Wholewheat Pear & Almond Tarts

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It’s been a while since we’ve made tarts and we started missing them this week for some odd reason. So we decided to make some with leftover ripe pears and ground almonds. We picked up this tart crust recipe at the culinary institute and it’s always been successful. We’ve used it for sweet and savoury tarts by just adjusting the amounts of sugar and salt and it’s become one of our go-to recipes now.

To keep your crust crisp, dice and keep the butter in the fridge until you need it. Work quickly to get the dough together- you don’t need to knead it, just bring it all together and let it harden and form up in the fridge during the resting period or your dough may turn out tough. Use only your fingertips to get the dough together , so you transfer less heat to the dough – the idea is to keep it as cold as possible.

If you are using this crust for a savoury recipe, just omit the sugar and add a generous pinch of salt instead.

Makes 4 9cm tarts

Ingredients 

Tart crust 

200g wholewheat flour

100g cold diced butter

20g caster sugar

1  egg beaten

2 tablespoons of ground almonds

1 egg beaten (for eggwash)

Baking beans or uncooked rice (for blind baking)

4 sheets of clingfilm , cut to squares about 10 cm by 10 cm

4 sheets of parchment paper, cut into squares 10 cm by 10 cm

Tart filling

7 medium ripe pears, peeled , cored and diced

50g butter

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsps apricot jam (or any jam you like)

Cinnamon stick

Method

Start with the crust. Place the flour & sugar in a bowl and combine. Using your finger tips, rub in the cubes of butter, sifting the flour and butter through your fingers. Try to work quickly and stop when you get a bread-crumby texture. 

Then add in the beaten egg and stir it through the beradcrumb mixture with a fork. Use your fingers to bring the dough together without kneading. Flatten it into a square (this will make it easier to roll out) and wrap tightly in clingwrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

While the dough is resting, make the filling. 

Place the pears, cinnamon stick, butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.Allow the pears to cook until soft. Then stir in the jam. Continue to cook until it reaches the consistency you like – we like the pieces really soft but still holding their shape. Also ensure any water in the filling has evaporated before taking it off the heat and allowing it to cool. Add the ground almonds and stir through. You can put it in the fridge to help it cool faster. Pouring very hot or watery filling into the tart cases may cause the filling to seep through , so you want to make sure it’s cool enough. 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into quarters. Roll out one of the quarters to a 1/8 inch thick circle on top of a sheet of clingfilm. Then sliding your hand under the clingfilm, lift up the rolled out circle and place it directly facedown on top of a tart mould. Remove the clingfilm and then push the dough down and into the bottom of the mould. There should be extra dough hanging over the sides of the mould. Then just use your fingers to push the dough down over the edges of the mould cutting it on the edges and removing the excess. 

Dock the dough by poking holes around the the base  of the tart case with a fork. You can use the fork to press down on the edges as well, to create a pattern. Then put it in back in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.Repeat with the other quarters. 

Meanwhile roll out the leftover dough to to top the tarts. You can use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place these over the filling or go with the traditional lattice crust. Since we’re not sharing videos yet, take a look at this one to see how to create a lattice crust.

When the 20 minutes are up, take the tarts out of the fridge,egg wash the whole tart, place a square of parchment on the inside and fill the tart with the baking beans or rice. Blind bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes. Then take them out of the oven, remove the beans/rice and parchment and fill with the pears. Top with the shapes you’ve cut out or lattice crust , egg wash and bake again for another 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown. 

Dust with icing sugar before serving. 

x Anu & Suba

 

 

Beetroot and Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

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We think it’s safe to say, we’ve become fans of the smoothie bowl. They are perfect for breakfast – packed with good energy foods and lots of vitamins from fruit and vegetables, these smoothie bowls are an easy way to get a whole lot of good stuff into your system first thing! And they keep you feeling full, so great if you’re trying to stay away from midday snacking!

Makes 2 bowls

Ingredients

120g pre-cooked beetroots (we used a ready cooked pack from the supermarket)

1 cup raspberries

2  weetabix biscuits

1 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp sifted cocoa

1 cup almond milk

Method

To pre-cook the beetroot, cook it in boiling water till it’s soft enough to poke a fork through. You can do this the night before and leave the beetroot in the fridge overnight so you can get the smoothie done quickly in the morning. 

Add all the ingredients, except the milk into a blender. Pour in half the milk and start the blender. As the ingredients are blending, pour the rest of the milk in bit by bit until you get the consistency you want. You may find you prefer it thicker and so may not use the whole cup of milk. 

Pour into a bowl and if you like it chilled, cover with cling film and pop it in the fridge, or use frozen raspberries instead!

x Anu & Suba

Superfood Smoothie Bowl 

We have another smoothie bowl for you today , packed with the superfoods Tofu, Kale & Avocado. We’ve also sweetened it with peaches and Manuka honey. It doesn’t get more guilt-free than this. 

Makes 2 substantial bowls 

Ingredients 

200g Tofu chopped 

2 cups chopped Kale 

2 medium pitted , skinned & sliced peaches 

1/2 avocado

1 tsp Manuka honey 

1 tbsp Greek yoghurt

Splash of juice / almond milk or beverage of your choice ( just to help with blending)

Figs , Bluberries & Pistachiosfor decorating ( or any fruit& nut you like) 

Method 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Pour into a bowl and decorate. 

X Anu & Suba 

Oat, Banana & Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

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If you haven’t caught on to the rage, it’s not too late to start – we just have! Trade in a glass of smoothie in the morning for a bowl of it and use it as a canvas for fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs – excellent fun! This may be our first, but it’s certainly not going to be our last!

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats (cooked according to packet instructions)

2 ripe bananas

1 cup blueberries (we used frozen ones as we wanted a cold smoothie)

1/2 cup almond milk (you can use regular milk too)

1 tbsp greek yoghurt

Grated rind of a medium orange (optional)

Method

Cook the oats according to packet instructions – we used almond milk for the oats.

Break up the bananas and put them in a blender. Add the blueberries and the almond milk and blitz it on medium till everything is blended together.

Next, add the cooked oats, the yoghurt and rind. Blitz again on medium till combined. Empty it all out into a bowl and unleash your creativity!

x Anu & Suba

Rose Inspired Recipes : Rose & Pistachio Lassi

Rose & Pistachio Lassi.jpg

Lassi is a popular Indian yoghurt drink, commonly served with meals and perfect for hot summer days . It’s traditionally made with just sugar but a common variation is making it with mango – which is absolutely yummy. Here, we’ve made it with rose syrup ,pistachio and a little honey which is a nice way to jazz it up if you’re having people over or if you just feel like putting  a little more effort into it. Chill well before serving!

Makes 2 small glasses

Ingredients

300g plain unsweetened yoghurt

3 tsp pistachio granules

6 cardamom pods

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tbsp honey

For the rose syrup :

1 and half tsp rosewater

4 tbsp water

3 tbsp sugar

To garnish:

A few rose petals

1/2 teaspoon pistachio granules

2 cinnamon sticks

Method

Grind the cardamom pods in a mortar , discard the green shells and grind the black seeds into a powder

Make the rose syrup; In a small saucepan, mix the rosewater, water and sugar just until the sugar melts.

Place the yoghurt, rose syrup, pistachio granules, honey, milk & cardamom pods in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Chill in the refrigerator and serve garnished with pistachio granules, rose petals and cinnamon stick as a stirrer. If you need to serve it immediately, pour it over crushed ice. 

x Anu & Suba

Persian Love Cake

persianlovecake2

Summer is here and roses are blooming everywhere and so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to put the flavour of roses in pretty much everything we are cooking these days. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite rose inspired concoctions, both sweet & savoury, so do drop by if you feel like filling your kitchens with the scent of roses.

The first of our recipes is a Persian Love Cake. The story goes that this magical cake was first made by a Persian woman for a Prince she was in love with. And what’s not to love about this intently moist, sweet, rich almond cake with hints of rosewater, cardamom & lemon. This is hands down my favourite almond cake and a great one  to make for a party because it keeps well, is  yummy and looks impressive but is so easy to make. This recipe is from Yasmin Khan’s The Saffron Tales and I’ve never found the need to change anything  because I love it as it is, but replacing the lemons with oranges , using hazelnuts instead of pistachios or making little Persian love cupcakes (especially for Valentine’s Day) could be nice twists.

persianlovecake1

I’ve made this cake 2 days in advance and it has always tasted better that way. You could take the traditional route and make the lemon icing in this recipe or you could whip up some lemon cream , rose buttercream or even mix store-bought pistachio cream with freshly whipped cream to top this cake. The variations are endless . If you want to make a 2 layer cake like I have here, just remember to double the portions for the lemon icing so you can top each layer.Handle the cake with care when layering, it’s so soft that it cracks easy. 

Serves 8

Ingredients

The Cake

200 g unsalted butter

150 g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

12 cardamom pods

100 g plain flour, sifted

275 g ground almonds

1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon rose water

1 teaspoon baking powder

a generous pinch fine sea salt

The Syrup

2 tablespoon caster sugar

1/2 lemon, Juiced

1/2 tablespoon rose water

The icing

150 g icing sugar

3/4 lemon, Juiced

2 teaspoon cold water

To Decorate

2 teaspoons sliced pistachios or pistachio granules

2 teaspoons dried or fresh rose petals, roses or rosebuds

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 cm cake tin and line it with baking parchment.

Grind the whole cardamom pods in a pestle & mortar, discard the green shells and pound the little black seeds until they become a powder. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until just combined , don’t over-beat. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.

Add the cardamom seeds to the mixture. Then add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and rose water.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin , even out the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Check the cake close to the end of the baking time by sticking a fork in the middle. It should come out clean. Place the cake on a  wire rack to cool.

While waiting for the cake to bake, make the syrup. Using a small pan over low heat, combine the caster sugar, rose water and lemon juice and stir until the sugar melts completely. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick or fork to poke holes all over the top and then drizzle the syrup over the cake,making sure you cover the whole top of the cake.

Let the cake cool completely.

To make the icing combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and a 3-4 teaspoons of cold water  and stir well until the icing is smooth and thick. Make the icing just before you want to use it or it will harden. Spoon the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Decorate with the roses and pistachio.

If you want to make a double layer cake, use a serrated knife or cake slicer to slice the cake. Spoon half the icing over the bottom layer, place the top layer over that with the top (rounded part of the cake) facing down ,

=[then spoon the rest of the icing over that. This video from ZoeBakes will explain how to do that better than I can with words.

x Anu & Suba

The Perfect Picnic : Amaretti & Tahini Cookies

Amaretti & Tahini cookies 2

Next up on our Perfect Picnic series ….

I love nuts and almonds probably top the list. I especially fell in love with Amaretti Morbidi  (soft almond biscuits ) after trying them for the first time in Italy (on the day of my wedding) and craving them for months before we found this incredible, simple recipe on loveandoliveoil.com. While sorting through my fridge & pantry looking for leftover ingredients I found a quarter bottle of tahini and decided to include it in this modified recipe with fingers crossed they would turn out edible. I love the chewiness of these cookies and the sesame just adds enough flavour to make them different from your regular almond cookies. They’re not too sweet too which I like in my cookies because it means I can have double the usual amount with half the guilt! 

It’s important to let these cookies rest before baking them and take them out as soon as they are set and lightly golden to keep them moist & chewy.  Lovely with a cup of tea or coffee.

Prep Time : 15 mins Baking time : 15 mins

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients

100g Almond flour, almond meal or finely ground almonds

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup white sugar

15g plain flour

1 egg

60 ml tahini

45 ml honey

1 tsp almond essence

Sesame seeds and/or flaked almonds for topping

Icing sugar for dusting

Method

Preheat your oven to 180’c

Line a cookie sheet with baking paper

In a bowl, combine almond flour, flour, sugar & salt and stir to mix

In another bowl , add egg and whisk under frothy

Add tahini, honey & almond essence. Whisk everything together

Add dry ingredients to the wet, incorporating slowly until you form a dough. The dough will be wet, so don’t add anymore flour

Almond & Tahini CookiesWet your hands or dust with icing sugar , scoop out about a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a small ball. do this with all too the dough, placing the balls on your cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Top with the sesame seeds, flaked almonds or both and let them rest for 15 mins.

Bake for 15 mins until the tops of the cookies are honey coloured and slightly cracked.

Let them cool for 15 mins on a wire rack.

Keeps airtight for 3 days. 

x Anu & Suba