The ideal combo of oatmeal, pancake and muffin. They’re protein and fibre-full and naturally sweet (no refined sugar), bursting with berries (zero dryness here) and filling. They’re quick to make, and super convenient as they can be made in advance, frozen and defrosted when cravings strike. They also look rather irresistible on any breakfast table, so great for when you have guests.
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At the centre of a party you have the brash, garishly dressed harpy in a spandex and lurex flesh-popping, bum-skirting bodycon dress. She’s swishing her long, over-straightened blonde hair in the hope that people, like magpies, will be drawn in by its glinting sheen. But she’s telling the story you’ve heard a hundred times.
The punchlines are obvious and overdone. It’s an opaque boast to show off her intellect and attractiveness. She’s hyperbolising, and the decibels are mounting, in order to suck more people in.
You draw near, but after a few superficial bites, you hit the bone. What appeared to be a sumptuous, resplendent, sticky chicken wing feast was just a scraggly bit of overhyped flesh, and you’re left with a sickly sweet taste, desperate for something more refreshing and with more interest.
That’s when you leave the centre of the room and go over to the quiet person in the corner: modestly dressed, elegant but not overstated, and initially slightly shy. But once you start talking, there’s no stopping - tantalising wit, layers of texture and depth, sweet enough but with refreshing zestiness that intrigues and keeps you going back for more. Guard this salad closely because when others' attention rapidly wanes they’ll be coming over here too. Food envy is not something to be treated lightly, so here’s the recipe:
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 tbsp (60g) smooth peanut butter (unsalted preferably)
4 1/2 tsp (45g) honey
4 1/2 tsp sesame oil
4 1/2 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
15g finely grated fresh ginger
1 medium sized garlic clove, crushed
(optional) 1 small Thai red chilli, very finely chopped
230g red cabbage (approx 1 quarter of a cabbage)
1 red pepper
3 spring onions
60g roasted and salted peanuts, crushed + 10g extra for serving
25g coriander, roughly chopped + 5g extra for serving
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth and emulsified.
- Finely slice the cabbage horizontally (so the average piece is about 4cm long). Remove the stalk and deseed the red pepper, then slice finely horizontally.
- Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and, with a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds. Then slice finely lengthways and then in half horizontally to create matchsticks. Finely chop the spring onions. Then in a large bowl mix together the cabbage, pepper, cucumber, spring onions, crushed peanuts & roughly chopped coriander.
- Pour the dressing over, and mix through. Scatter with extra crushed peanuts and then the chopped coriander, and serve. If you are making in advance, prepare the salad ingredients and dressing separately, and pour the dressing on just before serving.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
These are not those tooth-breaking, individually wrapped little rocks you might impulse buy at coffee shops. They’re soft, aromatic and chewy (and great for the dentally challenged).
Amaretti are also perfect for coeliacs, and can make a wonderful dessert paired with ice cream and a tangy berry sauce (see recipe here).
This recipe should be paired with my one for summer berry lemon curd tarts (see recipe here) which awkwardly leaves you with spare egg whites. Don’t waste them, make these instead –you won’t regret it…
Ingredients (makes 35 small cookies)
360g ground almonds
220g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
½ tsp salt
115g egg white (3 large eggs, approx.)
4 tsp honey
¼ tsp almond extract
100g icing sugar, sieved, for rolling
1 large baking tray lined with baking parchment
1.) Preheat oven to 170˚C. In a large bowl mix together the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and salt, and set aside.
2.) Pour the egg whites into the bone dry and non-greasy bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk on high speed until soft and frothy peaks form. Pour the honey into the eggs and continue to whisk on a high speed until the peaks are glossy (see above photo). Sprinkle the almond extract into the eggs and whisk together very briefly at a low speed just to combine.
3.) Very gently fold the whisked egg white mixture into the dry ingredients. They will combine to form a soft and sticky paste.
4.) Using your palms, roll 20g at a time of the mixture into spheres (roughly 2.5cm in diameter), and then roll each generously in a bowl of icing sugar. Repeat and arrange on the tray, leaving at least 3cm between. Use the tines of a fork to slightly flatten the amaretti spheres. Place the tray in the oven to bake for 8-12 minutes until they are beginning to turn golden on the outside but are still soft inside. They will continue to cook as they cool.
Its origins lie as either Central Asian Turkic traditional layered breads, or traditional Roman desserts from Istanbul the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (I favour the latter option). Breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner – these golden perfumed sweets are appropriate at any time of the day in may book and they are way simpler & quicker to make than you might think.
Many recipes call for the pastry to soak for 8 hours or more – I came up with a recipe that can be made and cooked (and eaten) in less than half an hour.
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup orange blossom honey
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp rose water
100g pistachios (ground to affine rubble)
100g walnuts (ground to a fine rubble)
Pinch of salt
6 sheets filo pastry
200g melted butter
100g bread crumbs
½ cup water
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup orange blossom honey
1 tsp lemon juice
¾ tsp rose water
tray line with baking parchment
- Preheat oven to 200˚C.
- Place sugar, water and honey in a pan over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Reduce to medium-high heat and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes until slightly more viscous. Stir in the lemon juice and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
- Stir the ground nuts, pinch of salt and rose water into the syrup and set aside.
- Lay out a sheet of filo pastry lengthways (with the shorter side of the rectangle nearer to you), paint with melted butter and lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs. Lay another sheet on top and repeat.
- Cut the layered pastry into 4 long strips. Place a teaspoon of nut mixture at the bottom right hand corner of a strip and fold the corner over to great a triangular pocket. Keep folding, in triangles until you reach the end of the strip then paint with melted butter and place on baking tray.
- Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until the outside is golden and crisp.
- While the baklava are baking, make the syrup by repeating step 2 with the syrup ingredients.
- Once baklava are cooked, place on serving plate & drizzle generously with the syrup.