Welcome to Fruity Fridays this week it is a Date…
No, not that kind BUT for the sweet delicious dates that pair wonderfully with bacon or blue cheese or just adds that touch of sweetness to a Moroccan Tagine.
I do have as pictured above a date palm in my garden but dates don’t fare well here they like hot, dry temperatures not hot and humid.
The dates that are on my tree are picked while young and unripe and we take them to Lily’s other grandmother who loves them…so they don’t go to waste as the village ladies like them unripe but unripe the texture in your mouth is like when you eat banana peel but a lot drier and sour and not something that I like to eat but each to their own it wouldn’t do for us all to be alike, however, she also loves it when we take her fully ripe dates as a treat.
Dates are probably one of the only naturally dehydrated fruits they are also fat-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free and a great source of fibre.
Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years and many people still offer dates at each meal as a sign of hospitality or as an accompaniment to unsweetened tea or coffee.
When I was a child the only time we had some dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetisers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.
If you just take some blue cheese and stuff your dates then just roll in some streaky bacon secure with a cocktail stick and bake until the bacon is crispy…A quick and easy appetiser…
Date and a walnut loaf or bread is also quite nice… a little sweet for me BUT I remember my dad loving a sticky date pudding with custard he had a real sweet tooth…
Sticky Date and Walnut Pudding.
- 1 cup dried pitted dates chopped
- 4 tbsp low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger if using fresh ginger chop/grate finely.
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted and roughly chopped.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 1 litre (1 quart) pudding basin lined with a disc of parchment paper.
Place the dates in a bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons milk. Stir to coat, then leave to soak.
Place the margarine, sugar, eggs and remaining milk in a bowl. Sift over the flour, cinnamon and ginger, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Fold in the soaked dates and walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin. Set the basin in a baking pan and pour in boiling water to come 1 cm up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and basin with a tent of foil.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the pudding has lightly risen and a skewer comes out clean. If not, bake a further 10 minutes.
Turn the sticky date and walnut pudding onto a serving plate.
Serve with custard which is how my mum always served it although now many make sauces with fruit like an orange sauce I think with this custard is all you need.
Fresh dates…A first for me and they were expensive…But they looked so nice and tempted me.so I purchased them…On arriving home and unpacking my shopping, I decided to try them…Very sweet and quite firm…My next step was to google them…Apparently, they were an expensive buy but they need to be allowed to dry…Tomorrow I will put them out in the sun and am guessing for a few more days…Before they will be ready to eat…
BUT...one of my followers to the rescue…Ronit told me to freeze them and then thaw them ..she said they would perfect and ready to eat she was correct they were delicious…Thank you, Ronit..a good tip x Ronit is a fabulous chef and this Almond, Coffee, Banana and Date bread looks and sounds just perfect…
Morocco is the home of dates, for example, they are added to savoury dishes like a tagine …I just love how ornate some of these tagines are and the food which cooks in one of those is always just amazing.
Lamb Tagine with Dates.
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- half sm cauliflower cut into florets.
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
- 2kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp each paprika and ground coriander
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 850ml passata
- 700g sweet potato, cut into chunks
- 350g pitted date
- Some slivered almonds and some coriander for garnish.
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the onions, then gently fry until softened, about 5 mins.
Stir in the ginger, add the meat in batches, then fry on all sides until lightly coloured. Return all the meat to the pan, stir in the spices and cinnamon sticks, then cook for 1 min.
Add the passata and 800ml water, then bring to the boil, stirring. Season well, then cover and simmer for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is tender.
Add the sweet potatoes and vegetables, stir well, cover again, then cook for 20 mins or until the potatoes are just tender.
Stir in the dates and heat through for 5 mins. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
To serve, spoon the tagine into a serving dish and scatter with the almonds and coriander or maybe some orange zest which I love.
N.B. As with all tagines or stews, you can add any vegetables i.e carrots, sweet corn, courgettes whatever you have that needs using.
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and well being.
The environment is also something I am passionate about and there will be more on this on my blog this year
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Please stay safe and well and follow your governments safety guidelines remember we are all in this together xxx