Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a party. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

I am not one for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Save for trying to make the best of it at various dodgy house parties in my early twenties I prefer to avoid the whole event and skip to my January detox. One particularly poor New Year memory is the Millennium which I spent traipsing round after an inattentive boyfriend, dropping in on his mates at various raucous pubs, struggling to communicate in the cacophony and due to the impossibility of getting anywhere near the tumultuous bar, not drinking nearly enough to make the whole venture worthwhile. Does this sound familiar to anyone else’s experience? The evening ended on an even higher note though as I managed to lose everyone and cheered in the possible end of the world on a bench in a high street somewhere in Dorset.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

These days I tend to steer clear of the crowds and am more than happy after a festivity fuelled Christmas to watch the end of year fireworks exploding over the London Eye from my sofa with Luke. If I’m feeling particularly spirited I might even flick over to Jools Holland’s Hootananny but by this point I will more than likely have fallen asleep.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

New Year’s Day though is a favourite of mine and we’re bound to be spending it walking Billy Buddy around a frosty Hampstead Heath, swapping resolutions and making plans for our year. I’m very excited about 2017, I have a new look for the blog happening in January which I can’t wait to unveil, although you might have already seen my new logo on Instagram and Twitter. Luke has got a new job which he’s starting soon and Cole is changing every day, the amount of words he has mastered over Christmas is astounding and he has even just started singing which is so much fun.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

However, before all that we will be ringing in 2017 with a sea of Prosecco and the last vestiges of Christmas chocolate and crisps for company in our little family living room party. And of course no party is complete without the obligatory nut bowl, a snack to cross the sweet and salty divide.

I always have odds and ends of nuts clogging up my cupboards and this is a great way to clear them all out for the new year. I have used all kinds of nuts in the past but this time I had a mix of pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamias and hazelnuts I was keen to see the back of and this combo worked pretty deliciously.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.

This is basically a much nicer version than those honey roasted nuts you can get in the supermarket which have way too much sugar and feel so incredibly bad for you. The Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is hotly spiced and smoky with chipotle powder, cumin and coriander seeds, plus sticky with honey and crunchy from its blitz in the oven. The perfect accompaniment to New Year, however you choose to spend it.

This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.
Print Recipe
Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl
A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.
This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
a crowd
Ingredients
  • 300 g mixed nuts (I used pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, hazelnuts)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds crushed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
  • 15 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
a crowd
Ingredients
  • 300 g mixed nuts (I used pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, hazelnuts)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds crushed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
  • 15 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
This Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl is great for bringing out to a crowd. A smoky, spicy, sweet and salty snack which can be made with any combination of leftover nuts.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the nuts, sesame seeds, salt, chipotle powder, cumin and coriander seeds together in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter with the honey then pour over the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.
  4. Spread it all out on a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper.
  5. Cook for 10 mins, give the nuts a stir then cook for a further 5 mins.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking dish before transferring into a serving bowl.
Recipe Notes
  • Keeps well in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Although the last bauble was plucked from the tree yesterday, carefully bubble wrapped, boxed up and sent back up to the attic for the next eleven months I am still eeking out the last vestiges of Christmas.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey curry is the only way to usher in the new year. This curry feels so happy, healthy and hearty that it is encouraging me to take a running jump into January. I have been making the same resolution to throw off all my excess baby weight every month since June last year so I refuse to make yet another promise to myself that is let down by exhaustion and lack of time.

Instead I will be focusing on falling back in love with food. It is no secret that I haven’t posted here much, of course I barely have a second to myself but since it is also true that we will always make time for the things we really want to do I have to confess that food has not been my friend of late.

I have been tired and hungry, stopgapping my energy loss with sugar and letting Deliveroo do all my heavy lifting at mealtimes. However times are achanging and I have definitely been feeling a little of my trusty spark back. These past 6 weeks I have begun to wean Cole and he has been taking to food as if he has been waiting for this moment the whole of his tiny little life. His unparalleled enthusiasm is reminding me how excited I used to get about mealtimes. We are doing baby led weaning which basically means we are foregoing purees and diving into the main event, it’s absolutely wonderful to see him polishing off fishcakes, turkey and brussel sprouts and omelette and he is inspiring me to find myself again in my love of food.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

I have cooked from scratch more this past six weeks that the whole of the last seven months put together and I am relishing every minute of it. Thanks to Cole I have finally managed to perfect falafel, houmous and cornbread muffins, rekindle my love of swiss bircher museli and start every meal with a fat wodge of melon (– it’s teething time!)

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

However, this curry is not for my little one, there is only so much under seasoned food mummy and daddy can subject themselves to so this is one for us grown-ups. I make a curry every year on Boxing Day and this year’s was so particularly good that I dug out another tupperware of turkey from this year’s stash in our freezer and re-fashioned it slightly for a lighter month (goodbye double cream and roast potatoes!) but I have to say it has lost absolutely nothing in the translation. This turkey, kale and peanut curry is so deeply flavourful and the rough earthy kale which is tucked into the curry at the last minute is not merely a nod to trends but a necessary backdrop to the whole affair.

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

The accompanying cucumber and coriander raita is so alive and refreshing that it sparks a complete contrast to the comfort of the curry and the two pair admirably together. If you can take it you must sprinkle on some more chilli, a further crumble of peanuts and a smattering of coriander. This flavour of this curry will knock you for six then pick you up and give you a wonderful cuddle.

Bring it on 2016, I am so excited about the year – and the food- to come!

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Turkey, Peanut and Kale Curry with Cucumber and Coriander Raita

Serves 4 with rice and 2 without rice

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion (about 250g), peeled and diced
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons curry powder
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ red chilli, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger peeled and grated
1 teaspoon mango chutney (or any other chutney you have hanging around)
200g tomatoes (about 4), quartered
50g peanuts, roasted and unsalted, roughly chopped
275g leftover turkey
400ml coconut milk
160g kale (I used cavolo nero)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large flat bottomed pan with the coconut oil then add the diced onions. Fry on a very low heat for about 30 – 40 minutes until the onions have caramelised.
  2. Pour the fennel, cumin, mustard and coriander seeds into a small frying pan over a low heat for one minute, keeping a close eye so they don’t burn. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and pound until they have completely crushed.
  3. Add the toasted spices into the caramelised onion along with the curry powder, turmeric, chilli, garlic, ginger and mango chutney. Stir in then add the tomatoes.
  4. Cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced to a pulp.
  5. Add the peanuts, turkey and coconut milk then simmer on a low heat for a further 15 minutes until the curry has thickened.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the kale by removing the stems of the kale and discard, then slice the kale leaves finely.
  7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil then blanch the kale for a 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze the kale to remove the excess water.
  8. Stir the kale into the curry then remove from the heat and serve with the cucumber and coriander raita.

Cucumber and Coriander Raita

100g cucumber
200ml natural yoghurt – the best you can find
Handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Cut the cucumber in half and remove and discard the seeds by scooping out with a teaspoon. Then grate the cucumber into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined and the sugar and salt has dissolved into the yoghurt.
  3. Leave to chill in the fridge until needed.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback
So this week I finalised my Christmas menu for what I’m going to be cooking for all the family when they arrive from Christmas Eve onwards. It wasn’t that hard to be honest, as I took the menu I made for last Christmas and merely changed the header from Christmas 2013 to Christmas 2014. Gone are the days of festive experimentation, that is now what my blog is for.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Like any family, mine is picky and I have to cater across the board. Some don’t like smoked salmon, some can’t imagine Christmas without it. For those that hate the sight of Christmas Pudding, not to fear, there is trifle on hand. Then of course I have the usual brussel sprout debate, shall I bother with them when only a couple of people eat them? There is no question, unless I want sulks over the lunch table. A couple of years ago I broke from tradition and made a Ham Hock and Chicken Pie on Christmas Eve instead of the usual Honey Glazed Ham and there were definite murmours of discontent despite the pie being one of the best things that has come out of my kitchen. Lo and behold when I visited a certain member of my family over New Year a Baked Christmas Ham was presented for supper. The hint was duly noted.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

I don’t know how it came to pass that Devils on Horseback have to make an appearance by about 11am on Christmas morning just after we have finished opening our presents, especially since we’ve been stuffing ourselves with bacon rolls all morning. But then, there is always room for more bacon. I hate to admit it but I was getting a little tired of them each year so this time round I have jazzed them up a bit and I have to say that it has reinvigorated my love for them. They were missing a bit of oomph for me so I have mixed in some hot and smoky chipotle in adobo with a generous amount of citrusy marmalade and spread it on the bacon rashers before rolling them up with the prunes. Now, they have bite, a Chrismas kick with the marmalade and to finish it off I have given them a glaze of marmalade after they emerge from the grill to avoid the bacon going dry if they are going to be sat on a plate for a bit. Not that they will as they are usually wolfed down within seconds.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Just make sure you use good bacon and freshly opened sticky prunes.

The Devils on Horseback go down well with everyone, except of course for Mum who balks at the idea of sweet and savoury things together and wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Makes 24

90g marmalade
1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
200g stoned prunes (about 24)
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon, halved widthways

  1. Turn the grill onto its highest setting.
  2. Mash up 60g of the marmalade with the chipotle until evenly mixed.
  3. Spread about ½ teaspoon of the marmalade and chipotle mixture on one side of the bacon rasher.
  4. Place a prune at one end of the bacon rasher and roll up, securing with a cocktail stick.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Place the devils underneath the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
  7. Meanwhile melt the remaining 30g of marmalade in a small saucepan until runny.
  8. Once the devils are ready, remove them from the grill and brush with the marmalade to glaze.
  9. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes
Happy New Year!

This Christmas seems to have been crazier than usual, I’m not sure if it was because we had one less weekend in December before Christmas or whether the decision to make all my Christmas presents should have really been done in October.  Weeks ago I dutifully bought all the materials to do so, but then set them aside so I was ramshackled to my sewing machine throwing together aprons and cushion covers for family presents in the days leading up to Christmas rather than doing any sort of useful food preparation.  This new year I definitely resolve to organise myself a lot better.

I have overstuffed myself with more turkey and chocolate this festive period than I would think humanly possible.  Seriously, I received enough Lindt Lindor to begin my own outlet.  But I can’t possibly start the diet yet, after all it is only New Years Day and I don’t know about you but I’m still suffering the effects of last year.  So the salads and running can wait one more day as I need some simple cupcakes infused with calming vanilla to soothe my bedraggled state.

These are vanilla vanilla vanilla cupcakes, vanilla extract in the cake batter and in the silky buttercream but a burst of vanilla pod in the whipped custard filling.  To fill my cupcakes all I do is bake the cupcake as normal then when cooled stick an apple corer in the centre and pull out a little circle of sponge.  Tuck a teaspoon of the custard into the hole and place your sponge centre back on top.  It’s surprising how much filling you can squeeze into that small space without it exploding out of the top when you cram the sponge back in.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes
Makes 24

230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
240ml whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
345g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the whole milk.
  5. Sift the baking powder, flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
A pinch of salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pipe onto your cupcakes.

Whipped Custard filling

125ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, halved with seeds scraped out
2 small egg yolks
35g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
75ml whipping cream

  1. Pour the milk into a smallish saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds.
  2. Heat until just under boiling point and turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened. Then whisk in the plain flour until smooth.
  4. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk then very carefully pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan, you can add the vanilla pod back in at this stage if you like, then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Take off the heat and put in a bowl in the fridge to cool, making sure you have put cling film on the surface of the crème patissière to stop a skin from forming.
  7. Once the crème patissière has cooled, then whip the whipping cream to form soft peaks and fold into the crème patissière. Fill your cupcakes with as much of this whipped custard as you can cram into the middle.