There is something comforting about having cake in the house. A peckish craving springs in the mid-afternoon and a slice of cake with coffee is calling your name. Although, sometimes I want something slightly more nutritious waiting for me.
Whenever I’m working I don’t really have time for a proper sit down breakfast. It’s up and out the door in half an hour and having something I can grab on the way out is really useful.
I’ve been trying to make healthy breakfast-type bars for months now. All of my attempts were either way too sweet or tasted great but didn’t have the soft chewy texture I was after. I’m kind of put off by shop bought oat bars since they’re usually packed full of sugar and expensive.
These are easy, delicious and quick to make. No oven required, so great to make on a hot summers day when the thought of turning on your oven sends visions of burning hell. Peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate and nuts make these a wonderful filling snack.
Continue reading “No-Bake Dark Chocolate Oat + Nut Snack Bars”
I love the idea of raw food. The idea that I’m eating my food closest to its natural form as possible and taking in those nutrients with minimal processing. I have done a lot of blending here but I’d much rather eat bananas, peanuts, dates and coffee in ‘cheesecake’ form rather than eating them on their own. This is much more appealing.
I love eating raw but right now, it’s not an option for me to do full-time. I love my hot food too much. England being generally chilly most of the year, hot food is a comfort and warmth I crave and need. If I lived in a hotter climate with an abundance of ripe, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, I think it would be a bigger possibility.
So I’ll stick with a few raw dishes here and there for now.
This recipe comes adapted from a book my mum gifted to me recently. Its called ‘Raw Cake’ by The Hardihood. It’s a great book full of smoothie/juice recipes, raw cheesecakes, tarts and desserts. A really interesting read in terms of ingredients, some I’ve never even heard of. Collagen powder? Camu Camu powder? This does put me off a few recipes as the ingredients would take more effort to source, but if I really like the look of something I’ll go searching for it.
I chose this recipe because, first of all, I’m obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. Second, it was one of the more simple recipes in the book and included ingredients I already have. As I was tinkering away in the kitchen I decided to add coffee into the base (because one can never have enough coffee) and played around with the liquid consistency in both the base and filling. The filling seemed quite stodgy so I added a good helping of nut milk to thin it out a little as well as adding in a layer of thick sliced banana to give a banoffee pie vibe. Because… BANANAS!
Continue reading “Raw Peanut Butter & Banana ‘Cheesecake’ (Raw/Vegan/GlutenFree)”
When I first started training as a Pastry Chef, I was terrified of everything. I could happily make a batch of brownie at home but as soon as I was faced with this simple task at work, I would over think it as if it were a science experiment. The batches were 12kg big… that may have had something to do with my irrational fears. Continue reading “Chocolate Bark: A Lesson In Tempering Chocolate”
Baklava is one of those foods which I discovered in my mid teens. I didn’t even know it existed until then.
I can remember eating my first sweet piece thinking it was both delicious and weird. It was unlike anything I had ever had. Flakey, nutty and sticky. It was just so… turkish! Never would I have thought I could possibly make this dreamy treat at home. Continue reading “Pistachio and Hazelnut Baklava”
I think you can see for yourself, but I think that this tart is seriously beautiful. The top of the caramel dances in the light like glass. The nuts peep out of the surface like gems. All of that sweet crunchy goodness is encased in short and crumbly cinnamon pastry. When the tart is fully set it cuts really nicely. It’s really sweet so you don’t need anything on the side apart from some creme fraiche or marscapone.
I like to keep a little of the caramel back for Ice cream, because you’ve got to always think of your next sweet fix right?
Ingredients – Recipe adapted from The Bouchon Bakery – yields one 8 by 3/4 inch tart
Pastry (Pâte Brisée)
- 152g plain flour
- pinch salt
- 115g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 30g cold water
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- a few grates of fresh nutmeg
- 185g assorted nuts (I used: cashews, pistachios, pecans and macadamia)
- 85g glucose
- 125g sugar
- 20g unsalted butter
- 130g double cream (divided into 100g and 30g)
- Place 70g of the flour with the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low-speed and gradually add in the butter cubes. Once all the butter has been added, turn the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute until the butter is fully incorporated. Turn the speed back to low and gradually add in the remaining 82g of flour. Mix until combined; don’t over mix here. Add in the water and beat on low again until smooth, not sticky. There shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left in the dough.
- Take the dough out of the mixer, pat it into a disk and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight. The longer the better.
- When you’re ready to roll out the dough, take a 8 inch tart ring and place it onto a lined baking tray.
- Unwrap your pastry and place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Using a rolling-pin, hit the top of the dough. Continue to do this so that your pastry begins to get thinner and wider. This will ensure the pastry doesn’t crack when being rolled.
- Start by rolling your pastry, rotating 90 degrees every so often so that your pastry is still circular. Roll it big enough to fit well over your ring. This is important as you need excess to push into the corners of the tart ring.
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough over so that the pastry side is down. Lay this over your tart ring and gently ease the pastry into the tart ring, pushing it against the bottom and sides. Now peel off the parchment paper and press down the pastry into the tart ring again so that it is securely in the tart ring, with no gaps along the base edge of the ring. If you have long nails, take an excess piece of pastry, roll it into a ball, dip it in some flour and use this to push your pastry.
- Note: if you like, you can just roll your dough out between parchment, peel off the top layer, dust the pastry with flour and turn upside down. Peel off the other piece of parchment paper and flour this side of the dough. Roll the dough around your rolling-pin and unroll it over the tart ring. Then push it into the ring. This is a more traditional way of lining a tart ring, which you may be more used to.
- Cut off any excess pastry that hangs over the edge of the tart ring, using a sharp knife.
- Freeze the lined tart ring for 30 minutes, this will help to keep the pastry from shrinking when baking.
- While your tart is freezing, pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees C.
- When your tart is ready for blind baking; take a piece of aluminium foil, scrunch it up in your hands, unravel it and line the inside of your tart. Fold over the edges of the foil over the ring to protect the edges of the tart as well. Fill the tart with baking beans or rice.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the baking tray and bake for another 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your pastry; depending on your oven, it may not take 40 minutes. The dough should be set underneath the foil and no longer sticky.
- Remove the baking beans and foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Place your assorted nuts onto a baking tray at 160 degrees C. Roast for about 8 minutes, until golden brown.
- Place the toasted nuts into the baked pastry case, still in its tart ring. The tart should be very full.
- For the caramel: Before you start, get all of your ingredients ready. Place the glucose into a large saucepan, on hight heat, and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the sugar in three additions, stirring between each addition until the sugar has dissolved. After a few minutes the sugar should be bubbling and a rich amber colour, 177 degrees C.
- Quickly stir in the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the 100g of cream. Be careful as the caramel will bubble violently.
- Continue to cook the caramel, stirring every now and again to keep it from burning in places. When the caramel reaches 120 degrees C, take it off the heat.
- Now add in the 30g of cream and stir to combine.
- Pour the caramel over the nuts in the tart shell. Do this slowly so that it doesn’t spill over the edges. Some of the nuts will stick out of the top. If you reserve a bit of the caramel, take a pastry brush and brush caramel onto the top of the nuts to make them shiny.
- Leave to set completely. Remove the tart ring and serve.