Perky Blenders do love a match made in heaven. We are excited to announce our latest heavenly collaboration With Dina Begum of Syrup & Glaze. Dina will be hosting a Bengali Afternoon Tea at Project 660, Leyton Midland, E10 on the 27th August in our secret garden. This is a ticketed event not to be missed, places are limited. Link at the end of this our latest journal entry written by Dina herself.
I started up Eastern Pantry in 2016, to share my love of handmade Asian inspired chutneys and jams.
It had been a childhood dream of mine, to blend flavours from my Bengali heritage into the British products I’d grown up enjoying so much. Hartley’s jam with a twist meant my rhubarb, cardamom and rose jam was a bestseller!
Last summer I began trading at E17 Village market in Walthamstow and loved the feeling of being part of a tight knit community market. There’s nothing like the welcome of fellow traders and producers who are so passionate about the things they create, whether food, homeware or
accessories. Everything is done with attention to detail and served with a smile.
E17 Village Market
The best bit about the experience was sampling fellow traders’ products, and I made sure to grab a cup of Perky Blenders coffee to go with a cake or pastry for lunch. I’m a caffeine addict so having that gorgeous coffee van just a few steps away was a definite perk (!)
One of my favourite Perky Blenders collaborations was with Incoming Coffee, near Walthamstow Station, where I spent many afternoons writing, while enjoying a cup of deliciously blended coffee. It was around this time that I stopped trading at the market, as I landed a cookbook deal with Kitchen Press.
My Food Journey
Walthamstow is the place where I began my serious food journey. I’ve always cooked and love to feed people and started my blog two and half two years ago, to combine my love of food and writing. This led to some wonderful opportunities, such as my stint as copywriter and editor for the Schwartz 2015 online Christmas campaign, and recipes being published in The Telegraph newspaper.
I stocked Eastern Pantry products at Eat17 SPAR Walthamstow Village and Eat17 SPAR Hackney after a positive response from locals at the market which transformed another dream into a reality. I also hosted a pop up Bengali afternoon tea at the fantastic Hornbeam Café last year which was great fun. One of the highlights was my Bengali inspired Chai-Malai cake which people loved, and is going to be included in my book. I know some locals will be happy as it’s been a well-guarded secret recipe!
I’m currently completing a cookbook on the diverse food of Brick Lane, with an emphasis on
Bangladeshi food. I’m on a personal mission to highlight the varied cuisine of Bangladesh to people here in the UK (and abroad!) so I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to write a cookbook featuring authentic Bangladeshi dishes, as well as contributions from local street food traders and businesses. The book is due to be published in 2018 and I’m super excited to share it with you.
Of course I’d love to write another cookbook. I’m always writing notes on family recipes I’d like to include and coming up with my personal twists on classics, such as the Bengali spiced jaggery biscuits I’ve included here for you to try. I’d like to run some Bangladeshi cookery classes to introduce home-style recipes not found in restaurants. People are seriously missing out on the delicious dishes I enjoy at home, so definitely something on my ever growing list! My next event will be with Perky Blenders at Project 660, Leyton E10.
Ticktes on sale now Flavours from Bangladesh - Afternoon Tea at Perky Blenders Coffee Roasters, 660, High Road, Leyton, E10 6JP
I blog at www.syrupandglaze.com
Twitter & Instagram @syrupandglaze
Bengali Spiced Jaggery Biscuits
These crunchy little biscuits are based on my mother’s handesh recipe. Handesh are fried molasses cakes, made for special occasions such as Eid, or during the winter harvest festival in Bangladesh. Every family has their own version and my family include spices in the batter – which isn’t essential. I’ve added ground fennel, cardamom and cinnamon to my biscuits for a delicate and unusual flavour. This pairs perfectly with the fudgy taste of jaggery, which is an unrefined sugar popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Ingredients (makes 24)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground fennel
50g coarse semolina
150g plain flour
Using a sharp knife shave bits of the jaggery until you have the right amount. Place this, along with the butter in a small pan and melt over low heat, stirring regularly until the jaggery has dissolved. This will take a few minutes and you may need to break the jaggery with your spoon to help it along.
Once the butter and jaggery are well combined and there are no lumps, pour into a mixing bowl, stir in the spices and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180c or 160c fan/gas mark 4.
Add the semolina to the butter and jaggery mixture and stir through until combined them mix in the flour in two additions. Bring the mixture together with your hand until you have a soft dough, being careful not to over mix or knead. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and begin preparing your biscuits.
Press 1 level tbsp of the mixture into the spoon. The mixture will be a little greasy, so gently push to release it and place on the baking sheet, flat side down. Repeat for the remaining mixture. Make sure to leave about 2 inches between each biscuit as they will expand slightly. Gently flatten each round tablespoonful and press in a flaked piece of almond if you like.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying. Once the biscuits are completely cooled they can be stored for a few days in an airtight container.