Food blogging has come under a lot of fire lately, from chefs becoming unhappy with bloggers taking photos in restaurants, to people being criticised for accepting freebies, as well as the constant debate between blogs and new media versus the traditional established media as information sources. And more importantly, when did blogging become a competitive sport?
When I started writing Spicy Icecream nearly three years ago now, it was just a little spot for me to share my experiences in the kitchen, practise my photography and writing skills. It was a hobby, a bit of fun. There were just a handful food bloggers in Sydney, and I never expected to meet half the fabulous people or to be given any of the opportunities that this blog has brought me, and I’m thankful for every one of them.
I believe it’s good ethics to advise readers if I’m writing about a freebie I’ve received or an event I’ve been invited to. I don’t think it’s fair to be labelled a “$ell out” or to be judged for running advertising. I don’t plan to turn this site into my main source of income, but blogging is both expensive and time consuming when you think about the cost of web hosting, equipment, ingredients, and eating out. To be able to recoup some of my costs is welcome. But not at the expense of giving false opinions or losing my voice as a writer!
That being said, I received some Royal Pom pomegranates courtesy of WordStorm PR and was inspired to make something delicious with them. I have loved pomegranates since I was a little girl, when I’d pick them off my Nanna’s tree (she was clearly ahead of her time!) and dislodge the ruby red arils one by one. To see that they are now being commercially grown in Australia is great, and the quality of the product is fabulous. I couldn’t wait to cook with them!
I ended up making baklava with pomegranate and mint syrup. I knew the pomegranates would be delicious with pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts in the baklava, but this turned out even better than I’d hoped. It’s a little time consuming to make, with a lot of layers of delicate filo, but the end result is absolutely delicious and so worth the effort. The pomegranates add a delicious flavour that complements the nuttiness perfectly. I believe it’s good ethics to share this fabulous recipe with you all!
Spicy Icecream received 2 complimentary Royal Pom pomegranates courtesy of WordStorm PR.
Pistachio Baklava with Pomegranate and Mint Syrup
Adapted from Flavours by Donna Hay
• 36 sheets filo pastry, 20x30cm
• 100g butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 ½ cups raw pistachios
• 1 cup walnuts
• ¼ cup pine nuts
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 45g butter
Pomegranate and Mint Syrup
• ¾ cup water
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• ½ cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
• 1 teaspoon rosewater
• 1 pomegranate, arils removed
To make the filling, place the pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar in a food processor and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add butter and process until combined.
Place a sheet of filo pastry in a 20x30cm cake tin and brush with the combined melted butter and oil. Top with 11 more sheets of filo, brushing each sheet well with butter and oil. Spread half the filling over the top. Top with 12 more sheets of filo, brushing with the butter and oil mixture as you go. Spread the remaining filling over the top and top with the remaining filo sheets, brushing as you go with butter and oil. Cut the baklava into diamond shaped in the tin. Bake for 1 hour.
To make the syrup, place the water, sugar and mint in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the mint leaves. Add the rosewater and pomegranate.
When baklava is cooked, let stand for 5 minutes then pour the syrup over the top. Serve warm or cold.