Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Work of art or savoury babka filling with feta, pomegranate molasses and sumac?

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Savoury babka you say? There is no good reason for you not to get in the kitchen and make this immediately. I was very loosely inspired by Molly Yeh’s za’atar mini babkas but as you can quickly see: they really are quite a long way from them.

Za’atar was lacking in our local supermarket, labneh non-existent (and I was too impatient to embark on making my own), and all the mini babkas seemed like too much effort when I wasn’t convinced that all the changes I’d made would even result in something edible anyway.

I should have made them in mini. This is so ridiculously good as a bread- deeply savoury from the cheese, a kick from the chilli flakes and acidic from the pomegranate molasses and sumac. I ate it grilled for breakfast for several days afterwards, with a big smear of honey on top, and cannot recommend that enough.

Perhaps in a future recipe I’ll do these again in mini, with a honey glaze already thoughtfully provided on top, but this giant babka is just good not to share in the meantime.

Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Ingredients

  • Babka dough - I used my babka dough without the sugar
  • 150g feta
  • 100g skyr or labneh
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • Pomegranate Molasses
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Fresh thmye

Instructions

  • Once you've made the babka dough and let it had it's first rise, roll it out into the biggest rectangle you can manage. Thinly spread over the skyr or labneh - this is the 'glue' that will hold all the filling together so try to get it all over your base. Then, sprinkle over the feta, sumac, chilli flakes and thyme leaves, finishing with a drizzle of the pomegrante molasses. Think Jackson Pollock painting.
  • To roll it up, start at the largest edge and roll as tightly as you can the whole way across until you have a thick log. Take a serrated knife and cut the log in half, and then twist the two strands together. This will be much longer than your loaf tin, but squash it in. Let the dough rise and puff up for an hour at room temperature, and then bake at 200 C for 35 mins.
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    Caramelised Onion and Cheese Mini Scones

    Apart from all the general cheer, mulled wine and curling up beside a fire, one of the best bits of Christmas has to be the bite sized snacking food for all occasions. Smoked salmon blinis, cheese straws, sausage rolls, anything and everything from the M&S canape selection: I love them all.

    I haven’t been baking much at all recently, but when I acquired some of my favourite comte cheese earlier this week, putting these caramelised onion and cheese mini scones together seemed like a great use for the cheese. Comte is definitely far more interesting as a scone filling than cheddar: if you get one that’s around 18 months old it’s slightly nutty which works beautifully alongside the sweet caramelised onions. Serve these beauties up alongside some prosecco and you’ll have some very happy Christmas guests indeed.

    Caramelised Onion and Cheese Mini Scones

    Caramelised Onion and Cheese Mini Scones

    Ingredients

    • 2 onions, finely chopped
    • 450g self raising flour
    • 100g butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 250g grated comte cheese
    • 120ml milk
    • 120ml water

    Instructions

  • Take the onions and gently fry them until they start to soften. Turn the heat down and let them start to caramelise and go brown around the edges. Ideally you'd leave them for two hours or so, but you can get away with 45 minutes if you need to. Once they are done, take off the heat and let cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C and in a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Rub in the butter until you have a sandy mixture, before adding in most of the cheese and all of the onions. Then pour in the milk and water, bringing everything into a heavy dough. Tip out onto a worksurface and roll out to around 2.5cm thick. Cut out the scones and place on a baking tray. Beat the egg with a little extra milk and brush over the scones before sprinkling over the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minute until golden brown on top.
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    Herb Marinated Baked Halloumi

    Herb baked halloumi - an easy addition to lunchtime sandwiches or salads

    By the time you read this, I’ll be off floating around Lisbon and Porto on what feels like a very overdue break (follow along on instagram for custard tarts & more). 2016 doesn’t feel like it’s got off to the most straightforward start, but here’s hoping to a smoother six months sailing over the rest of the year.

    In the meantime, tuck into this herb baked halloumi, which is a definite upgrade on my usual lazy trick of just throwing it into the pan until it turns brown and chewy. Instead, marinade it overnight in basil, mint, garlic – or, more practically, whatever languishing ends of herbs you have in the fridge- and then bake for 40 minutes. It’s still keeps the characteristic bounce of halloumi, but without the squeakiness.

    I’ve happily been eating my baked halloumi in lunchtime salads, tucked into sandwiches, or sliced straight off the block as soon as it comes out of the oven.

    What other little upgrades have you been making in the kitchen lately?

    Herb Marinated Baked Halloumi

    Herb Marinated Baked Halloumi

    Ingredients

    • Handful basil
    • Handul mint
    • Two garlic cloves
    • Olive oil
    • 1 block halloumi

    Instructions

  • In a mini blender, blitz together the herbs with enough oil as you need to turn it into a chunky paste. Spoon this over the halloumi and leave to marinade overnight, turning it if you get a chance.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C, and wrap up the halloumi (still with it's green paste) in some baking parchment. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the texture has softened the whole way through.
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