May 17, 2017

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Most people would see Dandelions as weeds, but trust me if I tell you they are not just full of yumminess but also have many health advantages.

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Dandelions are not just a rich source of the vitamins A, B complex, C & D. They also contain minerals like iron, potassium or zinc. In herbal medicine is often used for liver and kidney disease, skin problems or even as part of a cough medicine.  As a kid I never knew their real name I only knew them under the not very nice name "piss a beds". Today, when I looked a little closer into the medicinal properties the connection struck me for the first time, because our ancestors gave them this not so polite name, because Dandelions are a very potent diuretic, which in lay man words means they make your kidneys produce a lot of urine, hence young kids with less bladder control might wet their bed during the night.

Apart from adding a few leaves into our salads I make dandelion syrup every spring and dandelion pesto every couple of weeks. I am working on a post for the syrup, but today I want to share the dandelion pesto recipe with you.

You start by grinding 80 grams parmesan cheese and put aside.
Roast 60 grams pine kernels in a pan with no oil.
roasting pine kernels for dandelion pesto
put ground cheese, roasted pine kernels into your food processor bowl and add
80 grams young dandelion leaves (the older the more bitter),
dandelion, ready to be harvested for dandelion pesto and dandelion syrup

freshly picked dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

chopping dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

1 tablespoon honey or dandelion syrup (more if leaves of dandelions are a bit older hence more bitter)
150 grams olive oil good quality!
1/2 tsp salt
some pepper (preferred red but black will do if not at hand)
zest of half a lemon
zesting a lemon for dandelion pesto

1-2 cloves of garlic.

Pulse in food processor until you have reached pesto consistency. Taste and maybe add more honey/dandelion syrup if it is too bitter for your taste. But give the bitterness a chance before you sweeten it away! You know why? Our tongue has taste buds for sweet, for salty, for sour and for bitter? While the first ones get used regularly the bitter ones don't get used much at all in our day and age. But we should get back into the habit of using them! If you are one of those that hasn't used their bitter tasting taste buds in a while, you might dislike the first try, taste again, it will grow on you and eventually you will get addicted to a certain extend! Serve with pasta, on a sandwich or on a burger or  on fried potatoes with melted feta cheese or any other use you can think of!

dandelion pesto

The Dandelion Pesto will keep in the fridge just make sure it is always covered with a layer of olive oil. The longest I have kept it without going off was 3 weeks, but I only used clean cutlery and storage container! It might have lasted longer, I can't say. It simply was empty at this stage not gone off!
One little side note: When foraging for your dandelion leaves, please be aware of where you pick them. You don't want to pick them along the most popular doggy walk lane and if you pick them outside of your garden be aware of Echinococcus multilocularis if this is a problem in your area! As you don't heat pesto up enough to kill these larvaes.

But don´t be put off by this. Just watch were you forage and stay safe! And this is not just for Dandelions, I mean in general!

And with this I bid you good bye for today and hope you enjoy the dandelion pesto as much as I do!

April 24, 2017

refurbish that withered teak wood chair and give it a new look and safe a lot of money

I take it, you all have figured out by now that I can be a bit of a save the environment nutter! So here is my appeal to you to not kick your old withered looking teak wood garden chair into the land fill and make it grow even bigger! Rather, spruce it up! And if I can´t make you see the impact on the environment let me show you the economical impact it will have on your wallet!
Redo an old teak wood chair and safe a lot of money and the environment

April 18, 2017

Easy Carrot Bread Recipe

I have baked a lot of bread over the last 6 years and this easy carrot bread loaf recipes became one of my boys current favourites. That´s why I thought I would share it with you.

Easy Carrot Bread Recipe. Makes one loaf of carrot bread.

This carrot bread recipe is really very simple.

April 08, 2017

Banana Chocolate Waffles - a good & fast way to use up those giraffe coloured overripe bananas

Are You guilty of collecting some of those ripe bananas and then let them end unused in the compost?

Well, join to the club! I decided I need to fight this wasting! So from now on I will come up with uses!
Here is my first experiment. As so often it involves the waffle iron!

March 23, 2017

How to make your own yummylicious peanut butter or any other nut butter

Did you ever look at a label of peanut butter and wondered why it needs all those ingredients? Well, it doesn't! It only takes two! Peanuts and a little bit of salt. The salt is necessary otherwise your butter will taste stale. It has the same impact in peanut butter as it has in bread baking. If you get the amount just right, you will not taste the salt but your butter will taste yummylicious! Two little and you have stale tasting peanut butter. And too much, well that needs no further explanation....

February 21, 2017

Roasted Hazelnut Chocolate Brownies - A gluten free taste bud explosion!

You can make these very tasty brownies out of any left over nut meal from making nut milk. You can also just use any ground nuts or nut flour, if you have no left over nut meal in your freezer.  These roasted hazelnut chocolate brownies were made out of the roasted hazelnut meal from last weeks roasted hazelnut milk post. They are incredibly moist and rich in taste. Roasting the hazelnuts really adds the extra bit of flavour to these little taste bombs.

Here is the very simple recipe:

Melt 70 grams butter in a saucepan
and add 150 grams of chocolate (I use a mix of 70% and 85% dark chocolate) and stir until melted
add 150 grams of brown raw sugar
and 6 eggs one ofter the other, while risking on high speed for a while after each
and add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (find out here how to make your own) Whisk all well
Now gently fold 200 grams of defrosted roasted hazelnut meal (you can add any nut meal here, we have also tried almonds or cashews. Both make very tasty Brownies!) Here you find out how to make your own. You can also use 200 grams of very finely ground hazelnuts (or really any nuts to make a different brownie) if you have no nut meal in your freezer. Be aware if you take ordinary ground (hazel)nuts your brownies will be a little less moist!  Once all is a homogeneous mass pour it into your buttered baking dish (I use a 23cm/9 inch square silicon form that is 4,5 cm in hight)  Now bake in preheated oven at 180C/360F for 15-20 minutes. You don't want to over bake them, rather still have them a little moist instead of bone dry....they should be just about baked.


February 10, 2017

How to make your own Roasted Hazelnut Milk - A Step by Step Guide

step by step making roasted hazelnut milk

You might be wondering why adding this extra step of roasting the hazelnuts before making your own nut milk is worth your time. Well, let me give you two good reasons.

 1) roasted tastes so much better and if you add cocoa and maybe a hint of melted nougat you´ll have a vegan homemade Nutella milk and as if you needed more...
 2) roasting hazelnuts helps remove the brown skin around the nuts. This skin is responsible for any bitter taste in the nut milk.

So, now you see why these additional 5 minutes of work are really worth it.

This is what you need:
200 grams of shelled Hazelnuts
4 cups of water + a little extra to soak nuts

Pour your 200 grams of Hazelnuts into your frying pan NO! additional oil. This works fine in my cast iron pan. I have not so good experiences with my ceramic pan!

raw hazelnuts 

Turn the stove on high and keep stirring as they will burn otherwise. Once the smell of roasted nuts has filled your kitchen and the brown skins come off, you can turn the stove off again. This will only take 2-3 minutes at most. Take the pan of the hob and keep stirring ( a normal pan that can´t hold the heat like a cast iron one, you might need to leave on the hob for another minute or two) While you stir the brown skins will start to come off. Enjoy the smell, you are an important step closer to making your own nut milk

roasted hazelnuts with the skins starting to come off

Next, pour your toasted nuts into a sieve and keep rubbing them with a spoon against the mesh to get the remaining skins off.

roasted hazelnuts in sieve 

The very stubborn ones you can rub between your hands and fingers. At this point the roasted nuts should have cooled down enough that you don´t get burned. But be careful anyway.  Thanks to the oils in the nuts your hands will feel really smooth! And don't worry about the discolouration on your skin, it is nothing a bit of soap and water won't fix!

Now, put the nuts into a little bowl, cover the hazelnuts with water and leave them soaking in a covered bowl in your fridge for 12-24h.

soaking hazelnuts

Next morning drain the water off them,
rinse the soaked nuts in sieve under warm water
and then put them in your food processor or smoothy maker,
and add 4 cups of water.

After making sure you closed that lid properly you turn on your machine and let it pulse for a good 10 minutes. You need to do this, for this long to release the oils within the nuts into your milk.
Hazelnuts are very rich in vitamins E, but it is bound in the oils. So if you want to get all the goodness into your milk you need the oils!

I used to make a lot of various nut milks with my Kenwood. The manual said not to let the Kenwood  run longer than a minute at a time in pulse mode, so I did 10 one minute cycles with a 1 minute cooling down pause for my Diva. And you could still get this hot motor smell. I now have a food processor that is better set up for this job and it only needs half the speed setting and still gets a nicer result... What I am trying to say is, you might have to play around a little to figure out what works best with your machine. And make sure not to overheat the motor if it is an elderly machinery or a Kenwood ...

Now for the next step, Pinterest is full of tips and tricks to make your life easier. Let me warn you the one with the french press does NOT work! At least not with my bodum. Maybe the good ones have a mesh that is too fine? The nut pulp plugged the mesh and I couldn't get down more than 1 cm. More force and I would have feared to break my french press.

So here is what I do. I take a burp cloth (I use them instead of cheese cloth as they are washable and reusable) line a jug with the burp cloth and pour the content of your pulsed water hazelnut mix into it.
getting ready to drain the hazelnut milk in a reused burp cloth 

 Get a rubber band and hang it up and drain all the yumminess out of the mix.

draining construction for roasted hazelnut milk
roasted hazelnut milk

Now fill your roasted hazelnut milk into a clean bottle and refrigerate. It will last for about 4-5 days.

You can now scrape the nut meal in your cloth gently into a freezer bag and freeze it. It works great as substitute for nut flour. I collect it until I have enough nut flour to make the most delicious brownies (recipe to follow!)

This is the only nut milk I can drink straight from the bottle. But I also love using it in Smoothies, baking (Hazelnut Carrot Bread) or in my coffee.