February 14, 2020 6:48 am Leave your thoughts
Have you got a date for tonight? At Naturally Good Food, we’re spoilt for choice! We’ve got dates of all kinds just hanging around the building, just waiting to be put to the test. Here’s our current line-up!
Fancy a date?
At Naturally Good Food, our standard date is the organic Tunisian Deglet Noor variety (which means ‘date of light’, so-called because their centres appear golden when held up to the light). This is a real go-to date for all occasions: it’s sweet-tasting and neither too moist nor dry.
Our Aseel dates from Pakistan are thinner-skinned and slightly sweeter, making them a really useful date for cooking with.
Right at the top end of the date scale, and with an astonishing sweetness and richness (and, according to some, a slight buttery-ness), are our Medjool dates, from the Middle East. Stored cold and with the stones still in, these really are the ultimate in date luxury – plump, sticky, juicy and richly toffee-ish. If you have a special occasion coming up, splash out on a box – they are, genuinely, worth every penny.
Our chopped dates (both organic and non-organic) are destined, in general, for cooking and baking purposes. Dates are remarkably difficult to chop up yourself at home – your knife will stick after the first cut. The chopped dates we sell are dusted with rice flour to enable chopping to take place and to keep the pieces separate. If you need dates for a cake, loaf, flapjack or any other kind of baking, these are the ones to choose. Don’t be put off by their ‘dusty’ appearance: their flavour is unimpaired.
We also sell date syrup, which makes a lovely alternative to sugar for use as a sweetener.
What will you get up to on your date night?
Dates are popular in a range of sweet and savoury dishes, including tajines and bread. They’re great for giving sweetness to cookies and other baked goods where refined sugar isn’t desired.
And while your life may be too short to stuff a mushroom, stuffing dates seems still to be OK in most circles. Popular fillings range from savoury (cream cheese, nuts, tahini) to the very sweet (candied peel and marzipan).
Dates have a strong religious history – but perhaps show some of their other side too, when included as part of the famous dish ‘Devils on horseback’, in which a pitted date (or sometimes a prune) is stuffed with mango chutney and wrapped in bacon. (I remember well being asked for these as an off-menu item while a young waitress at the Porth Tocyn Hotel in Wales – ‘I’d like to know if you can get me a devil on horseback’, murmured a patrician gentleman. The chef obliged.)
The really good thing about dates is that they’re pretty much as good for you as they taste! They’re a great source of fibre, packed with antioxidants and naturally rich in potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and vitamin B-6.
Make it a date night
Some people think dates are just for Christmas. Some people famously have weekly ‘date nights’ with their spouses (perhaps they mean something different….) But most of us have probably eaten dates without knowing it in one of the most delicious puddings the UK has ever invented – why not make it for your next date night?
(Recipe adapted from BBC Food online)
Sticky Toffee Pudding
(Into which, incidentally, the chef at the Porth Tocyn Hotel used to tip half a bottle of spirits. ‘I think you’ve got enough in now, Beryl’, the manager would say, nervously. Beryl, smiling distantly, would raise the bottle higher.)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5 oz brown sugar
For the topping:
250ml double cream
3oz brown sugar
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
Pour 275ml boiling water into a bowl and add the dates. Measure out the rest of the sponge ingredients, and when the date mixture is lukewarm, mix them all together and blend in a food processor.
Put the mixture in a buttered dish and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping sauce by mixing all the ingredients gently over a low heat, until just bubbling. Then pour over the cooked pudding. Finish off under the grill.
Tags: Aseel dates, brown sugar, bulk dates, candied peel, chopped dates, date syrup, dates, Deglet Noor, dried dates, dried fruit, mango chutney, marzipan, Medjool dates, Medjoul dates, Nuts, organic dates, Pakistan dates, Porth Tocyn Hotel, prunes, sticky toffee pudding recipe, tahini, Tunisian dates
This post was written by Yzanne