Almond, Maple Syrup and Salt Biscuits


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I’ve been trying lots of different savoury recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cook book ‘It’s all good”, so I decided to give one of the ‘sweet tooth’ recipes a try. I decided on the Almond Cookie & Maldon Salt. Now, I wasn’t able to find this Maldon salt at the supermarket, but the recipe said I could substitute it for any coarse sea salt, which is what I ended up doing. Also, the recipe mentions the use of almond butter, which again, I couldn’t find at the supermarket. So I Googled a recipe and attempted to make my own. Needless to say, I’m not really sure it turned out the way it was meant to, but I used it anyway. The cookie has a gingerbread style texture.
Let me know what you think?!

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I’ll give you the baking instructions first, as I’ve included recipe alterations of the 2 batches I made.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
2. Whisk together almond spread, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, fine sea salt and baking powder.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the almond and maple mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray approximately 2 cm apart.
6. Bake for 10-12  minutes “until air is fragrant and cookies are slightly firm”.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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First Batch:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup natural almond butter
1 cup maple syrup
(I used what I had in the pantry… Green’s Maple Flavoured Syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

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Honestly, these cookies were so salty and bitter! Not the caramel and salt taste Gwyneth claims it has. So I’m putting it down to my substitution choices and lack of proper almond butter… but I’m posting this anyway. See if you can find a way to improve this.

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Second Batch:

I went to Woolies to check out the maple syrup range, and honestly, was a bit shocked at how much pure 100% maple syrup costs – $6-8 for a 250ml bottle. Now this recipe uses 1 cup of maple syrup (which is 250ml), so it really becomes an expensive cookie recipe once you add in the cost of the almond spread and gluten-free flour.

Oh, I googled almond butter, and we do have it in Australia, but it’s labelled as almond spread. You can find it in the health food section of your local supermarket, but again this cost me $6.98 (from Woolies) for a 250ml jar of Macro Natural Almond Spread.

For this recipe I used Steeves Canadian maple syrup $5-6.

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Now this batch was delicious! The maple flavour was there, but it still didn’t have the caramel taste I was hoping for. I did add a bit more vanilla extract to this batch as well (about an extra teaspoon). I would definitely make this again.

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Flourless Anything Crumble


Why the “anything” crumble… simple, use whatever fruit you fancy (apple, pears, berries)!

The basis of this recipe comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘It’s all good’ cookbook. I’ve modified this recipe as I wanted to use what I had in the pantry. It’s a very simple recipe and anyone can make this! I put this together last night in 30 minutes (start to finish), and it tasted so good, I went back for seconds!
For my fruit layer, I used Nannas frozen mixed berries. I ended up using golden syrup as I didn’t have any maple syrup left, and as you know, maple syrup (good quality stuff) is $6-8 for 250ml at Coles or Woolies. So, golden syrup it was. I also added verjuice to the fruit mix. The original recipe doesn’t use this at all, but a friend at work told me about verjuice and how it tends to bring out the flavour in fruit. So figured I’d give it a go. Oh and the cinnamon sugar… it’s a personal favourite of mine and I just had to sprinkle a bit on top of the crumble to ensure that there was some degree of caramelization! If you don’t like cinnamon, you could substitute it for any other dessert spice like cardamom and clove.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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INGREDIENTS:
4 cups fruit (your choice)
4 tablespoons golden syrup (or good quality maple syrup)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon verjuice (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar (optional)

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METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Put fruit, lemon juice, verjuice and 2 tablespoons golden syrup into a shallow baking dish and toss together using a spoon.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together quinoa flakes, almond meal, salt, cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons golden syrup and olive oil to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Crumble the mixture over the fruit, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over crumble.
5. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
Approximately 20-25 minutes.

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Lamb Tagine with Butternut Pumpkin & Chickpeas


This is a modified recipe from ‘It’s all good’ by Gwyneth Paltrow.
I made this for ‘what-was-meant-to-be’ dinner last night, which is now lunch and dinner today.
I decided to make a Chicken & Kale Soup and this Lamb Tagine at the same time. Another one of my genius ideas, and I would have pulled it off if I had properly prepared myself. Again, I just didn’t realised how much time was needed to cook this dish, which I would have if I had read the instructions.  Anyway… I got there in the end and I must say, this is absolutely delicious!
I have modified the recipe from the original, not intentionally, but I thought I was growing cilantro (coriander) in the garden. I sent my husband to get some and he returned with flat leaf parsley and basil. Turns out, my coriander is M.I.A, I assume it’s either been eaten by the possums or died. So, since it was late and it was going to take 2 hours to cook, I decided to use my flat leaf parsley. I don’t know what the marinade is actually meant to taste like, but I can assure you, my modified herb choice is fantastic!

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt
1 kg boneless lamb cut into 2-inch cubes (I used a roasting lamb)
500mls chicken stock
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
700g butternut pumpkin, seeded, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small lemon, finely chopped

Method:
1. Combine 1/2 cup parsley leaves, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, pepper, olive oil and a large pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until everything is completely puréed.
2. Place lamb in a large bowl and pour the marinade over it. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly coat the lamb.
(Now… the original recipe says to cover the marinaded lamb and refrigerate for 6 hours. Since I didn’t have this luxury  I think I left it for all of 20 mins while I prepared the next few steps and waited for the oven to heat up).
3. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
4. Put lamb, along with all marinade, into a large pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occassionally, until completely browned all over.
5. Once lamb is browned, add the chicken stock. Bring this to the boil, scraping the sides and bottom often. Turn the heat off.

6.
If you own a tagine
Transfer the lamb and chicken stock into the tagine, put lid on and place in oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours.

If you don’t own a tagine, as per ‘It’s all good”
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pot, crunch it up into a ball, and wet it. Smooth out the damp paper and lay it over the lamb like a blanket (this will help keep in the moisture). Put lid on pot and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

7. Take the lid off (and if using a pot, set parchment paper aside). Stir in chickpeas and pumpkin.
8. Put lid back on (if using pot, relay parchment paper over lamb). Put back in oven and cook for final 30 minutes.
(I will admit, while my tagine makes enough food for 6, when I added the pumpkin and chickpeas, I had to remove some of the marinade/sauce as it was overflowing. I put this extra marinade in a small bowl and added it back to the lamb when I transferred it into a larger dish)
9. Season with salt and pepper (mine didn’t need it). Served with lemon and extra parsley. I also served mine with quinoa.

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Chicken & Kale Soup


I was looking at ways to change my eating habits and experiment with new recipes. I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook ‘It’s all good’ and thought I’d give her recipes a go.
As most of you know, all good cooks read a recipe all the way through before starting. I skimmed the recipe and thought.. too easy. Sent my husband to buy the ingredients while I was at work, and got home at 530pm to start cooking. I was off to a good start, putting the chicken with vegetables on and went onto the next step and realised, oh… step 1 is simply making a stock and it’s wasting good veggies, plus it’s gonna take 2 hours! So by the time I got the stock on, it was 630pm which meant we wouldn’t be eating this until around 830-9pm. Wow… had not expected this, even though it was clearly written! And I was starving! So, I baked some extra chicken breast with left over parmigiana sauce (which took 30mins in the oven to cook through), and I started taking some of the leek, celery, carrot and onion from the stock pot and served it with the chicken breast. Soup would be for dinner the tomorrow night.
Even though I took some of the veggies out of the stock pot, it didn’t affect the taste of the stock. The stock has such a rich, smooth taste to it. Perfect for winter! So I guess I’m reminding you all… A) read the recipe through and B) be patient.
This chicken and kale soup has a slight variation to the recipe in the cookbook.

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Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (uncooked) or 1.2kg whole chicken breast
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large leek, washed and roughly chopped (stalk and leaves)
3 large carrots (1 peeled and roughly chopped, 2 peeled and diced)
1 yellow onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
2 leafy springs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stalks into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

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Method:
1. Combine the chicken, celery, leek, roughly chopped carrot, onion, bay leaves, thyme, whole black peppercorns, and large pinch of salt in a large pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain the stock into a clean pot (or transfer into bowl and reuse the pot you are using) and discard the cooked vegetables.
(If you have a problem with wasting good food, like I do, I saved the cooked vegetables and served them with chicken breast the following night. Alternatively, make a hot pot).

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4. Pull the meat off the whole chicken or get your chicken breast and roughly dice. Add the chicken to your stock, along with remaining carrots and kale.
5. Simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add additional ground pepper and salt to taste.

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