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.


February 02, 2017

A Carpet that tells a story of family and love

You know that stack of onesies, baby clothes, kids clothes, grown-up T-shirts and pyjama trousers and anything else made of cotton jersey that you didn't have the heart to get rid of? Well how about you cut them into stripes and crochet a carpet for your cosy home? It will make a carpet filled with memories that you and your family made....I just love the sentiment of it!  You save hundreds of Euros and it won't be riddled with chemicals and their fumes. With this carpet you won't have to air for weeks before you can enter the room again without getting a headache...

I started making this carpet nearly 2 years ago and it took me about 3 months. Most of this time was spent cutting the material and turn it into balls of jersey yarn. Be warned, it ´s a dusty & fluffy work!  You shouldn't be wearing anything black and then need to rush out while you are rolling up the cut T-Shirt yarn!

What you need:
12mm crochet hook
A lot of old clothes made from jersey (baby onesies, PJ´s, T-shirts, leggings, long johns, vests......the list is near endless....)
A very sharp scissors (otherwise you will go nuts!) A cutting mat and a rotary cutter should work, too.
Basic crochet skills

Start by cutting the jersey cotton into stripes. There are plenty tutorials on You-Tube that explain how to cut up a  T-shirt pretty fast. To a certain point this will work for leggings and PJ bottoms, too. All T-shirt tutorials stop under the armpits and waste the rest, I just kept cutting in a never ending way till the whole shirt ( including Sleeves!) Was turned into one string! The only things discarded were the very thick collars.
The stripes should have a width of roughly 3,5 cm. They do not need to be exact or straight, as the yarn will roll in its sides and you won't notice any errors. Just make sure you do not get too thin as that would tear eventually.

When rolling up the yarn, pull it through your fingers with a little force, the sides will roll in and it will be easier to crochet. Now get started! Make a slip knot. Next, make as many chain stitches until you have roughly 2/3 of the width of your carpet. It will get a good bit wider after adding rows. I had to unravel my first try because it got too wide! Now all you need to do is proceed with single stitches, row after row until your carpet has reached the measurements you would like it to have! It really is this simple!

You can find Videos on You-Tube how to connect the ends of two balls of yarn without having a knot. I tried it, but went back to knots, it worked better for me. In the end I pulled all knots to the bottom side of the carpet so they wouldn't be visible. But they will come up again after a while...

Pros and Cons of a Carpet like this:

Pros: It is incredibly soft, any chemicals will have long been washed out. You will keep pointing at certain rows and say things like " Oh this was my favourite maternity top" and many others similar sentences...

Cons: Dirt falls through and gets caught in between the stitches, it is not an easy clean! Depending on the size washing is no option and it gets very heavy.

I hope you have as much fun creating a similar piece as I had!