With Christmas just around the corner it's time to think about what the man in the red suit might like to nibble on while he's leaving the presents under the tree.
This delicious biscuit recipe from Joanne Flanagan will hit the spot.
Option: 2 tbs of chocolate drops can be added for the chocolate lovers.
Even though Christmas is still months away I've been thinking about quick party snacks that are delicious and simple to make. I love almonds and I love maple syrup and I know this is a great combination.
I've come up with two simple ideas to try and both worked out to be very delicious.
You can sprinkle a little sea salt over when they come out of the oven if you like the sweet/salt combo.
Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.
Store in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Falafels are a traditional Middle Eastern food made with Faba beans (also known as Fava or Broad beans) and Chickpea meal.
Deliciously crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Most commonly you find them rolled into a ball and deep fried and served in a wrap with chopped salad and a tahini sauce. Yum! They also make a great appetiser served with a dipping sauce. But you don’t need to deep fry them. It’s just as easy and nutritious to pan fry them with a little bit of oil. You can add finely chopped vegetables as well.
Falafel are high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre.
They make a great quick mid week dinner as you only need to add water to our mix and it’s easy to remember it’s 1 cup or falafel mix to 1 cup of water. Let it sit for 30 min to absorb and you are ready to go.
The falafel mix we have in store is made up of faba bean meal, chickpea meal, bulgur meal (parboiled wheat), selected herbs and spices, sesame seeds, baking soda, bicarbonate soda, salt, onion flakes, garlic powder. There are no preservatives.
The first and what was until recently the last time I ate Sago it was a lemon jelly like pudding that tasted pretty unpleasant. But it was probably a mixture of the recipe and my skill as a cook in grade 9 home economics class.
Now older, a better cook and the owner of a wholefoods store I decided it was time to revisit the Sago pudding and give it another go. Thankfully it worked and I’ve realised that Sago makes a really nice thick, delicious pudding that I’ve become addicted to.
Although what we know as Sago is most likely tapioca pearls. Both can be used interchangeably in puddings. The difference lies in the source. Sago comes from the pith of the Sago palm and Tapioca pearls are made from the starch of the tubers of the cassava plant. It’s also gluten free.
Tapioca pearls don’t have any distinct taste so there is a lot of opportunity to add a myriad of different flavours.
Here is a delicious recipe for a basic “Sago” pudding using coconut milk, water and a little palm sugar.
You really can't go past pancakes with maple syrup. It's definitely a favourite in my house. If you've ever wondered why those little bottles of amber delight aren't cheap then keep on reading.
It's been around for hundreds of years and written accounts of the harvesting of Maple sap to make syrup goes back to the mid 1500's.
Harvested in late winter, early spring as the sap begins to flow with the change to warmer weather. It’s generally only collected during the day and the season lasts for 4 – 6 weeks. Once the trees begin to sprout buds the season is over as this causes the sap to change taste and become unpalatable.
Maple trees aren’t tapped until they are at least 30 years old and can then continue to be tapped until they are over 100 years old. Canada is now the largest producer of maple syrup but a large portion is also produced in Vermont in the US.
Modern collecting uses tubes and vacuums inserted into the trees to extract the sap. While the sugar content can vary, sap is mostly water so it needs to be heated to remove it. What you are left with is the delicious sweet syrup. It’s a very precise process to get just the right amount of sugar to water ratio of 66% sugar.
The higher the sugar content of the sap the less is needed to make the syrup so it can vary from anywhere from 215 – 94 litres of sap to get about 4 litres of syrup.
Maple syrup is primarily sucrose (this is the same type of sugar as cane sugar). It also contains moderate amounts of calcium and zinc.
To be called Maple syrup is must be 100% pure syrup, otherwise it’s labelled “maple flavoured” syrup.
Although it is amazing over pancakes and French toast, it’s a very versatile ingredient. I use maple syrup in my toasted muesli as an alternative for honey. I’ve also used it in muffins and it works well with peanut butter on a sandwich for the ultimate salt/sweet mix.
Our syrup is pure, organic, Canadian maple syrup. With a beautiful sweet flavour that’s not too overpowering.
The simple answer is yes!
Blanched Almond Meal, also known as Almond Flour is made from grinding blanched almonds (skins removed) down to fine consistency.
This is a popular flour for gluten free cooking.
You can also make your own meals by grinding either blanched or natural almonds in a blender until you reach the desired consistency - generally about 10 seconds.
Both cacao and cocoa come from the cacao bean. The difference lies in the process used to make the powders and this results in differences in taste and nutritional content.
Raw Cacao is just that, the bean is crushed in it’s raw form and the butter removed by cold pressing. It’s high in antioxidants and a source of magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Alkalized Cocoa is a dutch method where the beans are soaked in alkalized solution to reduce the Ph level and make it less bitter and then is processed at a higher temperature. The increased processing of the bean does decrease but not destroy all the antioxidants and minerals so it still has nutritional value.
Carob comes from the seed of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) a native to the Mediterranean. The pods are then roasted and crushed into a powder. It has a chocolate like flavour and has been used a substitute for many years. It has a naturally sweeter flavour, caffeine free and higher in fibre than cacao.
I’ve been using raw cacao powder in my baking for a few years now and it certainly takes the humble chocolate cake flavour to a whole new level over your general supermarket cocoa. However in a taste test of the hot chocolates at home recently, our alkalized cocoa powder has a lovely dark chocolate flavour and was less bitter.
If you are looking to add cacao to your diet for purely nutritional reasons then I go for raw cacao but if you are looking for to add a rich chocolate flavour to your next cake or dessert then either will work.
If you want to change things up then you can easily substitute carob powder for cacao powder in recipes and possibly cut down on some sugar to boot, as you don’t need to mask any bitterness.
This week we have a special double recipe post with 2 delicious biscuits recipes. One with raisins by Joanne Flanagan and the other is my choc chip recipe. Both are full of rolled oaty goodness.
Good for the school lunch box or an anytime treat!
Oat Raisin Biscuits
Makes 24 large cookies.
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bi carb soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250g unsalted butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup of raisins ….or dark choc chips or half and half.
This week we have another fantastic recipe from Joanne Flanagan using Spelt Grain.
Spelt is a an ancient grain that is high in fibre, protein and vitamins. It is lower in gluten than traditional wheat but not gluten free. It makes a great rice alternative and can be used in risotto.
Jo has created this hearty winter soup to warm up your insides on these cold nights. This has been paired with her home made flat bread.
Lamb, Veg and Spelt Grain Soup
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large lamb shanks
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
400g can diced tomatoes
1 cup of spelt grain (or pearled barley)
500ml (2 cups) beef stock
Up to 2 cups of water to just cover shanks in your pot or slow cooker
1 cup of chopped kale
Natural yoghurt, to serve (optional)
Serve in soup bowls with a dollop of yoghurt and some warm flat bread.
Time to pull out those casserole dishes and slow cookers and get warmed up for winter.
In the spotlight this week are our French Puy Lentils.
Originating in France, these small green lentils are a great alternative to regular lentils. They take less time to cook and retain their shape better as they have very little starch.
Joanne Flanagan has created us this fantastic Braised Puy Lentil recipe that’s sure to be a favourite with the whole family.
Braised French Puy Lentils