Smoky Trail Mix

Christmas is coming so I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try and this one caught my eye.   There is nothing nicer than nibbling on slightly spicy, smoky nuts and seeds which are homemade.

The ratio of nuts and seeds can be adjusted to suit your taste, as well as adding slightly more spices for a hotter mix.  I used local raw honey for my first batch and it was delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cashew nuts (unsalted)
½ cup pecan nuts
½ cup pistachios
½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 level teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons raw honey (or maple syrup)
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

METHOD:

Mix all of the nuts and seeds together EXCEPT the coconut flakes.

Melt the oil in a large saucepan and add the smoked paprika, garlic and onion powders, and salt.   Warm through and add the honey.

Take off the heat and stir in the nuts and seeds.

Mix well and spread in a single layer on large baking trays.

Ready for the oven

Bake at 350°F for approximately 7 to 8 minutes before stirring in the coconut flakes.

Bake for a further 7 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted.

Let the mixture cool completely before storing in airtight jars.

Keeps for up to a month but I doubt it will last that long once you have tasted it.

In a nice jar, this would make a delightful Christmas gift.

Delicious, smoky trail mix

This would make a lovely Christmas gift.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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African Sweet Potato Stew

Just the recipe I needed to find on a dreary, rainy Autumn day whilst my husband was out.   I lit the log-burner, had 60s music blasting out of my Echo and I was in heaven.

I had to adapt the recipe to cater for what was in my cupboard but the end result was absolutely delicious.  The original recipe called for fresh coriander which I didn’t have.  It also suggested using peanut butter.  As I had almond butter I sprinkled the finished stew with toasted almond flakes and the nutty crunch was perfect.

I increased the quantities slightly from the original so that we had plenty of stew and enough left over for lunch the following day.    I thought the taste would be quite mild but was pleasantly surprised how ‘warm’ the stew was.  Possibly I added slightly more cayenne!

INGREDIENTS:  to serve 4

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon+ mild curry paste (I used a Korma)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups good quality stock (I used chicken stock)
2 x 14oz cans chopped tomatoes
2 cups+ button mushrooms
1 bag baby spinach leaves, chopped slightly
3 tablespoons almond butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toasted flaked almonds

METHOD:

Gently saute onion, garlic, ginger and cayenne in the olive oil for 10 minutes.

Add the curry paste, stir well and cook for a further 1 minute.

Stir in the sweet potato and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.   Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.

Simmer for about 20 minutes

Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Stir in the spinach.

Mix the almond butter with a little of the hot liquid in a small bowl and then add back into the stew.   Stir well and season to taste.   

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Ladle into bowls

Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds.

I served my stew with a few slices of my homemade flaxseed focaccia. A perfect combination.

Recipe adapted from Hugh Jackman’s African Sweet Potato Stew.

Nb: All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Special Fruit and Nut Rice

I have been making this ‘special’ fruit and nut rice for years.  It has always been a firm favourite in my family and such a handy dish to have in the freezer as it is delicious with curry and most hot meals, as well as being a tempting side dish to have on the table to go with salads and cold meals etc.

I have no idea where the recipe came from as it was written on a scrap of paper from probably 40 odd years ago.  It is one of those recipes which changes slightly each time I make it, depending on which seeds, nuts and fruit I add.   I always make a large quantity and freeze it in portions, as it doesn’t seem to last long in our house.

I have guessed the weight of the nuts, seeds and fruit as I tend to take handfuls out of the large bags I keep and nearly always add more cashew nuts as they are my favourite.  I used to always spend ages chopping up my dates and apricots but now I buy the large 1k bags of ready-chopped fruit from Wholefoods and it is so much easier.

INGREDIENTS:

1k (uncooked weight) long grain rice, cooked and drained
1k (uncooked weight) long grain rice, cooked with 1 tablespoon+ turmeric added to water and drained
1k onions, peeled, chopped and sautéed in a little oil of choice
250g unsalted cashew nuts
250g almond flakes
250g pumpkin seeds
250g pine nuts
250g chopped ready-to-eat apricots
250g chopped ready-to-eat dates
250g pistachio nuts
250g sunflower seeds
250g sultanas
Optional: sesame seeds, linseeds

METHOD:

In a very large bowl, mix all ingredients together.

This rice is so versatile it goes with many dishes.

Pack into suitable containers – either one or two servings size, and freeze.

Serve hot or cold.  If serving hot, reheat thoroughly.

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Grilled Courgette Salad

This recipe came at just the right time as I was given a bag of delicious home-grown courgettes recently.

So easy to make and extremely tasty, this salad can be served on its own or as a side dish for another meal.   I chose to serve it with some roasted sweet potato ‘chips’ and it was the perfect summer evening meal.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 2 as a main course

2 or 3 courgettes (depending on size)
50g fresh or defrosted peas
50g pea shoots
50g toasted pine nuts
2 tsp oregano
1 teaspoon garlic granules
½ teaspoon paprika
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon raw honey
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Coarse Ground Black pepper and sea salt

METHOD:

Mix together the dressing – oregano, garlic, paprika, lemon, honey and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and set to one side.

Wash the courgettes and cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil.    Heat a griddle pan and cook a few ribbons at a time using tongs to turn over and get char marks.

Add the courgette ribbons to the peas and pine nuts and toss with the dressing.

When ready for serving, toss with the pea shoots and season with black pepper and sea salt to taste.

Delicious Grilled Courgette Salad

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and cooked myself.

Original recipe courtesy of Schwartz.

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Marshmallows using Honey

Everyone needs a treat sometimes and these are the perfect ‘sweets’ to hide in the cupboard.  I say hide, because if you leave them out they definitely don’t last very long!

I made a batch of these marshmallows recently when my grand-children came to stay and I managed to make them last for the whole week, just letting them have one or two occasionally.  They really did go down a treat and both grandad and I loved them as well.   They are very simple to make and keep well in an air-tight tin.

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ tablespoons powdered gelatin
½ cup cold water
½ cup local organic honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Cacao (optional – for dusting)

METHOD:

Line a straight-sided container with parchment paper and then lightly oil the paper.  I used an 8” x 8” baking tin.

Put half of the water in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a mixer which has a whisk attachment).   Sprinkle over the gelatin and set aside to soften.

Place the honey, salt, remaining water in a small pan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil until it reaches 240° on a sugar thermometer (soft ball).  This took about 5 minutes in my pan.   Remove from heat.

Using an electric whisk,  or the whisk attachment in your machine, dribble the hot syrup down the side of the bowl whilst whisking.  Once everything is combined add the vanilla essence and beat for 12 to 15 minutes until the mixture is really thick and fluffy and looking like marshmallow fluff.   Scrape into the prepared tin and leave uncovered for at least four hours, preferably overnight to dry.

Turn out of the tin and peel off the paper (which comes off surprisingly easily).  Cut into shapes.  Roll half in unsweetened cacao.

Delicious marshmallows

I have also sprinkled some marshmallows with freeze-dried raspberry powder and wow!  Absolutely delicious with the sharpness of the raspberry and the sweetness of the marshmallow.

An alternative coating could be toasted unsweetened shredded coconut.

My favourite – rolled in cacao.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Sticky Chicken with Roasted Cashews

The original recipe called for ketchup which I don’t use but I have tiny tubs of a tomato sauce in my freezer which I make in bulk from …..you’ve guessed it …tomatoes plus onions, herbs etc.  No two batches are ever the same but it’s what we use instead of ketchup and it’s delicious and fresh tasting.

I dry-fried my cashews in a pan on the hob to roast them and probably added far more than 1/2 cup as cashews are one of my favourite nuts and I can never get enough.

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup plus extra cornflour (gluten-free)
Sea salt and black pepper
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or oil of choice
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
½ cup good chicken stock
¼ cup Tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
½ cup roasted cashews
Bunch spring onions, finely sliced.

METHOD:

Chicken coated in cornflour and seasonings

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces (bite-sized) and place in a large bowl with the ¼ cup of cornflour and seasoning to taste.

Toss well to coat the chicken in the flour.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan and cook the chicken in a single layer for 3 to 4 minutes each side until lightly browned and cooked.   You will need to do this in two batches unless you have an extra large pan.   Put the cooked chicken to one side.

In a bowl or jug, mix together the stock, tamari, vinegar, tomato sauce, chilli sauce and sugar.

Drain excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 teaspoon.  Add the grated garlic, ginger and half of the spring onions.   Cook for 30 seconds, stirring well.  Pour in the wet ingredients and bring the sauce to a simmer.   Mix a couple of teaspoons of cornflour with a little water and add to the sauce to thicken slightly.   Cook for a minute.   Add the chicken and cashews to the sauce and toss to coat and heat through.

Add chicken and cashews to sauce and ensure piping hot

Serve on a bed of rice, noodles or zoodles and sprinkle with the remaining spring onions.

Sticky Chicken with Roasted Cashews

I served my Sticky Chicken with my Special Fruit and Nut Rice and it was delicious but it would work equally well with plain rice or spiralized vegetables of your choice.

Depending on the size of your chicken breasts, serves 4, or 3 hungry people.

Recipe adapted from Cashew Chicken by Dinner at the Zoo.

NB:  All photographs used in the blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Chocolate Ice Cream

Who doesn’t like having a container of ice-cream in the freezer?  Especially if you are a chocolate lover and summer is upon us.

I was amazed at how creamy this ice-cream was but as with many home-made ice-creams, it does need to be taken out of the freezer at least 20 minutes to half-an-hour before using at it freezes ‘hard’.

INGREDIENTS:

2 x 14oz cans coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge.
2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
400g dates, stoned
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened almond milk

METHOD:

Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

Meanwhile, add moist, pitted dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain.   If your dates are a bit dry, soak for ten minutes in hot water before using.

Slowly add a little hot water until a thick paste is formed.

Without tipping the cans, scoop out the coconut cream, which will have ‘set’ reserving the water for another use.   Put the cream into the chilled mixing bowl.

Whip until creamy and smooth.

Add the cacao, vanilla, almond milk and half of the date paste. Whip until fully blended.

Taste and adjust for sweetness by adding the remaining date paste and/or more cacao.

Transfer to a container, cover loosely and freeze.

Freeze for just a couple of hours for a mousse-like ice-cream, or overnight for a firmer one.

Leave to ‘come to’ for at least 20 minutes before scooping into bowls and sprinkling with cacao nibs.

2016-10-28_19-18-26_428 Chocolate Ice-Cream with Cacao Nibs

Unlike many chocolate products, cacao nibs are naturally low in sugar;  they are highly nutritious, providing an impressive amount of protein, fibre, healthy fats, minerals, and plant compounds like flavonoids.

Recipe adapted from Dana,  Minimalist Baker

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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