Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brown food, a call for recipes... and a giveaway

Brown food (excluding anything chocolate) rarely looks appealing when I take its photo. When I say "brown food" I mean things like bran muffins and loaves: everyday, easy to throw together, baking that's lovely with a cup of tea but doesn't make you go "wow! I really want to make that". In a word...uninspiring!

This "no-chop date and orange loaf" is one of those recipes - simple, quick to make with ingredients you already have and tastes better than it looks! The recipe is from "Now You're Cooking" a sweet little cookbook put together by the Destitute Children's Home Pokhara Charitable Trust as a fundraiser for a children's home in Nepal. The Trust is run by a dedicated bunch of Wellingtonians and funds raised from the sale of this cookbook have gone towards really practical things to make life easier in the home - like a microwave - as well as the day-to-day running of the home and education for the children living there.

The first cookbook, released two Christmases ago, was so successful the Trust is putting together another one in time for Christmas 2011. So here's your opportunity to be come a published food writer and contribute to a great little book! The Trust is looking for recipes (especially desserts) to compile into a second cookbook - recipes of the tried-and-true variety - things you love to make and eat yourself. Send your favourites to Linda: dchpokhara@gmail.com

I bought several copies of the first book for Christmas gifts - at a very reasonable $10 they were the perfect little gift - and have ended up with an extra copy so it's up for grabs! Leave a comment about your favourite "brown food" (stuff that doesn't look pretty but tastes delicious!) and I'll make the draw in a week's time. Anyone is welcome to leave a comment & contribute a recipe for the next book but the giveaway is only open to NZ residents.

This loaf contains a modest 50g of butter - good news in these times of high dairy prices - and also helpfully suggests you can swap the butter for four level tablespoons of oil. The recipe says the addition of an orange lifts this loaf a cut above a plain date loaf, I didn't have an orange so made it without and it was still delicious.

No-chop date & orange loaf (contributed by Virginia)
225g pitted dates
Juice of an orange, made up to half a cup with water
50g butter (or 4 TBSP oil)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk (or soy milk)
1/2 cup raw sugar (or could use white)
1 beaten egg
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup broken walnuts

Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the whole dates, rind and 1/2 cup of liquid into a pot. Bring to boil and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the butter until melted and leave to cool a bit.

Mix the baking soda into the milk. Beat the egg and sugar together in a large bowl. Add both the milk/baking soda to the egg/sugar mix and stir in the dates. Sift in the dry ingredients (throw in the wholemeal bits left in the sieve from the wholemeal flour. Stir gently to just mix.

Pour into a lined loaf tine and bake for one hour. Test by poking in a skewer: if it comes out clean the loaf is cooked.

The recipe suggests serving plain when fresh and buttered as it get a bit older. This is good advice but I couldn't resist a little butter on a slice when it was still warm from the oven.


  1. You are so right re brown food. Meat must be the hardest thing of them all to photograph - that's why sneaky food photographers sometimes pimp it up with varnish (mmmm!) I think it was Nigel Slater who said he had a horror of 'brown food' (esp braised meat casseroles etc) so never has recipes for any in his books.
    The Trust (and book) sounds amazing, will definitely get in touch with Linda...

  2. Trying to think of pretty brown food photos......meatloaf?? Rissoles? Not so much. If the presentation doesn't cut it then the story has to do it (loved the story behind the loaf). Tonight I had moroccan lamb (brown) in my small Le Cuisine pot (brown, second hand). I smile everytime I cook with the pot, because finding it was a good story and a bit of a triumph. Even if the meal looks brown on brown!

  3. My favourite brown food is cinnamon. Who would think that ground up tree bark could taste so good. What would apple pie, rhubarb crumble, snickerdoodles, spice cake or gingerbread be like without it! And who doesn't think of Christmas whenever a spice blend with cinnamon in it whafts by your nose,

  4. Mmmm brown food... sticky date muffins come to mind...sooo good

  5. Oh, yes, the old brown food dilemma - I think meat loaf would definitely have to fall into the category of "tastes great - looks like crap".

    I must say though you made this loaf look pretty darn good as far as brown food goes and I've bookmarked it to give it a try.

    Sue :-)

  6. Lucy: yes, totally agree with you on meat! Had to make something for a photo for a "mince" article for work once - did meatballs so the brown could be smothered by red tomato sauce!

    Make-do mum: your brown pot sounds aweseome - brown on brown! Love it!

    Alison: Agree that cinnamon is one of the essential brown foods in life, also probably one of the better looking brown foods - esp cinnamon sticks.

    Wendy r: sticky date muffins sound delicious - perhaps I could try making this loaf in muffin tins... and cover them with toffee sauce...yum!

    Sue: I think the butter helps pretty it up!

  7. Haha yeah that brown food thing. Hard one that. Nice sounding loaf though!

  8. I've just made a batch of peanut brownies. Used the Chelsea sugar recipe from here http://www.chelsea.co.nz/baking-and-recipes/1195/debbys-fantastic-peanut-brownies.aspx Great brown food - excluding chocolate!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...