We wanted to make a Christmas treat with similar flavours to stollen, lots of dried fruit, spices and yumminess. These really exceeded our expectations, they are moist, slightly chewy and full of Christmassy goodness!
The aquafaba and ground almond mix is a bit of a star, and can be made without any of the dried fruit and nuts to make a lovely soft cookie.
These almost didn’t last long enough to photograph…
Christmas almond macaroons
makes 12 to 14
100 ml aquafaba (this should be half the amount you get from 1 400 g tin of chickpeas)
50 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp mixed spice
150 g ground almonds
50 g pistachios, roughly chopped
60 g glace cherries, quartered
30 g mixed peel
50 g raisins
2 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and line a tray with baking paper.
Using a hand or stand mixer beat the aqua faba until it forms soft peaks. As aquafaba varies in strength, this can take anywhere 4 to 8 minutes.
Beat in the sugar until mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Next beat in the xanthan gum, salt and mixed spice.
Fold in the ground almonds, pistachios, cherries, mixed peel and raisins until well combined. The aquafaba meringue mixture will lose volume, this is correct.
Using two dessert spoons make quenelles of the mixture and drop them carefully onto the lined tray.
Bake for 20 minutes until attractively browned.
When cool, dust with the icing sugar.
Christmas almond macaroons, just dusted with icing sugar
By A. and E.
Chestnuts make perfect pocket warmers for walks out in the frozen winter. No really, they do!
Cook them just before you set out, and then wrap a few in kitchen paper or a handkerchief and pop them into your pocket. They’ll stay warm for a while keeping your hands toasty, and when they’ve cooled you have a lovely snack to give you energy for the rest of the walk!
This recipe is a smoky, spicy, tasty thing to do with the leftovers.
Glazed sesame chestnuts
around 25 chestnuts in shells, or 150 g shelled
2 tsp tomato powder, or 1 tsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or 1/8 tsp ready ground
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Cut a slit in each of the chestnut shells (you must do this or they’ll burst in the oven!) And roast for around 20 minutes until the shells have started to open a little. Cool just until you can handle them, and remove the shells and the papery covering inside the shells (if you’re lucky, it all comes off in one go!)
Putting them cut side down and pressing gently on the shell with your palm helps to loosen it.
If you’re using chestnuts that have been previously roasted and then cooled completely they can be rather hard to shell, so pop them back in a hot oven for 2 minutes before shelling. Don’t reheat them for too long or they’ll go hard when they’re baked in the glaze!
Mix together the tomato powder, nutmeg, salt, oil, tamari and liquid smoke and then toss the chestnuts in the resulting paste.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm or cold.
So last year, flower sprouts were flower sprouts, a cross between a brussel sprout and kale and we’ve blogged quite a few recipes using them.
This year however, they appear to be called Kalettes… Which I think sounds like either a helpful 1950’s electrical kitchen implement, or a mysterious item of ladies underwear.
So I’m sticking with flower sprouts, it’s straightforward and my mind is less likely to disappear off on flights of fancy and am much more likely to get some cooking done.
So, to the recipe! The flower sprouts are slightly bitter, and so go beautifully with the sweet peas and pea shoots. With chewy savoury tofu and lovely fresh dill it all comes together very nicely.
I’m increasingly using the sachets of ready cooked rice as a base for lunch salads at the moment, mostly for speed to be honest, but there’s some lovely varieties around at the moment with all sorts of nice seeds and grains added.
Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with peas and dill
makes 4 servings
200 g flower sprouts, washed and patted dry on kitchen paper
400 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm ish cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons or 1 clove chopped garlic
3 tbsp tamari
75 g frozen peas
100 g pea shoots
15 g fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
500 g cooked rice, (I use 2 of the ready cooked sachets, this time the Tilda brand brown basmati with quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Toss the tofu in 1 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to brown.
Move the tofu to one side of the tin, turning the cubes over as you go. Add the flower sprouts to the other side, drizzling the remaining 1 tbsp of oil over them. Sprinkle the ramsons or garlic, and tamari over the tofu and flower sprouts and then bake for a further 15 minutes.
The flower sprouts should be crisp in places and cooked through. Leave to cool.
Cook the rice according to the sachet instructions, and tip into a large bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.
Stir through the frozen peas, and the vinegar. This helps to cool the rice quickly, but stir it around often too. When it’s stopped steaming pop it in the fridge to cool completely.
Mix the tofu, flower sprouts and dill into the rice and peas, and serve each portion on top of 1/4 of the pea shoots.