to handle and proceed accordingly

Roasting over a flame or charcoal gives the best flavour. I have a wok-shaped pan full of holes especially for the job. I love it, and wholeheartedly recommend it. Flame roasting requires a period of sweating to cook the fuit and let the charred aromas of the skin penetrate the flesh. !5 minutes is minimum. Longer is better.

 

char-roasted tomatoes

The tomatoes as well as the garlic can also be blackened on a hot skillet. You’ll need to stick around to turn them over frequently, though.

If you don’t have all day you can just skip the roasting: plunge your tommies in hot water for 30 seconds, peel them and proceed accordingly. But you will be missing a whole dimension of flavour

 

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup With Figs And Goats' Cheese

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Roasting & resting tomatoes30 mins
Course: any
Cuisine: Mediterranean, spanish
Keyword: broth, figs, soup, stock, tomatoes

Ingredients

  • vegetable stock or stock cube
  • 2-3 ripe beef or plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • a splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 3-4 ripe figs
  • a knob of butter
  • fresh goat's cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • Start your vegetable stock by adding whatever veg you have to hand with a handful of herbs and spices to a pan. Boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain off the solids and keep back the stock
    making vegetable stock
  • Meanwhile roast the tomatoes whole or halved if they're very large, and garlic, skin-on in a very hot oven or grill, on a skillet or over a naked flame (see notes above)
    char-roasted tomatoes
  • When the garlic and tomato skins are blackened wrap them in a kitchen towel over foil or plastic film and let them sweat for 20-30 minutes
  • Slice the onion and soften in a little olive oil with the finely chopped rosemary and the thyme. Adding a little salt stops then over-browning.
  • Skin the tomatoes and garlic. Slice the tomatoes thickly and the garlic very thinly. Add them to the onions, along with the paprika and cook for 5-10 minutes or until softened through
  • Add the tomatoes and other ingredients to the stock, or vice versa, season with salt and black pepper to taste, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Top and tail the figs and cut them in 4 or 6, depending on their size, and sautée in a little butter or olive oil to keep the dish vegan
  • serve the soup in wide soup bowls topped with sautéed figs. Traditionally some toasted or shallow-fried slices of yesterday's bread are added. I prefer a couple of medallions or soft goats' cheese or a dollop of thick soya cream and a few chopped chives with fresh crusty wholemeal bread on the side
    bowl of roasted Spanish tomato and garlic soup with butter sautéed figs,
Pasta, Caccio E Pepe

Pasta, Caccio E Pepe

I’m not a fan of eating large amounts of pasta on a regular basis. When in Italy, mostly in the north, I’m served pasta in quite modest amounts as a separate course before the main. Maybe it’s different down south, but I think this is the healthier way to enjoy a bit of pasta now and then.

If you think pasta with cheese and pepper doesn’t sound like anything to write home about, well, I’m happy to say that on this occasion you’d be wrong

One of the great features of Italian gastronomy is sophistication of technique within relative, sometimes great, simplicity of ingredients. This dish, from Rome’s Lazio region illustrates this perfectly.Jump to Recipe

I’ve seen recipes adding grated cheese and a bit of pepper to pasta. Really? No! Caccio e pepe is a marriage of cheese and pepper with very lightly salted pasta water turned creamy, velvety emulsion in gastronomic heaven. It’s not hard to make, but there’s a good bit of technique. Here’s what I’ve picked up during my forays through fair Italy

 

TUTORIAL SUMMARY OF THE TECHNIQUE

The pepper is just lightly crushed with a pestle, then delicately dry toasted in a pan to bring out its perfume

Pecorino is the cheese of choice, though you’ll get great results with Parmesan or any hard aged ewes’ or cow’s cheese. To the fairly salty cheese you’ll be adding a little of the “glutinous”, salty pasta water. This requires that you use

  1. half the recommended amount of salt in the pasta water
  2. half the recommended amount of water in order to obtain that glutinous consistency

First time I made this I used too little water for the pasta and ended up with a delicious, but slightly dry result. Thus, I took to keeping a small saucepan of simmering water nearby, ready to come to the rescue. I rarely need it nowadays, but it helps me feel secure

You’ll need two pans, a deeper pan to pre-boil the pasta, and a wide, open frying pan, large enough to hold all the pasta with room to toss where you’ll finish off the dish

The pepper is dry toasted in the frying pan at medium heat just until its aroma is released. Once the pasta water starts to look gloopy, add a ladleful to the black pepper.

A couple of minutes of lively bubbling and you’re ready to add this to half the cheese in a bowl, whisking vigorously to dissolve it into a thin cream, then add the remaining cheese while the mixture is still hot for a thicker cream

The pasta is only partially cooked in its original pan and finished off in the secondary shallow pan along with a ladleful or two of pasta water and the caccio-pepe emulsion until al dente and immersed in creamy, velvety nectar – the aroma of which words fail to describe

Have your table very close by and your guests ready to tuck in. This dish waits for no-one.

Ready? Here’s the recipe

Pasta, Caccio E Pepe

Pasta with cheese and black pepper from Italy's Lazio region. Two ingredients, one big dish
Prep Time15 mins
cheese grating time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: any
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: cheese, ova-lacto, pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 -3/4 pounds tornarelli, spaghetti or macaroni I always use wholemeal
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino or parmigiano or your favourite aged HARD cheese
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • salt

Instructions

grate the cheese

  • divide your grated cheese between two bowls

cook the pasta

  • follow the instructions on the packet using half the recommended amounts of salt and water
  • optionally boil some water in a small pan and have it simmering in case you run out of pasta water!
  • Cook the pasta till al dente but still a bit hard: you'll be stealing about 3-4 minutes from the recommended cooking time
    boiling pasta

prepare the pepper

  • while the pasta is cooking coarly crush the whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle
  • when the pasta water starts to look gloopy put the crushed peppercorns in a dry large frying pan and toast on medium heat for a few seconds to just release the aromas
  • add a ladleful of pasta water to the pepper and cook on high heat for 2 minutes. This will release the pepper's aromatic oils into the water

emulsify the cheese, pepper and water

  • add the hot peppered water to half the cheese in a bowl, stirring vigiriusly to achieve a thin cream. While still hot add the relmaining cheese. If the resulting cream is too thick add spme more of the pasta water to achieve the consistency of thick double cream

finish the dish

  • transfer the pasta to the frying pan you used for the pepper along with a couple of ladle-fuls of pasta water
  • add the cheese-pepper emulsion in 3-4 stages, tossing the pasta contiuouslty. Add more pasta water to thin out if necessary and cook for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente and the emulsion is creamy and smooth. If if looks over sticky add a tiny bit more water, but careful!
    caccio e pepe sauce for pasta
  • Serve immediately
Courgette And Feta Flan

Courgette And Feta Flan

There was a great looking recipe for a courgette and cheese loaf knocking about on Facebook. After some of my friends tried it I thought I’d have a go

Now, I get annoyed when some upstart chef takes a classic recipe, usually from culture they don’t understand, and gives us their take.  Jamie Oliver did this with Paella. However, the Spanish loved it. Good on you Jamie

However, since – as far as I’m aware – this is not a classic recipe from a village in a hidden mountain valley in the Italian Dolomites, here goes

I’ve used millet flour because it has a wonderfully low glycaemic index. And Feta because I just love it. And mustard and chilli just to liven things up

Courgette And Feta Flan

A light, fluffy protein dish for any season
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
rest time15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Modern
Keyword: eggs, flan, ova-lacto, pie

Ingredients

  • 1 large courgette (zucchini) coarsely grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 eggs
  • feta cheese to your taste crumbled
  • 2-3 tbsp yoghurt (or milk)
  • 1 tbsp light vinegar (optional) commended when using milk rather than yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp oilive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic chopped or crushed
  • 3-4 tbsp flour (I used milled millet for its low glycaemic index)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (I used fermented mustard and green mango Kasundi)
  • chilli flakes to taste

Crunchy Breadcrumb Base (optional)

  • 1 handful brreadcrumbs (I used dark rye)
  • olive oil for frying (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)

Instructions

Prepare the courgettes

  • Coarsely grate the courgette(s) by hand or using a mandolin or food processo
  • Add salt and massage with your hands for a few seconds
  • leave to rest for 15-20 minutes

Make the base (optional)

  • Dry toast or fry breadcrumbs in a frying pan with or without garlic until crisp. Set aside
  • Lightly oil or butter the bottom and sides of your flan tin and spread the bread-crumbs evenly over the base. Let some stick to the sides if they want to

Make the flan

  • soften the onions and garlic without browning in a little oil
  • using your hands or a sieve and a wooden spoon squeeze as much of the liquid out of the courgettes as you can
  • spearate the egg yolks and whites, making sure there is no yolk or fat of any kind in the egg whites (or they won't whip)
  • mix the drained courgettes with all the ingredients except the egg whites
  • Add a pinch of salt to the egg-whites and whisk the to soft peaks. Fold into the flan mixture with a large metal spoon or spatula
  • Spread over the breadcrumb base (if you;re using them) and bake at 180 degrees C for 30-35mins
  • Serve with a couple of nice crisp salads