Posts tagged nuts

Speedy (Health Conscious) Millionaire Shortbread


‘ll start by warning (yes warning) you that this recipe should not be compared to the decadence of the traditional millionaires shortbread. Firstly is the reduciton in indulgence ingredients, mainly butter and sugar, that I love so very much and praise. However, if you have a craving for this dangerous treat, but also want to balance this guilty indulgence with some form – even if tiny – of health awareness then its a good one. That said, it really is a speedy way to make your own version! The traditional version takes time – baking the shortbread base, making the caramel and then applying the chocolate. This, can be done in an hour!

If you do want to make a recommended amendment if time isn’t your’e enemy here, I think this recipe could be equally as good as the real thing just by changing the base for a traditional baked shortbread. Use 50g caster sugar, 125g unsalted butter and 150g plain flour – example recipe here. I personally think the date caramel is far tastier than the normal boiled sugar version! Firstly, its less rich so you can eat more of it…and secondly its natural sugar. Yes, still sugar but its far healthier.

(Based on a recipe by ‘The Plant-Based Londoner’)


  • 90g oats
  • 130g nut of choice (cashew, brazil, almond)
  • 1 tbsp lacuma powder (optional)
  • 6 tbsp of nut butter of choice (try substituting in some coconut oil. Note, it will dominate the flavours)

Caramel & Topping

  • 300g pitted dates
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Start on the base. Pulse the flour, lacuna powder, nuts and nut butter in a food processor until you have a soft dough that holds together. If it needs to be more moist add a little more nut butter. Tip out into a lined baking tray (line with parchment, foil or cling film) big enough so that the mixture is about 1 cm deep. It doesn’t matter what dish you use, just use one that is a suitable size.(20cm x 20xm recommended) Cover and chill in the fridge.
  2. Next, pulse the dates, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla in the food processor. Add a splash of water and keep adding until you get a smooth but thick date caramel.
  3. Spread this caramel evenly over the chilled base and then cover and chill again.
  4. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water until fully melted.
  5. Tip the chocolate over the chilling date layer and smooth out until even and completely covering the caramel.
  6. Cover again and chill until the chocolate has set hard.
  7. Once hard, tip the bar out onto a chopping board and cut into the desired square/rectangle. Please note – the top layer WILL crack where unwanted and not every piece will look perfect, if any. The 3 in the image I have are the only ones that did not misbehave. But the look isn’t everything so cut randomly into chunky morsels. Its more tasty that way.


Pecan, Cinnamon & PB Energy Balls


alling all sports fanatics, runners, lycra glad cyclists and yogis. Energy balls. In the fast paced and immediate society we now live in (London specifically), time is something that we so regularly abuse…’I’m just so busy I didn’t have time’. Which has carved the way for the new found energy ball to eat on the go before that lunch time pilates class or to fill a void between your next avocado. The happy balance being convenience and keeping a healthy lifestyle.

The energy ball currently populates the nation from supermarket to sport shop and will in the oh so near future be a much bigger part of my life (cliff hanger). Many health bars/snacks on the market are unhealthily and sneakily filled with naughty ingredients and additives. But homemade energy balls really are pure and clean. And full of….energy!? And I’m more than pleased to add that these really are as quick to make as they are to gobble down before that spinning class.

Provided you have a food processor (I’m being presumptuous) then all you need to do is pulse it all together! I mean…if you want to squat at the same time then be my guest. And hey…who said they had to be balls? Make them triangles if you have the time.

Adapted from ‘Deliciously Ella’

Ingredients (makes about 20)

  • 400g dates (pitted). I also threw in a handful of prunes for good measure
  • 100g oats
  • 100g pecans
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (feel free to use any other nut butter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  1. Blend the oats and pecans until a fine mixture in a food processor.
  2. Add the other ingredients and pulse until you have a sticky mixture.
  3. Roll into balls (golf ball sized) and chill in the fridge (covered) until needed

Chestnut Butter


Another little experiment with some free and slyly foraged chestnuts got underway last week. ‘Bonne Mamma’ currently do a chestnut spread but I’m never one to buy when I can make it at home with a little TLC. I’m keen on making nut butters, particularly my pumpkin seed butter which is now a delicious staple in my fridge.

The fresh vanilla seeds make this and are delicious so don’t scrimp on buying a few willing pods for your pantry.

NOTE: For tips on cooking chestnuts, see here

Makes 1 jar

  • About 250g cooked, peeled chestnuts.
  • 90ml honey
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
  • Pinch salt
  • Water to loosen
  1. Place all in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding water towards the end to thin to your liking.
  2. Store in sterilised, sealed jars and keep in the fridge.

Delicious slathered by the trowel-full on toasted sourdough or soda bread or inside the warm arms of a buttery croissant!


Coffee and Olive Oil Truffles



Oh boy, these are dangerous. My mum’s friend recently provided me with a small, harmless and innocent looking bottle of ‘Coffee Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ (strange I know) with the challenge of making something with it!? On smelling it, my mind went to truffles. After a recent visit to William Curley’s chocolate sanctuary in Belgravia I felt inspired to use some of his sensational ingredient combinations. After trying his rosemary and olive oil chocolates I attempted my own version. With a packet of espresso flavoured Green & Blacks sitting on the shelf too, I thought this would add that extra kick of coffee flavour.

The oil in these, as opposed to the traditional cream, really does make  the truffles feel so much smoother without coating and cloying your mouth….they simply melt away.

Makes about 26

  • 80ml coffee olive oil OR plain Extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g Green & Blacks Espresso Chocolate, chopped
  • 125g Green & Blacks dark chocolate, chopped
  • 60g butter, cubed
  • Pinch salt
  • Cocoa for dusting/ chopped hazelnuts or mixed nuts/desiccated coconut
  1. Place the chopped chocolate, butter, oil and a pinch of salt into a heat proof bowl.
  2. Suspend over a pan of barely simmering water (do not let it touch) and heat gently until melted, stirring often.
  3. Once smooth and emulsified, pour into a clean bowl, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from the fridge. Use a spoon or a melon baller to mould out your truffles. Coat them in cocoa powder, chopped nuts or coconut or whatever else you like. Keep somewhere chilled but cover tightly if you are keeping them in the fridge as chocolate absorbs fridge smells….the last thing you want is a cheesy truffle?