Category

Ate

Ate, Food, Recipe

A Recipe For Cashew, Coconut & Date Energy Balls.

Cashew, Date & Coconut Energy Balls Recipe

 

January can be a little tough on the old soul. After the buzz and lights of Christmas it can seem a drained. Everyone seems to exist in the a constant state of remorse for each and every chocolate, piece cake and cocktail that passed their lips in December. There’s no judgement here, I’m one of those who uses January as a way to kick start a better way of eating too.

Life shouldn’t be without the joy and comfort or a sweet treat, especially not come a cold January evening. That’s why these energy balls are perfect. To clarify, they won’t shrink your waist line, remove the bags under your eyes or cause you to become a supermodel over night. They will however provide a little something if your steamed fish and slippery mound of spinach hasn’t quite hit the spot.

You will require a modicum of self restraint, that should also be clear. They might be free from refined sugar and anything nasty, but they’re still a treat. (That means one or two. Not eight.)

I’ve made these energy balls before with the zest of a lemon and can confirm they’re just as good, if you find yourself more inclined to sharper flavours.

 

Cashew, Date & Coconut Energy Balls Recipe

Cashew, Date & Coconut Energy Balls Recipe

Cashew, Coconut & Date Balls

90g raw, unsalted cashew kernals
7 Medjool Dates (or 10 normal dates)
4 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 generous tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional, naturally)
Pinch of salt

There’s no real science to the making of the balls; melt the coconut oil gently in a pan and leave to one side to cool. Start with your cashews in the food processor and blitz them until they form a lumpy rubble but aren’t quite ground.

Add in the salt, chia seeds (if using), 2tbsp coconut, coconut oil and pitted dates. If you want to add in the lemon, grate in the zest here also.

Give everything a good blitz until it starts to form a sticky rubble. Grab two plates, on one spread out the remaining 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut and on the other top out the rubble and begin shaping it into balls by pressing tightly and rolling them in your hands. The mixture should make around 20 in total. Try to make them about the size of a large truffle.

Roll each date in the plate of coconut to fully coat them. Pop the energy balls in the fridge for an hour or so before sampling the fruits of your minimal labour.

Leave a comment
Ate, Christmas, Made, Recipe

A Last Minute Gift. Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti.

Last year I made a pact with myself to start making more of the presents I was giving in an attempt to reduce the amount of things I bought at Christmas. It’s not that I don’t love the huge array of things out there to buy, but that it just feels so much more satisfying to give someone something you’ve had a part in creating. It doesn’t need to be something grand or all that elaborate, I think it’s just nice for it to be something you spent time on.

 

Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

Each year I make large batches of chutney to include with my friend’s and family’s Christmas presents. I try and do this a few months in advance to a) get it out of the way, b) make use of particular fruit being in plentiful supply and c) allow the flavours to mellow. As Christmas starts to draw closer and the presents start to be given I like to add some kind of baked good in there too.

Through trial and error over the year I’ve settled on biscotti being the perfect gift. Some years I’m in the mood for something citrusy and others for something involving a little more chocolate. (Next year’s is going to be chocolate orange, I’ve already decided.)

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

It keeps perfectly well for days and when combined with a tin of tea leaves, a bag of freshly roasted coffee or a bottle of something is the perfect last minute gift for someone. No matter how hard we try there’s always someone we didn’t think we’d see but now seemingly will or maybe even someone who got you a present you entirely weren’t expecting. This is where the biscotti and the coffee come in.

This year I played around with adding herbs to the mix before finally settling on Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio. When you’re done simply add a good handful to a bag, tie up with string and add a label.

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

 

These little brown paper bags are from IKEA and perfectly match the wrapping paper I went with this year. If you’re into your wrapping you can take a closer look at that here.

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti

150g plain flour

125g caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 2 lemons

100g dried apricots

150g unshelled (and unsalted) pistachios

A handful of thyme sprigs

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan.

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. Once this is done set it to one side and roughly chop the apricots and pistachios – you want to be able to see the colours from both as you slice the biscotti. Pick the leaves from the sprig of thyme and add them to your flour mixture and stir in the apricots and pistachios.

In a separate bowl lightly beat eggs and milk together before adding to the dry mix. Fork through until it starts to clump together before getting your hands in and bringing together into a dough. If it feels a little too sticky add a fraction more flour.

Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and need briefly to make sure all of your fruit and nuts are combined. Split the dough into two equal balls, roll into a fat sausage and place each on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Once it’s on the sheet you can perfect the shaping, don’t worry. You’re looking for them both to be around 20cm long and 6cm or so wide. The mixture should be playable so shape as you will.

Bake the biscotti in the oven for 25-30 minutes. In this time you’ll see it will have risen and spread out slightly, along with taking on a soft golden colour.

Remove from the oven and careful transfer the loaf to a chopping board by just picking up the greaseproof paper. With a serrated bread knife cut the loaf diagonally into 1cm thick slices.

When both loaves are slices, lay the pieces out flat on the baking trays and return to the oven. As you do turn the temperate down to 130 degrees fan and bake for 10 minutes before flipping the biscotti over and baking for a further 5 minutes.

When you take the biscotti out of the oven it should be firm and crisp but when pressed still retain a slight toast-like texture when pressed. Transfer to a rack to cool down before packaging up the biscotti in little bags or glass jars.

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

 

 

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Made

A Sunday In September.

Nigel Slater's Sticky Fig Chutney

If I were to take December and its connotations of Christmas out of the equation, September would be unequivocally my favourite month of the year. I’ve always had more of an affinity with the colder months, I put it down to the fact I was born in a snowstorm. September is the month that bridges the gap between the final days of summer and the undoubtedly soggy October that lies ahead. There’s a fresh nip to the mornings but a blazing sunlight to the afternoons. The light manages to hold on until the early evening as the mornings slowly but very surely get that little bit darker with each passing day. We all know it’s coming, but September breaks it to us gently.

Ultimately autumn is about comfort. Spending entire days in doors, hiding out from the showers and keeping warm. Catching up on all those little things you’ve been meaning to do all summer but haven’t quite got round to yet. Those books you never got round to reading, or the film you keep saying you’ll watch but never seem to be able to settle enough to put it on. The term ‘hygge’ seems to be a little too commonly used of late, but nonetheless belongs in these time of the year. Find something to do, take it slowly and most importantly, enjoy it.

Nigel Slater's Sticky Fig Chutney

And so to chutney. September is fig season, potentially the best of all the fruit seasons. For those of you who have more important issues than to spend a Sunday contemplating your favourite fruit harvest, I can assure you it’s a good one. Figs find their way to my toast and onto my granola, grilled with honey and almonds and served with coconut yoghurt, caramelised with balsamic vinegar and tossed into a salad; in short, I can find a home for them just about anywhere. Nothing is quite as satisfying as making a warm sticky fig chutney however.

There’s something so peaceful about chopping onions I find. My eyes have become so accustomed to it now I don’t even emit a sniffle, let alone a tear. Chopping the onions and layering them beneath mounds of sliced figs, dolling out lashings of all spice and gently smashing peppercorns to pieces for the final flourish before dousing the whole thing in vinegar – it’s a Sunday well spent.

Sticky Fig Chutney

As a child my Grandma had to hide the bottle of vinegar in the highest of cupboards, I was known to try and drink it. Yes, I’m aware it’s quite bizarre, but even now as a pool of balsamic vinegar sits at the bottom of my salad bowl, I know I could drink up every last drop if I wanted to. That sweet, spicy smell of the vinegar mingles with the all spice and juicy sultanas to result in the most comforting of September feelings. It’s not quite the baking of the Christmas cake, but it’s a very close second.

I always turn to a Nigel Slater recipe for my fig chutney, taken from potentially my favourite cookbook of all, The Kitchen Diaries II. Whilst several blogs have chosen to write up the Sticky Fig Chutney recipe, I can’t help but feel that isn’t right? If you’d like to make it the recipe is easily Google-able; my only amendment to the genius of the original recipe is to throw in some bay leaves. If you don’t have the book – I whole heatedly recommend it.

Sticky Fig ChutneyAutumn Fig Chutney

The jars are now neatly lined up on my the shelves awaiting some kind of minimalist labelling technique that I’ve yet to fathom. I recommend sloshing it on crusty sourdough, topped with goat’s cheese.

Leave a comment
Ate, Food

The Second Sunday.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

I like to the think of the August Bank Holiday weekend as summer’s final hoorah. The eagerly anticipated arrival of the year’s penultimate three-day weekend signifies Autumn’s soft approach. Quietly it will creep into our days, slowly staking its annual claim on our lives, but not without allowing summer to deliver us one last gloriously extended weekend.

When BONADEA invited me to join them in creating the perfect Bank Holiday weekend, I knew immediately how it would be. I have long been an advocate of treasuring the weekend, never more so than when it happens to come with a double helping of Sunday. That’s what it is you see, it’s a second Sunday. Bank Holidays allow us to live what is the greatest day of the week, twice. So I say we revel in it fully. Splash out and make something exceptional, break out the finest china your cupboards have to offer. It’s time to celebrate this rare beast in a luxuriously lazy fashion.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

For me, there’s a process to it all. An order of service if you will. Saturday involves the chores that are essential yet invariably not all that enjoyable; the washing, the cleaning, the plumping of excessive amounts of cushions and the collecting of essential supplies.

Saturday evening sees clean sheets hit the bed, a night earlier than usual it’s true, but I disrupt the system for good reason. Fresh pyjamas are pulled from the drawer, a long leisurely bath is drawn and a heavenly night of sleep is had, safe in the knowledge that the week contains that elusive extra day of peace.

When Sunday hits the event begins. Slippers on with the kettle boiling, the coffee is brewed. Filling the house with the true smell of morning, there’s nothing quite like it. Now is your chance to dust off the aforementioned Sunday best, bring out your finest porcelain coffee pot and the most elegant of coffee cups, before drifting back to bed until the first twinges of hunger mean it’s time for the morning’s main event. Breakfast.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

If you have yourself a helpful counterpart, this would be where you send them out to collect the Sunday papers, of which you will naturally only read the magazines. If there is no counterpart, I suggest a quick dash post-coffee and pre-breakfast.

At my house, crisp white table linens and slightly crumpled napkins play host to delicate porcelain and gleaming copper. When BONADEA suggested I explore the immaculately white world of Fuerstenberg’s Herzog Ferdinand collection, it became apparent we clearly went to the same school of Sunday. Our visions of the perfect breakfast aligned seamlessly. 

We all have those beautiful items we hold to one side, more than likely only for ‘guests’. Well, in my eyes that’s ludicrous. Bring them out, select your finest cutlery and set the table. 

Here would seem a good time for the second pot of coffee, whilst the papers start their soft descent into a crumpled mess and the pancake batter hits the pan. For there should be pancakes, no lazy weekend is truly complete without a pancake.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

Spread soft ricotta cheese atop your crisp sourdough and smother in freshly sliced cherries, drizzle with honey and strew with mint. Pour the coffee, share out the pancakes and quietly retreat to the content world of the Sunday magazine. I would suggest at the very least an hour is spent slowly eating breakfast; ensuring no coffee is left unconsumed and no page left unturned. And then? Well it’s time to go about the day, filled with the happiness only a good breakfast can really deliver.

When Monday morning arrives, the only thing you should change is your pancake topping. This is the rare second Sunday. Make to count and do it all again. 

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

Peach & Goat’s Cheese Pastries

1 x Ready rolled sheet of puff pastry
Soft goat’s cheese (or ricotta cheese if you prefer)
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 x Slightly firm peaches (pears also work nicely)
1 x Beaten egg
A drizzle of honey

Take the puff pastry out of the fridge around fifteen minutes before you want to create your pastries. Once rested, slice the pastry into rectangles and place on a lined baking tray.

Take a knife and score a smaller rectangle around 1cm from the edge, creating a border. This allows the edges to puff up whilst cooking.

In a bowl mix the soft goat’s cheese with freshly cracked black pepper. Spread liberally on the centre of the pastry before arranging finely sliced wedges of peach atop.

Crack an egg into a bowl and briefly whisk, brush around the border you’ve created for a glossy finish. Finally, drizzle over a dash of honey and place in a pre-heated fan oven at around 180 degrees for around 15 minutes.

These are perfect served fresh from the oven or cold, however your lazy morning takes you.

The Second Sunday. A Bank Holiday weekend should be a thing of glory. A three day weekend filled with brunch, coffee, indulge and a little bit of luxury.

This post was produced in partnership with BONADEA. The beautiful porcelain featured throughout this post is taken from Fuerstenberg’s Herzog Ferdinand collection, available on site now.

|1.| Fuerstenberg Coffee Pot |2.| Fuerstenberg Dessert Plate |3.| Fuerstenberg Coffee Cup & Saucer |4.| Fuerstenberg Sugar Bowl

 

1 Comment
Ate, Food, Recipe

Peaches & Cream.

 

When a fruit is in season, it is truy in its element. That’s how nature works. Winter strawberries never quite taste the same as luscious English strawberries do in July, plucked during their natural period and delivered to your plate exactly how nature intended. There’s a lot to be said for the benefits of eating in season, not simply taste alone.

This week I received my first organic fruit and vegetable box from Riverford Organic. When I lived in London I regularly had Able & Cole boxes delivered but sadly they appear to have forgotten ‘The North’ exists and have yet to extend their offering past the Watford gap. Riverford Organic however, are more than happy to venture into the cold, unforgiving climates of ‘The North’. Arriving freshly plucked from the earth at a local organic farm, this week’s box was to include a punnet of perfectly ripe, perfectly peachy donut peaches. Oh how I love a good peach.

I’ve nothing against eating a peach as they are, but when they’re grilled? Magic happens. Pure peachy magic.

Slice the peaches in half, remove the stones, drizzle with honey and scatter with thyme leaves. Grill until the surface starts to brown and the honey has a thick caramel-like quality to it. Mix thick Greek yoghurt – or coconut yoghurt if you prefer to go dairy free – with a good dollop of honey, spoon over the grilled peaches and roughly chop some pistachios, roughly scattering them over the yoghurt. It’s simple, yet it’s dreamy.

 

 

The few remaining peaches made their way to the following day’s breakfast bowl; sitting atop an acai berry oat smoothie. Add a banana, some frozen mixed berries, acai berry powder, oats, honey and almond milk to a blender, blitz into submission and serve with coconut yoghurt, pistachios, flaked almonds & a smattering of desiccated coconut should you desire. Again, simple yet scrumptious.

 

|1.| The White Company Porto Roaster |2.| Kelly Hoppen Zen Cereal Bowl |3.| Ferm Living Fein Brass Serving Spoons

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Food, Recipe

Zatar Roasted Carrot & Garlic Hummus.

There was a time when a tub of hummus and a stack of toasted pita breads constituted an evening meal for me. I’m rather glad to say those days are gone and I have moved on to a much more balanced diet, however, that being said… I could absolutely still do exactly that. I love hummus. In almost all of its guises, I love it. Most days it serves as a prelude to my desk lunch, with a pile of carrots serving as the vehicle for it’s salty, lemony tang.

In my quest of the perfect hummus recipe – something I have absolutely yet to find I might add – I’ve explored the world of alternative versions, with varying success. There’s thus far been everything from puy lentil editions to creamy butterbean variants. This roasted carrot version is one I shall certainly be returning to although I might add, it’s absolutely never going to replace the chickpea variety.

Roasting the carrots with the zatar spiked oil really brings out their sweet nature whilst adding a spark of flavour to the proceedings. I find also roasted the garlic in the same way produces a much more mellow tasting hummus, adding it in raw can leave a rather acrid taste in my experience, so I tend to always roast the garlic first. Serve it with some toasted pita chips (gluten free pitas will do just as well, don’t worry) and some fresh crudités like celery or chicory.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 carrots, cleaned and sliced in half
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, with more to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, pealed
  • 1 tsp zatar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp of tahini

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by scrubbing the carrots thoroughly, you don’t need to peel them, just make sure they’re well and truly clean before slicing them in half.  

Add the carrots to a mixing bowl along with the two pealed cloves of garlic and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of your olive oil.

Next sprinkle over a pinch of salt and your teaspoon of zatar and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, give it all a good toss to make sure every piece of carrot is nicely coated and then arrange on your baking tray in a pleasantly hazard manor.

Remove the two cloves of garlic and keep to one side for now, they aren’t going to need as long to roast as the carrots. If any of the oil mix remains in the bowl, just pour this onto the carrots. 

Pop into the oven and leave to roast for around 15 minutes, at this point check on them and add the garlic to your baking tray. Pop back in the over for a further 10-15 minutes until everything looks caramelized and delectable before removing from the oven. Leave to one side to cool.

Once the carrots and garlic have cooled add them to your food processor with your lemon juice, tahini and remaining olive oil. Give it all a whizz until nice and blended, you might at this point need to add in some more olive oil if you feel the hummus is too thick. Give it a taste and season accordingly. If it’s a little sweet for you simply try adding a few further drops of lemon juice.

To serve, spoon into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil before adding a final sprinkling of zatar.

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook

Bitter Sweet Orange.

I like to cook dinner for people, it just makes me inexplicably happy. I enjoy a culinary challenge even more. For a number of years now my mum hasn’t been able to wheat; not a welcome ailment for someone with a sweet tooth. When she visits I like to try and cook something she won’t have had before, or at least something she won’t have had in quite some time.

This weekend my head was filled with the promise of spring, a curious thing amidst the snow and biting cold. Perhaps its simply optimism that spring is on the way or maybe it’s just because I bought myself some tulips for the dining table, but either way my head was firmly in the next season. For dessert I wanted to serve something fresh and citrusy, maybe even a little sharp. Over the Christmas period we seem to spend so long eating rich, complex flavours I felt I wanted the total opposite of for this week’s Sunday lunch.

Step forward bitter Seville orange tart. With a few adjustments to a recipe I’d bookmarked with a receipt sometime ago in Simply Nigella, the tart was made wholly appropriate for a celiac with a fondness for dessert. In lieu of a pastry crust there’s a ginger spiced biscuit crust, extra thick for a bit of texture against the creamy curd of the filling. There’s little denying that this is not one the healthier options I’ve cooked. Butter, sugar and a large quantity of eggs feature even if wheat and gluten are entirely missing. I’m not going to claim to have bettered Nigella’s recipe but I definitely don’t feel she’d scoff at the altered rendition. Short, sharp and filled with the promise of a warm spring day, the tart was swiftly demolished by all involved.

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Food

Clementines & Ginger.

The real reason I decided to play around with the idea of a ginger and clementine cake came from the fact I stumbled across some miniature bundt tins whilst wandering around a store last week.

As soon I saw them I knew something festive would evolve from their presence in my kitchen.

The cake itself has a darkly spiced flavour due to a blend of ginger, cinnamon and the all together not too healthy addition of Golden Syrup. The drizzle icing and candied peal on top deliver a sharper kick of clementine. Again, the sugar doesn’t exactly render this all that healthy however I’m convinced a more virtuous iteration of it can be discovered.

Bear with me. I’m working on it.

Leave a comment
Ate

Kale & Butterbean Falafel.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

This combination was somewhat of a happy accident, occurring out of quite simply what was sitting in my cupboard and an amalgamation of several recipes I have stumbled across over the course of my culinary explorations. For me, the substitution of butter beans for chickpea makes for a lighter falafel than your average. Butterbeans come with a twinge of nostalgia for me, my mother having cooked them alongside potato waffles when I was a child. I can’t help but feel we don’t use butter beans enough personally, they offer a ready-made smoothness that combats the potentially grizzly nature or curly kale!

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 2 handfuls of curly kale (the larger, tough stalks removed where possible)
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter (I use Whole Earth)
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by adding the kale, coriander, crushed garlic and spring onion to the bowl of your food processor first and give it a good blitz till it’s finely chopped. 

Now it’s time for the tin of drained butter beans, cumin, cayenne, salt, paprika and peanut butter. As you blitz everything up add in the soy sauce, this will help it combine easier. You might find you need to blitz a few times, scraping down the food processor to make sure everything is well blended, if required remove the blades and give the mixture a quick combine with a spatula. It should be fairly firm in consistency and not sticky.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Take handfuls of the mixture and tightly squash it into gold ball sized balls. You could also try shaping them into patties at this point if you’d rather, a lighter option to your standard veggie burger. 

Arrange them on a baking tray and transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning mid way through to ensure each falafel is browned evenly.

These little balls of goodness should keep perfectly well in your fridge for 2-3 days, making them perfect for making ahead for the lunch times that invariably end up being spent at your desk.

I like to serve them sitting atop my own hybrid Greek-esque salad – pitted black olives, fresh tomatoes, capers, some mixed lettuce leaves and cucumber – with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to finish it all off nicely.

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Kale & Butterbean Falafel

Leave a comment