23 April 2014

Food For Thought: Chickpeas !





Something I recently learnt about the humble chickpea is that it contains the trace mineral.  This little mineral helps your body utilise key nutrients, which promotes healthy skin, bones, thyroid function and blood glucose levels.

I've always loved chickpeas.  Now I love them even more!

Just a few simple ingredients transform this humble little chickpea into a quick and light lunchtime snack.







Chickpea Falafels
(recipe from Real Food Kitchen by Dr Libby)



Ingredients

375g raw chickpeas, soaked overnight and rinsed well
1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
2 tbsp ground cumin
coconut oil for shallow-frying

Instructions

  1. Place chickpeas, parsley, coriander, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Season to taste.
  2. Add the baking powder, flour and cumin and mix well.
  3. Heat a frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom.  Mould the mixture into small balls and fry in the oil using a fork to flatten each ball as it cooks.  When the discs are golden brown on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.










Just a little note - eat them the day you cook them as they tend to dry out a little if kept any longer.




21 April 2014

A delicious raspberry and almond tart . . .




I thought I'd share with you the little tart I made recently for my sister-in-law.

I think you're going to like it.

It's just a simple little tart with a bottom made of flaky, buttery, sweet shortcrust pastry.  A middle filled with soft fluffy almonds, and a crown of plump fresh raspberries.  

Served with some thick double cream...do you really need anything more?






Raspberry and Almond Tart
(recipe from Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose)



Ingredients

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g almond meal
3 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
200g maple syrup (I used rice malt syrup)
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry, baked and cooled, but still in its tin
450g raspberries

Shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
35g icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
125g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg yolk

Serves 12


Instructions

  1. For the pastry - place flour, icing sugar, vanilla seeds and butter in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs.  Add the yolk and 2 tbsp iced water, then whiz until the mixture comes together in a ball.  Enclose in plastic wrap, then chill for 30 minutes.  Roll out pastry to desired size, trimming to fit pan if necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and bake pastry case lined with non-stick baking paper and filled with baking weights for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove paper and weights and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until light golden.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy, adding a couple of tablespoons of almond meal if the butter is too soft.  Add the rest of the almond meals, the eggs and syrup and fold in carefully until thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tart case and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Remove the cooled tart from the tin and sprinkle with the raspberries.














A little note on maple syrup:  A good-quality, pure maple syrup is 100 per cent natural.  It's sweeter than cane sugar and has fewer calories.  It contains manganese, zinc and natural antioxidants which makes it good for your immune system as well as providing a slow -releasing energy.  

However, it does still contain fructose.

Just a little tip for those of you, like me, looking to keep your fructose intake down.





18 April 2014

Chocolate Easter Egg Cakes !



Happy Easter everyone!


I thought I'd share with you just one simple little idea of what you could do with all those chocolate Easter eggs you're inevitably going to accumulate over Easter.

Such a simple use of the chocolate which also means you won't have to consume as much yourself, as you'll be able to pass these little cakes back out to others for them to enjoy.  You'll be loved by everyone.

Win/win!







Chocolate Easter Egg Cakes
(recipe adapted from trEATs by April Carter)




Ingredients

50g cocoa powder
1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
125ml boiling water
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
110g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g dark brown sugar
2 large organic eggs
60ml milk
Mini chocolate eggs to decorate

For the Ganache
150g dark chocolate chopped small
150ml cream

Makes 48 mini cupcakes.
Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line 2 x 24 mini muffin trays with mini muffin liners (or bake in 2 batches.
  2. Mix the cocoa, vanilla and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth, set aside to cool.
  3. In a clean bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to combine and set aside.
  4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until pale and creamy.  Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.  Add the milk, cocoa and flour mixtures, and continue to beat.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Divide mixture into muffin liners and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from tray and cool on a wire rack.
  6. To make the ganache, place chocolate in a bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan until just bubbling then pour over the chocolate.  Whisk until it is a completely smooth and all of the chocolate has melted.  Set aside to cool, then chill for 20 minutes, Once thick,, beat with a spatula until smooth and pipe onto cakes.  Decorate with a mini chocolates.