Get cooking at home with these recipes from Lara Ariss
With Levantine Harvest, her first cookbook, Lara Ariss bring her signature love of medleys of flavour together with a keen appreciation for fresh seasonal produce and a gratifyingly straightforward approach to preparing food.
Often giving familiar Middle Eastern recipes a contemporary twist – like hummus with a confit of sun-dried tomatoes, cauliflower and chickpea soup accented with aromatic sumac croutons, or rose-flavoured ice cream with the elegant addition of loukoum – Lara brings new reverence to comforting classics, making everyday dishes easy and accessible to anyone who wants to indulge in fresh and flavourful cooking.
The result is a satisfying collection of recipes for every cook and every table that will bring a touch of joy to any dining experience.
Barberry and Crumble Muffins
Barberries or zereshk are tart red berries, traditionally used in their dried form in Persian cuisine. I have incorporated them in these muffins to make a delicate yet filling treat, perfect for breakfast on the go or when having hot coffee with friends. They are light, fluffy and unexpectedly crunchy, with a bit of sharp tang from the berries. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. I have seen barberries in the supermarkets here but they can easily be replaced with goji berries or cranberries or even blueberries.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus refrigeration
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 to 14 muffins
For the crumble
50g plain flour
50g butter, cold
50g light brown muscovado sugar
80g pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
For the muffins
285g plain our
2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1⁄2 tsp salt
150g caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray each cup with non- stick spray. The muffins come out just as nicely either way.
Rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips, then stir in the brown sugar and your choice of nuts. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, in a separate bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the yogurt and the orange zest and juice, and beat until the batter is just combined and there are no lumps. Fold half the dry ingredients into the batter and mix well. Repeat with the remaining half, then fold in the barberries.
Fill each muffin cup 3⁄4 full using an ice-cream scoop, then top with crumble to form a small peak.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Oatmeal and Date Cookies
These cookies are soft and wonderfully crumbly, perfect for breakfast on the go or afternoon treat with family and friends. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Makes: 30 cookies
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
280g light brown sugar
1 tbsp clear honey
2 tsp rosewater
140g Medjool dates, pitted and cut into 1cm pieces
80g golden raisins
70g walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Add the cinnamon and oatmeal.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the honey and rosewater, and mix to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients, and stir in the dates and raisins, and the walnuts, if desired.
Drop a teaspoonful (about 30 or 40g) of the dough onto the baking sheets, about 5cm apart.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges turn golden. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Featured image via Pinterest