Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finding Direction

Recipes for sweets (the suck and chew sweets, not desserts) but all made from natural ingredients.
Nutritionists will blanch at the amount of sugar used in some cases, but then they blanch at mostly everything these days.

Carrot Balls:
8 oz (225g) gran sugar
3 tblsp water
1 lb (450g) carrots, finely grated
juice half a lemon
1 oz (25g) chopped mixed nuts
Put the sugar in a saucepan and add 2 tblsp of the water, then heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the carrot and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the carrots are very soft. Add the remaining tblsp water and the lemon juice and continue cooking until the mixture has formed a thick paste. Fold in the nuts, then turn out onto a lightly greased tray, flatten slightly and leave to cool. Using wet hands, form the mixture into small balls and coat each with more nuts or sugar (could also coat with desiccated coconut). Chill before serving.

These next sweets are originally called 'liquorice bites' but not sure why as they have no liquorice flavour. Suppose a spirit like Ouzo could be used instead of some of the water and that might give them the expected flavour. Otherwise...
Call them What you Like Bites:
2 oz (5og) dried milk powder
2 oz (50g) wheatgerm
1 rounded tblsp black treacle or molasses
few drops vanilla extract
2 tblsp (approx) water
Put the milk powder and wheatgerm into a bowl and mix together, then add the treacle and vanilla working them into the dry ingredients to form a thick dough (easiest when done with the fingertips), adding water as necessary.
Roll the mixture into small balls and flatten slightly. Set aside to firm up before eating.

This next is probably just the recipe for those that make their own muesli and hummus, for they are sure to have the ingredients already to hand. After reading the recipe, dare say a softer version could be made to eat as a sweet form of dip. Grind sunflower seeds in a liquidiser or coffee mill.
Tahini Slices:
3 tblsp tahini
3 tblsp honey
3 tbsp ground sunflower seeds
2 oz (50g) desiccated coconut
1 oz (25g) wheatgerm or bran
4 oz (100g) raisins
Mix the tahini and honey together then stir in the remaining ingredients to make a stiff dough. As per usual, add more ground sunflower/coconut and/or wheatgerm/bran to make the mixture dryer, or add more tahini if it needs to be softer
Shape mixture into rolls, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge. Serve cut into thickish slices.

This recipe for muffins uses dried (granular) yeast, not the instant yeast we can buy today, will have to leave you to decide which to use.
London Muffins: makes 12
1 lb (450g) plain flour
rounded tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
half pint (300ml) tepid milk
2 tsp dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
2 tblsp butter, melted
Dissolve sugar in the milk (less two tblsp milk) and stir in the yeast. Cove and leave to froth - about 10 minutes. Meanwhile sift together the flour and the salt. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeast liquid, the egg and melted butter. Mix into a softish dough adding more milk if necessary. Turn out onto a floured board and knead well for about 10 minutes or until the dough has lost its stickiness.
Replace in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place (or overnight in the fridge) until doubled in bulk.
Knock back the dough and roll out to half an inch thick. Cut into 3" to 4" rounds, cover and leaver to prove again. Dry heat a girdle or frying pan, rub butter or oil over the surface, then place on the muffins, leaving room to spread, and cook for 6 - 7 minutes on each side. Serve warm, split with the fingers (never use a knife), and spread with butter or beef dripping.

This next recipe is for crumpets, and the batter for these can be poured directly onto a heated griddle, but to make a true pikelet shape, pour the batter into greased crumpet rings. If you haven't these, make them from cardboard well wrapped in foil, smoothing out the creases. Or metal scone cutters could be used instead.
London Crumpets: (F)
1 lb (450g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 pint (600ml) milk, tepid
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk then stir in the yeast and leave until frothy. Sift the flour and salt together and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast liquid and mix well. Cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Grease a griddle or heavy frying pan and place on crumpet rings if using. Spoon tablespoons of the batter directly onto the griddle, or into each ring and cook until brown on the underside and bubbles have appeared on top (they burst and leave holes). Do not flip over. Toast the topside and serve spread with butter. Cooked but not toasted they freeze well.

When you see how the budding chefs in Masterchef spread purees of almost everything onto their plates, am sure we could do something with this.
Apricot and Apple Puree: (F)
4 oz (100g) no-soak apricots
2 large dessert apples
orange juice as needed
Put the apricots in a pan with just enough water to cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then drain and cool. Remove core from apples, leaving the skin on. Put them in a baking dish with a little water, cover and cook at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about half an hour or until tender (anyone with a microwave will probably have the container that cooks these apples in double-quick time).
Remove the softened pulp from the apple skins and puree with the apricots, adding a little orange juice if too stiff. Put into containers, wrap, seal and freeze for up to 3 months.