Snacks

Rosemary Breadsticks

rosemarybreadsticks

Here is one the recipes from my GAPS on the Go workshop last week, where we made lots of snack and lunchbox foods – and then sat down and ate them! Thanks so much to everyone who came. If you missed out watch this space, as I will be offering the workshop again next autumn.

Rosemary breadsticks (adapted from the Against All Grain cookbook)

200 g ground almonds

1 large egg

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic granules

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Makes 16 pencil-length breadsticks.

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well using a hand-held mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one).

Divide the dough by half, then half again 3 more times until you have 16 equal parts. Roll each part first into a ball, then into a pencil shape using your fingers. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 12 minutes turning once halfway through.

Important: these breadsticks are quite soft when they come out of the oven. For crispy breadsticks, cool and dry on a rack for 48 hours.

Side dishes

Quinoa salad with broad beans, avocado and cucumber

quinoasalad

I absolutely love broad beans (favas), and get very excited when they are in season. The other day I picked up some young fresh broad beans from Natoora that were absolutely tiny and tender, and made this quinoa salad, which pairs well with grilled lamb or poached salmon.

Although I have been making quinoa for years, this time I tried Gwyneth Paltrow‘s technique for perfectly cooked quinoa – the trick is to use a paper towel to catch excess moisture – and it did come out perfectly cooked. Thanks Gwyneth!

Quinoa salad with broad beans, avocado and cucumber

175 g uncooked quinoa

400 ml water

750 g broad beans in the pod

1 ripe avocado

1/2 cucumber

a small handful of chives

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Start by preparing the quinoa as it will need time to cool. Rinse the quinoa, then place in a pan with the water and a pinch of salt, and bring to the boil on the hob. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes – until all of the water has been absorbed by the quinoa. Take the pan off the heat, and place a paper towel between the pan and the lid. Leave this for 5 minutes to absorb any excess moisture, then fluff with a fork. Tip the cooked quinoa onto a large plate and spread out as thinly as possible, then leave it to cool to room temperature.

To prepare the broad beans, begin by opening each pod and removing the beans. Toss the beans into a pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, then plunge the cooked beans into a bowl of cold water. Pop each bean out of its outer skin, and they are ready to eat.

Peel and dice the avocado and cucumber, and combine in a bowl with the broad beans and quinoa. Whisk together the oil and vinegar with a bit of salt and add to the salad. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.

Snacks

Mushroom chips

mushroomchips1

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.

mushroomchips2

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

crackerstack

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.

crackerrack

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.