A few days ago WordPress congratulated me with a “2 year anniversary” notification. Has it really been that long? I’ve hardly posted anything and certainly don’t deserve this electronic celebrations! The thing is, since I’ve started blogging, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for all those committed bloggers out there. The dedicated devotion to the amazing pictures and beautiful words, filling cyberspace, reaching someone, somewhere in this vast expanding world. What’s more, my admiration goes to all working mums who blog regularly sharing their amazing creations and pictures so enticing, they want to make you bite the screen! How do you do it?
Well done everyone! Blogging is no easy job.
So, for today’s recipe I’m sharing yet another copy of somebody’s work. This amazing book that’s made me smile and at most made me understand some of the Iraqi culture I had so much prejudice against. Why the prejudice you may ask? Well, sometimes we despise the culture we are from because we’ve been too exposed to it. We get to see both sides of it’s face, the beautiful and the ugly, the obligatory and the inessential, the over-the-top formality and the unavoidable slander. I could go on typing and filling the space with customs I love and hate, but I have to stop somewhere. You know why? Because I’ve discovered that everywhere I go I am surrounded by both extremes. The beauty and ugliness may manifest itself differently across another culture, but in the end it is WE who choose what to take and what to leave. We end up becoming an individual who neither belongs here or there, a loner in their unique set of rules and morals.
What I do know is that I’m not alone in all this. So wherever you are and whatever your belief, I greet you with a smile to acknowledge our shared humanity and unique culture partly painted by our surrounding and partly drawn by our own hand. Tolerance to kindness is what I’d like to have in common with all my brothers and sisters. Zero tolerance to ignorance, injustice, brutality and fanaticism.
Today’s recipe is a cake (or loaf) packed with soluble and insoluble fibre, moist, spicy and just hitting the sweet spot. So unbelievably addictive and dare I say good for digestion. I remind myself, as well as everyone else to not exceed 3 slices of this per week. That’s enough treats, trust me!
Prune Cake – Slightly adapted from Delights from the Garden of Eden, by Nawal Nasrallah.
Note: The original recipe calls for 340g (1 1/2 cups) sugar, which I’ve drastically cut down to a total of 100g using a combination of honey and date syrup or molasses. The sweetness is enough to complement the naturally sweet prunes already, and the use of wholemeal flours gives it a hearty touch with great success.
- 300g / 1 3/4 cups pitted prunes
- 375ml / 1 1/2 cups earl grey tea (or normal black tea)
- 125g (ml) / 1/2 cup soft butter OR coconut oil OR olive oil
- 50g / 5-6 tablespoons your darkest sugar (e.g. molasses, or coconut palm sugar) OR date syrup
- 50g / 5-6 tablespoons honey (I used orange blossom honey for it’s distinct citrusy flavour)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 250g / 2 1/2 cups plain flour OR half plain/ half whole (I used half wholemeal spelt, half kamut flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 65 g / 1/2 cup walnuts OR pecans, roughly chopped
Place the prunes and tea in a small pot, bring to a boil and simmer gently, covered, for about 15 minutes – or until prunes are very soft, almost mushy. Drain the prunes, reserving the liquid. Cool until almost room temperature.
Meanwhile in a separate large bowl, beat the butter (or oil), honey, dark sugar (or date syrup), vanilla and eggs for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
In another separate large bowl, add all the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, baking powder, salt and spices, dry whisk for 1 minute, and set aside. Dry whisking eliminates the need to sift the flour.
Cut the soft prunes into small pieces. In a bowl add 160ml (2/3 cup) of the reserved prune liquid, prunes, and bicarbonate of soda. You can puree the mixture if you wish. Add the fuzzy prune mixture (due to bicarbonate) to the egg mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined.
Now stir the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients and gently fold until roughly combined. Add walnuts or pecans and mix until all the ingredients form a smooth batter.
Pour into bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert into a cooling rack to cool completely.
Slice, and enjoy as a afternoon tea break or breakfast. Slices really hold their shape well and so make a great snack on the go too. The covered cake keeps well for a good 4 days and a week the fridge. Extra slices can be frozen too and consumed within 3 months.