Tag Archives: walnuts

Courgetti with Walnut Watercress Pesto

Courgetti with Walnut Watercress Pesto is an amazingly light and summery lunch that can be prepared in minutes, especially if you make the pesto the night before!   With such an array of superfood ingredients to boost health and wellness, this is definitely one of our favourite summer lunches.

Watercress certainly is a powerhouse food, packed with many natural phytonutrients and a host of vitamins and minerals.  It boasts rich levels of calcium, iron,  vitamin C and K, as well as B vitamins, beta-carotene and magnesium, zinc, potassium and manganese amongst others. A full nutritional analysis here.

courgetti pesto

The addition of Walnuts further enhances the nutritional value of this dish.  Walnuts and walnut oil are rich in antioxidants, they contain protein, omega 3 fats, vitamins B6 and E, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc, amongst others, all of which are great beauty foods too!  One of walnut’s most valuable properties is in fighting inflammation which is so important for many health concerns.

walnuts

Walnut Watercress Pesto

Pesto Ingredients

1 85g bag of Watercress
2  garlic cloves, crushed
70g Walnuts
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
130ml (approx) extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper

Blitz the Watercress, garlic, walnuts and Parmesan cheese in a blender until you have a finely chopped consistency.  Watch out for the walnuts, too much blending at this stage will turn them into walnut butter!

Keep blitzing whilst adding the olive oil slowly until you have a gloriously green sauce.  Add as much or as little oil as it takes to reach this stage.  Don’t overdo it though!  Season to taste.

Spiralise 1 very large Courgette (Zucchini) for 2 people.

Walnut Watercress Pesto Courgetti Courgette Zucchini

Cook some frozen peas in boiling water for around 3 minutes, take off the boil and add the spiralised Courgette, leave to stand for 2-3 minutes to soften, more if you like it softer.  Drain both well and add your Walnut Watercress Pesto to the vegetables and serve immediately.

pesto

As always, nutritious, delicious, homemade.

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Sugar Free Sweet Treats Simple Raw Brownie Bites

In an ongoing attempt to steer Miss ND (and myself!) towards healthier refined sugar free sweet treats, I am continually (it feels) presenting her with my culinary experiments.  She’ll try anything and is a great barometer to anything from “ugh, disgusting” to “that’s really yummy mummy, can I have another!”.  Kids will usually tell you how it is!

I started a long time ago with this basic recipe for simple brownie bites with only 4 ingredients, adding in various other ingredients but I’ve had to be sneaky as Miss ND calls it to get some of them past her!  (She is used to my veggie smuggling).   

Brownie bites ingredients

Raw Brownie Bites

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Raw Brownie Balls

Formulating sugar free treats is quite simple, leave out the refined sugar and sweeten with fruit. Dates, for example, are rich in vital nutrients with vitamins A, B6 and K, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.  

But let’s not forget that Dates and all dried fruit are high in fructose and contain concentrated sugars, but with these small brownie bites, the portion size is very small (unless like me, you cannot eat just one!).  And Dates that contain healthy vitamins, minerals and fibre do have a very different impact on the body than eating the same amount of refined sugar.  For example if you ate an apple, it would have a slower rate of glucose absorption than a glass of apple juice. The apple juice has had its fibre content removed completely so it is absorbed very much more quickly by the blood.  The fibre in whole fruit lowers the carbohydrate spike in the blood, which in turn slows down that sugar rush.

Raw Brownie Bite BallsI used the excess trimmings to create small balls, coat/roll them in a variety of coverings such plain cocoa powder, desiccated coconut, whole or ground flaxseed and/or chia seeds, cocoa nibs for crunch, etc. 

*Please note that these do contain nuts*, one of Miss ND’s good friends at school is nut allergic and I am looking to put together a nut-free version, these are refined sugar-free, my main aim for now.

 
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Honey Orange Roasted Figs

With the last of the fresh figs hitting the shops soon, it was a good time to snap some up and roast a few.  Figs are high in natural sugars which can add a healthier dose of sweetness to a dish. They are high in soluble fibre plus a good source of several essential minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron and copper.  Figs also contain a good dose of vitamin C and vitamins B3, B5  and B6 and K.

Fresh figs are extremely delicate and perishable, I kept these in the fridge for a couple of days before I roasted them but once roasted they can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Roasted honey orange figs

Honey Orange Roasted Figs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Fresh Figs, ripe (as many as you need), halved
  • approx 1 teaspon unsalted butter
  • 1 generous tablespoon honey
  • 1 orange, juiced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C
  2. Arrange the halved Figs on a lined baking tray and place a small dot of butter onto each Fig.
  3. Combine the honey (if your honey is not runny, place in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to loosen up) and Orange juice in a bowl then spoon over the Figs.
  4. Place the Figs into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are soft and the honey/orange liquid is sticky.
  5. After 10 minutes baste the Figs with the honey/orange liquid, this will make the figs deliciously soft.
  6. Let cool.
  7. Serve 2-4 halves depending on size with thick Greek Yogurt and drizzle with a little of the honey/orange liquid to finish.
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honey orange roasted figs with natural Greek yogurt

Another perfect pairing with roasted figs is cheese especially Danish blue, Gorgonzola, Camembert or Blue Brie and walnuts.  I have a few favourites, but a quick one is to cut the fresh fig into quarters, not going all the way through, drizzle with the honey/orange liquid then place a square of Gorgonzola (my favourite) into the middle and roast in the oven along with some chopped walnuts.   

Roasted figs with Gorgonzola Cheese

Roasted honey orange figs with Gorgonzola cheese

 The result is sweet, soft figs with salty blue cheese and the sticky liquid that caramellises the walnuts – utterly delicious!

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Chia, Date, Walnut Slice

My kind of sweet treat this week, there is no refined sugar in this Chia, Date, Walnut Slice, no wheat or dairy either if that is what you need to avoid.  So easy to put together and no cooking required!  I came across the recipe on Woman and Home and had all the ingredients to hand which I’m trying to do more of, use what I’ve got in!

Chia sweet treat

You literally put all the ingredients except the dates into a food blender and blend until you have fine crumbs, then add the dates a few at a time and blend until it all comes together. Then put into the tin of your choice and refrigerate for an hour or so, it will keep up to 2 weeks.

dates

 I’ve made mine in a flan tin with a loose bottom and have cut into slices and cubes for a little sweet, sugar-free treat.

chia slice

chia bites1

These will definitely become a staple here,  I thought they would be super-sweet with the amount of dates required but not so and really tasty according to the 3 year old!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Chia – This article by the Huffington Post highlights the benefits of eating Chia seeds.

Dates – contain magnesium selenium, manganese and copper which are important for healthy bone development and strength.  Other minerals include iron and potassium plus vitamins B2, B3, B6, Folic Acid and K.

Walnuts – very high in Omega 3, this chart from California Walnut shows what just 1 oz of walnuts will do for your health.

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Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

I’ve been using various combinations of ingredients for these little sweet morsels, trying to keep the little girl’s mind on healthy treats.   And with Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, they also make a lovely gift for the one I love. 

healthy truffles

These are sugar-free, the dates gives them their super sweetness and the cocoa that soft chocolatey taste, the seeds and nuts are blitzed finely (or hidden in the case of the toddler) and the coconut oil makes these truffles silky smooth.   For children I would roll in a smoother coating such as ground almonds or coconut rather than chopped nuts.

Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

Prep TIme:  30 minutes
Chilling Time:  20 minutes
Makes 20-24

 Ingredients

125g dates
50g walnuts
50g mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseeds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
100g fresh blueberries

To finish: flaxseeds, cocoa, chopped or ground almonds,
chopped hazelnuts, coconut

Method

Soak the dates in warm water for a few minutes to soften, then blitz the dates, walnuts and seed mixture in a food processor until smooth.

Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil and blueberries and gently pulse until well combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little.

Form into small balls and roll in coatings of your choice, see above for suggestions.

These truffles will keep in the fridge for a week, not that I’ve ever had to test out that theory!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Dates are rich in Polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that has a higher capacity to reduce oxidative stress.  An excellent source of Potassium, Calcium and magnesium, with a good balance of manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.  Vitamin K and B complex.

Walnuts:  Good source of Potassium, iron and magnesium, plus B6  and omega 3 fats.

Cocoa Powder (unsweetened):  Phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, flavenoids.

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Walnut and Lentil Pâté

I love Pâté but only eat a vegetarian version.  Walnut and Lentil Pâté is so delicious and easy to put together fast and a good one for the whole family to enjoy.   I also made another batch of my sea salt and pepper oatcakes with extra flaxseeds to accompany the Pâté.

walnut lentil PâtéThe inspiration for this recipe came from here.  I used red lentils  (that I had in the larder) instead of Puy.  I measured out 80g of walnuts and 90g of red lentils in case you don’t have cup measures as used in the recipe.  The recipe specifies cooked lentils and 90g made about a third too much so probably 70-80g would be sufficient.

lentilwalnutonion

lentil onion Collage

This recipe is quite plain to my palate.  I will definitely make it again and infuse garlic with the onions as I do love garlic and know it will be a good addition and I think we will probably tweak it a bit every time but it is a great base to start from.

Quick Nutritional Info:

Walnuts:  high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron.

Red Lentils:  see this article from Mind Body Green for health benefits.

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Wonderful Walnuts

We have Walnuts in our kitchen all year round, lovely to munch on as a quick snack but at this time of year they really are brought to the forefront in the supermarket aisles in readiness for Christmas, along with all manner of nuts, some of which I will be highlighting over the next few weeks.

Walnuts are considered to be superfoods these days,  as a child my mum would buy them loose in brown paper bags from the greengrocer and we would sit together cracking them open with a nutcracker and picking out the nutty, crunchy, nobbled seeds from the shells.

Walnuts are a high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron. 

walnuts

Miss ND has teaspoon of ground almonds in her breakfast each morning and lately I have been crushing half a walnut (introducing slowly) too.  It is amazing to see the oil seep out of the walnut seed with even a light crush, so richly abundant it is!   Recommended intake each day is around 8-12 halves, I know I don’t manage that many some days but some is better than none.

Including walnuts in our diets couldn’t be easier, they make a lovely addition to salads, but I also bake a few different cakes with walnuts, this Apple, Cheddar and Walnut Loaf is one of Mary Berry’s recipes from the Great British Bake Off Every Day.  I love it because it is really easy to put together, the little ones can help mix as it is not a finicky batter needing gentle folding and it is completely sugar-free!   The apples do  give some sweetness but it is a lovely savoury, cheesy, nutty loaf that is equally good warm or cool.

 

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Walnut and Gruyère Loaf

I’m a great fan of the Great British Bake Off and this week was Bread week.  I love cheese in breads so thought I’d give a Walnut and Gruyère Loaf a go, I’ve made a few loaves in my time but my favourite so far is Soda Bread, because it is so easy to knock up a loaf if we run out of bread!  I am going on a bread making workshop next month at The Artisan Bakehouse which I am greatly looking forward to, hope my hands can take a day of kneading.

I used my KitchenAid to mix the dough up, very quick and a very good job it did too!

walnutgruyerebreadND

 Prep Time:  about 3 hours with all the proving!
Cook Time:  30 minutes

Makes:  1 standard loaf size

Lightly brush Olive oil on the inside of your preferred tin.

 

Fill a roasting tin with water and pop in the bottom of your oven (to create steam in the oven when baking the bread).

Ingredients

350g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g fast action dried yeast
25g unsalted butter, softened
225 ml tepid water
Olive oil for greasing tin and kneading
80g Walnuts, roughly chopped
100g Gruyère cheese, grated

– Put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, add the butter and tepid water and start to mix until the ingredients are all combined and the dough is soft.  You may need a little more water, 225 ml seemed fine to me for this amount of flour.

 – Add the chopped walnuts and the grated Gruyère cheese and mix for another minute or two until combined.

– Tip the dough onto an oiled surface and give it a knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough has a nice soft, smooth skin.

 

walnutgruyereND Collage

I left the dough to prove for an hour in an oiled bowl covered with cling film  to allow it to double in size, then I gave it a good knead knocking the air out, then popped the dough into a lightly oiled tin (I wanted a round loaf) and covered with a plastic bag then proved for another hour.  The dough doubled in size again, then I dusted the top of the loaf with flour and put two cuts in the dough.

It was then baked in a very hot oven, 200ºC in my fan oven for 30 minutes.

I’m not sure what Paul Hollywood would make of this bread but it was enjoyed by the whole family and was especially delicious with the Apple and Blackberry Jam I made earlier this week.  I’ll definitely make this one again, maybe with more cheese and wholemeal and white flour combined next time.

walnutgruyerejamND

I’m linking this post up with Tea-Time Treats with Karen from Lavender and Lovage hosted by Katie from What Kate Baked for October theme which is BREAD.

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