Sunday, January 6, 2008

Breakfast, lunch or dinner

We've got used to someone else cooking for us since we've been in Pakistan, so I've started a bit of cooking myself, to get back into the flow of things. So far I've baked date bread and banana bread, both successful recipes, but I learned after making the date bread that it's worth a trip to the store to buy baking soda, since baking powder alone doesn't cut it. Go figure, I always wondered why recipes call for both baking powder and soda. The other night I made chinese; the kids' favorite orange chicken, and sweet and sour shrimp. This morning I admit I outdid myself. We have just polished off a breakfast of crepes with warm apple compote and hash browns. Definitely a keeper. Add a bit of meat and you've got a real southern breakfast. I thought I'd share my recipe for the date bread, the rest are to follow later. It's a no-fail recipe, even for novice bakers like me. Try it out and let me know how it turned out. I didn't use walnuts, but they're a great addition if you want.

Serves 8-12

2 1/2 cups chopped dates
1/4 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees F). Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the dates and butter. Pour boiling water over them, and let stand until cool.
When the dates have cooled, stir the mixture to break up any clumps. Mix in the brown sugar and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; stir into the date mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

It's pouring today, but a couple of days ago the kids got to spend some time outside with the dogs. Meet Moti (the dog with Zakir), part lab, part mutt. Hamza and Moti have taken a particular liking to each other. Other members of the family include Cleo, rescued by Zakir about 12 years ago, when she was tied up to a tree and abandoned outside our gate, and Robin (100% mutt). I'll be posting a few more photos soon.


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