burnt toast

Tag: almond

Sun-dried Tomato and Mushroom Polenta Hot Dogs

sun-dried tomato and mushroom hot dogs

Have you ever felt frustrated by the overpriced mediocreness of those tubes of biodynamic free range soy which, in the occasion of a barbecue, to which you are invited, being the only vegetarian, you are forced to procure, because you do not just want to be limited to boiled sweetcorn and grilled zucchini. You want to feel the fulness that only the combination of protein and carbs can give you. So you buy them anyway, but still feel like you’re not part of the mob, because obviously you’re missing out on what is the whole point of having a fire: Le meat. Do you? Ha I don’t. Not anymore. I suffered for years my friend, so  I do know your pain. However I feel as  soon as I started to finally become cool (e.g. joining the carnivores), cautiously, but evermore enthusiastically exploring what that world of meat had to offer, vegetarianism had started to become the new cool. Such a trendsetter I was, way way ahead of my time. What use was it to me now.

I kid you, it’s super helpful. I still predominantly eat vegetarian food. It’s fun, it’s delicious, it’s easy, but it’s also  a challenge. And I love challenges. We will never have an equal substitute for meat, because that would defy the point of not eating it, and it would be insulting to the deliciousness that meat has to offer.

What I present you is a delicious alternative to the hot dog. It is jam-packed with umami flavours, a beautiful marriage of sun-dried tomatoes, caramelised mushrooms, a hint of smoked paprika, a dash or red wine and a scattering of parmesan. And when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I sneakily add a handful ground almonds to boost the protein content. These hot dogs aren’t an alternative. They’re their own star. Go forth my vegetarian and non vegetarian friends, and enjoy the tastiness which is the incredible polenta hot dog.

 

Sun-dried Tomato and Mushroom Polenta Hot Dogs

This makes a bit more than a liter of mixture, which will fill one large baking tray, which can be sliced into 18+ rectangle hot dogs.

 

A few tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

a drizzle of golden syrup, honey or a sprinkle of sugar

10 button mushrooms, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped rosemary

1 tsp smoked paprika

freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp soy sauce

 

100ml red wine

900ml water

vegetable stock powder

1 cup / 160g fine polenta

50g butter, cubed

1 cup / 100g finely grated parmesan cheese

½ cup / 50g ground almonds

10 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large fry pan and add the onions. Stir occasionally until starting to turn brown. Add the golden syrup to speed up the caramelisation. Once you’re happy with the colour, add the mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, paprika and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until it starts to smell delicious and the mushrooms seem cooked through. Add the soy sauce, stir a few more times, then take off the heat.

Heat the wine and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the veggie stock powder (up to you how much – you can always add more right at the end), and stir in the polenta. Keep stirring until it goes thick. Remove from the heat and add the butter, cheese and almonds. Once that’s nicely incorporated, add the sun-dried tomatoes and the mushroom mixture. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the mixture out evenly. Let it cool out completely, either at room temperature or in the fridge to speed things up, and cut into desired length/shape.

At this stage you can pack a few away into a plastic bag and find a nice spot in the freezer for them. Because really, you’re not going to manage to eat all of them in the next few days.

When you’re ready to finish them off, preheat your oven to 200°C and bake them for 20 minutes or so until browned. Same procedure for the frozen ones, although they might need to be in there for a bit longer. I found they hold their shape best with this method. You can also fry them, but make sure you use enough oil, because they tend to stick. Serve with hot dog – friendly condiments.

The most pretentious salad ever

superfood saladSometime this year we all decided to give up and open our arms to the crazy superfood which is known as kale, and chose to love it unconditionally for now and forever. Not only because it’s high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium, no, it also makes us feel like we’re getting closer to nature with all that green grassy fibre it has to offer.

I am not the first to talk about this vegetable, nor will I be the last, so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, because what you really want is the recipe, and not me talking about my kale-ian preferences. So. Kale chips, great stuff. However, there are only so many kale chips you can make. And they’re really hard to dip into anything, which is a wee bit frustrating, because I love dips and thusly, everything should be dippable. Once my enthusiasm for crisping it dwindled, I moved on to kale salad. I only have one piece of advice for you for crucial kale salad improvement, and that is: Massage it, baby. That way the fibres break down and the grassy rawness turns into soft feathery goodness.

I came up with this recipe as more of a joke than anything else. I set myself the challenge of creating a salad with as many superfood ingredients as I could fit into one bowl, a bowl of pretentiousness, but also as it figured out, of incredible tastiness. I like it best on weekends, as a replenishing recovery after a slightly too merry a night, and also as a packed lunch. Small tip here when we’re talking about portable lunches: Do you also hate the fact that all the crispy ingredients in your lunch turn soft by the time it’s ready to be eaten? And do you keep doing it because you can’t be bothered lugging 3 different containers with you to your place of work? I have a solution for you my friend. Get your take-away container and fill it with your food of choice, making sure you leave at least 1 cm of space between the food and the top of the container. Next, grab a sheet of cling wrap and place it over the top. Now heap on your toasted nuts or croutons and click on the lid. No softened crunchy bits, ever again. You’re welcome.

 

Superfood Salad

Serves 1 really hungry person or 2 average hungry people

 

1/4 cup quinoa

1 pinch cinnamon

1/2 cup water

 

1/4 – 1/2 bunch kale (depending on the size of your bunch of course, but I’d say more is better than less)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

2 Tbsp goji berries

2 tsp chia seeds

 

Combine the quinoa, cinnamon and water in a saucepan and cook till done. I usually add a bit of veggie stock powder to flavour things at this point, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. Once it’s done, set it aside and let it cool down a bit.

Finely chop your kale, then transfer it to a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil and start scrunching it with your hands until you can feel it soften. This will only take a minute or so. Add the cooled quinoa, the balsamic and soy sauce and toss. Once the dressing is evenly distributed, you can throw in the avocado. You can either pop it back into the fridge now and keep it for later, or heap it onto a plate and top it with the slivered almonds, goji berries and chia seeds. Yum.

Rosewater Almond Cake

rosewater almond cakeLook, it’s been a while, but I baked you a cake. And seeing as bribing you with food always seems to work, I’ll just stick with what I know best.

What have I been up to all this time you may ask? Well let me tell you. Stuff and a bit of more stuff. Most of it trivial and probably not interesting enough for you, except for maybe last weekend. Yes I’ll tell you about that. I’m incredibly blessed in that I have had a number of my beautiful Swiss friends find an excuse big enough (me obviously) to come and visit the vast and sunny planes of Australia. It’s such a long trip guys. And without one of those blow-up neck pillows and a good variety of films you actually haven’t seen yet, that flight is going to be a hell of a lot longer. So… thank you for making the effort! So me being the lucky person that I am, got to cook for and hang with these beautiful individuals until I could feel my throat hurting from using “ch” too much, while a halo of happiness appeared and decided to permanently cement itself around my head.

So in honour of that I’d like you to have this cake. It is a deliciously moist little thing, gluten-free even, I’ll have you know, with a hint of rosewater and deliciously caramelised outer edges.

Do it.

 

Rosewater Almond Cake

adapted from my name is yeh

 

1 1/4 cup/275g sugar

200g butter, softened

½ tsp salt

4 eggs

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp rosewater

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp almond essence

2 cups/200g ground almonds

a small handful flaked almonds or chopped pistacios, for the topping

 

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a round baking tin with baking paper. In a bowl, whip together the sugar, salt and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the lemon juice, rosewater, vanilla- and almond essence before adding the ground almonds. Once it’s all mixed up and ready to go, spread into the baking tin. Scatter with your almonds and transfer to the oven, where this baby’s going to bake for 45-55 minutes. Cover the top with some tin foil if it starts browning too quickly. Once the top is firm and a skewer inserted comes out relatively clean, take the cake out and cool it in the tin before transferring it to a plate. Shake some icing sugar over the top if you want to be schmancy, and serve with a dollop with Greek yoghurt.

Apple Crumble.

apple crumble

Oh hi. Fancy meeting you here. Yes, it’s been a while, I know. I’ll cut a long story short by saying that being busy is a completely overused excuse, so I won’t even go there.

Study and procrastination have been true companions along the way, although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that out of the two, the latter was definitely given more time, love and attention. Yes I do have favourites.

However, I am not sorry to say that this apple crumble, or crisp, this heaven on a spoon, was part of the collaboration. You will love it. Nay, worship it.

I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to tell you how beautifully nutty and irresistible browned butter is, and how it will change your life, and that you should go and make some right now. Here it adds another dimension to the already delicious tango of caramelized apple goodness.

Adapted from this pretty place.

The Best Apple Crisp

Serves 6

250g butter

For the topping:

1 cup / 150g plain flour

1 cup / 80g quick oats

1 cup / 220g dark brown sugar

½ cup / 80g chopped almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

For the filling:

2 tsp vanilla essence

6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced

1/2 cup / 110g dark brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Lets start with the browned butter, shall we? You’ll need to prepare it a little in advance because you want it to firm up again for the crumble. Place butter in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes you’ll notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent it from burning. Very carefully pour into a container and let it cool. Because I’m impatient, I let it have a go in freezer to firm up. Once the butter’s firm, divide it into two equal halves.

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 25x25cm baking pan.

To make the topping combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and almonds in a large bowl. Cut half of the butter into pieces and using your hands, squeeze and rub into the oat mixture until it becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. Keep it in the fridge while you get on with the rest.

Now, too make the filling, place the sliced apples, the brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Gently reheat the brown butter and stir into the apple mixture. Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Spread the apple mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the topping. It will seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will turn beautifully crunchy, and really, there is no such thing as too much topping anyway.

Bake the crumble on a baking sheet – in case the filling bubbles over – for 55-60 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes if you can wait that long. Serve warm with sour cream, yoghurt or vanilla ice cream.

Dukkah

Crunchy.  I love crunchy. I’m pretty sure you do, too. I want lots of crunch. Crunch makes me happy. Do you know dukkah? This dry Egyptian mix of nuts and spices, where you first dunk a piece of bread into olive oil, then into the nut mixture, then eat? Yeah? It makes me happy. Especially because of the hazelnuts. Anything with hazelnuts has to be good. And if it requires the action of dipping, well then, I’m sold.

Dukka

150g hazelnuts

100g almonds

100g sesame seeds

2 Tbsp cumin seeds

2Tbsp coriander seeds

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¾ tsp cinnamon

1 ½ tsp vegetable stock powder

Dry-roast hazelnuts on a low flame till the skins crack and the nuts take on a golden, brown-speckled hue. I usually do this in two batches, first getting the skins to crack, rubbing them between a towel, then letting them have a second go in the frypan, for that deliciously toasty hazelnut flavour. Afterwards, let them cool. Repeat with the almonds and the sesame seeds. Next, combine the cumin, coriander and fennel in the pan and dry-roast them until they smell good and have taken on a little colour. Once everything has cooled down, pulse the nuts and seeds, each on their own, until roughly ground. Grind the spices with a pestle and mortar until also roughly ground. Combine with the remaining 3 ingredients. You could of course replace some of the almonds with pistacios for a bit of colour, but quite frankly I don’t think this needs changing.

Why do I always use stock powder? Because it has so much more flavour than plain salt, that’s why. If you don’t like it you can replace it with whatever salt that makes you happy. Just adjust the amount, okay?

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