Category Archives: Nuts

Roasted cashew and marmite nut butter..

Having recently fallen in love with marmite peanut butter and used it in some recipes, I decided to see what I could create of my own version.

Please note: Making nut butters requires a sturdy food processor as it can take some time for the nuts to ‘give’ and become a paste. It’s easy for motors to get burnt out!

For this concoction, I roasted some cashew nuts myself, then kept a portion back to be able to add them later and keep some crunch in the mixture. I also needed to add some oil to loosen the mix so I used a relatively flavourless rapeseed oil.

Be warned if you do make this, it’s very tasty!!! And very easy to eat 😄😄😄😄

Ingredients

400g roasted cashew nuts

Marmite

Rapeseed oil

Method

In a blender, start blending 300g of the nuts. It will take quite a while before it starts to become a paste, 5-10 minutes. Add 2-3 teaspoons of marmite once then nuts do become a paste, the amount will depend on your tastes.

You may find that the added marmite stiffens the mixture, so this is when to drizzle in some oil to loosen it again.

Next add the remaining nuts and blend briefly to create a crunchy finish.

If you prefer a smooth paste, add all of the nuts at the beginning.

Use as you would marmite peanut butter, or any nut butter or spread.

I did the same with some roasted hazelnuts…which worked equally well!

Enjoy!

Protein balls…

These little moreish balls of protein packed goodness were made from a collection of things from my cupboard to provide some quick nutritious snacks for my sportsmen…

I’m afraid I didn’t weigh anything but as a guide the greatest quantity was made up of oats, followed by milled flaxseeds, chopped roasted hazelnuts, roasted mixed seeds and cacao nibs, with a good portion of honey and lots of peanut butter.

I mixed it all up as thoroughly as possible in the biggest bowl I have, then place it in the fridge for an hour.

After the hour it was all firmer and starting to stick together; I rolled small handfuls of it into little balls, pushing them together as firmly as possible.

If it felt some of the mix was a bit dry, I added in some more peanut butter and kept making little rounds.

They’re so tasty, very moreish in fact! And great snacks for before or after sport. They need to stay in the fridge to hold their shape.

Throw in whatever you fancy and get rolling 🙂

Happy snacking!

Fresh hazelnuts…

These are fresh hazelnuts, sometimes called cobnuts, and they grow on the trees all along the canal where I walk Bob, and litter the ground.

Most of them have been gnawed by wildlife, but some remain intact and yesterday I decided to pick some up..

They’re so pretty; to me they represent the countryside and regrowth and everything lovely about where I live…although right now the ground is sadly parched from the extended heat and lack of rain 😦

When cracked open carefully, they give up their milky white kernels which can be eaten raw or toasted, and added to all sorts of dishes.

My little haul

Its hard to describe the taste & texture, but they taste ‘fresh’ and young, with a crunch, but not a hard crunch like mature nuts.

I chopped some up and added them to my lunch yesterday: a whole roasted aubergine filled with a roasted pepper, mild red chilli, cherry tomato, spring onion, garlic and tabil spice sauce, and topped with tahini, roasted seeds, and the chopped fresh hazelnuts…

They made an nice addition to the dish!

If you get a chance to try some, I definitely recommend it 🙂

Herbs and nuts ‘pesto’…

I had a green day this week; I basically had lots of lovely fresh herbs in my fridge and decided to use some of them in some pastes.

I made a coriander and walnut paste that I’ve made and shared before – I’d forgotten just how tasty it is! And I also threw together a kind of pesto idea at the same time..

This is made of lots of fresh parsley and not as much coriander, several handfuls of almonds and cashews, garlic, olive oil, a little lemon juice and some parmesan. You could easily use nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan to make it vegan if you wish. 

I was careful not to overblend this once I’d added the nuts to retain some crunch. 

It was so good, and, as ever, even better the next day once it had had time to develop the flavours. All you really need is a spoon to eat something like this, but I did force myself to add it to some meals instead. 

Including adding it to bulghur wheat with lots more fresh herbs, dried barberries and grilled aubergine slices one day..

…and similar again but with a pile of grilled courgettes instead the next day…

I did also eat some with some edamame bean spaghetti too, of which I don’t have a photo, and it worked well stirred through the warm ‘pasta’. 

I do love a concoction, especially a successful one!!! 

I hope you’ve had a good week, I’m taking my green concoction to this week’s Fiesta Friday, being looked after this week by the lovely Jhuls and Monika, and for now I’ll leave you with a shot or two of the semolina sourdough loaf I have just baked…

Savoury granola..

Apparently savoury granola is all the rage…who knew? Not me!! Apparently it’s all about creating a sweet and savoury element, hence, the recipe I read using soy sauce and maple syrup together..

Having read this in a current food magazine, I decided on a whim to make some last weekend, I always have oats and seeds and nuts of some sort in my cupboards, so it was easy to throw stuff together; however, I don’t like maple syrup or honey, and I’d rather just go for full on savoury, so I skipped any sweet element at all for my taste. 
My mix therefore included oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, linseeds, black & white sesame seeds, cashew nuts, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, olive oil, soy sauce & egg whites. This was all mixed well together then baked at 160C fan for 15-20 minutes, shaking & stirring it up halfway through to stop it all sticking. (Pretty much how you’d make any granola, just without the sweet sticky stuff.)

The challenge was then to leave it to cool! I have to admit that I did pick at it whilst it was warm, but the actual magic happens when it cools down as it then becomes crunchy, and the nuts harden up. 
And I liked it. It was indeed nice and crunchy, and without that excessive sweetness that often comes with granola, that puts me off it. I’ve eaten it on its own, with yoghurt, and with finely chopped apple & Greek yoghurt, and it all works. It would probably be good with salad or roasted vegetables, it’s just a case of viewing granola in a different way. 
If I made it again I’d probably add some different nuts too, maybe try leaving out the chilli flakes, add more fennel seeds and add in other warm spices. I think it would be good with my chai spice mix, or other mixes of spice seeds like caraway, anise, cumin and/or coriander. 

The possibilities, as they say, are ENDLESS! 

I wonder what Mollie and Ginger will make of my offering at this week’s Fiesta Friday

Broccoli gets a foodbod makeover..

 Lina, my fellow food blogger, is great at issuing cooking challenges – I thoroughly enjoyed the North Indian Curries challenge – and this month I took up her Creative Ingredient challenge…to those of us who responded to the challenge, Lina issued a vegetable for us to cook with. 

Yes, I cook vegetables daily, but I thought this might encourage me to cook with a vegetable I don’t often pick..and I was right: Lina gave me broccoli (Lina also gave me cauliflower, but having previously made so many cauliflower dishes – there’s been cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower wraps, marinades, dips, so many cauliflower creations, all on my recipe index- I decided not to add more to the cauliflower arsenal! It doesn’t need any further assistance from me to get even more expensive!)  I rarely choose broccoli, and when I do, I tend to prefer the stems to the tops of the ‘trees’, I think the stems hold more flavour and a better texture. That’s just my view of course 🙂 

So I decided to push myself and play with the curly tree tops, which scream ‘crumb’ to me, and this is what I came up with…a crunchy zesty crumb of broccoli, nuts and spices.. 

To sprinkle over whatever you fancy, I sprinkled mine over this salad…it added crunch as well as flavour and colour…

So, time for the details…

The crumb

Ingredients

The florets from a medium sized bunch of broccoli

3-4 small garlic cloves

A handful of roasted unsalted hazelnuts

A handful of roasted unsalted cashews 

1/2 tbsp Aleppo (pul biber) red pepper flakes

1 tbsp sumac

1/2 tbsp olive oil 

Method

Place the broccoli in a glass bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with cling film; microwave on high for 6 minutes

Remove the broccoli and place in a colander to drain and cool

Once cooled, cut off the tops and keep the stems for the dip below

Place the curly tops of the broccoli in a food processor with all of the other ingredients 

Blend to a crumb, don’t let it go as far as a paste 

Then sprinkle over anything you can think of, like I did! Or stir it into some homous..of course! Tasty!!

 
    The salad


Ingredients
 

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and washed 

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Roasted ground cumin

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Several tablespoons of cooked quinoa

Method

Starting with the chickpeas, I put the chickpeas in a pan with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, and brought the liquid to the boil and simmered for on a low heat

I then (after eating several lovely spoonfuls from direct the pan!) left them in the pan overnight to cool and marinate

The next day I mixed the chickpeas with the chopped herbs, tomatoes and quinoa to serve 
 The dip 

Whilst I was playing around, I also put this dip together using the broccoli stems..

Ingredients 

Steamed and roasted broccoli stems

Several roasted cloves of garlic

Tiny pinch cayenne pepper

Salt

Plain homous

Plain yoghurt 

Method

I steamed the broccoli stems along with the trees for the broccolata, then roasted them with some peeled garlic cloves and a spray of olive oil 

Once they’re nicely roasted, I left them to cool then blended them with some homous I’d already made, a tiny pinch of cayenne and some natural yoghurt  

  Of course, I did then take things a step further…I decided to bake it at a low temperature and see if I could add some more crunch to it.. 

I spread the mixture in a thin layer across a baking tray lined with foil and baked for 20-25 minutes at 150c, checking constantly that none of it burnt, then turned the oven off, propped open the door slightly, and left the tray in the oven to dry out further. It worked really well.. 

It became really crispy and crunchy and zesty…and although it looks like bits are burnt, they really aren’t, the broccoli just coloured more than the rest..

and again, tasty over my leftover salad today… 

So, how’s that for something different? Possibly not what you might think of when you look at broccoli?! We know my brain works in mysterious ways….I had great fun playing with it, I hope that Lina and you like the outcome.

I did also do more with the rest of the broccoli that I bought, but I’ll save that for next time, for now I’m heading over to Fiesta Friday with my broccoli crumb and hoping that this week’s co hosts Julie, and Ashley like it 🙂  

My lunch feast: a royal dal, with ‘churma’ crumb, peanut butter chutney, and red onion & tomato curry..

  

 A couple of weeks ago, Naina brought a wonderful selection of dishes to Fiesta Friday, it consisted of several Rajasthani dishes, including a mixed lentil dal and ‘churma’, a crumb for sprinkling over the dal, almost like an Indian dukkah…check it out, it all looked beautiful…

A ROYAL REPAST: DAL BAATI CHURMA: a heavenly dish with three delectable elements from the princely state of Rajasthan, India!

Of course, it piqued my interest greatly, so I made the dal and churma this week for lunch with my lovely friend, and added a peanut butter chutney, and my own version of a gravy, plus some roasted cauliflower.  

   I’d like to share a few notes on the dishes of Naina’s that I made, as well as sharing the recipes for my ‘gravy’ and the peanut butter chutney. 

 I followed Naina’s recipe completely for the dal..

  For the churma, I did make a couple of changes..the recipe calls for ghee, which I replaced with coconut oil. The recipe also calls for sugar added to the crumb which I replaced with some ground cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt to make a savoury version which is more to my taste.  

 
  The peanut butter chutney was inspired by Mallika Basu, a food writer that I follow on Instagram. She posted a quick peanut butter chutney which I based mine on, but it then grew..basically, I started adding more things! So this is how it began…

  ..but I translated teaspoons to tablespoons and made a bigger serving, plus I added garlic paste and some chilli powder. 
It was so good over the cauliflower, in fact, I’m discovering it’s good over anything. 

  And finally, my gravy. I probably didn’t really need another dish, but I wanted some kind of sauce, plus I made enough to eat it for several more days which I always like. I do like to open my fridge and see a range of things that I’ve made that I can select from during the week. 
  Ingredients 

2 tbsp Coconut oil

2 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tsp Cumin seeds

4 Cardamom pods

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Dried red chilli

4 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 

1 tbsp Ginger paste

1 tbsp of my curry paste (garlic, ginger, green chillies, turmeric, cumin, coriander – more details soon) 

2 tsp Ground cumin & coriander 

1 tsp Turmeric

1/2 tsp Chilli powder

680g Passata + 1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp Amchoor powder 

 Method

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat.

Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon & dried chilli. 

When the seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped red onions and cook over a medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger paste and curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder and cook for a minute, then add the passata and water and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 

Finally add the amchoor powder, stir through and cook for a further few minutes. 

Eat on its own or add your choice of vegetables and/or chicken. Or, like I did, throw over some of the leftover churma and enjoy.. 

 I hope my Fiesta Friday family will enjoy my lunch feast, join in the fun with Mila and Hilda and share your dishes 🙂 

Have a great weekend!