Sweet steamed coconut milk buns

This afternoon I indulged a little and enjoyed a sit down in front of the telly.  I watched Jamie Oliver make these beautiful coconut milk buns on his ’15 Minute Meals’ show. With a midweek church meeting at our house this evening I wondered whether I could come up with a sweet version to serve instead of the usual cakes or cookies.

I used:
1 can coconut milk
2 cans (use the Coconut milk can) self raising flour
Some chopped pistachio nuts
A teaspoon of vanilla extract
The zest of one lemon (I’d have used lime if I had one in).
3 drops high strength lime extract
2 heaped dessert spoons of desicated coconut.

Mix all the ingredients together (I used the dough hook attachment on the kitchen aid). Turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead to bring together. Cut into 10 equal sized pieces and roll into balls. Place into doubled up paper muffin cases and steam for 12 minutes. I don’t have a bamboo steamer (despite one being on my ‘to buy’ list for ages) but my stainless steel one worked perfectly.

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After 12 mins they’ll look something like this:

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Make a glaze using icing sugar and milk, spoon over the warm buns and sprinkle with desicated coconut. Enjoy!

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Oh, if anyone is wondering which lime extract I used there’s a picture below. I found it at a food festival and believe me, a little goes a long way!

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Assyrian Baklava

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Baklava is widely associated with Greece, but believe it or not, us Assyrians were the first people to layer nuts with flat bread and honey back in the 8th century B.C. Greek sea merchants discovered this decadent treat as they were traveling to Mesopotamia, and took the recipe back to Athens.

There are as many regional recipes for this delight as there are ways to pronounce it, but this is my family’s version. Passed from my Granny to my mum, who has adapted it and actually worked out the measurements rather than adding a dash or this and pinch or that, this recipe is very close to my heart. So much so in fact that I’m almost reluctant to share it! It’s a taste of home, a taste of my childhood and a taste of my heritage.  Make it with passion and eat it with love.

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Four generations of the Assyrian side of the family. Granny, mum, me and my daughter a few years ago.

You’ll need:
1 packet of filo pastry (6 large sheets)
4oz butter
8oz crushed pistachio nuts (walnuts or almonds work well too)
4oz brown sugar
1 level tsp green cardamom seeds crushed

For the sauce:
2oz dark sugar
2oz honey
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons rose water
1 level tsp crushed green cardamom seeds

Melt the butter. Brush an oblong cake tin with butter before laying one of the filo sheets on top folding any excess back on itself. Brush this with butter and add a second and third brushing each with the butter.

Mix the pistachio nuts, 4oz brown sugar and a teaspoon of crushed cardamom together and sprinkle over the filo sheets. Layer up the remaining filo sheets on top of the nut mixture brushing each with butter as you go, except the top one (brushing it with butter will make it brown too fast when baking).

Cut the baklava into diamonds before baking at 160oC for about 30 minutes.

Whilst it’s baking, make the sauce by heating all the other ingredients in a saucepan until it boils, stiring continuously. Allow it to cool before pouring over the baklava. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.

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