Category: Starter

Wholegrain Crackers with Homemade Hazelnut Butter and Strawberries

Wholegrain Crackers with Homemade Hazelnut Butter and Strawberries

Last week I made some delicious hazelnut butter, now it’s time for something to it with! I’ve found it really good as a sandwich filler, a porridge topper and a yoghurt pal, however if you want to make something specific to pair with your creation look no further than these delicious wholegrain crackers.  These can taste a little bland on their own, but they’re the perfect carrier for all kinds of toppings from caramel, to nutella to this nut butter.

I’ve also found by topping it all with some fresh berries you can end up bringing some sweetness to the package which makes a great little healthy, filling snack!

Recipe

Makes 18 biscuits

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the crackers

  • 160g Whole-wheat flour
  • 55g Sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp Water

To top

  • 3 tbsp Homemade nut butter (see last week’s recipe for how to make your own!)
  • 4 Fresh Strawberries
  • A few Mint leaves to garnish

Method

  1. Begin by making the crackers. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sesame seeds and salt in a large bowl. Then add the oil and mix it in with a fork to make a crumbly texture. Add the water and then mix with your hands until a smooth dough comes together.
  3. Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper until the thickness of a 1p coin. Cut rounds out of the dough with a cookie cutter, transferring the crackers to your lined trays as you do. Make sure to space them out enough so they’re not touching.
  4. Bake the crackers in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool completely.
  5. When cooled spread your nut butter over the crackers. Hull and slice the strawberries and arrange them on top of the crackers. Garnish with a little mint and then serve!

Alternatives:

Why not try topping the crackers and nut butter with…

  • Sliced banana and chocolate shavings
  • Fig quarters and a drizzle of honey
  • Raspberries and white chocolate

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
error
Oven Baked Arancini with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Oven Baked Arancini with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I kid you not when I say that this is the most delicious savoury thing I’ve ever made. I’m a sucker for Italian food in general so maybe I’m biased but these Italian crispy risotto balls are out of this world – try them yourself and you will not be disappointed! Combine a rich, tomato-y squidgy rice ball, coated in crispy bread crumbs and stuffed with oozying mozerella, with a side of a sweet, sour, spicy tomato sauce and bam, you’ve got one hell of a starter/maincourse/snack thing. Arancini are traditionally deep fried, but as I don’t have a deep fat fryer I decided to try oven-baking them and I think it worked out really well. You still get the crispy, crunchy outside to the arancini but without the added calories and grease of deep-fat frying.

On another exciting note I’m officially going to Italy this summer on an inter-railing trip with some friends. We’ll be starting in Rome and will wind our way north, soaking up the beauty and of course trying all the food we can on the way! Needless to say I’m more than a little excited at the prospect of pizza, pasta, risotto, tiramisu, and mountains of gelato so I’ll come back with lots of Mediterranean inspiration for future recipes. If you have any recommendations for foods to try/places to stop off please ping them my way!

Recipe

Serves 4

Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 600ml Vegetable stock (or 1 vegetable stock cube in 600ml water)
  • 50g Unsalted butter
  • ½ Large white onion, diced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 200g Arborio rice
  • 260ml Bolognese sauce
  • ½ tbsp Garlic puree
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 80g Mozzarella, torn in chunks
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 100g Bread crumbs

For the sauce

  • ½ Large white onion
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 75ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 20g Caster sugar
  • 1.2kg Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ½ tsp Thyme
  • ½ tbsp Garlic puree

Method

  1. In a large pan bring the vegetable stock to the boil and leave to simmer until needed.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and then add the bay leaves and diced onions. Fry the onions until they just begin to caramelise, then season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Add the rice to this pan and cook whilst stirring for around 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the stock to the rice, one ladle full at a time, constantly stirring as you do. Keep doing this until the rice is sticky and just overcooked.
  5. Then add the Bolognese sauce to the rice and mix it in. Remove the pan from the heat and set to one side until needed.
  6. Stir the garlic, parmesan and mozzarella into the risotto and then take the bay leaves out of the mixture. Taste to check the seasoning and then pour the mixture into a large tray and leave to cool.
  7. Break the egg whites into a bowl and beat a little with a fork to make it runny. Then pour the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl. Shape the rissotto mixture into small balls – about 1 heaped tbsp for each one. Dip each ball into the egg whites and then the breadcrumbs, making sure they are coated fully and then put them on a tray in the fridge until needed.
  8. Now make the tomato sauce. Peel and then dice the onions. Add them to a pan with the olive oil and fry until caramelised.
  9. Add the pepper and paprika to the mixture and stir. Add the balsamic and sugar and stir them in. Then leave to reduce for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic puree to the mixture and stir. Then leave to simmer for a couple of hours until reduced and thick. (You could boil it for less time but you get the best flavour if you leave it to properly reduce).
  11. Once the sauce is almost ready pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place the arancini on a lined baking tray and bake them in the oven for around 20 minutes until crisp, golden brown and so that the cheese is bubbling.
  12. Taste the sauce again and season to taste before serving with the arancini balls.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
error
Greek Salad

Greek Salad

Next up as part of this banquet is this delish Greek salad. Traditionally a Greek salad is made up of the classically Greek ingredients Romaine lettuce, feta and olives to make a beautiful salty, sweet and refreshing salad all in one! This salad, like most, is very quick and easy to put together, and makes a delish light lunch on it’s own! In this selection of mezes though it acts as a great refreshing dish to pair with the warm, aromatic ones.

Recipe

Makes 1 Meze dish

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Vine tomatoes
  • 5cm Length of Cucumber
  • 1/4 Red pepper
  • 2 Leaves of Romaine lettuce
  • 5g Feta cheese
  • A few Olives, halved
  • A Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
  • A Drizzle of Olive oil

Method

  1. Take a sharp knife and quarter the tomatoes. Then slice the cucumber into quarters length ways, and then chop along the batons to make small pieces. Then dice the pepper into similarly sized pieces.
  2. Rip the lettuce into pieces and scatter the over over serving dish. Then scatter over the tomatoes, pepper and cucumber. Crumble the feta over the salad and then scatter the olives.
  3. Finish with a drizzle of the balsamic and olive oil and serve!

Thanks for reading!
Emma x

Social Media Links...
error
Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

 In every Greek meal there has to be tabbouleh. It’s refreshing, zingy and a great palette cleanser for the richer, spicier dishes on the table. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of tabbouleh because on its own it’s a bit too herby for my liking, but I will admit that it’s delicious when paired with anything else on the table!

Recipe

Makes 1 Mezze dish

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g Bulgar wheat
  • 40g Flat leaf parsley
  • 40g Mint
  • 200g Vine tomatoes
  • 2 Beef tomatoes
  • 3 Spring onions
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • A pinch of Sea salt

Method

  1. Put the bulgur wheat into a sieve and rinse under cold water. Then put this into a bowl and pour over 200ml boiling water. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the parsley into a bunch and then roughly chop it. Do the same with the mint so that it’s chopped super fine. Next take your tomatoes and chop them roughly into bits. Put all the herbs and tomatoes into a big bowl.
  3. Slice the spring onions in half and then finely chop them. Add this to the big bowl.
  4. Drain the bulgur wheat and then mix this into the herbs. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper to season. Mix it all together and then serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
error
Pita Bread

Pita Bread

Pita bread is one of those incredible foods that is so versatile and will just work with everything. Whilst now I prefer my pita dipped in hummus, back in primary school I used to stuff them with Mini Cheddars to make an improvised crisp/cheese sandwich. My culinary experiments have moved on a lot since then, but I still have a fondness for these bread pockets and they pair super well with the other meze dishes in this banquet!

Recipe

Makes 4 Pitas

Time: 20 minutes, plus proving and baking time

Ingredients

  • 250g Strong white bread flour
  • 7g Instant yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 160ml Water
  • 2 tsp Olive oil

Method

  1. Put the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl and stir to combine. Be careful not to put the salt directly on top of the yeast as this will kill it and prevent your dough from rising. Add the oil and then slowly add the water, mixing as you do, to get a smooth dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a worktop and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and stretchy. Place this dough into a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C and pop a baking tray in the oven to warm up.
  4. When the dough is ready turn it out onto your surface and knead for 20 seconds to knock out the air bubbles.
  5. Split the dough into 6 and roll each portion into a ball. Then lightly flour a surface and roll each ball out into a 5cm long oval.
  6. Take the tray out of the oven and lightly dust with flour. Put each pitta onto it and then bake for 5-10 minutes until they start to brown slightly.
  7. Serve with lots of hummus!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
error