Tuesday, December 04, 2012

HONEY, BEEZ, YOGHURT AND BAKLAVA



Baklava and Yoghurt, them Greeks know a thing or two about a chow                                                                 Mans

Every now and then all roads do seem to lead to Rome. In this case, they all lead to Baklava.


Vortex (Voytek)                                                       Mans
For years I have been getting my honey from me mate’ Vortex (Voytek). Short of character, Vortex is not. He has a long and impressive list of daring and gnarly achievements, which include climbing a number of the longest vertical rock walls on the planet and a whole bunch of other radical stuff too.  He also supplies me with the best honey around. Mans and I asked Vortex if we could take some pics of him and his hives. On the set day, Vortex arrived, not only with his usual massive package of character, but he also brought a large pot of homemade yogurt with him (perhaps one day his method of making yoghurt will appear on this blog. Who knows?) Anyhoo, it seemed only natural that I should make something with both honey and yoghurt. For a start, you can’t possibly go wrong with that combo and throw a few nuts into the mix and you are laughing mate. For a while I have wanted to learn to use phyllo pastry, and so it came to be, that all roads seemed to point in the direction of Baklava. It turned out so well that my friend Lisa and I made enough for 130 people for our mutual friends wedding.

Vortex a man who likes to get his heart rate going    Mans
Wot you need
500g  chopped mixed nuts
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1cup butter melted
1 x box (500g) phyllo  pastry
1 x cup white sugar
1 x cup water
½ cup honey
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon


                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                         Wot to do
Creative lighting by mans   Mans
The result of the lighting       Mans 
Preheat oven to 175degrees c. Butter whatever baking dish you have that’s close to half the size of a phyllo pastry sheet, if you don’t have one that size, just mosh whatever plan you can, even if you have to trim, or overlap the pastry, and what about the lost custom of borrowing from your friendly neighbour? Mix the   cinnamon into the nuts. Roll out the phyllo and cut to fit the baking dish (it should be in half, if you have got the right size dish). Keep the sheets of phyllo  that you are not working with covered with a damp cloth to stop em drying out.


Vortex's delish yoghurt                                          Mans
With a basting brush (a good old fashioned paint brush, in my case) paint a couple of leaves of phyllo with the melted butter and lay it on the bottom of the dish, now scatter a modest handful (2 to 3 tablespoons) of nuts on the phyllo. Keep repeating the process. Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to have about 6 layers of phyllo, by the time your nuts are finished. It’s not a train smash if you have to adjust your nut amount to allow for this. Now using a sharp serrated knife cut the baklava into equal rows lengthways, then cut diagonals to form sexy diamonds. Pop into the oven for about 45mins until crispy and golden. While the baklava is doing it’s thing in the oven, throw the sugar and water into a small pot and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Add the honey, lemon zest and the vanilla. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20mins. When the baklava is looking very yummy, take it out of the oven and evenly spoon/pour the syrup over it, giving the flaky pastry a splendid shininess and thereby making it even more yummy.  Try your hardest to let it cool before you stuff a piece into your pie hole. It’s excellent with Double Greek yogurt.


                                                                                                                                                                                             Mans





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