Tag Archives: dates

“It’s like kheer!”-Porridge with Dates and Walnuts

That is how one friend, Sarita, described this combination, after she tried it out.

It is what Indira and Noor used to eat for breakfast quite often when they were younger, and they really loved it.

When they were babies, too, their favorite food was cooked oats mixed with banana, and I even carried a box of oats with me(along with other cereals) as a standby option when we traveled, in case they did not like whatever was on offer. Oats can be cooked so easily and quickly as long as there is a microwave available, and banana is a fruit that is pretty ubiquitous.

I add dates now sometimes, instead of banana, to sweeten the oats and milk, and some walnuts and/or almonds.

This is another breakfast food that always puts a smile in my stomach !

Porridge with Dates and Walnuts

2-3 tablespoons of quick cooking oats

120-150 ml of skimmed or half-fat milk

4-5 soft, seedless dates chopped fine (or half a banana, chopped fine)

1 tablespoon of walnuts (chopped or in larger chunks, as you like them)

3-4 almonds,preferably soaked overnight, then peeled and either chopped or sliced(you could use them without soaking them first, too, though I believe soaking overnight makes them easier to digest. For more on that, see here http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060929121033AA7Lfj2)

Combine the milk and the oats in a micro-wave proof bowl and cook uncovered at 750W for 2 minutes. At the end of this time, the oats will have almost started to boil over. Watch out for this and take the oats out before this happens.

Turn the oats and milk mixture over in to a cereal bowl. Add the chopped dates and walnuts(plus the almonds, if you are using them), and a little more milk if the consistency is too thick. Stir to mix everything well.

Enjoy !!

It’s a warm, satisfying, delicious and healthy start to the day.

A variation -simply soak the nuts and oatmeal together in the milk for 20-30 minutes before you are ready to eat.

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Date Cake

Loaded with soft dates, this cake has a special, really delectable taste.

I almost did not buy the creme anglaise to go with it, when I decided to make it for dessert last Saturday, but then I was glad I did because everyone seemed to enjoy the combination !

Date Cake

1 egg

1 and ¼ cups of chopped dates

½ cup of chopped walnuts (optional but a nice touch)

¾ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of melted butter

1 and a ½ cups of any flour (refined is probably ideal, though I often bake with even whole wheat flour)

1 and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

½ tsp of salt

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of baking powder

Soak the dates in 1 cup of boiling hot water, after adding the baking soda and leave them aside to cool. In the meanwhile, beat together the egg and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla to this mixture.

In another bowl, combine the flour, the salt, and the nuts.

Add the dates once they have cooled to the first mixture, then add in the flour mixture.

Now stir in the melted butter and combine well.

Put this cake batter in to a cake mould, and leave it to stand for 15-20 minutes.

Then bake in a preheated oven at 180degreesC for 1 hour, or till a table knife inserted in to the middle comes out clean and dry.

Like the chocolate and date loaf, this cake makes for quite a fancy dessert, eaten with crème anglaise or vanilla ice cream 🙂

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Their favorite Cake – Chocolate and Date Loaf

As I put together the ingredients, earlier today, for the cake that I took as dessert to the home of friends that we ate with this evening, I realized that this is the third time this month that I am baking the same cake. I made it for Indira’s birthday when we invited all our family friends to a picnic, and it is the one that I sent to school too, for her class.

But this is the cake that she and Noor love best, of all the various recipes I have tried over the years.

This recipe makes a large-ish cake (12- 16 quite big pieces) so tonight it was very gratifying to see it go quite quickly though we were only 5 adults, Indira, Noor, and our hosts’ 14 year old son 🙂

Chocolate and Date Loaf:

2 eggs

3/4 cup melted butter ( I use a cup that is a 200 ml measure)

1 cup sugar

2 cups of wheat (whole or refined) flour

1/2 cup of cocoa

1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1 cup of soft dates,finely chopped

1 cup of boiling water

1 tsp of baking soda

1 and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

Combine the last 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Best the first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl.

Add the date mixture after it has cooled down to the eggs,butter and sugar mixture. Now stir in the rest of the ingredients, and pour in to a cake tin (if it is not the non-stick variety then of course the tin will need a light coat of melted butter and then a sprinkling of flour over that).

Bake at 180 degrees C for 50-60 minutes till a knitting needle/table knife comes out clean.

This cake goes really well with some creme anglaise or vanilla ice cream served on the side . It makes quite a fancy dessert at parties 🙂

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Indira’s Favorite Date Muffins

This afternoon, the school mums group had organized a little gouter (as the afternoon snack is called) in the primary school canteen.

This is an annual end-of-the-school-year event, at which the children in the various classes gift the collective presents from their families to their teachers.

It is the mums who usually provide the snacks and drinks and I took along Indira’s favorite after-school snack, which is date muffins.

When she was much younger, she assumed that any brown colored food was chocolate.  I was happy to exploit this misconception, and routinely made cakes and muffins with dates instead of chocolate.

This is not to say that she has been spared a fondness for chocolate. But she does love dates too, in any form, which I consider an adequate reward for my efforts.

At the gouter today, too, I was glad to see that the muffins were well-liked.

This is my recipe –

Date Muffins (or “muff-uns”, as Noor calls them)

(makes around 16)

1 and a 1/2 cups of finely chopped soft dates

3/4 cup of very hot water (just boiled)

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/4 cup (a 160 ml cup) unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 and 3/4 cup refined or wholewheat flour (I use the latter when baking for the girls, but you may want to use white flour. The difference in taste is not very significant, to my mind, and hence I stick with wholewheat flour since that packs more nutrition)

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix the first 3 ingredients and leave to cool. Next, mix the last 3 ingredients in a bowl and keep aside.

Beat the eggs till they are frothy, then add melted butter and sugar, and beat again till these 3 things are well-blended.

Once the date mixture has cooled, add it to the eggs-butter-sugar mixture and mix a couple of times to blend. Now add the flour mixture, and mix everything together so the flour is well-blended.

While you mix everything together as described above, remember to switch your oven on, so as to pre-heat it for 5-8 minutes, to 180°C.

Fill the muffin moulds 1/2 to 3/4 full, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

These muffins are extra nice with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side, if you really want to make this in to a fancy dessert or really indulge the kids.

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