Tag Archives: almonds

Apricot & Rhubarb Galette

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Galette, it appears to be me, is simply a fancy-pants Frenchy-wenchy way of saying “tart”. This recipe is adapted slightly from the cherry galette Smitten Kitchen cookbook I bought my sister for her birthday. I’m sure this would work equally well with all manner of stone fruit; peaches, nectarines, plums et cetera!

In making this tart I managed to make the amateur error of halving all the pastry ingredients bar the water, which is possibly the worst thing to include too much of! Fortunately I managed to save it and just had an extra large tart. I mean galette. Which is no bad thing in my book! This pastry could be used for any manner of sweet tarts/pies.

Pastry

Ingredients

110g plain flour
55g ground almonds
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
110g butter, straight from the fridge
60ml cold water

Method

Sieve the flour, almonds, salt, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the butter in 1cm cubes and rub in with your hands (or one of these bad boys) until the largest blobs are the size of a pea. Stick in the fridge for five or ten minutes before adding the water, a third at a time, stirring in with wooden spoon or spatula until one large clump forms. The quicker you work the better. Wrap in cling film and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

Tart

Ingredients

1 lot of pastry
30g ground almonds
1½ tsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp granulated sugar
15 butter, softened
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla paste
1 large egg, separated into white and yolk
300-325g apricots (approx. 10) halved and stoned
125g rhubarb (approx. 1 stick), cut into ½ thick slices
apricot jam
1 tbsp coarse sugar

Method

While the pastry is in the fridge add the ground almonds, flour, sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Vigorously mix in the butter, almond extract, vanilla paste and egg white until smooth. Stick in the fridge if not using straight away.

Preheat the oven to 200o/400oF/gas mark 6. Flour a work surface and a rolling pin, fetch the pastry dough and roll out to a 30cm circle. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment or buttered greaseproof paper. Spoon on the almond paste and spread evenly, leaving a 5cm border. Layer on the rhubarb and apricots (not going over the border). Fold over the excess like so, it needn’t be overly neat.

Whisk the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush the folded over crust, then sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Dollop a little apricot jam over the fruit and spread it best you can.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until pastry is golden brown, turning halfway through for even browning. Serve warm or cold, with custard or cream or vanilla ice cream or any combination!

tarte aux abricots

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Spiced Parsnip Soup

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My my, it has been a while. What with the revelry of Christmas and the misery of revision I’m afraid I’ve been a bit off the cooking scene recently. I’ve still been making the standard student nosh – kidney bean chilli, sausage & tomato pasta, but nothing really worth putting finger-to-key over. However I am now over halfway through my exams and I can just about see the light at the end of the tunnel! So I had some friends over and we rustled up some tummy-warming spicy soup – the perfect antidote to the snow outside. The almonds really top this soup off nicely.

Initial inspiration, as seems to be customary, from HFW and his excellent Veg Everyday book.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 large parsnips, peeled & cut into 1-2cm cubes
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large cooking apple, chopped into 1-2cm cubes
5cm piece fresh ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
a few chillies/1 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
handful almonds, crushed in a bag with a rolling pin
plenty of salt and pepper
1 litre veg stock
200ml milk

Method

Find a big ol’ saucepan, heat some oil over a medium heat and add the onions, cook for 10 minutes. In the meantime make up the stock.

Add the ground spices, garlic and chillies and grate in the ginger. I’ve found you really need not bother peeling ginger if you grate it as you never notice the “skin” when it’s so fine. Plus it’s apparently very good for you! Cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the parsnips and apple. Stir to ensure everything is coated with spices then add the stock and simmer, lid on, for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are really soft. Check every so often and add water if you’re finding parsnips poking out high and dry.

When the parsnips are soft, remove from the heat. Zhuzhh with a hand-blender, the longer you do this the smoother the soup will get (up to a point). Add the milk, seasons generously and put back onto a low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile toast the broken up almond pieces in a frying pan – keep an eye on them and toss every so often as they’re liable to burn.

When ready, serve topped with the almonds and a couple of twists of black pepper, with some freshly made bread*.

*or more realistically one of those amazing bake-in-the-oven baguettes

Pear & Rhubarb Crumble

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So I am finally back at university after my 4 month summer…! Don’t get jealous now, I worked 8-5 every day, cycling to and from work, so I wasn’t dossing about. In fact university is somewhat of an easy ride in comparison! This year I am IN A HOUSE! Which, if you can’t tell from that exclamation, excites me greatly. This is the first thing I have cooked in my lovely new kitchen.

Being back at university, or more to the point in a city, means I get to indulge in one of my favourite activities: food bargain-hunting. You’d never guess which shop is the top of the pile when it comes to this particular sport: Waitrose. It’s a cheapskate’s paradise – they’re constantly reducing prices of going-out-of-date items all day, so no matter what time you go in you’re more than likely to find something. And if you time it just right, the patisserie/bakery mark down their fresh bread and cakes massively5p a doughnut? I’ll take 12 please! Having said all that, the rhubarb and pears for this recipe came from Sainsburys. 6 pears for 24p and 400g of rhubarb for 44p. Kerching. But I couldn’t mention the bargain-hunting without passing on my little tip.

But shhhh, it’s just between us, right?

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Filling

5 small pears, chopped
400g rhubarb (approx. 3-4 sticks), chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
sugar, to taste

Topping

225g flour
125g butter
60g sugar

optional:
handful chopped almonds/walnuts
couple handfuls raisins
couple handfulls oats
sprinkling cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 200oc/400oF/gas mark 6. Put the pears in a pan, add enough water to just cover them and heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer. Stir every so often until the fruit starts to soften. If you want your rhubarb as a sort of thick sauce add it when the fruit is harder, if you want the rhubarb to maintain some of its structure then add it when the fruit is softer. Once cooked/reduced, grate in the ginger and taste, adding sugar if the fruit is too tart.

For the topping, sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl and add the butter in small pieces. Use your hands to form crumbs, making sure there are no large clumps of butter. If your crumble is too “dusty” add a little more butter, if it is too clumpy add a tad more flour. Once you have reached the desired breadcrumb consistency and if you are including them stir in the s, raisins and oats.nuts

Pour the fruit into a large oven proof dish and tip the crumble on top, smoothing it across the surface. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and stick in the oven for half an hour, or until golden brown and bubbling.

Hey presto! Serve with custard. Or cream. Or ice-cream. Or be a fatty and do all three. Winner.

J

Lamb & Sweet Potato Tagine

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Otherwise known as THE BEST DAMN RECIPE IN THE WORLD, EVER. (Especially after you’ve received a right royal soaking.)

We cannot claim to be the inventors of this recipe – it’s been stolen and borrowed and edited from many sources, from Rachel Allen to Antony Worrall Thompson. However it has quickly become a firm favourite and is one of the most regular dinners we rustle up. As a bonus it gives us an opportunity to break out the Le Creuset casserole dish, wahey!

This is an extremely versatile recipe and prone to tinkering every time we make it depending on what spices we have and what’s in the cupboard. The only question is how did it take so long to reach our blog? Well who cares, it’s here now!

Serves 4

Ingredients

300-400g diced lamb
2 red onions, chopped (quarter rings)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped (2cm cubes)
1 tin chick peas, drained
1 tin chopped tomatoes
handful flaked almonds
handful chopped dates and/or apricots
1-2 tsp honey

Spice Mix

1/2 tsb hot chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander

Method

Chop everything that needs to be chopped, open all your tins, make up the spice mix in a small bowl. Put your chopped lamb in a large bowl and add half the spice mix, using your hands to coat the outside. Heat a little oil in a casserole dish (that has a lid), add the onion and, after a couple of minutes, the remaining spice mix, then after a couple more minutes the garlic. Sweat for a further 3-5 minutes, adding splashes of water when the spices start to stick to the pan. Remove from the pan and set aside for a few minutes

Brown the lamb in the same pan by adding a little more oil and then the spice-covered lamb, stirring to ensure sides are sealed. This keeps all the meaty juicy goodness in the lamb so once it’s cooked it will be incredibly tender and melt in your mouth. Omnomnomnomnom.

Add the onions to the browned lamb, along with everything else apart from the sweet potato. Put the lid on the dish and leave to simmer on a low heat for…well, an hour, ish…as long as you want really, so long as you check it every so often, adding water if it looks like it’s drying out. A lower heat for longer will lead to juicier, softer, melty meat.

About half an hour before you plan to eat, add the chopped sweet potato and top up with water so everything is covered. Replace the lid and simmer away for 20 minutes, taking the lid off for the last 10. Keep checking your potato, it might not need that long, it might need longer. Basically take the lid off when they are soft and then cook for a further ten minutes just to reduce the sauce down a bit.

Serve with couscous or our personal favourite; Hugh’s flatbreads.

J&W

Granola

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I thought I would take advantage of being at home (and therefore having parents to pay for silly things like shopping) and make granola. Granola, I can hear you say, that’s not very exciting is it? Well the fact of the matter is that a. I bloody love granola and b. nuts and dried fruit are expensive. So there *blows raspberry*.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the quantities below are irrelevant but they are entirely adjustable to taste. This is just a combination of what I had available to me!

Ingredients

Dry
3 ½ cups oats
1 ½ cups raisins
1 cup mixed dried fruits (currants, sultanas, apricots, pineapple, raisins & cherries – though I removed these as I didn’t think they’d go)
½ cup flaked almonds
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup random chopped mixed nuts (I think)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Half a dozen brazil nuts, chopped
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Wet
1 banana, chopped
2 big* spoons of golden syrup
3 medium* heaped spoons of crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

*apparently in my house we don’t have normal-sized spoons. We have slightly-bigger-than (big) and slightly-smaller-than (medium) tablespoon spoons. I have included a comparison below to show their sizes (relative to what I think is probably a teaspoon, but could well be another in our long line of randomly sized spoons.

Big. Medium. Teaspoon. Possibly.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/160oC/325oF. Line some baking trays with baking paper (I used three trays).

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl add the wet ingredients. Really mash the banana until the whole thing is one consistency. Add the wet to the solid, or the solid to the wet (I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter which way you do it). Mix thoroughly with a spoon, you don’t need to do this vigorously, but the longer you do it the more mixed it gets. Obviously. Spread the mixture quite thinly across your baking trays and whack in the oven. (If you prefer your granola more clumpy then press down with your palms.)

Every 10-12 minutes fetch the trays out the oven and give them a good shufty (shufty (n.): a jolly good shuffle, shimmy and shake) to ensure even browning. I also took this opportunity to swap them around in the oven, but you lucky people who have fan assisted ovens probably won’t need to do this. I left mine in for 40 minutes in total but this is entirely to taste – if you prefer your granola chewier – leave in for less time, crunchier – leave in for more. Simples.

Probably best to store in an airtight container and eat within a couple of weeks. I managed to transfer my granola to a suitable container by gently shaking it into the centre of the paper, then picking three corners and lifting it so the open end was higher than the closed end until I’d manoeuvred to a position where I could gently lower the open end into the container. Genius.

This made around 1.2kg which will do me and my parents for breakfast for the foreseeable future – hurray! Next time I do this I will definitely add one extra of all the wet ingredients (i.e. 1 extra banana, 1 extra medium spoon of peanut butter etc). I would also add an extra teaspoon of each of the spices too. Maybe you should and let me know how it goes?

J