Food: Bougie PB&J

I had half a punnet of strawberries that needed using up, so I decided to make them into a bougie conserve. So with it an easy way to pimp up your standard PB&J. Here’s how to do it. You can totally scale up the recipe, but I’m just jotting down what I had to work with.

For the Strawberry, lime & white rum jam

  • 100g strawberries, de-stalked
  • 50g sugar
  • 100ml water
  • Juice & zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 shot of white rum (optional)

 

to make, simply put a pan on the hob on medium-high and place in the sugar, strawberries and the water. It should take a few minutes for it all to start bubbling, but when it does it will come together quite quickly, so don’t get distracted as it can burn easily. Cook for 5-7 minutes on high until you can see it all becoming a pan of red, strawberry flavoured loveliness. When you see that happening, take it off the heat and add in the lime zest, juice and the rum. As it will still be hot, be careful when mixing it in. Pour into a glass jar and leave on the countertop to cool before putting it in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.

 

The next day the jam should have set and be halfway between a jam and a firm compote.

 

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This is what I had left of the jam after scoffing it all down!

The next step to make is the peanut caramel. To make you’ll need:

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 20g peanuts (I used roasted peanuts, but you can use un roasted too)
  • Pinch of salt. I used some exquisite Anglesey sea salt with Tahitian vanilla from Halen Môn

Like the jam,  add in the sugar and the water and cook in a hot pan until they start forming a light caramel, then add in the peanuts. Roll them around in the pan, without using a spoon or spatula and enrobe them in the caramel. Cook the caramel mixture out until it turns golden brown. Pour onto a silicone baking sheet (you can use a spatula now) and sprinkle with the salt. The flavour of Halen Môn’s vanilla salt will compliment the lime and strawberry of the jam perfectly. Leave to cool and harden.

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Halen Môn’s Anglesey Sea Salt with Tahitian vanilla.

Now to make the foundation of it all, the toast. I used some great sourdough from a local bakery here in Malmö, Organic Bakery, that I rescued with this great app here in Sweden and also in London called Karma. They work with local businesses to sell their ‘end of the day’ produce at a reduced price. Meaning the consumer reduces food waste, supports local businesses and gets amazing quality food for a fraction of the price. (Not a sponsor but if you’re in London or Sweden it would be silly not to check them out!).

Anyway, back to the toast…

Top that warm toast off with some tasty dairy-free ‘butter’ and top with a thick layer of peanut butter. Spread the jam on one half and place pieces of the now cooled salted peanut caramel brittle on the other. Top with a few sliced strawberries and devour!

 

Enjoy!

 

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Food: Raw vegan ‘semlor’

As it’s semlor season here in Sweden for Fettisdagen, or ‘Fat Tuesday’, when these buns are traditionally eaten before lent. The traditional semla is a cardamom- enriched bun with homemade marzipan, called ‘mandelmassa’ and plenty of whipped cream. For this raw vegan version, I’ve decided to use persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit in place of the bun. I was going to use peaches, but they seem to be impossible to get at the moment, not being in season.  As I’ve used persimmon, I decided to top it with a bit of matcha powder, a nod to the asian heritage of the fruit,

 

Makes 6 mini semlor bites

To make you’ll need:

  • 3 persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp almond oil
  • 1 shot of amaretto (optional- don’t use if want to make it totally raw vegan)
  • 2 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 1tbs matcha powder, to top

For the mandelmassa:

  • 150g soaked almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tbs water

For the coconut & cardamom cream:

  • The ‘cream’ from 2 tins of full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ fresh vanilla bean

 

Start the night before by making up the syrup. Mix the water with the almond oil, agave and cardamom. I also added in some Amaretto, in the spirit of the decadance of a semla bun, but by all means, take it out.  3 big persimmon will make 6 mini semlor buns. To make them, I’d recommend slicing each fruit into 4 equal pieces and cutting out the middle with a round cookie-cutter. This should leave you with a top and bottom bun for each ‘semla’. If there is any lefover persimmon, simply chop it up and keep in the fridge, it’s a great addition to any curry or jerk recipe. De-leaf the top and place into a shallow dish. Once you have done this with all 3 fruits, cover with the syrup. This should soak up all those cardamom & almond flavours of the syrup. Leave overnight.

The next day, turn the persimmon buns in the syrup and make the mandelmassa. I used the recipe off this blog  to make it, but essentially, de-skin the almonds and blend it up with the coconut sugar in a food processor, adding a teaspoon or two of water to bind.

 

To make the cardamom cream, spoon out the coconut cream portion of 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk into a bowl, adding the ground cardamom, agave and vanilla bean paste. Whip up into a thick and aromatic cream.

 

When you’re ready to assemble your mini persimmon semla, take them out of the syrup and pat dry. roll a little ball of the mandelmassa and squish into the palm of your hands. Top the bottom of the buns with the disk of mandelmassa. Next, spoon on about a tablespoon of the cream. Top with the ‘top bun’ of persimmon and dust with some matcha powder.

 

Enjoy!

Drink: Kladdkaka cocktail

This week in Sweden it was kladdkakans dag, which is a day for the unctuously good gooey chocolate cake, called a kladdkaka (sticky cake), like a Swedish brownie. I wanted to do a vegan version, but instead of just re-creating the cake, I’ve used it as inspiration for a cocktail.

Serves 2

To make you’ll need:

  • Handful of lightly burned oats, soaking in 100ml water
  • 100ml of leftover coffee, I like to use what’s leftover in my French-Press, (so for this I used Coaltown Coffee’s Black Gold No.3)
  • 400ml oat milk, I used Oatly
  • 1tbs cocoa, sifted
  • 50g good quality chocolate (at least 70%), melted, I used Svenska Kakaobolaget
  • 3 shots of Vodka, I used Stoli
  • 1tbs vanilla sugar
  • Ice

Serve:

  • Vegan whipped cream
  • Pinch of cocoa

Start by placing your oats in a pan and toasting them on low. Rather than letting them go golden brown, you need to take it just a bit further so they start to burn, not too much however. You need the nutty-bitterness that will be imbued in the liquid. Take off the heat, place into a bowl and pour in the water. Let the oats soak until they make the water a golden hue. like the picture below:

 

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After this, leave it to cool. When ready, strain the liquid through a sieve and place the golden liquid in a separate bowl. Now, take your melted chocolate and whisk that into the liquid, before adding in the cocoa, whisking thoroughly. Then add in the vanilla sugar.

 

In your cocktail shaker, place the chocolatey mixture, along with the cold coffee, oat milk and your 3 shots of vodka over the ice. Shake vigorously and serve in a tall glass. Top with some vegan whipped cream and a sifting of cacao.

 

Enjoy!

 

Drink: Banana, apricot, vanilla & passionfruit Oatly smoothie

One way of getting by in Malmö, on a budget (for me, at least) has been to shop at my local ‘livs’ store. ‘Livs’ stores are small, little corner shops, come greengrocers. They often have great prices on veg and sometimes reduce great quantities as the day goes by. This it where it really gets fun (AND CHEAP!). My local ‘livs’ store, last week had huge bags of passionfruit, bananas & apricots all reduced to 10kr (just under £1), and I had used them in a myriad of different ways, but time came to that the last few needed using up. This is one great way of using up leftover fruit, that has maybe gone a-bit-too ripe, to make a nutritious & healthy breakfast option.

 

To make you’ll need:

  • 400ml water
  • 4tbs rolled oats
  • 4 ripe bananas, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 ripe apricots, de-stoned & roughly chopped
  • 1tsp Vanilla bean paste/ vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1tsp Maca powder (optional), sifted
  • 1tsp Young barley grass powder (optional), sifted
  • Pinch of salt

 

For the yogurt top:

  • 200ml dairy-free yogurt (I used Oatly)
  • 1 Passionfruit

 

Start by placing the water and the oats in your blender and pulse until you get a creamy, thick solution. Then, add about half of the rest of the ingredients, remembering to keep pulsing it down. Once you start getting a creamy & fruity mix you know you’re on the right track. blend it with the final portion of ingredients and pour into a jug/pitcher. In a separate bowl mix up the yogurt with the passionfruit pulp & seeds. To prep the passionfruit, I’d recommend using a small, serrated knife to cut the fruit in half and then scoop out the tart & sweet pulp with a spoon.

To serve, pour the smoothie mix into your desired cup/ bowl/ glass. If the mixture is a bit too thick, then try thinning it out with a splash of water. After, you have the desired amount,  spoon the yogurt on top and drink.

 

Enjoy!

Drink: Semla Shake

Here’s a great recipe for fettisdagen (the Swedish Mardi Gras). It has all the flavours of semla buns, but none of the time-consuming process of proving and kneading. However, if you’re game for all that, then by all means this cocktail would be amazing paired with the decadent buns! You can omit the custard if you want, but it gives another dimension to the cocktail and hey, it is for Fat Tuesday, after all!

To make, you’ll need:

  • 1 Whole carton of Oatly milk/ unsweetened unroasted almond milk
  • 2 Scoops of Swedish Glace (Tofu Line) vanilla Ice cream
  • 3 Shots of Amaretto
  • 2 Shots of vanilla vodka (I used ABSOLUT, naturally)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 2tbs Oatly custard

To finish:

  • Soy whip
  • Cake crumbs

To make, put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until they make a sweet, aromatic cardamom laced cocktail. Get your glasses, in my case a vintage milk bottle, and fill with the mix. Top with some soy whipped cream, but be wary that it doesn’t sink, as it doesn’t behave exactly the way dairy cream does, it’s also a bit heavier.

Garnish with cake crumbs, vegan in my case, left over from a delicious Naturally Kind Food slice and you’re done!

 

Enjoy!

Food: Mulled cherry tarts

These cherry tarts are a quick and easy way of pleasing guests and delivering the kind of low effort, maximum impact impression we all look for around Christmas time. Whether you’re making them for family, friends or when a guest pops by.

You’ll need:

  • 1 jar of sour cherries in syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 70g of sugar (or more, depending on your sweet tooth!)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • 1 packet of pre-made shortcrust pastry

Pour all of the ingredients (bar the pastry and vanilla) into a saucepan and simmer on a low heat, allowing the spices to mull for a good 10-15 minutes.

When this is done, fish out the spices and crank up the heat until it’s boiling. Reduce until the mixture is thick and sticky. This is the time to add the vanilla. Stir and pour into a bowl to cool, then begin rolling out the pastry on a flour dusted surface to about 5mm thick.

Use a mug to cut out circles of pastry. Gently shape the circles into a greased tart tin. They should fill the tin but not overreach that much. Experiment with the mug width that works for your tin. When the pastry is loaded, spoon in the jammy mixture until it’s just about level with the pastry. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the packet. Normally 180°c for about 20 minutes.

Perfect on their own or top couple of warm tarts with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a festive treat!

Food: Banoffee Trifle

Here’s a recipe for a fusion of two classic British puddings (and a good way to use up leftovers!)

 

You’ll need:

  • 140g banana bread, ripped up
  • 20ml Amaretto
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

For the custard:

  • 230ml double cream
  • seeds of a vanilla pod
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g  icing sugar
  • 15g dulce de leche

To Decorate:

  • 200ml  double cream, whipped
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 20g icing sugar, sifted
  • 20g flaked almonds, toasted
  • A square of dark chocolate, grated
  • 1tbs Dulce de Leche
  • Splash of milk

 

During the week I made a banana bread, using this trusty recipe from the BBC. With all the will in the world (and plenty of Chai to wash it down!) Tom and I were never going to finish it all – we had a lot leftover. Not wanting to throw it away before it went stale, I wanted to rescue it. It had me thinking about how I could make it into a trifle/banoffee pie fusion – two of my favourite desserts. This is one’s a decadent dessert that certainly isn’t for anyone on a diet. It could easily feed up to 6. Here’s how to make it:

To start, tear up the leftover banana loaf and place into a suitable bowl. It needs to be high enough to take the amount of filling. I’d recommend a clear glass bowl, so you’ll be able to see all the layers.

After tearing up the banana bread, drizzle some Amaretto over it, so it soaks in.

Now, it’s time to make the custard.

First scrape a vanilla pod into the cream and begin to heat until gently bubbling at the edges. You can even put a whole pod in to infuse if you want.

Meanwhile, add the eggs yolks and the sugar and whisk until they’re combined. Here’s the tricky part, carefully begin adding the the cream into the egg yolks making sure you keep whisking as you go – then do it vice versa back into the cream pan. Keep whisking on the heat until it coats the back of a spoon easily. Once made, pour the custard into a jug and leave to cool.

Chop up 2 ripe bananas and place them in a layer on top of the cake.

To the custard, (when cool) whisk in 15g of Dulce de Leche into it until its a light brown colour.

Now with a spatula, spread this tan mixture on top of the bananas. Cover the mixture with a layer of clingflim (to alleviate a skin forming) and leave to set in the fridge for 40 minutes to 1 hour.

While it’s in the fridge add icing sugar and vanilla into a bowl. Add the double cream and whisk until stiff peaks before setting aside.

Toast the almonds in a pan on medium heat until golden brown. Don’t take your eyes away from them, as they can catch quickly.

Once the bananas and custard mixture is set to a firm wobble, take out the fridge and remove the cling. Now it’s time to assemble!

Spread on a thick pillowy layer of cream on the sand coloured mixture. Grate the chocolate on top and sprinkle the golden almonds on top.

For an extra bit of naughtiness, take a tablespoon of Dulce de Leche and a splash of milk into a separate bowl. Mix with a spoon until smooth and pouring consistency and drizzle on top of the dessert. It is now ready to devour.

Enjoy!