Thursday, March 26, 2009
Home-grown memories / Trésors faits-maison
I went silent, again, for more than a month. I had you starring at this spinach and bulgur thing for more than a month and I won't be surprised if you've gotten sick of it. Because I did. And so did all of the people I know.
The truth is the kitchen is still busy and I am still cooking and baking more than ever. The truth is whenever I make something and it turns out scrumptious and belly-rubbing-delicious and I want to tell you all about it, the camera seems to disappear. Then, I decide to make it again and it is even tastier than before and I take photos, download them to my computer, store them and at that moment the sun goes down, my sleepy eyes tell me I need my bed and before I knew it March is nearly over.
The truth is I love coming here and I miss it when I don't visit for a while. I love facing the white, smooth screen and thinking about what I'm going to write. I love my little kitchen journal, my childhood scented dishes, my home-grown memories.
The truth is I enjoy sharing my recipes with you all. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it so I won't forget what should be remembered. I also do it for my daughter. My adorable Layla whom I love dearly. I do it for her because I want her to remember that harira was her favorite soup ever since she started solid food, and that one day she got her eye lids sticky because she got too much honey on her m'semmen, or how she loves the smell of couscous steaming and picking olives out of everybody's plate.
Because on her first day of school she can count on having her favorite homemade bread with butter and pooh's honey. Because her birthdays will always be filled with dark chocolate cakes, princess costumes and balloons. Because whenever she would need comfort a warm hug and a big kiss will always be there. Because I want her to know that her father loves making merguez for her and that he will always call her "my little girl" and I " my life". Because my days are sweeter when I she is here and that I miss her when she takes her nap. Because I want her to know that the day she will become a mother herself, I will put henna on her hands and her feet, will put kohl to her eyes, prepare a big bowl of berkoukes and a plate of sellou and I will give her more honey.
While sellou is rather complicated to categorize, it is considered in Algeria and Morocco as an energy paste, a traditional sweet often served at birth celebrations. It is basically flour that Is cooked in a dry skillet on the stove or roasted in the oven until nutty and golden. To that we add honey, melted butter, ground almonds, or any of your favorite nuts, ground anise seeds, ground cinnamon and sesame seeds. It is highly addictive, has a unique flavor and comes together in a snap. No eggs, no pan greasing, no baking. The flour may take some time before turning into a beautiful blonde shade, that's where a friend, a husband or the phone come in handy. Toddlers around the kitchen not obligatory but most welcomed, as they love the smell of roasted flour and cinnamon. And so do we.
Sellou (Fragrant Roasted Flour with nuts and honey)
Recipe: Serves 4-6 people
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 4 ounces blanched almonds,or your favourite blend of nuts, ground
- 1 tbsp aniseed, freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, freshly ground
- 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup honey
- Some icing sugar to decorate
In a dry skillet, on medium heat, cook the flour, stirring continuously until it turns a golden colour. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Add to the flour the sesame seeds, ground or left whole, the almond meal, the aniseed and the cinnamon, and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and honey and stir first with a wooden spoon then with your hands to break any remaining lumps.
Mound the mixture in a pyramid on a plate. Dust with the icing sugar and decorate with some almonds or almond dragées.
Eat with teaspoons and serve with mint tea or coffee.
Sellou (farine torréfié au miel et amandes)
In Français please: pour 4-6 personnes
- 250g de farine
- 50g de graines de sésame, torréfié
- 100g d'amandes émondées et moulues
- 1 c.s de graines d'anis, fraichement moulues
- 1/2 c.c de cannelle, fraichement moulue
- 100g de beurre, fondu
- 100ml de miel
- Du sucre glace pour décorer
Dans une poêle, sur feu doux, faites cuire la farine en remuant constamment jusqu' a obtenir une belle couleur dorée. Retirer du feu et mettre dans un bol.
Ajouter a la farine les graines de sésame, moulues ou entières, les amandes moulues, l'anise en poudre et la cannelle. Remuer a l'aide d'une cuillère en bois. Verser le beurre fondu et le miel dessus et remuer d'abord avec la cuillère en bois, puis en vous servant de vos mains en frottant bien le mélange pour émietter tout grumeau restant.
Présenter le sellou en pyramide dans une assiette et décorer avec du sucre glace et des amandes entières ou des dragées si vous le souhaiter.
A déguster a l'aide de cuillères a café et servir avec du the a la menthe ou du café.