Tuesday, 28 February 2012

On our cupboard shelves

Dancing Angels Flowering Tea

As I was cleaning the kitchen a couple of days ago I started thinking about the kind of food I enjoy eating during this time of the year: soups and baked goods to warm up a cold day, pasta with seasonal vegetables + winter salads to please my taste buds and provide a quick and healthy meal, apple cakes and chocolate desserts to treat myself and my family on cloudy and rainy afternoons...

I also considered the ingredients I am naturally drawn to in order to boost my energy and brighten up any blue mood, the kind of comfort food we need to store on our cupboard shelves every now and then.

I obviously made a list of those ingredients, and here is what I came up with:

Some of these ingredients, such as hazelnut butter and coconut milk, have only recently made their way to our cupboard shelves,but I am nonetheless very happy to have introduced them in our daily diet.

Comfort food. Winter cravings.
What kind of goods have you stocked on your cupboard shelves?
I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Kamut and Seeds Bread with Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Spread

Hi and welcome back on the Wise Asparagus!

Almost two months have passed without a post and I really missed the opportunity to share something with you.

I've been experimenting with a few new recipes, though, and I would be more than happy to scribble them down here in the following weeks.

Let's start from the chocolate and hazelnut butter spread we are so fond of here at home. I can provide you many a reason for trying this version out: it is gluten and diary free and it is super easy to make too!

It will take you less than 15 minutes to get a rich chocolate flavoured paste that you will enjoy spreading on a whole grain bread of your choice and serve as a special treat for breakfast or for an afternoon tea.

As for the home made bread recipe, M. and I have spent many homely afternoons lately, kneading a dough or two. This winter indoor activity gave me the chance of playing with various ingredients and make different batters.
I have a special flair for kamut and seeds bread, though. Hope you like this loaf bread as much as we do!


Ingredients for the bread°:

kamut flour: 230 gr
strong flour: 230 gr
wholemeal flour: 40 gr
mixed seeds: 6 tablespoons
(a baker mix such as: linseeds sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds)
extra virgin olive oil: 3 + 2 tablespoons
water: 200 ml (warm) + 100 ml
fresh yeast: 25 gr
salt: 1 + ½ teaspoon
sugar: 1 teaspoon

°makes one loaf
°shelf life: 2/3 days

Ingredients for the chocolate hazelnut butter spread*:

dark chocolate: 100 gr
unsweetened hazelnut butter: 50 gr
unsweetened almond milk: 150 ml
blonde cane sugar: 40 gr
salt: 1 pinch (optional)

*yields 65 ml glass jar
*shelf life: 4-7 days

Pour 200 ml of warm water in a medium size bowl, add the sugar and stir well.
Dissolve the fresh yeast in it and let it melt completely, stirring with a spoon if necessary.

Sift the three flours in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in olive oil, salt and yeast mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined, then gradually add 100 ml of water (you'll probably need less than that), kneading 5 to 10 minutes until you get a smooth, soft and sticky batter.
If the dough is too wet add one or two spoonfuls of flour and knead again.

Cover the bowl with a dish towel, place in a warm place and let rise for approximately 2 hours, until the dough doubles its size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, add all the seeds and knead again.
Transfer the dough into a baking pan (see photo above), that you will have brushed with one tablespoon of oil beforehand or covered with oiled baking sheet. Again, cover with a piece of cloth and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours.

Brush the dough all over the top with olive oil, bake in a preheated oven on the medium high rack at 200°C. Remember to add a small bowl of water in the lowest rack of your oven.

Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until the bread looks light brown and a toothpick inserted in its centre comes out clean.

Once the bread is ready, remove the loaf from the baking pan and let cool on a cold rack or wooden board for 10-20 minutes.


Melt the chocolate with the almond milk in a bain marie. Once the chocolate is perfectly melted add blonde sugar cane plus a pinch of salt (optional) and mix well. Add the hazelnut cream to the mixture and stir until all ingredients are perfectly combined.

You should get a smooth, creamy spread that you can store in a sterilized glass jar (4-7 days in the fridge, if it lasts that much!). Remember to serve and taste it at room temperature, though, otherwise the paste will be too firm and not easy to spread at all.

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