Tahini cookies

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I was reading Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem not so long ago and the preamble to his recipe for tahini cookies.  It appears a few years ago, tahini cookies were all the rage in Israel.  I had never heard of them but was interested as Ottolenghi advised they taste like halva, which I absolutely adore. The association makes sense because halva is made with tahini and sugar, two key ingredients in these yummy biscuits.

I always remember my very first experience with halva.  It was on our first overseas holiday – the one year Europe trip – our first stop was Athens.  We must have read about halva as it was high on our must eat list.  We found some in a market and bought a massive block of it – about a 6 inch square.  Those who know halva would know how rich it is and how that much halva would normally last quite a while.  Maus and I finished it before we got back to our hotel and returned for more!  I have loved it ever since.  We always have some tucked away in the cool room for when something sweet is called for.

As a consequence, I am interested in anything that, reportedly, tastes like halva.   I decided to give the recipe a go.

We loved them.  They are a bit like halva-flavoured short bread.  I wasn’t even going to take a photo.  I was so certain we would make them again, I knew there would be other opportunities but, as an after thought, I took this shot of the remaining few.

I was right.  I did make them again – today, in fact.  And it is not just me who loves them.  I put two on a plate, one for me and one for Maus and Maus ate them both.

Ingredients:

  • 130g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 110g tahini
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 25mls double cream (I just used ordinary cream)
  • 270g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the sugar and butter in an electric mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until just combined.
  3. Add the tahini, vanilla and cream and beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour and mix with a spoon until the dough comes together.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands until well combined and smooth.
  6. Take spoonsful of dough and roll into balls, about the size of a walnut.
  7. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper, about 3 cm apart.
  8. Use the back of a fork to push down lightly on top of the ball to flatten it slightly.
  9. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on each biscuit.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden (you have to watch them closely as the bottoms brown quickly).
  11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Spicy cranberry nut tea bread

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I am always flicking through cookbooks and reading recipes but this time I had a purpose.  My sister Sandra’s friend, Merle, had given me some cookbooks to look through and either keep or send to the Op Shop.  This book had been earmarked for the Op Shop but two recipes in it appealed.  One was ‘brown sugar biscuits’ and the other was this spiced tea bread (nut loaf).  Maus likes a bit of cake with her butter so I was keen to try the nut loaf.

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Caramella

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Caramella (aka Caramel Fairy Tale) is a member of the Kordes’ Fairy Tale rose series.  Fairy Tale Roses are Kordes’ answer to David Austin. The plants carry heavily double blooms on vigorous, easy-to-care-for shrubs, with great disease resistance. Betty Cuthbert, last week’s Rose of the Week, is part of the series, as is Pomponella.

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Marshmallows

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I have 36 egg whites in my freezer.  We just love crème brulee here and with crème brulee comes excess egg whites.  So what to do with the bloody egg whites?  The idea of marshmallows has been flitting around my brain for a while.  The problem was, once I started looking for marshmallow recipes, I found most don’t have any egg whites in them.  Fancy that!  Who would have thought? Continue reading

Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds

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I know I am going through an Ottolenghi stage (and there is more to come) but don’t worry, it won’t last.  I go through stages all the time.  This is the salad recipe I have been wanting to post for ages.  At first I didn’t like the photo, then I thought, “Too much Ottolenghi”  and then I thought, “What the hell!”  This is a great salad, light and simple: just as a salad should be.  I have made it three times in the last month so it must be good. Continue reading

Rick Stein’s infamous beetroot chutney

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Infamous, that is, in my small circle of friends.

This is up there as my favourite chutney.  My friend, Emily, introduced me to it.  Emily made a batch a few (quite a few) years back and, generously, gave us a jar.  We loved it.  I remember asking her for the recipe.  She was very nonchalant about the source.  Emily said she found the recipe on the web but also mentioned that it was from Rick Stein.  I knew I would forget if I didn’t act immediately so I went online.  I soon found the recipe and saved it, along with a multitude of other recipes I am going to try one day. Continue reading

Betty Cuthbert

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It is time to start the Rose of the Week posts again.  I have been a bit lax and the first spring flush has all but gone.  There is always so much to do in spring I seem to miss it every year.  My rose garden is about 200 metres from our house so I have to make an effort to go and see it and I never seem to.  There is always something that needs to be done and no time to be wandering aimlessly through roses.  The other day, as we were leaving Bridgetown, I said to Maus, “I have to get a rose photo.” Continue reading