Snacks

Mushroom chips

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I love popping into my local Japanese supermarket and coming out with a complete impulse purchase. This week it was these very elegant yet substantial-looking mushrooms, labelled “Eringi”.

mushroomswhole

When I got home and googled Eringi, I realized these were the elusive King Oyster mushrooms (pleurotus eryngii) I had been looking for to make a recipe that caught my eye on the Nom Nom Paleo blog. Result!

After just a few minutes of prep using a mandoline, these went in the oven to cook until crispy. The finished chips deliver a very intense umami flavor. My mushroom-loving daughter was delighted with the chips, and I can confirm they made an unusual but delicious aperitif snack with a glass of wine.

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Mushroom chips (adapted from a Nom Nom Paleo recipe)

2 king oyster mushrooms (about 200g) – or any other large mushroom such as portobello

1 tablespoon ghee, melted – or the cooking oil/fat of your choice

salt and pepper

Serves 2-4 as a light snack

Preheat your oven to to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and dry carefully. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise, then slice lengthwise using a mandoline on the thinnest setting.

Place the mushroom slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Brush lightly with the melted ghee, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

The chips will need about 60 minutes in the oven, but start checking after 45 minutes. When done, the chips should be completely crispy – there were a few slightly soft chips that I had to put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove from the baking sheet and blot on some paper towel, then serve immediately.

Breads and crackers

Sesame seed crackers

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Happy new year! I wish you all a happy and healthy 2015.

My kids just went back to school today, and I had a great day doing some baking while listening to Serial (which I highly recommend). The breads I am developing are still a work in progress. These grain-free crackers, on the other hand, turned out really well. They are tasty enough to eat plain but also perfect as a base for whatever topping you fancy: sliced avocado, bean dip, nut butter, etc.

Perfect for an after-school snack.

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Sesame seed crackers (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

300 g ground almonds

100 g sesame seeds (I used half black and half white)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

Makes approximately 80 crackers in two batches.

Preheat your oven to to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground almonds, sesame seeds and sea salt in a bowl.

Whisk the eggs and olive oil together, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. The dough will be very dry and crumbly. After initially mixing the dough with a spatula, I found it easier to work the dough with my hands until well blended.

Divide the dough in two half and set one half aside.

Place the other half of the dough on the baking sheet, and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out thinly between the two sheets of parchment paper. The dough should be evenly rolled out (check there are no holes!) and cover the entire surface of the baking sheet.

Remove the top sheet of baking parchment and cut into squares or rectangles with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Bake for 15 minutes, until firm and slightly browned. Cool, then carefully break apart the squares before serving.

Repeat with the other ball of dough, or refrigerate for up to five days before using.

 

 

Breakfast

Overnight chia seed porridge

chiaingredients

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been experimenting with some new breakfast ideas lately. This week, I decided to try eating chia seeds for breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard of the superfood properties of chia seeds: they are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and a range of minerals including calcium. Chia seeds are also gluten-free and GAPS-legal, making them a great grain-free breakfast option.

To make the chia seed porridge, the chia seeds are simply mixed with coconut milk (or almond if you prefer) and a vanilla bean, and left to plump up in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, just remove the vanilla bean and give the porridge a good stir.

The porridge heats up in just a couple of minutes on the stovetop. I enjoyed mine with some sliced banana, honey, and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

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I also enjoyed eating it cold with some sliced mango.

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It has more of a pudding-like texture when eaten cold. I think it will make a fantastic breakfast in the summer months topped with some sweet and juicy fresh berries.

I am also testing a “to go” version, perfect for office workers or teens with early morning sports training. I made a quarter recipe of the porridge in a jam jar, then added bananas, honey, nuts and mango.

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I am also planning to use chia seeds in some muffins I am working on, so watch this space.

Overnight chia seed porridge

1 400 ml can of coconut milk (or same quantity almond milk)

50 g chia seeds (I used white but black is fine too)

1 whole vanilla bean

optional toppings – any fruit, nut, seed, honey, maple syrup, etc

Serves 4 – portions may look small but the porridge is very filling

Combine the coconut milk and chia seeds in a jar with a lid or other closed container.

Slice the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture, then add the pods as well.

Stir, or better yet close the jar and give it a good shake. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the vanilla bean and stir well. Heat up in a pan on the hob or eat cold as is, with whatever toppings you fancy.