Holiday banter and Baklavas.

We are back in London and the holiday mood has set in. It’s cold and feels so christmassy here. But the chances for a white one seems pretty low. Did I just sound like I am going to report christmas weather in London? I hope not. I am only selfishly hoping for some snow this year. I know its not entirely convenient when it snows but it is such a beautiful thing to see. Now that I have a small boy at home, I cannot imagine anything more prettier than the sight of us looking out the window while it snows. Besides the snow, we like festive lights, scented candles, dancing in our christmas pyjamas and lots of yummy treats to munch on. So, while we  sing.. all we want for christmas is some snow…. la..la..la, here are a few photos from our home…

christmas blog 2015 2

 

 

christmas 2015 blog 4christmas 2015 blog 3

 

owl blog final

A little story behind the owl wall hanging is that a certain small man in our house adores the Owl. Mainly inspired from the Gruffalo story and the owl from the Twinkle twinkle little star video. As its my duty to keep him happy, I got this DIY kit(Shhhh…. the secret here is that this kit is for 8 year olds and I only got it to practise my basics in stitching). This is my christmas present for the young man although I know when he is old enough to understand more, he is going to hate me for giving a pink one. Until then, I am going to get away with it.

baklava 4

 Baklavas

Finally, What’s a holiday without sweets?  I like sweets in all forms. Sticky, gooey, crumbly,cakey,creamy and so on but what matters more to me is the flavour and the sweetness itself. Lesser the sugar the better for me. I know you are thinking that I am being rather silly to have said that but more than my tastebuds, the waistline is struggling to handle too much at the moment. Besides that, I think too much sugar in general in any dessert only makes it boring. Throwing in different flavours in good proportions makes it more palatable don’t you agree? Here is one such recipe, when well made makes it a great treat for any occasion. So why not get your hands sticky with this baklava recipe for the holiday season?

Here is what you need 

Filo pastry sheets- store bought

Mix of nuts- crushed roughly

Sugar – as required

Dessicated coconut – A handful (Optional)

Butter – Lots of it (Enough to brush every other sheet liberally)

For the glaze :

Sugar – 2 tblspns

A spoon of rose water

Plain water – a little less than a cup

If you have never worked with filo dough, then please don’t think this might be tough. It only sounds a bit fancy but it is indeed very easy to work with. I have only used them for baklavas although a lot of recipes have come up with filo pastry fillings. All you need to remember is that these sheets are very very thin. They tend to break/dry out easily at room temperature. So, the best is to work quickly and be more organised. And here is a small tip which you may have already known or seen on other recipes with regards to filo pastry:

A wet or a rather damp tea towel comes in quite handy to avoid the filo sheets from drying out in room temperature. So, keep them covered with the towel until the moment of truth, i.e. till the exact point you want to start filling and layering. 

  1. Preheat oven at 180 C. Place parchment/baking paper on a large sized rectangular tin.
  2. Take the roughly chopped nuts(I used almonds, pistachios and walnuts) and add a few spoons of sugar and mix well. Add as much sugar as you like after a quick taste check.
  3. Take atleast 2 filo sheets and butter them. Start filling the nut mix lengthwise. (See picture below) baklava 2

4. Next roll them like how you would roll a paper/poster. As you roll, keep brushing butter randomly on the sides. Repeat this for the remaining sheets.

5. Make as many rolls as your baking tray will hold. I made about 7 rolls with 3 sheets at a time. Now with a very sharp knife, cut them into small squares or diamonds or you may simply halve it.

6. Bake at 180 c until the crisp and golden brown at the top. Keep an eye after about 10 minutes to avoid burning.

7. Lastly, make the sugar/rose water syrup by simply boiling sugar and water until thick. Then add a few drops of rose water to the warm syrup. Once the baklava is out of the oven, take a small brush and apply the syrup evenly or just pour it gently all over. Let it rest for at least 1 hour to allow the syrup to soak through and you can then enjoy some sticky soggy nutty rich parcels. After a day, they hold well so you may even go ahead to pack them for friends or family. And with fillings, you can always experiment. I have even tried adding bits of dates and turned out just good.

A very Merry Christmas and A happy New year to you

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