Friday, April 03, 2015

Pecan Coconut Bars

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This was originally a cookie recipe - for Chocolate-Dipped Coconut-Pecan Macaroon Bars - from the awesome book - The Perfect Egg - from Teri Lyn Fischer and Jenny Clark who are the bloggers behind Spoon Fork Bacon.

I was baking with Dante and needed something I could freeze and nibble on when in immediate need of energy, and this recipe seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They can certainly be fancied up and go right ahead and dip these in chocolate if you want to. Or just drizzle some on top. Like dried fruits? Add some! Like more nuts? Go nuts! These bars - or cookies - are forgiving.

The original use oat flour, which I didn't have at hand, so I substituted almond meal which also means these darlings are gluten-free. I use the highest quality organic coconut flakes I can find, because they taste so much better.

Pecan Coconut Bars
Makes 24

125 ml almond meal
400 grams organic coconut flakes (unsweetened is the norm here, but make sure)
100 grams pecan nuts, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 can - about 400 g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites

First, set aside about a quarter of the pecans for sprinkling over the bars.

Second, beat the egg whites until frothy.

Next, combine almond meal, coconut, pecans, salt, milk, vanilla and the egg whites. Press into a lined baking pan (mine was 33 * 24 cm which is about 9*13 inches)  and make sure it's pretty even. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and score lightly into 24 squares.

Bake at 175°C until lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool completely in the pan before cutting into separate pieces.

These freeze very well.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Butter-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dates

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I'm an avid reader and I usually have a book - or three - going on my Kindle app. (I rarely pick up paper books these days - it's just easier to read on my phone.) In a book I recently read, the main character was in New Orleans, and at a restaurant ordered delicious brussel sprouts, cooked in butter, with bacon and chopped dates. Intriguing!

Just after reading that, I came upon lots of bags of gorgeous fresh brussel sprouts at my grocery store. I immediately knew what I had to make for dinner and I googled until I found this recipe.  I adapted it a bit and served it with some steamed cod fillets, and it was every bit as good as I had imagined it. The combination of salty bacon, sweet dates (that are undetectable - I promise. My seriously sceptical husband went for seconds, and thirds!) and the bite of the balsamic vinegar takes away all the bitterness of the sprouts. They're just really yummy. We finished the entire bowl!

Butter-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dates
500 g fresh brussel sprouts
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
100 g bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 dates, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
125 ml chicken stock (or vegetable, or just water)
salt

Clean the sprouts. Cut off the woody end and cut them in half. Heat the butter and oil in a very large skillet and once hot, fry the sprouts, cut side down. Let them caramelize. Add some salt.

Turn them over and let them fry for a few more minutes. Push to one end of the pan and add the bacon. Fry until fairly crisp, then add onion, garlic and dates. Fry for a minute or so, then add the balsamic vinegar. After a few more minutes, add the chicken stock and let that reduce so you are left with a thick, sticky glaze.

Season, and serve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dinner The other night

Take four pieces of salmon fillet, in an oven proof dish. Mix creme fraiche with crumbled feta cheese, and some finely chopped capers, olives and sundried tomatoes. Spread over the fish and bake. Serve with boiled potatoes and some butter-fried sugar snap peas. Delicious, easy and quick!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crockpot Chili with Pineapple

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I thought this would be a nice weekday dinner that the kids might approve of since the pineapple lends a lot of sweetness - alas, they weren't interested but I sure liked it.

Crockpot Chili with Pineapple
1500 g beef, suitable for stewing - I use högrev
neutral oil
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red chili pepper, minced(or more)
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried ancho chili
400 g crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt
black pepper
ancho chili
cumin
coriander
1/2 pineapple, finely diced

Cut the meat into large dice and brown well on all sides in some neutral oil. Add to the crockpot. Add all the ingredients except for pineapple - I haven't given you any measurements for the spices since I have no idea how spicy you like your food. You probably do know :-)

Let this cook all day, eight hours or so on low. One or two hours before eating, add the pineapple.

Serve with tortillas or tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes and maybe some grated cheese. And cilantro, of course. Always cilantro!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Last night's dinner

Grilled chicken leg, bulgur wheat, lots of veggies and a Turkish yogurt with lemon zest, garlic and a little honey.