We love middle eastern food and all the spices and exotic flavours it brings to our dishes! In London, you can find some remarkable middle eastern restaurants such as The PalomarOttolenghiArabica Bar & Kitchen, and of course this wonderful and cosy place run by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich: Honey & Co.

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Their food is just amazing and their first book Food from the Middle East remains one of our favourites. It was packed with succulent recipes accompanied by fun and intimate snapshots of what it’s like to start and run a restaurant from scratch. Therefore our expectations for their follow-up book The Baking Book were high. The new book is equally charming and it’s a joy to learn about their personal experiences (and especially their secret recipes carefully gathered over the years!!).

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Aside from many delicious recipes for cakes, cookies, or jams, you’ll also find many useful tips and techniques in patisserie and baking. After reading this book, you’ll be able to make wet or dry caramels and soft or strong meringues with your eyes closed. It’s definitely a cookbook that shouldn’t be missing from your kitchen – especially if your oven is slowly gathering spider Webs!

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The first recipe we’ve tried from the book is the Blueberry, Hazelnut & Ricotta cake. It’s very much a delicious cheesecake – the absolute treat for a warm summer evening! You can also be creative and experiment other fruit-nut combos: walnut & dates or strawberry & almonds, or any other mix you fancy!

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Blueberry, hazelnut & ricotta cake

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar (I used instead about 60ml organic agave sirup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 150g ground hazelnuts
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 150g blueberries
  • 100g hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 and butter the bottom of a cake tin (23cm/9 inch) and line with baking parchment.
Step 2
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure each is well combined before adding the next. Add in the flour, salt, lemon zest, ground ginger and ground hazelnuts and mix until fully incorporated.
Step 3
Fold the ricotta and half of the berries into the batter and scoop into the tin. Top with the remaining blueberries and chopped hazelnuts, and sprinkle with the demerara (brown raw sugar).
Step 4
Bake for about 55 minutes or until the blueberries have exploded a little and the hazelnuts are golden. Allow to cool before serving and fully enjoy it!

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