Re-rising to my Edmonds Challenge: introducing broccoli with almonds

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You could be forgiven for thinking my Edmonds Challenge had gone off the boil somewhat…truth is, it had, and for that I apologise. But, dear readers, we are back on the boil, quite literally in fact, as today’s recipe includes broccoli, boiling water and a saucepan.

A while ago, I promised a run of almonds as I worked my way through almond recipes in the ‘A’ section of our national treasure the Edmonds Cookbook, and indeed they did as I grabbled with some new treats, including devilled almonds and almond biscuits.

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Today we greet the last entry in the ‘Almonds’ section, Broccoli with Almonds. And can I say, what a delight. Lightly cooked broccoli covered with lemony butter and toasted sliced almonds. Oh yum.

This happy marriage of food with butter and nuts has its own official culinary term, ‘amandine‘, which means food cooked with butter and seasonings and garnished with a sprinkling of almonds.

Edmonds’ own take on this delight, a ‘Broccoli Amandine’ if you like, is a little gem. Easy and tasty, it would be a classy and delicious accompaniment to any supper. I chose to accompany mine with a little brown rice for lunch and can report this was a very satisfactory pairing.

The recipe is below…enjoy.

Edmonds Broccoli with Almonds
500g broccoli, cut into florets
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Cook the broccoli in salted, boiling water until it is just tender.
In another saucepan, melt the butter and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Drain the broccoli.
Add the almonds to the butter mix and spoon this over the broccoli.

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Lime and polenta cake

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You can tell the state of the economy by the price of a lime, or so the saying goes.  What it’s meant to tell you, I’m not sure, but I can reliably inform you that limes in these here parts cost a small fortune at the moment.

This is why I can never resist the bags of juicy, home-grown limes which perch temptingly by the counter for only five dollars a pop when I visit the lovely Shannons to attend to matters of personal grooming.

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I’m never at a loss for what to do with a lime  and with a whole bag in hand, my thoughts turned to this delicious orange and almond cake that my lovely sister brought along for a lunch visit a few years ago.

Curiously, I learned, the orange is boiled to provide a flavoursome, moist base.  It may feel sacrosanct to boil a precious lime, but with a whole bag, I was feeling reckless.  Having never considered the possibility of boiling fruit for the purposes of cake before, my imagination was on fire.

A little polenta to the recipe, inspired by Nigella’s lemon polenta cake recipe, gives this cake a lovely texture and just the right amount of chew to the crust.  I enjoy the tanginess of the limes, but for the more faint-hearted, include a little extra sugar if you like a touch more sweetness.  And, if you make sure to use gluten-free baking powder, this even ticks the gluten-free box.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 limes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Butter and line a 21cm springform tin.

Put the limes in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and pop them on the stove.  Bring to the boil and boil for an hour.

Drain the limes, watching for your fingers as they will still be a little hot.  Chop the limes into bits and pick out any seeds.  Use a blender or masher to puree the limes, skins and all, until smooth.  Set this aside.

In a largish bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale.

Add the pureed limes, ground almonds, polenta and baking powder to the egg and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in until everything is just combined.

Pour the mix into the prepared cake tin.

Bake in a 180 degrees celsius oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer prodded into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is just beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin.

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Leave the cake in its tin on a baking rack to cool before turning out. I can heartily recommend this cake warm, with a little yoghurt or vanilla ice cream on the side.

 

 

 

Parsley pesto

It was time to slay the mighty parsley-beasts.  I felt a little regretful about this, as they had done me proud by growing all green and bountiful, despite my doing very little to help them.  But, many leaves had been picked for many dishes, and now the beasts had gone to seed.

My parsley-beasts looked a little sad all uprooted and laid out on my deck:

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My garden likes very much to grown parsley, which has left me with similar questions in the past about what one should do with the crop.  This was an unprecedented situation because rather than just a mere glut, I had several large plants’ worth of the stuff.  And when I think ‘something that uses an unholy amount of herbs,’ I think ‘pesto.’

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As I’m sure you know, traditional pesto is made from basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan and Fiore Sardo, a sheep’s milk cheese.  Its name comes from the Genovese word ‘to pound,’ and some even say it lends itself to the English word ‘pestle’, as in ‘mortar and.’

Apparently the Ancient Romans themselves ate a paste called ‘moretum,’ consisting of herbs, cheese and oil.  This was of particular interest to me, as my only memories of food and the Ancient Romans, scraped from the dim, dusty part of my brain labelled Third Form Latin Class, were that stuffed field mice were typically on the menu.   How unfair of me.   I shall be contacting the editors of Ecce Romani forthwith to suggest a showcasing of moretum and pesto.

It seems to me that these days, we are increasingly embracing any number of nut, cheese and herb combinations for our pesto.  The parsley pesto I have made here, based on this parsley pesto recipe, contains walnuts, almonds, parmesan and olive oil. I made it like so..

My ingredients (note: I had a HEAP of parsley, so needed a heap of everything else and in turn made a heap of pesto – you could quite easily halve or quarter this and still have a respectable amount):

  • About six large handfuls / cups of parsley
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 peeled garlic cloves
  • 200g parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks (as much as you can manage, depending on how firm it is!)
  • ground black pepper
  • lemon juice and a pinch of salt, to taste

I toasted the almonds and walnuts of the stove-top in a non-stick frying pan until they were all golden and smelling tasty.

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I ripped the parsley into smaller bits with my hands, and added it to the bowl of my food processor, along with the toasted nuts, parmesan, olive oil and plenty of ground black pepper.  I processed it until it made a smooth paste, adding a little salt and squeezing in some lemon to taste along the way.

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I wound up with 6 jars of roughly 250mls capacity, meaning that a few friends and family members had pesto thrust upon them.  Our first meal with the bounty was a salad with roasted potato, shredded poached chicken and plenty of pesto. This pesto is rather tasty slathered on freshly toasted bread, and I am reliably informed it tops pasta quite nicely too.

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Happy gardening and eating.

 

 

Devilled almonds

I promised you that there would be more almonds to follow as part of my Edmonds Cookbook challenge, and I did not lie.  We now find ourselves at devilled almonds.

When you put your mind to it, there is a considerable number of food items prefaced by ‘devilled.’  Devilled eggs and devilled sausages, to name but two.  I also came across a recipe for devilled kidneys in my travels through the internet, which sound slightly less appetising.

Letting my imagination get the better of me, I surmised that the ‘devilled’ part of devilled almonds may refer to naughty, n’er do well-type almonds as depicted:

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The Oxford dictionary informs me, however, that ‘devilled’ means ‘cooked with hot seasoning.’   These little almonds are no exception, with a good sprinkling of chilli powder.  The essential ingredients for Edmonds‘ Devilled Almonds are:

  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 cup of blanched almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

One begins by heating the oil in a frypan.  The recipe does not specify which type of oil one should use – I used plain old vegetable oil and it worked fine.

Then, add the blanched almonds.  You may recall I have had adventures with blanched almonds not so long ago – as discussed then, blanched almonds are naked, skinless almonds; their clothes removed through a boiling water process.

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Stir these almonds until they turn golden.  They smell delicious during this process.

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Remove the almonds and drain them on absorbent paper.  Combine the chilli and salt and toss the almonds in this mixture to coat them, adding more chilli if you so desire (I did).  Leave them to dry before use.

These little guys are scrumptious!  Really, how can you ever go wrong with fried nuts?  Not often, in my savoury-toothed world.  I think there is plenty of potential for some delicious variation with this recipe.  It would be delicious with some freshly ground pepper added, or some cumin and ground coriander.  I’m even wondering about the possibility of a little wasabi powder.  Varying the oil used could also yield bountiful tastiness.

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They would make a lovely little gift for the nut-lover in your life as they are quite pretty as well as delicious and look cute all done up in a jar.

Enjoy!  Especially with a cold beverage before dinner.

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