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Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

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Little yoghurt and orange blossom cakes


These cakes are heavenly, scented with orange blossom. They can be made and iced a day ahead and topped with Persian fairy floss at the last minute.

You'll need

300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 300 gm vanilla yoghurt 60 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk 160 gm butter, softened 220 gm (1 cup) white sugar ½ tsp finely grated orange rind 4 eggs 100 gm vanilla Persian fairy floss, to serve (see note)   Orange blossom icing 60 gm butter, softened 600 gm pure icing sugar, sifted 3 tsp orange blossom water (see note) 1½ tbsp vanilla yoghurt

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line twelve 5cm-square mini cake pans (see note). Sift flour with baking powder and a pinch of salt and set aside. Whisk yoghurt and buttermilk together in a bowl and set aside.
  • 02
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and orange rind until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating briefly between each addition to combine. With mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour and mix to combine, then add one-third of the yoghurt mixture and mix to combine. Repeat with remaining mixtures, alternating, until incorporated. Mix until batter is smooth, then divide evenly among prepared cake pans. Tap base to level and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted withdraws clean. Cool completely in pans on a wire rack, then using a serrated knife, trim tops so cakes are flush, discard tops and remove cakes from pans.
  • 03
  • For orange blossom icing, beat all ingredients and 1½ tbsp water in an electric mixer for 1 minute or until smooth. Working with one cake at a time and using a hot, wet spatula, ice cakes starting with sides, then top. (If icing becomes difficult to spread, continue to dip spatula in hot water until icing is completely even.) Set aside and stand for 1 hour or until icing is firm to touch, then serve each cake topped with a little fairy floss.

Note Persian fairy floss is available from specialty food stores, such as The Essential Ingredient, and may be ordered online at www.pariyafood.com. Cake pans are available from speciality cake suppliers, such as Iced Affair. Orange blossom water is available from The Essential Ingredient and specialty food stores.


At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

Featured in

Nov 2007

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