Hey everyone! I’m sorry that there wasn’t a post last week but I was swanning around Sicily and Malta indulging in all kinds of Mediterranean deliciousness. It turns out there is no limit to the amount aubergine pasta I can eat! Anyway, we’ve returned to […]
I am pretty certain that I could eat my body weight in nut butters (sometimes straight from the jar). The problem is that so many of them are made with palm oil. I do try really, really hard not to buy products that use palm oil, which means that a lot of them are off the market to me, including Nutella (sob!). I do sort of miss the days when we lived in the US and I could just pick up a jar of peanut butter from Trader Joes confident in the fact that it was made with just one ingredient – nuts.
There really isn’t anything else you need to put in peanut butter unless you want to twiddle with the flavours a bit. Which is exactly what I’ve done here, adding a dash of cinnamon to the almond butter and some cocoa to the hazelnuts.
You may want to turn off your food processor intermittently whilst you make the nut butters to prevent it from getting too warm.
makes 1 jar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
Toast the nuts for 10 minutes at 180°c, keeping them separate. Place the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub them to loosen and remove some of the skin but don’t worry if some of it is a bit stubborn.
When the nuts have cooled a bit place the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and blitz them at full speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals and keep blitzing until the nuts release their oil and transform into a thick smooth paste. Add the cinnamon and blend it in. That’s the almond butter done, set it aside and clean out the food processor so that you can start the hazelnut butter.
Do the same thing with the hazelnuts as you did with the almonds, blitzing them in the food processor until they are reduced to a thick smooth paste. Add the sugar and the cocoa powder and blend them with the hazelnut paste.
Transfer the two spreads to a clean jar, swirling or layering them as you like.
How does this look for a summer brunch!? Golden fluffy pancakes that will help you on your way to your five-a-day? Yes please! I’m a sucker for anything that involves dill so these are a winner for me. They make a pretty hearty breakfast but have got lots of light summer flavours.
You can use whatever type of squash is in season, I actually wanted yellow courgettes but I think I was a bit early for them so I had to settle for a green one. You can also top them with whatever you like. We enjoyed them with gravadlax (mmmm, more dill) but smoked or even poached fish would also be nice .
1 medium yellow or green courgette/squash
200g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
salt and pepper
30g butter (melted)
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
oil for frying
poached eggs, gravadlax, sour cream to serve
Grate the squash and then wrap it up in a clean tea towel and give it a good squeeze to remove some of the excess moisture. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk them together. In a seperate jug beat together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Gradually mix the wet into the dry to leave you with a thick smooth batter.
Add the grated squash and the chopped dill and mix through, ensuring that everything is well combined.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and pour the batter into the pan to create the pancakes, make them as big or small as you like (although smaller ones are easier to flip!). When little bubbles start to form around the edges of the pancakes they should be ready to turn over. Cook until both sidea are golden brown and serve topped with cured or smoked fish, poached eggs or a little sour cream.
I’m almost certain that homemade bread is good for the soul. The process of making the dough, the smell as it bakes and that first taste when it’s fresh from oven – it really does make me feel good. I love making a batch of something like this to indulge in over long weekend breakfasts.
I know that cardamom buns are a speciality in Sweden, particularly for fika (that’s a coffee break to you and I) but the only place I’ve ever actually tried one was in London so I’m not even going to pretend that these are in any way authentic. In fact they’re so in-authentic that I’ve adapted my recipe for coconut buns, which uses a tang zhong (roux) in the dough, but they are incredibly delicious! It’s the roux that makes these buns so deliciously soft and moist. Make it by simply combining 25g of bread flour with 100ml of water in a pan and cooking it until it becomes nice and thick. Leave it to cool before incorporating it into the dough mixture.
400g strong white bread flour
big pinch of salt
2 tsp instant yeast (1 sachet)
70ml warm milk
70ml warm water
40g butter (melted)
100g softened butter
25-30 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pearl sugar to finish (optional)
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the salt, sugar and yeast. In a separate jug whisk together the melted butter, milk, water, egg and the cooled roux. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid mixture. Combine to form a soft dough and knead until it is smooth and springy. You can do this either by hand or with an electric mixer but to be honest the dough is so nice to work with that it’s very therapeutic to do it by hand.
Wash and dry the bowl to make it lovely and warm and then lightly oil it (use something flavourless.) Wipe a large piece of cling-film around the bowl to oil that too. Pop the dough into the bowl and loosely cover it with the cling-film and then leave it somewhere draught-free to rise until it has doubled in size, this should take about an hour.
Whilst the dough is doing its thing you can make the filling. Use a pestle and mortar to crack open the cardamom pods, remove the black seeds and discard the husks. Crush the seeds and coarsely grind them. Cream together the butter, sugar and spice to make a nice soft paste. Take the dough out of the bowl and pop it on a lightly floured surface. Give it a quick knead to knock some of the air out of it. Divide it into two even pieces. Roll each one out into a rectangle, about 14″x 10″. With the long edge facing you spread the filling over the lower half of each piece of dough before folding the top down to cover it. Press the edges to seal it and give it another quick roll. Cut each rectangle into six even pieces, slicing from top to bottom, then take each piece and cut it in half vertically stopping just short of the top so that the two strips remain joined. Twist the strips around each other and then into a knot, tucking the ends underneath. Place them on a lightly greased baking tray, spacing them well apart. I used two trays and put six on each. Lightly cover the buns and leave them to rise again for another hour.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Once the buns have puffed up and risen, uncover them and brush them with a little milk before sprinkling on some pearled sugar (or Demerara) and bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they have a soft crust and are golden brown.
You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner! I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly […]