Welcome to Fruity Fridays and this week it is a date…No, not that kind the sweet delicious dates that pair wonderfully with bacon or blue cheese or add that touch of sweetness to a Moroccan Tagine.
I do have as pictured above a date palm in my garden but dates don’t fare well here they like hot, dry temperatures not hot and humid.
The dates that are on my tree are picked while young and unripe and we take them to Lily’s other grandmother who loves them…so they don’t go to waste as the village ladies like them unripe but unripe the texture in your mouth is like when you eat banana peel but a lot drier and sour and not something that I like to eat but each to their own it wouldn’t do for us all to be alike, however, she also loves it when we take her fully ripe dates as a treat.
Dates are probably one of the only naturally dehydrated fruits they are also fat-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol free, sodium free and a great source of fibre.
Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years and many people still offer dates at each meal as a sign of hospitality or as an accompaniment to unsweetened tea or coffee.
When I was a child the only time we had dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetisers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.
Date and walnut loaf or bread is also quite nice a little sweet for me and I remember my dad loving a sticky date pudding with custard.
Sticky Date and Walnut Pudding.
- 1 cup dried pitted dates chopped
- 4 tbsp low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger if using fresh ginger chop/grate finely.
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted and roughly chopped.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 1 litre (1 quart) pudding basin lined with a disc of parchment paper.
Place the dates in a bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons milk. Stir to coat, then leave to soak.
Place the margarine, sugar, eggs and remaining milk in a bowl. Sift over the flour, cinnamon and ginger, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Fold in the soaked dates and walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin. Set the basin in a baking pan and pour in boiling water to come 1 cm up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and basin with a tent of foil.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the pudding has lightly risen and a skewer comes out clean. If not, bake a further 10 minutes.
Turn the sticky date and walnut pudding onto a serving plate.
Serve with custard which is how my mum always served it although now many make sauces with fruit like an orange sauce I think with this custard is all you need.
Dates in Morocco, for example, are added to savoury dishes like a tagine …I just love how ornate some of these tagines are and the food which cooks in one of those is always just amazing.
Lamb Tagine with Dates.
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- half sm cauliflower cut into florets.
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
- 2kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp each paprika and ground coriander
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 850ml passata
- 700g sweet potato, cut into chunks
- 350g pitted date
- Some slivered almonds and some coriander for garnish.
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the onions, then gently fry until softened, about 5 mins.
Stir in the ginger, add the meat in batches, then fry on all sides until lightly coloured. Return all the meat to the pan, stir in the spices and cinnamon sticks, then cook for 1 min.
Add the passata and 800ml water, then bring to the boil, stirring. Season well, then cover and simmer for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is tender.
Add the sweet potatoes and vegetables, stir well, cover again, then cook for 20 mins or until the potatoes are just tender.
Stir in the dates and heat through for 5 mins. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
To serve, spoon the tagine into a serving dish and scatter with the almonds and coriander.
N.B. As with all tagines or stews, you can add any vegetables i.e carrots, sweet corn, courgettes whatever you have that needs using.
Lastly, this little stuffing is a match made in heaven…
Date and bacon stuffing.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
- 1 tbsp snipped fresh thyme
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups dry cubes sourdough bread
- 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth
In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.
In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.
You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.
To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.
This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.
You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on the Date …Have you a favourite recipe which you make using dates? If so please share it with us.
Connect to Carol( Moi)
Thank you so much for reading this I hope you have a lovely weekend …xxx