I love it when I am inspired, I was chatting to Kate (our friends with 14 children, 9 adopted). She home schools some of her kids and has just started focussing on the food and culture of one country per week with the aim to work through 196 of them in a few years! That got me thinking and now I’m hooked on the idea of venturing into the world of unknown food! However I felt 196 countries was a little excessive so I’ve set my sights on baking/cooking inspired by all 54 African countries. Expect some of the bakes to have more African influence in the coming months. Apart from being very excited at experimenting, I thought it was a great opportunity to look out for flavours and techniques for the bakery with the assumption that the ingredients used in bakes around Kenya will be easier to source. I hope you are ready I’m going to be slipping them into the blogs!
First up – Algeria. I was searching through a few Algerian recipe sites, as part of North Africa and the Mediterranean they have a varied cuisine. This recipe caught my eye, the thought of dates, orange blossom and sesame seeds just sounded great! I’ve got to admit I wasn’t so sure on the semolina part but I then used the filling to make some yummy treats for Lucas. I blended the date filling with cashew nuts, rolled out balls, slightly flattened them and baked them ….yummy!
Recipe – Galette with Dates and Orange Blossom
250g semoule fine/semouletta (fine grained semolina, but not semolina flour)
250g semoule moyen (medium grained semolina)
60mL of olive oil or table oil or melted butter
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
230mL of tépid water
- Mix the semolina, baking powder, salt and oil. Make sure the grains are coated in the oil.
- Add water to the dry ingredients little by little. You need to adjust the amount of water to obtain a dough which is not very soft, but not too hardor crumbly either.
- Knead the dough a little, but not much. Just enough to make the dough smooth and even. Some people knead more. Others less. I find just a few minutes to get the dough homogenous and smooth is enough (for my taste).
- Let stand about 5-8 minutes. Explanation for this: although this recipe calls for yeast, the dough still requires a rest. This pause helps the semolina to hydrate. Indeed, semolina with much larger grains than flour, it takes time to absorb the water. Again, as for kneading, some people sometimes let stand 2 hours. Here too, my version is faster, express from the use of baking powder.
- When the dough has rested, make small balls that you flatten by hand or rolling pin to a thickness of 1 cm- ½ in.
- Prick with a fork all over the galette. This will help the galette not fluff or swell.
- Bake on a Tefal non-stick pan or tadjine without any oil or butter on a low fire.
- Brown on both sides, but make sure the galette is baked all the way through – about 5 minutes in each side.
- Continous turn the galette, so it gets golden brown evenly without burning.
- Flip over and continue to bake on the other side.
Kat heading out with the advance team to find patients – good luck!