Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Spiced almonds and cranberries

While I do try to eat healthily for the most part, I am still addicted to Food Network, Jamie, Nigella, Ina et al, are all purveyors of the highest quality food porn in my opinion!! Last night while watching a Sandra Lee Christmas special I saw that this recipe could be adapted with higher quality ingredients and served as a Christmas treat. Yes it's full of butter and honey, but use grass fed butter and raw honey and it's nearly acceptable....right?!
So I baked up a batch and it is amazing. Chewy, crunchy, fruity with Cinnamon spice. Perfect for cold wintry days. Box it up or put it in a pretty jar and it makes a yummy gift for friends and neighbours.

Ingredients (Makes 6-8 servings)
3/4 stick butter (6oz)
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 cups dried cranberries or cherries
3 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips

Preheat oven to 175C/350F

Grease a large baking pan with a little melted butter
Melt the butter in a large pan along with the raw honey, maple syrup and cinnamon.
 Let it bubble for about a minute and it will thicken slightly. Add the cranberries, coconut flakes and almonds and stir well until it's all evenly coated with the thick honey/butter mixture.
Spread the mixture out onto the greased baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and crunchy. Set a timer and watch it carefully or it will burn!

Allow to cool to room temperature then decant into a jar. 
Don't blame me if you eat it all!!

Quick vegetable soup

 It's me, I'm back!! I'd love to be able to inform you that I've been languishing in the Bahamas, topping up my tan and drinking Margaritas, Unfortunately it's nothing so glamorous, just a little blogging break and a lot of Christmas preparation.
This is a recipe for quick vegetable soup, It takes about half an hour from start to finish and is perfect for these chilly winter days. I put all the veggies in the food processor and pulsed them to finely chop them, obviously you can finely chop them by hand but the processor takes all the fuss out of it. Feel free to add other vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes or even some finely chopped cabbage or kale. 

 Ingredients Serves 4
2 leeks, washed, outer leaves removed, and cut into big chunks.
3 carrots peeled and cut into big chunks
1 Kohlrabi, peeled and cut into big chunks
1/2 red, 1/2 yellow and 1/2 green pepper, deseeded
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
dried herbs
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Put all the vegetables and the garlic into a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times until they are finely chopped, there is no exact science to it, you decide how big you want the pieces to be. Mine were roughly the size of my little fingernail.

In a heavy bottomed pan melt the butter over medium high heat and then add the vegetables, stir them around for 4 or 5 minutes and then add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce and dried herbs. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 25-30 minutes. Once the vegetables are soft, add the teaspoon of vinegar. It's such a tiny amount but it really does bring out the flavor of the vegetables. Season well with salt and pepper, serve piping hot.