Ras el Hanout, Hummus & Caramelised Onion Stuffed Sweet Potatoes + EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

Ras el Hanout stuffed sweet potatoes
I go in and out of phases of shopping for the same, one particular ingredient, purely due to a complete, utter obsession. You know how it is… dinner seems incomplete without it, and not grabbing a couple off the shelves every supermarket shop feels like your cheating on your best friend.

– Hummus for one… I don’t even know what to snack with if that’s not in the fridge right now. You can’t have crackers by themselves…
– Did someone mention avocado? I know this is the most classic, basic thing one could eat… but what other ingredient could I throw into almost every meal and get that wonderfully creamy and buttery sensation… your right, avocado is the one and only.
– Sweet potato… an instant staple. The obsession has been going on a strong year now (showing no signs of stopping), and without it stored safely by my side in the kitchen, those ‘chuck together whatever you have for dinner’ nights would be far more empty it. Thank-you sweet potato, I am forever in your debt.

Ras el Hanout stuffed sweet potatoes
So, let’s combine one oldie obsession with a newie. (NB – BIG ANNOUNCEMENT APPROACHING).
Amongst doing some research for the cookbook i’m writing (oops there it is!) I came across a new favourite ingredient: ras el hanout paste. (Shall we back track a bit here? Sure thing.)
My LONG silence, and poor posting schedule is because i’ve been working on my first cookbook with Hardie Grant! It’s a lunch one, all about re-invigorating that midday meal break – ain’t no soggy creased sandwiches in sight!
Bit excited? Me too! How many times can one say the word surreal? Many many more.
More info to come, but it’s coming out in February so before you know it, it could be in your hot little hands!

Anyways – back on track! Ras el Hanout roasted sweet potatoes, with an added bonus of hummus, and cous cous (unintentional rhyming), sweetness from caramelised onions and a little bit of toasted pita on the side for good measure. Everybody wins. And more ras el hanout and sweet potatoes will be seen in the book! Stay tuned groovy people.

RAS EL HANOUT, HUMMUS & CARAMALISED ONIONS & STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
serves 2-3

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, halved
4 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 ras el hanout paste
70g cous cous
100ml boiling water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
20g almonds, roughly chopped
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
parsley & feta to garnish
hummus and pita to serve
salt to season

Caramalised Onions:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Ingredients
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas mark 6. Coat the sweet potatoes in 2 tbsp of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Stir together the raw el hanout and 2 tbsp oil and spread over the sweet potatoes. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until caramelised and tender.
2. In a medium frypan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until softened and turning lightly golden, tossing the pan regularly (resisting the urge to turn up the heat). Stir in the sugar and balsamic and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions are caramalised.
3. In a small bowl, pour in the cous cous and top with the boiling water, 1/2 tbsp remaining oil, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Cover and leave for 5 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, and add more seasoning and olive oil if necessary.
4. To serve, cut a lengthways slit into the sweet potatoes, slightly open and fill with the cous cous, and caramalised onions. Garnish with feta, parsley, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and serve alongside hummus and toasted pita.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Strawberry Honey Matcha Cake with Coconut Frosting {gluten free, refined sugar free & dairy free}

honey matcha strawberry cake
In case you didn’t realise from the absolute abundance of baked goods on this blog… I’m a bit of a big fan of the sweet stuff. (and I also like to state the obvious a lot… go figure).

So, obviously (again) if I’m going to have a cake, I don’t want any of those ‘try-hard’ ingredients dancing around the real deal, taking out from the real essence of a dessert. I want my sugar and butter and I want it in my cake. (pretty please?) – of course I’m lucky enough to not have any intolerances so I can pretty much inhale a slice of cake no problemo.

But yet, alas in a modern world, one must adapt.
Especially in the case of gorgeous friends having a birthday, and having the requirement of being ‘gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free’ – I do like a challenge, and this one got my brain cogs a workin’. And we hit a jackpot.
This is free of all the above, but it certainly ain’t fun free!

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When making this cake I wanted to make sure it all tasted and looked like the real deal, sort of ‘healthy’ but by pure chance, with 100% satisfaction guarantee. In this case, the proof really was in the pudding.
Moist, zesty, a balance of sweetness from the strawberries and honey and creaminess from the coconut, with that subtle presence of the matcha. It all makes sense!

Happy days my friends!
It’s cake without the usual suspects, but exactly how you remember it.
Now all we need is another excuse to bake it again!

STRAWBERRY, HONEY MATCHA CAKE WITH COCONUT CREAM FROSTING
(gluten free, refined sugar free & dairy free)
 
Ingredients
6 cups almond meal
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 tsp matcha powder
9 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups honey
rind of 4 lemons
2 cups strawberries (plus extra for decoration)
Syrup:
4 lemons
100ml water
6 tbsp coconut sugar
Frosting:
3 cans coconut cream, chilled overnight
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp maple syrup
toasted coconut chips, freeze dried raspberries and extra matcha powder to decorate
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease and line three cake tins.
2. Whisk to combine the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and matcha. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, and lemon rind.
3. Combine both the wet and dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the strawberries, and gently stir to distribute throughout the mixture.
4. Evenly distribute the cake batter between the 3 tins and bake for 40-50 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
5. Make the syrup by combining the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened.
6. Once the cakes are out of the oven, immediately skewer all over, and pour the syrup over the 3 cakes, and leave to cool completely in their tins.
7. To make the frosting, beat the coconut cream, vanilla and maple with an electric beater until fluffy. Stack the cake layers with frosting between the layers, and around the cake. Decorate with leftover strawberries, coconut chips, freeze dried raspberries and a dusting of matcha and enjoy!

Parsnip, Honey & Walnut Rosemary Crumble

parsnip and honey savoury crumble

Is it a little bit cliche to say ‘Spring has Sprung’?
Oh well, I said it, it’s out there, and even just as I day-dream back to a weekend splashed with sun and blossoms, the chirping of birds interrupts my train of thought. I’m not complaining.
I’ve always been a bit of a colder wether sort of person. Give me an excuse to curl up inside with a cake rising away in the oven, and a good project and I’m as happy as a duck in water. Although, fast forward through an english Winter, and the prospect of warmth and sun is looking pretty tempting.

I was bike riding through the park the other day, thinking about the parsnips sitting in my fridge, as you do, and call it the sun, or maybe even the birds whispering hints… or probably the old slice of sourdough, and I got a beat of excitement at the thought of riding home to the comfort of a savoury parsnip crumble. By the end of park, I had mentally planned the addition of rosemary, (that I’m eagerly trying to keep alive as it grows on a window sill in the flat), some honey, and those walnuts I forgot to add to my porridge in the morning. Serendipity?

savoury parsnip crumble

I’d been waiting for a chance to use my current favoured flavour combination of honey and parsnip after hibernating on this in soup form in the chill of February.
You can devour this as a side, or purely to eat straight out of the dish (as I did). Looking at it as way to ode goodbye the deep humble roasts with root vegetables  we wrapped ourselves up in this Winter and to look forward to sunny days graced by fresh tomatoes, corn, and courgettes.
But for now, I’m giving the oven a quality work out, with end of season vegetables, and enjoying it was an extra drizzle of olive oil, plenty of herbs and croutons. Because what is cooking without a drizzle  glug of olive oil? (let’s save that philosophical discussion for another day shall we?)

I’m off to give the puff pastry another ‘turn’ for an easter themed post, so I’m going to keep my promises and have it to you by this weekend. Cross my heart! Life is a bit hectic in the coming weeks, but without food, what even is life? (yet again, another philosophical discussion that is too long to discuss when the timer is bleeping at me… puff pastry i’m coming!)

PARSNIP, HONEY & WALNUT ROSEMARY CRUMBLE
serves 2-3

Ingredients
3 parsnips, cut into strips
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary
pinch of salt and pepper
40g butter, softened
25g rolled oats
25g plain flour
2 small slices day old bread, cut into small squares
20g walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss together the parsnip, honey, olive oil, 2 sprigs rosemary, salt and pepper, and place in a oven proof roasting dish.
2. For the crumble rub the butter, rolled oats and flour to a crumble like texture. Roughly stir through the bread and walnuts. Spread this over the parsnips and roast in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and the parsnips are cooked. (If the crumble is browning too quickly, just cover with some foil)
3. Garnish with fresh rosemary and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

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