Cranberry & lemon amoretti

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, V, WF

Thanks to your calls to action post my supper clubs, fitness events and yoga holidays, this superhero stars again. Almost 2 years after I first shared the recipe, it really is a good one. True Wholesome Seduction: a super tasty snack that’s healthy, low carb and protein packed. These mini morsels are even vegan, dairy, gluten and refined sugar free and still somehow taste of un-compromised indulgence. Ideal for pre / post exercise; a (very buff) friend now keeps them at the ready for his relentless triathlon training hunger. Groan! If iron man fitness doesn’t float your boat, they’re perfect with coffee.

Cranberry-&-lemon-amaretti

Makes 10 – 12 amoretti.

INGREDIENTS

200g ground almonds, bought or home made (skin off almonds)
zest of one lemon
20g / 1 tbsp dried cranberries, rough chopped
2 medium egg whites
2 dsp maple syrup, raw honey or agave

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 150C. Mix almonds, lemon zest, almond extract and cranberries and set aside.

Lemon-zest-amaretti

Whisk together egg whites, agave and honey until you get soft peaks. Fold in almond mix. You should have a sticky dough.

Cranberry-amaretti-dough

Break off chunks and roll into pieces slightly smaller than a golf ball. Coat with icing sugar (optional) and place on greaseproof lined baking tray.

Cranberry-&-lemon-amaretti-dough-balls

Bake for 12 – 14 mins until lightly browned on top. With a knife, unstick the bottom and transfer to a cooling rack.

Cool before eating and store in an airtight container.

DIY Christmas gifts

Posted in: Uncategorized

In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are some DIY foodie gifts you can do from the kitchen, mostly. From homemade Almond, orange & cranberry granola in a super stylish Skandi jar to spicy nuts in a kitsch sugar shaker. Show your love with design led DIY that lasts beyond the Quality Street bucket. And with treats that won’t have you sweating out all of January in the gym.Noel-bull

 

Cranberry & lemon amoretti are a great Christmas failsafe: Festive fare, deliciously indulgent, yet healthy (high protein, low carb, no refined sugar) and so easy an ape could be trusted to make them. You can’t go wrong with Spicy nuts for a New Year’s eve boozy or juicy pairing and Cacao nut energy balls are great for those determined to avoid sugar overload.

Christmas-Gather-&-Gather-bags

Cox-&-Cox

I recently designed the above sweetie bags for Gather & Gather’s extensive cafes and restaurants, but Cox & Cox do an exhaustive supply of ribbons and wrapping to inspire the least creative and most time pressed among us. Something as simple as a ribbon tied jam jar, cellophane or greaseproof looks great and is super easy.

If wrapping paper wrestling’s not your thing, however, or if you need something that really tap dances, here’s my pick of the best buys to house and gift your wholesomely seductive recipes:

 

Sugar-shaker-&-storage-jar

Two containers to fill the fussiest of friends or hosts with glee. Ideal for Spicy nuts or Almond, orange & cranberry granola – the perfect boxing day breakfast.

Airtight and stackable stoneware jars, available in various colours from £32, Skandium.
Rocket St George sugar shaker, £7.50.

 

Skandium-salt-&-spice-grinder

Dr-Pepper

These have to be hands down the most covetable salt and spice grinders I’ve set eyes on. Made for my famous Sesame & rosemary spice.

2 pack grinder £45, Skandium. Sergeant Pepper grinder (£15) and oven gloves (£22), Rocket St George.

 

The recipes I’ve picked are my cupboard staples, tested and reviewed by friends, cafes and yogis to the point I deem them worthy of festive feasting and giving. In fact, I’m spending Christmas in the sun (sorry, no gloating or smugness intended) and have been primed that all of the above are to form part of our Cape Town kitchen menu. I’ll share more tips for Christmas indulgence that won’t bust a bikini here, including next week’s, Spiced orange & cranberry granola.

Recipes from this post

Cranberry & lemon amoretti
Spicy nuts
Choco nut energy balls
Sesame & rosemary spice
Almond, orange & cranberry granola

For more ideas my past posts still stand: The gift guide top 5 and Please santa…

 

From the streets: Bounce Natural Energy Balls

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Bounce’s gluten, dairy and (refined) sugar free balls of protein and goodness have been kicking around in yoga centres, gyms and health shops for a while. But at nearly £2 a pop, I needed some convincing. Until I tasted the Coconut & Macadamia…

Bounce Energy Balls

Thanks to the lovely people at Bounce sending me a truck load of samples I’m now hooked.

A filling protein and energy hit for when you get caught out on the go surrounded only by crisps or Cadburys. This seems to happen to me a lot. On a recent cycle home I inhaled 1/2 kg of dry roasted peanuts. Bounce has since become a handbag staple.

Why I’m hooked:

  • 100% natural (not just a strap line) and made only with stuff that does us good
  • 42 filling grams of protein or fibre
  • Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Under 200 calories
  • Winning flavours: Macadamia & Coconut; Spirulina & Ginseng; Peanut; Cashew & Pecan; Almond… I like them all!

£1.79 from Wholefoods, Holland & Barrett, Waitrose or health shops. Or you can buy boxes of 12 online at Bounce: £19.45.

 

The Gift Guide Top 5

It’s that time of year again; we’ve hit December and already passed the busiest online shopping day of the year apparently. Well versed in the art of shopping, I thought it only fitting I share my failsafe food inspired gift guide, hopefully taking some trauma out of your Santa duties.

Christmas-gift-tags

 

The coolest cookie cutters

Sunnyside-Eggs

I have a sneeking suspicion the sunshine eggs could be a bit of a faff; maybe one to delegate to your sous chef / spouse / kids. You can always thank them with some Made with Love cookies.

Sunyside eggs £7.95 from Rocket St George and Made with Love cookie stamp £6.00 from Anthropologie.

 

4th Wave Coffee at home

V60-Coffee-Machine

One morning spent researching cafes and sampling espressos with Gather & Gather in house coffee guru, Paul Hallit and I came home with the above (essential) haul. We’re now entering the 4th wave in coffee apparently: Beyond independent cafes and single origin beans, it’s also about the science behind the perfect cup. Anyone who appreciates coffee will thank you for this kit, or simply some decent beans.

V60 coffee makers for single (01) and double cup (02) filter: From £35. You can also buy the V60 on its own to sit directly on your cup: From £20. Multiple options available from Brewed by Hand or Coffee Hit.

Union-&-All-Press-Coffee

Union Hand Roasted for a wide range of single origin beans (best for V60 brewing) as found in Gail’s Artisan Bakery, Harris & Hoole and Gather & Gather. Coffee from Shoreditch roaster All Press is also hard to beat.

 

Seggiano stars

Seggiano-Christmas-gifts

Seggiano. God of taste: flavour and design. Everything from panettone to olive oil, chocolate clementines to raw honey. Packaged so beautifully, wrapping paper wrestling is a thing of the past.

Available from Wholefoods or independent delis. Olive oil: £11.50. Honey: £8.50. Foraged tree: Free from Clapham Common.

 

Compulsory cookbooks

The-Flavour-Thesaurus-&-Ottolenghi,-Jerusalem

Momofuko-Milk-Bar-Cookbook

Two years in and these are still my failsafe classics. For the creative cook keen to go off piste: The masterpiece that is The Flavour Thesaurus. Jerusalem, the latest kitchen handbook by My Favourite Places Godfather, Yotam Ottolenghi is a must that no self respecting food lover should be without.

And for the adventurous: Milk of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar fame, as recommended by uber chef and Gather & Gather colleague, Dan Rampat. Momofuku means Lucky Peach. Sold!

£10+ from Amazon

 

Spa scents

Diptyque-&-Jo-Malone

Because, as much as I love to cook, there are few kitchen smells I want to curl up on the sofa with. And let’s face it, smelling of Eau de Honey Roast Ham outside the kitchen is  offensive. End of.

Diptyque Baies and Jo Malone Grapefruit are clean classics guaranteed to win over the fussiest of recipients. At £40 neither candle comes cheap but the quality is second to none: dripping in perfume oils = stronger and longer lasting spa scents. RK Ridings does a huge selection of similar diffusers and candles at 1/3 of the price.

Space NK stock most of Diptyque’s range. Their online and customer service is super efficient and given their giant selection of Christmas gift ideas, this is a no brainer for filling your Santa sleigh. Jo Malone and RK Ridings stock direct.

 

Christmas mugs

Gold-trim-mugs,-Christmas

ANTA-TARTAN.mugs

ANTA-TARTAN

When all else fails, opt for a mug. 19 carat gold rim mug with horse design (obviously) and coffee cups you can bake in. Genius. In the spirit of giving, I’ve tested festive Orange, almond & chocolate cake in said super mugs.

Designer tartanry brand ANTA also do a range of throws and cushions as cozy as a Christmas jumper. Sign up for Tartan Tuesday (2 for 1 offers) and their Advent Calendar of daily discounts in the run up to Christmas.

Horse mug £20 from Rocket St George; Tartan cups £22 from ANTA.

 

Some more failsafe gift ideas

Best cookery courses: Ginger Pig butchery classRick Stein Seafood SchoolBread Ahead bakery school.

For Little Miss Fussy: Big rocks are in! Try Bex Rox or Aurelie Bidermann. The Outnet also has a wide range of heavily discounted designer jewellery (and clothes).

For kids: Cox & Cox have an inexhaustible selection of games and trinkets for kids of all ages.

For The Friend Who Has Everything: Diageo Brand Store offers a 6 ltr bottle of Ciroc vodka for £250. You can even have your own bespoke swing for a mere fifteen hundred quid.

 

Strawberry, almond & mint smoothie

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, V, WF

The lack of spring (entirely forgiven in light of the recent outpouring of unbroken, blistering sunshine) wasn’t all bad. UK cooler conditions caused a slower growth and more time for the plants to develop in the soil, equalling plumper, juicier, sweeter berries. Make the most of the 2013 vintage crop by blitzing and freezing to use in recipes throughout the year. And gorge on beach body smoothies in the meantime. This is a great breakfast option as the almonds and oats are not only good for you, they fill you up for longer. As with this recipe, unearth inspiration and berry buddies with our Gather & Gather friend, Niki Segnit’s indispensable Flavour Thesaurus.

Strawberry,-almond-&-mint-smoothie

 

Feeds: 2 as a breakfast or 4 as a dessert

 

Ingredients

1 tbsp / 12 almonds – I like skins on
3 tbsp oats
1 tsp cinnamon
12 strawberries
2 bananas
1 bunch fresh mint
1 dsp Sweet Freedom / Agave / honey
300ml rice milk (or cows milk)
100ml cold water 2 tbsp yoghurt, optional

Method

In a blender, blitz almonds and oats until they resemble a sawdust like texture. You’ll need to scrape down the sides after about 5 seconds and repeat.

Follow with remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. You can also add yoghurt for a thicker, more filling smoothie. If so, you may want to thin out slightly with some water or milk.

Not wishing to disparage the best of berries, but this recipe’s just as good without the strawberry or mint when your frozen stash runs out: nutty banana cream.

Click on the Seducer links to learn why your insides will love this recipe as much as your taste buds: Almonds and Strawberries.

Mango, cardamom & lime lassi

Posted in: LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Lassis are essentially Indian yoghurt smoothies. This recipe’s a guaranteed brunch addition winner, plus a healthy breakfast or dessert to have on the go. Sweeter and richer in flavour, Alphonso mangoes are King. In season from March to June in South Indian – see what I did there? Seamless link to recent travel pick posts: Holy Cow: Kerala. You can pick up a box from most veg stalls and Asian communities, along with some supermarkets. Sub with any other mangoes if you can’t get The King.

Makes: 1 ltr. Feeds: 4

 

Ingredients

3 Alphonso mangoes
750g natural yoghurt
20 pods cardamom, ground, husks removed
1 lime, juice of
50 – 100ml water, depending on preference

Method

Peel and chop mangoes, discarding skins and stones, though it would be a waste not to suck the latter before binning…!

Blend mango flesh in a mixer or with stick blender. Add yoghurt, cardamom and lime and mix.

Depending on the thickness of your yoghurt, I like to add iced water until I get a pourable, smoothie consistency. You may prefer to keep thick, however.

Decant into a jug and serve alongside brunch (Corn fritters?) in mini glasses.

For more of seductive mango’s health benefits, click on the Seducers page or type mango into the Search box.

PP: Kj/cal: 1084/259, Pr: 13.1g, Fat: 6.9g, Sat Fat: 3.3g, Carb: 39.2g, OwS: 30.23, Salt: 0.4g

 

Seasonal Seducer: Mango

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

King of fruits, mango is rich in dietary fibre, Vitamins A, C & E, potassium, minerals, and antioxidants. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and really does help us see in the dark (thank you, Vitamin A).

Why we fell in love

Because it tastes so good it really shouldn’t have any health benefits what so ever. Mango is also found to protect against leukemia, colon, prostate and breast cancers. It’s even said to clear pores when used externally. There appears to be no end to The King’s talents…

Tom’s chocolate nut brownie brick

Posted in: N, SF, V

I first tasted these at our winter street food pop-up and have harangued Tom for the recipe ever since. Relentlessly. So much more than a brownie, they’re rich, indulgent and utterly seductive.

Tom's Choc Brownie Brick

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter
250g 72% dark chocolate
250g 51% chocolate
300g caster sugar
4 eggs
150g plain flour, sifted
50 grams rasins
100g hazelnuts
1 vanilla pod, seeds only

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 145 °C.
  2. Melt the butter in a ban-marie, then add the chocolate.
  3. Whisk together the suagr and eggs until pale in colour. Slowly add the sifted flour.
  4. Once fully mixed, add the raisins, hazelnuts and vanilla. Stir the chocolate to ensure smooth and fully melted.
  5. Slowly add the chocolate to the cake mix and fold together. Pour into a tray and bake at 145 °C for 20 mins, then allow to rest.

Tom likes these with peanut butter ice-cream (for the love of God!) but any variety works, as does cream. You can also swap or drop the nuts.

Tom is Exec chef at The Brewery. See more from our culinary prodigy in last week’s post Tom’s tasting masterpiece.

Maple roast banana

Posted in: DF, SF, V, WF

Tired of our tasteless bananas picked while green for export, we decided to take matters into our own hands. The result, we think, is surprisingly reminiscent of those bursting with sweetness we gorge on in India and Sri Lanka. Ours have the added sticky tang magic that comes from heating butter and lemon.

Maple roast banana. Wholesome Seduction

Ingredients

Small knob of butter, approx. 2 tsp
2 bananas, sliced into lengthways – we do strips
1 dsp agave, maple syrup or honey
1/2 lemon, juice of

Method

  1. Set butter to heat in a frying pan on a high heat.
  2. Add banana, lemon juice and agave and fry till soft in the middle and sticky and charred on the outside. Roughly 3 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second.
  3. Keeps for 3 days in the fridge.

Serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche, on top of porridge or even with bacon. Anywhere you’d use bananas basically. They’re also delicious mixed into creme fraiche with a dash of vanilla extract as a banana cream to go with cake.