I just love healthy disagreement. However, when someone is too craven to introduce themselves on a blogpost that I have written, I'm not dignifying their comment with a publication and/or a reply. Simple as that. I made an exception recently, just because it was too funny not to.
When you come on my turf, it is my castle-my rules, it can't get simpler than that. I don't expect (or want) the whole world to agree with me, it would be boring and mind-numbing, but oh boy, do the research before you enter into the ring, as 'just because I said so' is not an acceptable argument... except when my mom or my dad says it.
And remember: I'm responsible for what I have written, NOT for the way you interpret it!
On a cheerier note, for the people of the Muslim faith, it is the Holy Month of Ramadan. That means that the ethnic shop in my town is stocked to the gills with delights that usually aren't on the menu.
A simple thing like kanafeh is not easy to come by around here and it is a pity, because I do love it! I remember my mom cooking it, usually in winter. The syrupy sweets were always reserved for winter, while the creamy, fluffy ones we were indulging into were sort of 'summer sweets'.
Originally, I went into the shop to purchase some tahini paste, to make me some hummus when I spotted 2 large dishes of ready made, sliced kanafeh. I didn't wanted to get the ready one, as it is too sweet for my taste, so I asked the lady on the checkout if they have the pastry. To my absolute delight, she went to the freezer and came out with a bag of fresh kanafeh pastry. I felt like hugging her!
"Armed" with my goodies, I knew that it was going to be a good day, and indeed it was.
I made myself batch of hummus and happily dipped with toasted pita bread. Some call that a snack, but I call it dinner.
OK, OK, I'll get to the recipes before you get bored of my rant.
Kanafeh (Kadaif) recipe
400 grams fresh OR 500 grams dried kanafeh pastry
350 grams sugar
600 ml water
juice of 1/2 lemon + slices of the other half
1 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 generous handfuls sultanas
100 grams chopped walnuts* (I used cashew nuts this time)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Arrange half of the pastry into a baking dish taking care not to break too much of it. Sprinkle the sultanas and walnuts, saving just about 1/3 and then arrange the rest of the pastry on top. Sprinkle the reserved sultanas and walnuts and put in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown on top.
While the pastry is in the oven, you have to make the syrup by combining the water, sugar, lemon juice & slices and vanilla. Put all ingredients into a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble for 7-8 minutes.
When you take out the kanafeh from the oven, fish out the lemon slices and arrange on the top. Using a ladle, pour some of the syrup all around the pastry. Do NOT pour it all at once. You have to use up all of the syrup.
Pop in the oven for another 10-15 minutes and then remove. Leave it to cool completely before serving.
This dessert is best made a day in advance.
Some recipes call for melted butter, but I find it best not to use it. In my personal opinion, it loads the dish with unnecessary calories and fats. However, if you do decide to use it, you have to melt 200 grams of butter and pour over the pastry before putting it into the oven (before the syrup too, the syrup is just about the last step).
You can completely omit the walnuts and/or sultanas. The dessert can be served plain or with topping of your choice. I never tried it with cashews, but it was too hot outside to embark on an adventure of going out to buy walnuts, so I made a do with whatever was available in the pantry. The result? Excellent, of course!
There are just about million recipes for hummus on the internet and every imaginable cookbook, but I'm going to share the one that works best for me. It is not exactly a labor of love, as I use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), but still, the result is decent dish.
1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) that amounts to 200-260 grams of drained weight
1 clove of garlic
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of smoked sweet paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1 generous tbsp of tahini paste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
water as needed
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and remove the outer skin. Put them in a food processor together with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until you get homogeneous mixture. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or two water and continue pulsing until you're happy with the consistency.
I like mine on the dry side for spreading and on the runny side for dipping :)
Serve with toasted pita bread or crudities.
Enjoy every bite!