Tag Archive for Nuts

Carrot Courgette Muffins

Another recipe for the courgette surplus. These muffins are very moist, which means that they keep well and can be frozen as well. The moistness mainly comes from the carrot and the courgette, but the muffins certainly don’t taste like vegetables. They are barely sweet, and walnuts add a bit more texture. Because the muffins consist mainly of vegetables and whole wheat flour, and only have a little bit added sugar (in the form of honey/maple syrup) and fat, they are actually quite healthy and filling. My muffins are a bit darker than you can expect from the recipe, because I used stroop (Dutch molasses/treacle), which is darker than honey/maple syrup.

Carrot Courgette Muffins

Carrot Courgette Muffins (12 muffins)
Slightly adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
45 g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup finely grated courgette
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 175C and line a muffin pan with paper or silicon liners.
Mix flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, and mix together butter, honey, egg and vanilla extract in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until just combined. Add the courgette, carrot, raisins and walnuts and stir until just mixed. Divide the batter over the muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then take out to cool further.
Store in an airtight container for 3 days maximum, or freeze.

Pilau rice

This dish has a nice balance between sweet and savoury, spicy and creamy. It is a delicious accompaniment to spiced chicken. You could also add some orange or lemon peel to give it an even more Arabic vibe. Use dried apricots and almonds instead of sultanas and pine nuts as a variation.

Pilau rice (serves 4)
Adapted from The Conran Cookbook

50 g butter
2 onions, very thinly sliced
225 g basmati rice
4 cloves
8 cardamom pods, smashed
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick, broken in 2
2 bay leaves
1 chicken stock cube
50 g sultanas (light raisins)
150 ml milk
300 ml water
30 g pine nuts

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, sauté on low heat until the onions are soft, golden and translucent. Add the rice, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the rice becomes translucent. Add the bay leaves, chicken stock cube (crumbled), sultanas, milk, water and stir to mix. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add a little more water if necessary. Meanwhile, roast the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the rice to serve.

Roasted paprika pesto

Normally I’m not really into the making pesto from other things than the normal basil, pine nuts and parmezan cheese trend, but this recipe caught my eye. Other than being a sauce type of thing, it isn’t related to pesto, it seems more like a romesco sauce (a Catalonian-Spanish red pepper and almond sauce). So why it is called pesto instead of romesco I’m not sure, but in the end a dish should be tasty, whatever its name is. And this sauce certainly is tasty! It has the sweetness from the paprika, the richness from the almonds and because of the smoky pimenton and roasted peppers it has a lovely depth of flavour. It can be served as a sauce for seafood, chicken, meats and vegetables, but it is also delicious as a dip with bread and crudité. Because of this versatility, and that you can keep it for a week in a clean jar in the fridge, it is worth it to make the whole recipe and use it for several different dishes.

Roasted Paprika Pesto

Roasted paprika pesto (makes a large jar)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”

6 red paprika’s
4 tbsp extra vierge olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp pimenton de la vera
4 tbsp roasted almonds (use more for a thicker and richer sauce, and roast them for extra flavour)
salt and pepper

Place the paprika’s on a baking tray and roast them 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven of 240C, or until their skins become blistery and black. Take them from the oven and put them in a closed plastic bag, leave to cool for 20 minutes (they will be easier to peel this way).
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a small skillet and fry the garlic and the paprika powders for a few seconds. This makes the taste more pronounced. Pour in a kitchen machine or blender.
Remove the skin and seeds from the paprika’s, but keep the juices. Add the paprika and juices to the garlic-paprika powder mixture, and add the almonds. Season with salt and pepper and blend to a smooth purée. Serve cold or gently heat it in a small pan to serve warm.

Summer couscous salad

Greek salad is a bit of a problem for me. I do like the idea, but I always find it tasting a bit raw and harsh (because of the raw paprika) and it tends to get very wet and soggy from the vegetables, draining away all the flavour of a dressing. Luckily, I found the solution: I made it into a couscous salad, roasted the paprika to make it a bit more mellow, and threw in some other ingredients that I like (roast courgette, almonds and dried apricots, some lettuce from my garden) to make it into a complete meal. Leftovers would be great for lunch the next day.

Summer Couscous

Summer couscous salad (serves 1 generously)

40 g couscous

1/2 courgette
1 red paprika
1 clove garlic
1/2 tbsp olive oil
few sprigs of oregano

2 tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
a few leaves of lettuce
50 g olives
75 g feta
30 g almonds, roasted
30 g apricots, sliced

Preheat the grill as high as it gets.
Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet (it varies between brands). I like to cook it in bouillon instead of water to give it more flavour.
Quarter the red paprika and discard the seeds. Place in a baking tin skin side up and place under the grill, meanwhile slice the courgette and grill the slices in a hot skillet. When the skin of the paprika is black, it is ready. Cover the baking tin with tinfoil and set aside to cool until manageable. Then peel of the skin. Slice in bite-sized strips. (for me, this is the easiest way to grill paprika). Crush the garlic, chop the oregano coarsely and place in a bowl together with the olive oil. Dump the paprika and the grilled courgette into the flavoured oil. Add the couscous and mix. Slice the tomato and cucumber in cubes and mix with the couscous-grilled vegetables mixture. Serve with the lettuce, feta, olives, almonds and apricots. Alternatively, serve the couscous-mix with the feta, olives, almonds and apricots mixed through, on a bed of lettuce.

Hazelnut Affogato

A faster dessert than affogato is virtually impossible. You scoop some ice-cream in a glass, pour some liqueur over it, then pour a shot of (just made) hot espresso over it and serve it immediately, so that the ice-cream isn’t molten yet. And it’s delicious!
Traditionally there is no liqueur in it and is it made with vanilla ice-cream, but my variant used a hazelnut liqueur and hazelnut ice-cream to make a hazelnut affogato. Keep in mind that, as with all simple dishes, the quality and taste of your ingredients will make or break this dessert. You need good coffee, good ice-cream and good liqueur, otherwise it will taste cheap and/or inferior. The amounts of everything depend on what size glass you use. how boozy you want it to be and how large you want the dessert to be, but I used medium glasses, 1 scoop of ice-cream, 1/2 shot liqueur and 1 shot espresso.


Pear-Coconut Crumble

The idea for this crumble came from Jeroen Meus in his programme Dagelijkse Kost. He was making some kind of dessert, with some kind of mousse and a crumble topping. It was different than my normal crumble recipes and it seemed quite interesting, so I gave it a try. The difference is in the addition of coconut to the crumble, which gives it a lovely tropical flavour. You could also use ground nuts instead of the coconut as a variation. Another difference is that you bake the crumble separately from the fruit to achieve maximal crumbness. I used pears for this dessert because I had some pears laying around that needed to be used up, but this would be delicious with all kinds of fresh, stewed, fried or roasted fruits. Or use the crumble as Jeroen Meus did and sprinkle it over a mousse or pudding for some extra crispness.

Pear-Coconut Crumble

Pear-Coconut Crumble (4 servings)

55 g butter, cold, in cubes
55 g flour
55 g sugar
55 g coconut
pinch of salt
optional: vanilla

4 pears, peeled, cored and cubed
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place butter, flour, sugar, coconut, salt and vanilla (if using) together in a bowl. Rub with your fingers until a crumble mixture has formed. Spread out on a baking tray and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir and bake for another 10 minutes until the crumble is golden and crisp. Make sure you keep an eye on it, because coconut sometimes is prone to burning. Leave to cool for a bit (this makes the crumble more crispy).
Meanwhile, place the pears, sugar and a drop of water in a pan. Cook until the pear has softened slightly.
Scoop the pear in small bowls, sprinkle with the crumble. Serve immediately.
You can make this dessert in advance, just keep the components separate until just before serving to prevent sogginess.

Apricot tart with crème fraîche

Simple, fast and delicious!

Apricot Tart

Apricot tart with crème fraîche (serves 6)
Adapted from “Het Basiskookboek – AH”

1 can ready made croissant dough (you can use puff pastry instead)
200 ml crème fraîche
2 eggs
50 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 g soaked dried apricots
2 tbsp almond shavings
butter or oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease a quiche/tart/pie tin (22-24 cm) with butter or oil. Line the tin with the dough. Make sure you close the seems well by pressing the dough together.
Mix crème fraîche, eggs, sugar and vanilla with a whisk. Halve the apricots and arrange them evenly onto the dough. Pour the cream mixture over it. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden and cooked. It is normal that the crust gets quite dark when using the croissant dough.

Note: depending on the tin you use and the size of the can of dough, you can have some excess dough. use this to roll into croissants and bake at the same time as the tart.

Possible variations:
– use a different kind of dried fruit, or a mixture (tutti frutti).
– use sliced fresh pears instead of apricots.
– spread a layer of almond paste on the dough before arranging the fruit.

Breakfast bars

I don’t find these bars filling enough for breakfast, but they are great as a delicious snack. They are not too sweet and have lots of flavour, and with all the grains and seeds they are healthy too. As a variation you could use other dried fruits, nuts or seeds, and I think that adding a little spice (vanilla, cinnamon, chai) would be delicious as well. They stay fresh for about 5 days in an airtight container, and they freeze well too.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars (12 bars)
Slightly adapted from ‘Glutenvrij koken – Lyndel Costain en Joanna Farrow’

100 g soft butter
25 g raw cane sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
125 g millet flakes
50 g quinoa
50 g dried cranberry’s
75 g raisins
25 g sunflower seeds
25 g sesame seeds
25 g linseed
40 g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
2 eggs

Line a 20×20 cm baking tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Scoop in the baking tin, level out and press down well with a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake in about 35 minutes golden brown.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Then take out and cut into 12 bars, using a sharp knife. Store airtight.

Puff pastry cookies

When we were in Spain, one day we came by a small bakery that smelled incredibly delicious, so we had to go in and buy all sorts of delicious pastries; these pastries were one of them. I’m not completely sure that it is a Spanish specialty, they did not have written signs next to the products in that bakery and due to the language barrier we couldn’t find out how the pastries were called. And I didn’t see this pastry at the other bakeries we visited. I guess they are best described as related to palmiers. They are made from puff pastry that is baked in an oven while covered with something heavy, so that it cannot rise. When they are cooked, they are uncovered, brushed with egg white which acts as a glue, and then sprinkled with sugar and almond shavings, after which they are baked uncovered a little longer to toast the almonds and slightly melt the sugar. They taste delicious, are lovely thin and crisp, sweet from the sugar and the almonds give extra flavour and texture. Make sure you use all butter puff pastry, this has the best flavour, which is very important for a simple pastry like this. There are no other ingredients that can cover the yucky taste of puff pastry made with margarine. If you want to make these cookies extra special, use home-made puff pastry. Variation tips: add some vanilla, cinnamon, or other spice(mix) to the sugar, use other sliced nuts like hazelnut, or use whole pine nuts. These are best eaten quite fast after baking, are delicious as a snack with a cup of tea or coffee, but are also a great addition to desserts.

Puff pastry cookies

Puff pastry (pre-rolled shop bought)
Egg white
Granulated sugar
Almond shavings

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Have another baking sheet or baking tin ready that fits on top of the first one.
Place your puff pastry on the lined baking sheet. You can leave the puff pastry as it is, we get our puff pastry in the Netherlands as smallish squares that make a nice, generous cookie, but you can also cut your puff pastry in strips, squares, ovals, whatever you like. Another option is breaking larger sheets after baking. Place the second baking sheet on top of the first one, with the puff pastry in between. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. The pastry should stay flat, but get crisp and golden brown.
Take the baking sheet from the oven. Set the second baking sheet aside. Brush the puff pastry with egg white as a glue, then sprinkle very generous with the sugar and top it with some almond shavings. Place back in the oven (uncovered) until the almond is nicely toasted and the sugar is slightly molten. This should take about 5-10 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it to know when it is ready. Place the cookies on a rack to cool (goes quite fast since they are thin) and serve as soon as possible.

Cooked oats

A delicious and filling breakfast dish that doesn’t take much time to prepare. The recipe can be jazzed up further by adding fruit, for example berries, peaches, banana or stewed apples. I use semi-skimmed milk, but it will also work with full fat milk, or milk substitutes like soy, rice, almond or coconut.


Cooked oats (serves 1)

150 ml milk
2.5 tbsp rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp flax seed
35 gram mixed nuts and dried fruits
1/2 tbsp sugar or honey (adjust this amount to your own taste)
optional: vanilla extract and/or cinnamon; honey or maple syrup

Bring the milk to the boil. Add the rolled oats, salt and sugar (vanilla/cinnamon if using), cook until the oats are soft and the porridge has thickened (the time depends on the kind of oats you use). Mix with the flax seed, mixed nuts and dried fruits. Serve warm (cold it will get quite gloopy). Optionally finish with a swirl of honey or maple syrup.