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,
Paella A La Mexicana

Paella A La Mexicana

What’s A Paella, Anyway?

What makes a rice dish a paella? Paella is a rice dish from the Valencia – Alicante regions of Spain cooked in a wide shallow pan called a paella. The original Valencian recipe starts by sautéing chicken and rabbit … Luckily for vegetarians there are infinite varieties of authentic paellas using any mix of vegetables, including two of my favourites, artichokes and thistles

Here’s a quick guide. If you don’t care about the ins-and-outs of culinary history, authenticity or paella semantics skip to the recipe and come back later for a wee read

Arroz (rice) a la paella: the original name of the dish. Paella is made in a paella.

Paella is not yellow. It has saffron which is yellow, but this is used for flavour. Being expensive you might be tempted to omit this queen of spices. That’s fine. But please, please don’t stain your rice with that tartarazine-based paella colouring that Spaniards adore, but is only a food dye with no flavour and zero nutrition. Add turmeric when it’s aroma enhances your particular dish. But not just to make it yellow. Paella isn’t yellow. OK? 

Valencian Paellas use paprika as well as saffron. Originally unsmoked from the Murcia region, you’ll find plenty of modern paellas using the smoky La Vera paprika

Alicante paellas use salmorreta: dried sweet peppers (ñoras) are sautéd with garlic, tomato, parsley and salt then blended smooth. Salmorreta will colour your paella a rich rusty red with no hint of yellow.

Paella contains beans. Originally a type of butter-bean local to the region, nowadays you’ll see any mixture of white and green beans including haricot and broad beans Peas are OK too.

When to add the rice? Valencian paellas add the rice before the liquid coating it in oil to keep the grains separate. Alicantine paellas add the rice last. Though there is a difference in the outcome it’s a fine point. What matters is the rice.

Which rice? Paella is dry. Bomba rice from the Valencian Albuferra is the classic, being highly absorbent, but there are many other types which connoisseurs can distinguish in taste and texture. Any medium grain highly absorbent rice which holds its shape is good.

Socorrat:, the crunchy caramelized crust at the bottom of the pan is an essential of authentic paella. it requires two things: a shallow paella pan and not stirring the rice after adding the liquid. This applies to all paellas. Finally:.

A dash of lemon? There was a big hoo-ha a while back in Spanish Master-Chef. Like onions in tortilla (or, dare I mention Brexit?) the country was split down the middle on the subject. Admittedly lemon with rabbit and chicken isn’t to everyone’s taste. But vegetables love a bit of lemon. You can go a step further and pound garlic with black pepper in a mortar and pestle then add lemon juice and smother your paella all over with the resultant majado 

And now, here’s a recipe that respects principles while staying heroically unfettered by tedious rules: a long-grain rice paella with a smoked chipotle chilli – oregano salmorreta topped with avocado and a shallot-lime majado in the Alicante style A La Mexicana

Paella A La Mexicana

This is a Spanish paella in the Alicante style using Mexican ingredients
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, spanish
Keyword: paella, rice, spicy
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • long grain rice - such as Basmati use one handful per person plus one for the pot
  • salt to taste

Salmorreta

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic whole or halved
  • 1-2 chipotle chillies dry or in adobo sauce
  • 4 fresh tomatoes unpeeled and quartered

other condiments

  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 pinch saffron (optional) saffron strands benefit from soaking in a little hot water; powdered saffron can go straight onto the rice

vegetables

  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 1 stick celery very finely chopped
  • 2 medium sweet peppers (capsimums) your favourite colour
  • 1 tea-cup beans any, but pinto are very Mexican
  • 1 handful green beans sliced
  • 2 avocados sliced - allow 1/2 an avocado per serving

dressing

  • 8-10 whole black pepper corns pounded
  • 1 lime jiuced
  • 2-3 small shallots finely sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaf chopped

Instructions

Marinate The Shallots

  • Immerse the finely sliced shallots in lime juice with a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside

Prepare The Salmorreta

  • Gently fry the onion, garlic, oregano and chipotle chillies with a good pinch of salt in a tablespoon of oil to just soften and lightly brown. Add the tomatoes (no need to peel) and oregano and fry for another minute or two
  • Put the the mixture into a blender goblet with a little water or vegetable stock and liquidize to smooth

Prepare The Rice - Vegetable Base

  • In a wide, shallow pan sauté the carrots, celery, green beans and peppers in a tablespoon of olive oil to lightly brown and soften
  • Add a cup of water or vegetable stock and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft but still firm
  • Add the rice, cooked beans, tomato-chile salmorreta, saffron if you're using it, and water or more vegetable stock to cover rice by a good inch. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook on a low flame without stirring or uncovering for 15 minutes
  • Test the rice - it should have no crunch in the centre. If it does give it another 5 minutes. Finally turn off the heat and allow the dish to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes

Finish Off The "Majado" Dressing & Other Toppings

  • Pound a small clove of garlic with 5-8 peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add marinated shallots with all the lime juice
  • Slice the avocados length-ways and arrange over the now rested rice
  • Sprinkle over the lime dressing and chopped fresh coriander and garnish with lime wedges. Serve with a fresh crisp salad