Monday, 21 November 2011

brussels sprouts w/chestnuts, bacon and parsley


I think I can say for sure that this recipe is the only one you'll ever see on this blog that contains bacon. I fully realise that it's not health food but Brussels sprout definitely is. A few years back, I was preparing for Christmas with the TV on in the background. Suddenly I recognised Nigella Lawson's voice. They were showing some Christmas cooking series and she was preparing a turkey meal. I quit what I was doing to watch the show. As we always cook turkey at Christmas Eve or Day, I was interested in ideas for side dishes. Before I knew it Nigella was mesmerising me with her Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, pancetta and parsley. She of course makes everything look so easy and when I tried her recipe it really was. As I couldn't get pancetta I simply used luxury bacon and I've used it ever since. This side dish has become a tradition in our home at Christmas and we serve it with almost all our fancy meals. Believe it or not, our children love it. I think those who dislike Brussels sprouts simply haven't tasted Nigella's. As I never use butter I skip it and I usually skip the Marsala wine, so I'm making it optional. I often use chopped cashew nuts instead of chestnuts; it simply depends on my mood. Sometimes I use only about 800 g of Brussels sprouts, especially if I'm making many side dishes. Here is my version of Nigella's recipe but the link above will take you to the original one. Below are some notes on the difference.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS, BACON AND PARSLEY

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg Brussels sprouts
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 200 g luxury bacon, preferably organic/free-range
  • 100-150 g vacuum-packed chestnuts or cashew nuts
  • optional: 4 tablespoons Marsala wine (60 ml)
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: sea salt

According to Nigella's recipe you should use 250 g of pancetta cut into 1.25 cm (0.50 inches) cubes, but I find 200 g enough. According to her you should also use about 225 g chestnuts but I only use 100-150 g. Sometimes I use more; it sort of depends on what other side dishes I'm serving with the meal. There is no sea salt in Nigella's recipe, except that she boils the Brussels sprouts in salted water, but I like to sprinkle some on top.

METHOD

  1. Slice the bottoms off each of the Brussels sprouts, cutting a cross on the base as you go. Place the Brussels sprouts into a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes, or until they are tender but still retain a bit of bite
  2. While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, cut the slices of bacon but don't make them too small. If using cashew nuts instead of chestnuts, chop them in a food processor or with a knife
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and drain the excess water. Allow the Brussels sprouts to sit in a colander until you use them (I like cutting them in half before adding them to the frying pan. If you have time I recommend it, but allow them to cool first)
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large clean saucepan or frying pan, add the cut slices of bacon and cook until they are crisp and golden-brown in colour, but not cooked to the point of having dried out
  5. Add more coconut oil if you need to and add the chestnuts (or the already chopped cashew nuts). Use a wooden spoon or spatula and press down on the chestnuts to break them up into pieces. Once the chestnuts have been warmed through, turn the heat up and add the Marsala wine to the pan, if you use it, and cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly
  6. Add the Brussels sprouts and half the parsley to the saucepan and mix well (usually I add all the parsley to the saucepan or two-thirds)
  7. Season with freshly ground black pepper and before serving, sprinkle some sea salt on top and the remaining chopped parsley

Monday, 7 November 2011

rice and almond pudding (risalamande)

© Lisa Hjalt | Lunch & Latte
Please find the rice and almond pudding (risalamande) recipe on my blog Lunch & Latte (follow the link).

Thursday, 3 November 2011

french rosemary chicken stew


About two years ago I tried this recipe, then called autumn stew, for the first time and I have to admit that the family members and I weren't all that impressed. In my opinion there was too much chicken and rice, and the rosemary flavour was very dominant. However, there was something about the recipe that I really liked; I liked cooking these ingredients because of the wonderful aroma in the kitchen so I didn't quite write it off. About a year later I felt the need to try it again, made some changes, added organic dijon mustard, and we all loved it. There was something very French about it after the dijon had been added and the rosemary flavour became subtler. That's why we changed the name to French rosemary chicken stew. To me, this is the perfect autumn stew. I serve it in a bowl with bread, preferably home-made, fresh from the oven, and it doesn't hurt to enjoy with it one glass of red wine. I make the stew with organic/free-range chicken and I don't peel the potatoes as I only use organic vegetables in it.

FRENCH ROSEMARY CHICKEN STEW

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably organic/free-range
  • 500 ml water (2 cups)
  • chicken stock cube, organic
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (450 g)
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon organic dijon mustard
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning (I use ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon dried basil and a touch of ground coriander)
  • optional: 1 bay leaf
  • ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 600 ml boiled Basmati rice (2½ cups)

METHOD

  1. Start with rinsing and boiling the rice. I always boil 375 ml rice (1½ cup) in 750 ml water (3 cups) to make sure I have enough for the stew (and even to use on the side for those who want more rice). It only takes about 10 minutes to boil Basmati rice. (If you are insecure in the kitchen, simply boil the rice before you start making the stew. Start with bringing the rice to the boil without a lid. When the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and put a lit on the saucepan, just tilting it to begin with so you allow the steam to escape. When the rice is done, allow it to sit in the saucepan with the lid on until you use it in the stew.)
  2. Now we start making the stew: Put the chicken breast fillets in a large saucepan with 500 ml water (2 cups) and the chicken stock cubes. When the water starts boiling, add the finely chopped onion and let it simmer until the fillets are cooked through (it'll take a few minutes). I usually turn the fillets once
  3. When the fillets are cooked through, use a fork or tongs to remove them from the saucepan, put them on a plate and set aside
  4. Add the can of tomatoes to the saucepan and 400 ml water (simply fill the empty tomato can with water and then you have 400 ml)
  5. Add the dijon mustard and stir gently
  6. Add all the vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper (if your Italian herb seasoning does not include bay leaves I would recommend cooking the stew with one bay leaf and remove it from the saucepan before serving
  7. Cut the fillets or simply tear them in your hands and add to the stew. Stir gently. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 25 minutes
  8. Add 600 ml boiled Basmati rice (2½ cups) to the saucepan, stir and cook further for about 8-10 minutes
  9. I serve the stew in bowls and I allow it to cool for a few minutes, as the vegetables are very hot straight from the saucepan

If you are only cooking for two then I recommend making only half recipe. You can use one can of tomatoes and simply skip the extra 400 ml water and the one tomato.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

cinnamon buns (yeast free)


I have nothing against yeast; I simply don't have the patience to use it! There, I said it. About two years ago I began experimenting with a yeast free cinnamon buns (rolls) recipe. Everyone in this household loved it, but I wasn't 100% happy, I wanted them softer. On a beautiful Sunday morning in September I was dreaming about freshly baked and soft cinnamon buns when I had an epiphany! I ran into the kitchen, put the invisible stay-out-of-my-kitchen sign on the door, put on my apron and began working, and I got the results I wanted. The yummy noises at the dining table were very rewarding. I've baked these with and without oil and both versions are good. Here's my golden rule: If I'm baking them to put in the freezer I always use oil (the children love to find these in their snack box). If I'm baking them to serve right away, and I know that all the buns will be eaten, I either skip the oil or use one tablespoon. As I want my buns rather thick I roll and stretch the dough into a square instead of a rectangle. By the way, the recipe includes no eggs and the dough itself contains no sugar. And you know what, the buns are delicious!

CINNAMON BUNS

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 435 g spelt flour (between 3¼-3½ cups)
  • 2-2½ tablespoons gluten free baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 250-300 ml soya milk or regular
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional, see intro)

FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2½-3½ tablespoons raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • optional: chopped pecans and/or raisins

METHOD

  1. Start with the dough: In a large bowl combine the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Usually I use 2 tablespoons of gluten free baking powder but sometimes 2½ if I want the buns a little bigger. (Use only 1 tablespoon of baking powder if you're using regular and add ½-1 teaspoon if you want them a little bigger.)
  2. Add the 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil or skip this step. (If the oil is solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before you start baking.)
  3. Add the milk, starting with 250-275 ml, and mix gently with a large wooden or silicone spoon. Add more milk if you need. The dough is not supposed to be too wet, you have to be able to knead it and flatten out with a rolling pin. It's good to knead the dough just a bit in the bowl with your hands to get a feel for its texture. (American readers! 250 ml is exactly 1 cup so start with that and add a little more of milk.)
  4. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface and knead it with your hands. You have to use plenty of spelt flour on the surface because you don't want the dough sticking to it
  5. Bring out your rolling pin and roll and stretch the dough to form a square that is about 37 cm (14.6 inches). I make a square instead of a rectangle because I like my buns to be thick
  6. Now the filling: Mix the agave nectar and coconut oil in a small bowl. In a separate bowl blend the raw cane sugar and cinnamon (I find 2½-3 tablespoons of sugar enough but if you are used to more sugary flavour then perhaps you need more. But don't overdo it; we want them healthy!)
  7. Spread the agave/oil mix evenly over the square (I find it best to simply use my fingers) and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top. Add some chopped pecans and/or raisins if you want
  8. Tightly but gently roll up the square into a thick log. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 21 slices (you can start with cutting the log in half). Each slice should be a little less than 2 cm thick (about 0.7-0.8 inches)
  9. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or lightly grease it with coconut oil (my tray is 35 x 25 cm/13.8 x 9.8 inches; the height is about 5 cm/2 inches). Place the buns into the baking tray in four rows of four and one row of five that contains the ends, which are a bit smaller
  10. Bake in the oven at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 12-15 minutes (please note that my oven is fan assisted. I've baked these at 220°C in a no fan oven)
  11. Allow the buns to cool in the baking tray for a few minutes before serving

Thursday, 8 September 2011

chocolate hazelnut spread (or ice cream sauce)

We always have a jar of organic chocolate hazelnut spread for the children in the kitchen (no, I never buy Nutella, never!) but I also like making my own. My current food processor doesn't make it as smooth as I want it to be but it tastes really good. The children helped me put this recipe together, they were the ones who said put more cocoa or make it a bit sweeter. We spread it not only on bread or crackers, we also love the home-made version on ice cream – it's dangerously good!

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g hazelnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar (or 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp agave)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, organic
  • 2½ tablespoons cocoa powder, organic
  • 3½-4 tablespoons coconut oil (if solid place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)

METHOD

  1. First you have to toast the hazelnuts in an oven or on a frying pan and then remove the skin. I usually use a non-stick frying pan and it takes about 10 minutes until the skin starts to loosen. I stir the nuts occasionally on the pan and I allow them to cool on a plate before I peel of the skin with my fingers. You can also shake them in a wire sieve to help loosen the skin. If toasting the nuts in an oven: Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Place the hazelnuts into a baking tray, put them in the hot oven and set a timer to 4-5 minutes (yes, use a timer, you don't want to forget them in the oven!). Allow them to cool before peeling of the skin or shake them in a wire sieve. Whether using a frying pan or an oven, make sure you don't burn the nuts
  2. Place the cooled down and skinless nuts in a food processor and blend as well as you can. Depending on how good your food processor is, you might occasionally want to stop the blender, scrape the sides of the bowl and continue blending
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (start with 3½ tablespoons of coconut oil) and blend well in the food processor. If you are using the version with 3 tablespoons agave and 1 raw cane sugar then start with 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  4. Keep the spread in the fridge but let it stand for about 15 minutes before serving because the coconut oil makes it solid. If using the spread as an ice cream sauce you can serve it straight from fridge

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

crispbread


A friend of mine gave me this yeast free crispbread recipe not so long ago and I can highly recommend it, as it is easy to make. She reduced the oil content of the original recipe and said it tasted better that way – of course I take her word for it. I also reduced the salt content. My children like finding this crispbread in their snack box. If you are like I am and enjoy the occasional treat of crackers, cheese and grapes then this crispbread is excellent and of course much healthier than all those salty crackers available on the market. American readers please note: 1 dl = 100 ml, ½ cup = 125 ml.

CRISPBREAD/CRACKERS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1¾ dl spelt flour (175 ml)
  • ½ dl coarse rolled oats (50 ml)
  • ½ dl pumpkin seeds
  • ½ dl flaxseeds/linseeds
  • ½ dl sesame seeds
  • ½ dl sunflower seeds
  • ½-¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 dl water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) quality vegetable oil

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, blend all the ingredients using a spoon or a spatula. The dough will be wet and a bit sticky
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. To spread the dough over the parchment you put another baking parchment on top of it and roll it out with a rolling pin. If you need to, simply use your fingers to even the edges out. You can also leave them rough
  3. Slice the dough into rectangles (I use a pizza cutter and I tend to make rather small slices) and then pierce the surface of each slice with holes, using a fork or a skewer
  4. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 15-20 minutes at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 (please note that my oven is fan assisted) depending on how dark and crisp you want the slices (I bake it for 20 minutes)
  5. Allow the crispbread to cool and then store it in an airtight container

Sunday, 26 June 2011

banana muffins


These banana muffins are on our list of favourites; not only do they taste good, they also have plenty of healthy ingredients (there isn't too much sugar) – perfect in the children's lunch box. I baked eighty-two of them today for our son's birthday party at his kindergarten next week and of course we ate some too. I thought to myself that I simply had to share the recipe that comes from my friend CafeSigrun. By now, most of you should be familiar with her recipe website (I'm still so happy that it's available in English). I always use large eggs when making these. If you only have small ones then I'd suggest using three egg whites instead of two. You can use one teaspoon of regular baking powder instead of two of the gluten free one. If you want a very strong banana flavour then make sure the bananas you use are very ripe.

BANANA MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g spelt flour
  • 50 g rolled oats
  • 2 heaped teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 100 g raw cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 small ripe bananas or 4 large ones

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork (or in a food processor). Set aside
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, egg whites, sugar, agave nectar and coconut oil (if the oil is solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use). Add the bananas and give everything a good stir
  4. With a large wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Make sure to not stir; the texture of the dough should be light (at this stage it looks like a thick porridge)
  5. Lightly grease a silicon muffin pan with some coconut oil and fill each muffin cup about two-thirds to the rim
  6. Bake at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size and quantity of the bananas, and the size of the silicon muffin pans I use, I get about 15-20 muffins)
  7. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack

Thursday, 16 June 2011

pizza dough (yeast free)


Homemade pizza is on our table on Fridays, sometimes on other days as well. Because I make yeast free pizza dough there is no need to wait for the dough to rise, it's ready as soon as the ingredients are mixed. This recipe is from my friend CafeSigrun and I have doubled it because there are five in our household (I make 6-7 thin crust pizzas). I only use ½ teaspoon sea salt because my sauce also contains salt and when each pizza is ready I add a little sea salt on top. I use 1½-2 tablespoons gluten free baking powder but instead you can use about 1 tablespoon of regular. Sometimes I make pizza for lunch while the kids are at school and then I simply divide the rest of the dough into round balls and freeze them. If you want pizza dough with yeast I can recommend Jamie Oliver's recipe; that's the recipe I always made before.

PIZZA DOUGH (YEAST FREE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g spelt flour
  • 1½-2 tablespoons gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (you can use more if you want)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano (optional)
  • 0-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 225-275 ml hot water (I use exactly 250 ml = 1 cup)

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, mix the spelt flour, baking powder, sea salt and oregano
  2. Add the olive oil and water and mix the dough gently with a large wooden spoon
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it a bit with your hands. The texture of the dough should be fairly soft and it shouldn't stick to the work surface
  4. Tear a piece from the dough, lightly knead it and flatten it out with a rolling pin before placing it on a pizza tin or a baking sheet (I make 6-7 pizzas, depending on how large I want them and I use a pizza stone with a diameter of 32 cm (12.6 inches)
  5. Top with pizza sauce and your choice of topping and bake in the oven at 230°C/450 °F/gas mark 8 for 7-10 minutes
  6. When each pizza is ready I always drizzle it with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and then I add some sea salt, oregano and freshly ground black pepper

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

biscotti with almonds


Let me just go ahead and say it: I love biscotti. Dipping a biscotti into my coffee cup is a moment of bliss. I get restless if I don't have these wonderful Italian cookies in a container in my cupboard. I like keeping some in my bag too so I can enjoy them wherever I am with my takeaway latte. The recipe comes from my friend CafeSigrun (how fabulous is it that her website is finally available in English!); it's the only one I've tried and the only one I'll be baking in the future because to me it's perfect. If you want more fibre in your diet then mix wholegrain spelt flour with white spelt flour when making them.

BISCOTTI WITH ALMONDS

INGREDIENTS

  • 110 g raw cane sugar, not too coarse
  • 1 egg
  • ½-1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (from a health food store)
  • 240 g spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, gluten free
  • optional: ¼-½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 75 g almonds, coarsely chopped
  • a few tablespoons cold water

You can add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to make a chocolate version or you can add a handful of chopped organic dark chocolate.

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, mix the raw cane sugar, egg and vanilla/almond extract (you can also use organic vanilla sugar). Add a couple of tablespoons water to dissolve the sugar
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the spelt flour, baking powder and salt
  3. With a large wooden spoon or a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add water (I use 3 tablespoons) to be able to kneed the dough without it sticking much to the bowl
  4. Chop the almonds in a food processor and stir them into the dough
  5. Place baking parchment on a baking tray. Use your hands to mould a 12 x 22 cm (4.7 x 8.6 in.) loaf. Make the height of the loaf approximately 1.5 cm (0.6 in.). If the dough sticks to your hands then simply wet your hands with cold water and keep on moulding
  6. Bake the loaf at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes (160°C if your oven is fan assisted)
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes and leave the oven on
  8. Place the loaf on a chopping board and use a serrated knife to carefully slice it diagonally into 1 cm (0.4 in.) thick slices
  9. Place the slices on the baking parchment and bake further for 10-15 minutes
  10. Turn the slices over and bake for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the slices to cool in the oven with door slightly ajar
  11. Store the biscotti in an airtight container

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

apple cake


The sight of an apple cake slice on a plate with whipped cream can do wonders, wouldn't you agree? Last year I made this recipe especially for my husband who absolutely loves apple cakes – not pies, he wants cakes. This is one of the recipes that I didn't have to experiment with, the first try was an instant hit and I promised hubby not to change a thing. If he were allowed to choose I would never have to bake anything else. However, just to see the reaction from other people not as apple cake biased as hubby, I have made this one for guests that are more used to cakes with plenty of white sugar and butter and I've got nothing but praise. The list of ingredients is simple, the cake is easy to make, and the smell from the oven is wonderful. Just one rememberer: Do not forget to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the apple slices! I can't tell you how often I've been close to forgetting it or forgotten it completely.

APPLE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g raw cane sugar (½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 130 g spelt four (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, gluten free (1 tsp if using regular)
  • 2 red apples, preferably organic
  • cinnamon sugar (raw cane sugar + cinnamon), as little or as much as you like

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the raw cane sugar, agave, eggs and coconut oil using a whisk or a fork (if the oil is solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)
  2. Mix the spelt flour and gluten free baking powder in a separate bowl and add to the other blend with a spatula
  3. Slice the apples with an apple slicer, peel off the skin and cut each slice into three, lengthwise
  4. Line a spring form cake tin (20-24 cm/8-9.4 inches) with baking parchment or coat a pie dish with a small amount coconut oil
  5. Use a spatula to spread a little less than half of the batter into the bottom of the cake tin/pie dish. If the batter is stiff you can dip the spatula into a bowl of hot water
  6. Arrange the apple slices in a circle over the bottom, allowing the slices to overlap (the smaller the cake tin/pie dish the more tightly they will overlap) and make sure you have some slices left to put in the centre
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the apple slices (in my home we do not think much about the ratio when making cinnamon sugar but I read somewhere that 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon makes a good blend when used for baking). You can also sprinkle cinnamon only
  8. Spread the rest of the batter over the apple slices, being careful not to displace the slices. Remember to dip the spatula in hot water if the batter is stiff. The stiffness of the batter depends on the size of the eggs you use and/or the humidity in the kitchen. Sometimes I do not have to use a spatula to spread the batter; pouring it gently from the bowl over the slices seems to be enough. But I always use a spatula to scrape the rest from the bowl
  9. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 40-55 minutes at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 until golden (I use a fan assisted oven for this one - bake at 160-170°C if not using fan assisted). The smaller the cake tin/pie dish, the longer the baking time - stick a fork into the middle to see if the cake is ready
  10. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream

Sunday, 3 April 2011

pecan pie


The musician Sting performed Elton John's song Come Down In Time on some CD and said he wished he had written it himself. I feel the same way about this pecan pie recipe made by my friend (Cafe)Sigrun – probably under a spell! This is one of my all time favourite cakes/pies and the beauty of it is that it doesn't need baking; the only thing you need is a food processor. The chocolate and cashew filling is so good that I have no words for it. Okay, I'll admit it, I usually lick the bowl when I'm done making the filling! I have seen people eating this pie and licking their plate without feeling embarrassed. I've seen people, who almost hate everything healthy, going nuts over this pie and not believing they're eating something that's actually good for them. I think I've said enough, let's just make the pie NOW!

PECAN PIE

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 100 g pecan nuts
  • 50 g almonds
  • 90 g pitted dates

FILLING

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large banana
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 25-50 ml soya milk
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

METHOD

CRUST

  1. Soak the dates in water for 20 minutes
  2. Place the almonds in a food processor and mix for a few seconds until coarse. Add the pecans and mix for a few seconds
  3. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Continue blending until the mixture is coarse but sticks together when pinched with your fingers
  4. Cover the base of a 21 cm (8.3 inches) spring form cake tin with cling film or baking parchment. If you are not going to serve the cake on a cake stand/cake plate you can simply use a pie dish without cling film or baking parchment
  5. Press the crust into the bottom of the cake tin and let it reach about two third up the side. Place in the fridge

FILLING
  1. Place the cashew nuts in the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue blending for 1 minute. Add the coconut oil while the food processor is running and continue blending for about 1 minute or until the texture resembles peanut butter (the length of time depends on how good your food processor is)
  2. Break the banana into 3-4 pieces and add it to the food processor with the agave syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt. Blend for a few seconds and then add 25 ml of soya milk. Scrape the insides of the bowl and continue blending until you have a smooth texture. Add more soya milk if the filling is too thick
  3. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour the filling into the crust. Spread evenly with a spatula and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours
  4. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on top if you use them
  5. Remove the pie carefully from the cake tin and place it it on a cake stand/cake plate
  6. Serve slightly chilled with whipped cream

Thursday, 13 January 2011

veggie chilli

Veggie chilli is one of my favourite meals; I never get tired of it. I usually serve it with sour cream, guacamole and organic tortilla chips. Home-made bread is also fine. This is a recipe I put together in 2009 (I made chilli yesterday so I decided to share the recipe with you today). For a long time I had wanted to make my own recipe because I had tried various ones and always felt something was missing. This one isn't too spicy because of my children and because I don't really enjoy eating chilli that only burns my tongue; I want to be able to enjoy the taste of the other ingredients. As the name indicates, the recipe contains no meat. I have actually served it to meat eaters that didn't even realize that there was no meat in it.

VEGGIE CHILLI

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers or 1 green and 1 red, seeded and diced
  • 1 green jalapeno or chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons mild chilli powder (use less if using hot, burning tongues are not exactly what we are aiming for)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (or unrefined cane sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin (or seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 can kidney beans (400 g)
  • 1 can pinto beans (400 g)
  • 1 can tomatoes (or 2 cans and skip the tomato purée)
  • 2 tablespoons, heaped, tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

METHOD

  1. Before you start cooking, rinse and drain the beans and keep them in a colander until ready to use. Mix all the spices in a small bowl (not the salt) and set aside. Make sure you are using spices of good quality.
  2. In a large saucepan over low to medium heat, fry the chopped/diced vegetables in the olive oil until soft
  3. Add the spices and mix together
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes/tomato purée, molasses and salt and mix together
  5. Put a lid on the saucepan, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down again and let the chilli simmer on lowest heat with the lid for 20-30 minutes and without it for another 10 minutes

You can use another can of either kidney or pinto beans but then you may want to add some tomato paste and water as well. If you like sweetcorn you can add 125-250 ml (1/2-1 cup) right in the end.

You can serve the veggie chilli with sour cream, cheddar, (home-made) guacamole, bread, organic snack (blue corn tortilla chips are my favourite) or whatever. Please make sure that you do not spoil this healthy recipe with unhealthy side dishes.

Chilli even tastes better the day after so it is perfect for the lunch box, if you are able to heat it at work. It's also excellent to make a grilled sandwich with chilli and cheese. If I'm serving it to guests and I have plenty of time, I cook it in the morning and let it sit in the pot. Then I simply heat it again right before the guests arrive.

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