Dairy-free Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Biscuits

As you may be aware I have given up supermarket shopping for Lent. This has in general been a positive experience so far; however, right now when I haven’t been shopping for a few days it it is a bit of a pain because I have run out of what I usually consider to be a ‘basic’ baking ingredient – butter. Biscuits are required this evening because I have people coming over for a meeting, and having nothing to offer would be plain rude! However, every challenge is an opportunity and having successfully baked using olive oil in little cakes a few days ago I decided to trawl through my recipe books to find something I could easily adapt.

I used groundnut oil for this recipe because I happened to have some in the cupboard and I thought it made sense with the peanut butter, you can substitute in different oil if you like. Whilst on the subject of substitutions, the recipe which I (loosely) based these biscuits on asked for brown bread flour whereas I used Rye flour, again, because that is what I happened to have in the storecupboard.

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Ingredients

Makes about 20.

  • 3 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 140 ml Groundnut Oil
  • a few drops of Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Egg
  • 125 g / 4 oz White Bread Flour
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 125 g / 4 oz Rye Flour
  • 100 g Dark Chocolate, chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Whisk together the peanut butter, oil and vanilla essence and then beat in the sugar. Add the egg plus a teaspoon of flour and beat well.

Sift in the white bread flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and fold in.

Mix in the rye flour and knead until the dough holds together.

Roll small pieces of the dough into balls and place on oiled baking tray, leaving room for spreading. Flatten with a fork in a criss-cross pattern and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Banana and Chocolate Fairy-cakes

These are yummy and a good use of squidgy bananas. The recipe is based on Nigel Slayers recipe for a banana loaf with dark chocolate and dark Muscavado sugar, but doctored to make nice light little ‘fairy cakes’.
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Makes 24 little cakes.

Ingredients.
65 g butter
65 g olive oil
235 g light Muscavado sugar
400g ripe bananas  (approximately 4)
2 eggs, beaten
250 g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
100 g dark chocolate
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Method
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Put paper cases into a  patty tin.

Cream the butter, olive oil and sugar. Mash the bananas and then beat them into the fat and sugar, followed by the eggs a little at a time.

Sift the flour and baking powder onto the above mixture and fold in.

Chop the chocolate and fold in.

Divide the mixture between the cake cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 12 – 15 minutes.

A delicious mistake

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Note: the photograph does not do it justice!

Whilst rummaging around in my freezer I found some pieces of leftover Christmas turkey and thought ‘a-ha!’ I can use up the coconut milk which I have in the fridge and make a Thai-ish curry. It ended up being very ‘-ish’ because it was only once I had started cooking that I realised that what I had defrosted was, in fact, gammon. I decided to go with it and was pleasantly surprised – the salty/smokey meat really worked with the Thai spices.

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Ingredients

Diced gammon (about a handful)
1/2 a sweet potato
1 small onion
1/2 pint approx of coconut milk
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 dried kaffir lime leaves.
2 strands of lemongrass
1 piece dried galangal.
1/2 teaspoon dried ground galangal
A splash of fish sauce

Method
Fry the onion and  chilli until the onions begin to soften, then add the sweet potato and other spices and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the chunks of gammon and the coconut milk and simmer gently until the sweet potato is cooked.
Add a splash of fish sauce and serve with rice or rice noodles.

Lent 2016

Hi ladies and gents,

It is a week since pancake day and I have yet to share my Lent Challenge with you which is rather remiss of me, sorry. I was a bit torn as to what to do this year, not least because in some ways fasting for Lent is quite a personal thing, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t choosing something just because it would be interesting to write about!

In the past I have given up various things; I have had a dairy-free Lent, gluten-free, vegetarian  (much to my mother’s annoyance when I was living at home and she was cooking!), caffeine free and last year I gave up coffee and wine. These have all been challenging in different ways, in some cases forcing me to broaden my repertoire of recipes and giving me an appreciation of other people’s food allergies and intolerances.

So, back to 2016. As some of you will know I am pretty passionate about sharing food, not wasting food and about being mindful about where food has come from. I wanted my Lent challenge to build on the discipline which my £5 a week challenge had instilled in me, and in addition to heighten my awareness as to the origin of  the food that I eat. I had a few ideas and a few suggestions from people including a vegan diet, something food-miles related, abstaining from alcohol, following the strict Greek Orthodox Lenten fast (effectively vegan plus wine-free with a couple of full fast days thrown in for good measure), cooking without the contents of my storecupboard, a zero food-waste Lent, cooking something new every day, and a complaining-free Lent (I like that idea and might try to do it anyway!).

I really liked the idea of having a ‘Local Lent’ based around food-miles, however, I found it rather difficult to get my head around what food-mile parameters I should set myself. Would it be just Gloucestershire, England, the UK, Europe? Or should I set myself a number of miles per week, so that if I had a cup of coffee I would be restricted in what else I could have?  If things weren’t labelled with country of origin would I have to make the assumption that I couldn’t have it? All a bit complicated!  Given all of the above what I finally decided upon is to have a Supermarket-Free Lent; so still a ‘Local Lent’ but with less maths! In addition I want to continue to be mindful about the quantity of food that I buy, making sure that I only have as much as I need, so I am giving myself the slightly less ridiculous budget of £10 a week for food and drink.

So what can you expect in the next few weeks? Probably lots of drooling over the delicious Pippin Doughnuts at the wonderful and award-winning Stroud Farmers Market – it’s a good job that I have given myself the £10 budget! There will also be some pretty amazing recipes coming your way; I have no idea yet what they well be, we will all have to wait and see what inspiration my local shopping gives me!

Ta’ra for now!

Kitty

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Stroud Farmer's Market

Seabass with Icelandic Kelp Salt

Source: Seabass with Icelandic Kelp Salt

Get me – I’m a ‘guest blogger’! Take a look at my yummy fish recipe, written for the lovely Engineering and Scientist ladies  (and gents) who follow A Hedy Journey.

Kitty’s Shrove Tuesday Feast

I hadn’t planned on writing a Pancake Day blog post; but then I don’t think that I have planned any of my blog posts so far so nothing new there! My impromptu three-course pancake feast was so spectacular though that I just had to share it with you.

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The problem with not having intended to write this up is that it is rather difficult to communicate the batter proportions to you because I did it by eye. I added a little bit of Rye Flour (~ 1/4), which was a first for me and was rather nice. I tend to use half milk half water. For the savoury pancakes I made the batter rather thicker than I would usually, and then added more liquid when I got to the sweet pancakes.

The First Course

  • pancake batter
  • lemon thyme from the garden
  • smoked salmon
  • plain yoghurt
  • ground black pepper

Heat some high smoke-point oil (Rapeseed is good) in a non-stick pan. When the oil is hot add the batter and sprinkle the lemon thyme leaves on top. Flip the pancake after about a minute, then flip again so that both sides are cooked.

Put the pancake onto a plate and top with the salmon, yogurt and black pepper.

The Second Course

For this course I made a larger pancake in the same way as above, but instead of the thyme I used chilli flakes and some mixed herbs.

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For the filling I used meatballs and tomato sauce which I had made earlier in the day and re-heated; very similar to the meatball pasta sauce which I have shared with you previously.

Pudding!

So I said that I added more liquid when I made the sweet pancakes, what I didn’t tell you is that the liquid was gin and tonic! I decided that G&T pancakes required only lemon and sugar as a topping. This was a little experiment which definitely worked – yum!

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And finally, Shrove Tuesday today means Ash Wednesday tomorrow. I am in the process of deciding on the details of an interesting challenge for Lent, I’ll keep you posted.

 

Tagliatelle with Sage, Duck and Mushrooms

This was delicious. Enough said.

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Ingredients

This served three people.

  • Two duck breasts
  • One onion, chopped
  • A teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • Approx 10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche
  • Tagliatelle
  • Approx 10 sage leaves
  • Olive oil

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Method
First take the duck breasts, place between cling film and bash with a rolling pin.  Chop into strips with scissors.

Fry the onion and mustard seeds, when the onion has started to become transparent add the duck.

Put the tagliatelle on to cook.

When the pieces of duck are ‘sealed’ add the mushrooms and continue to cook on a medium heat. Turn down to a very low heat when the tagliatelle is nearly cooked.

Drain the tagliatelle, then stir in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, the sage, and some salt and pepper.  Put the lid back on the pan and set aside.

Stir the crème fraiche into the duck and mushroom.

Serve.

Yum!