Tag Archives: cranberries

Recipe: Arden Forest Salad

For too long has my Complete Works of Shakespeare languished, lonely and unloved, waiting in vain for our next reading to occur!  I do love our Shakespeare feasts, but they are quite fiendishly difficult to organise – as soon as I think I have a full cast, someone gets sick, or remembers a prior commitment, or moves overseas or interstate, and then everything has to be rearranged.

And then, of course, there is the cooking.  For reasons that even I do not entirely understand, I feel compelled not merely to drastically overcater, but to do so in a way that fits the theme or story of the play.  Which means sitting down with book in one hand and notepad in the other writing things like ‘fool.  Passionfruit?  Lots of hearts.  Venison!  Disguise. Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes’, and then trying to come up with a collection of recipes that both cover the most important keywords while actually producing a fairly balanced meal that covers this week’s collection of dietary restrictions…

This sounds like a big complaint, which it really isn’t – but it serves to explain why I have to be feeling pretty bold to plan one of these feasts, and why by the end of them, I feel both great satisfaction and as though I’ve been hit by a train.

Anyway.  Today’s play was As You Like It, which is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, clearly written at a point in his life when he had a lot of good musicians in his Company, because everyone sings, all the time.  He hasn’t quite written a musical, but you can see that he was seriously considering it.  As You Like It is notable for pretty much the entire cast running off to live, like Robin Hood, in the greenwood.  Half the characters start off in exile in the wood, more characters join them there as the play progresses, and at the very end, when everyone is set to return from exile, the villain of the piece puts himself into self-imposed exile – you guessed it, in the woods.

Clearly, the woods needed to be represented here, so I decided to create a salad forest, suitable for exile with random singing.  This is my excuse for making it quite so mildly psychedelic – I imagine most forests are not amply endowed with magenta rocks, but mine is.  This is, of course, a composed salad, and your dressing is essentially the layer that everything is standing on, so when serving, make sure you get a good scoop of the yoghurt layer and the nutty gravel to go with your vegetables.  It really is astonishingly delicious.

4 forest


Your Shopping List

300 g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini (unhulled is nice!)
100 g pistachios
100 g  slivered almonds
125 roasted chickpeas (sometimes called chick-nuts)65 g dried cranberries
6 small oranges (blood oranges or even mandarins would work – that’s about the size you are after.)
12 stems of broccolini
8 little bocconcini (ovalini are good)
4-6 spears of sage flowers or rosemary in bloom
8 small radishes in mixed colours
5 sprigs of thyme
a handful of dill
3-5 sprigs of mint
80 g fresh blueberries Continue reading

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel with Chocolate Chips and Cranberries

Yes!  I finally got this recipe to work!  It did still turn out a little chewier than I meant it to, mostly because I was at home alone while cooking it, and the saucepan is large and heavy, and started by trying to hold it in one hand while scraping out the caramel with the other, at which point I realised that the saucepan was really heavy and I couldn’t really hold it steady and that this was was actually a really bad idea, so I put it down very fast, before I poured boiling caramel all over myself, because I like my skin just where it is, thanks.


So then I had to use both hands to pour the caramel, which meant it came out of the saucepan quite slowly, which meant that it got to keep cooking, and the temperature probably went a bit higher than I meant it to.  Though not as high as the oat caramel, which I was even more cautious with (and therein lies a different tale).

Anyway, the important thing is, this caramel set, but is still nicely chewy, and also I don’t have third-degree sugar burns, which is a secondary issue in the context of recipe creation, but important to me, nonetheless.  Besides, that would have been a waste of good caramel *and* my nice dress might have been ruined, too.

Have I just made you scared of caramel?  You really shouldn’t be.  It’s not that scary.  But you do want to be a bit sensible when pouring it out, OK?

Your Shopping List

350 g sugar
100 g cocoa solids or chocolate with 99% cocoa solids – this is the totally unsweetened stuff, and you need it here)
50 g almond meal
500 g almond milk
300 g glucose syrup
75 g cocoa butter
10 g salt
50 g cranberries
chocolate chips

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Recipe: Somewhat Healthy Tropical Chocolate Crackles

crackleI’ve been sick for the last few days, that awful, depressing kind of virus where bodily aches and pains are joined by a general feeling of misery and hopelessness.  Not fun.  Normally, I’d solace this with soup, but I tried that, and it hasn’t helped.  Mostly because I want chocolate.  Which doesn’t make good soup.  Though now I’ve written that, I have an almost irresistible urge to find out whether one can, in fact, make chocolate soup.

Anyway, I’ll write up the soup recipe once I manage to figure out how much of everything I used – it was all a bit approximate.  OK, I’ve just read what I wrote, and I want to just make it clear that I am no longer talking about chocolate soup.  There is no chocolate soup.  There is, apparently, a certain feverish delirium, but that’s a separate issue.

Back to the chocolate.  Today, I woke up feeling lousy, but with the most intense urge to bake.  Baking really wasn’t a plausible idea, so I decided to amuse myself by trying out Amber Shea Crawley‘s recipe for coconut butter, which boils down to ‘put a lot of dessicated coconut in a food processor and wait for it to turn into butter’.  This requires no more effort than pouring the coconut into the food processor, and one can sit on the floor of the kitchen to watch it.  Definitely my speed.

Only then one is left with all this coconut butter, which one must find a use for.  Raw cooking looks like an invitation to germ warfare when you’re coughing as much as I am, so those recipes are out.  And then there is the aforementioned chocolate craving.  At which point it becomes clear that the only possible way to progress at this point is toward the easiest chocolate treat recipe ever invented – the chocolate crackle.

Only we have this dried mango we want to use.  And the coconut butter isn’t all that sticky.  And that’s way too much sugar.  And why does nobody ever put chocolate in chocolate crackles? And do you seriously expect me to spoon this into paper cups?

And before you know it, you have a surprisingly light-tasting but chocolatey crackle slice, that fulfils all the chocolate cravings of my virus-ridden heart, and leaves me with an aftertaste of dried mango.  Lovely…

Your Shopping List

4 cups of rice bubbles, or other crunchy popped cereal of your choice
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
50 g dried mango
50 g dried cranberries
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup coconut sugar, if you happen to have it (if not, just use more of the white sugar)
1/2 cup white sugar or caster sugar or icing sugar
pinch of allspice
200 g coconut butter or coconut oil (or 220 g dessicated coconut and a good food processor)
100 g almond butter

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Recipe: Orange and Cranberry Marmalade Bread

risen2This bread is a cross between several different recipes, necessitated by the fact that my pantry does not currently contain polenta and that it does contain both marmalade and orange powder, not to mention cranberries.  Also, I like putting oats in my bread so that I can pretend it is healthy, so it got oats.  And rye, because I have this rye flour…

It’s not quite as orangey as I’d hoped, and it’s very, very sticky, and a little structurally unsound for toasting but it’s also entirely delicious and marginally healthy (it has oats!  And cranberries!  It must be good for you!).  And you don’t even need to put marmalade on it for breakfast!

Your shopping list

1 cup of lukewarm water (it should feel just barely warm to your finger)
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt (I actually use less, but you do need to use some, as it keeps the yeast in check)
50 g rolled oats (about half a cup)
300 g bread flour (about 2 cups)
50 g rye flour (about 1/3 cup)
2 tsp dried whole orange powder
65 g cup dried cranberries (about half a cup)
1/4 cup orange jam or marmalade

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Recipe: Golden Snake Bread for Chinese New Year

bakedIt’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Apparently, the first week of work was rather more overwhelming than I expected, because while I felt totally fine at work, I was remarkably disinclined to cook when I got home each night this week.  This is particularly sad, because I’m yet to even make something for my own Vegetarian Lunchbox Challenge (fortunately, lots of other people have, so the page is  very much worth a visit).

Anyway, I’ve been invited to a Vegan pot-luck for Chinese New Year this evening by Steph (Edited to add: and it was awesome!), which requires suitable baking.  My initial plan was to make crysanthemum biscuits with red bean paste, but I was unable to find red bean paste, so I tried to make my own, and that turned out to be a big mistake, so I finally decided that instead of doing something that might be authentically Chinese (difficult, since I never cook Chinese food at all), I might as well go with the red and gold and Year of the Snake as my themes.  And how better to achieve gold than with the gorgeousness that is saffron?

I actually have several recipes for saffron bread.  Mostly, they are full of eggs and butter and milk, because this is the sort of bread people make for festivals, and nothing says ‘festive’ like enriched bread dough.  But eggs and butter and milk are not notably vegan, which is OK, because I also have a book of vegan and gluten-free breads with a saffron bread recipe in it.  The trouble with *that* is that it calls for a variety of gluten-free flours that I have not yet been able to find (largely because I was so tired after my first week back at work that I slept until midday and thus missed the various little shops that are only open on Saturday mornings).

So I decided to cross the recipes.  This bread is enriched with almond milk and olive oil, with chia seeds standing in for the eggs in some weird way that I do not fully comprehend but am willing to take on faith for now.  I’ve replaced the currants that are traditional to Saint Lucia buns with cranberries, which are much more red, and instead of the classic braided loaf, this bread is shaped into a rather fat serpent shape.

It tastes like honey, and has a texture like a moister, softer version of pannetone – very soft and tearable and delightful.  I thought at first it would need butter or honey, but it really doesn’t – it’s perfect just as it is, gorgeous and golden and vegan and full of happiness.  What more could you ask of bread?

Your Shopping List

1 1/3 cups almond milk
1 tsp saffron
2 tbsp chia seeds (white is better, aesthetically speaking, for this bread)
2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups of bread flour
3/4 cup cranberries, preferably unsweetened, or barberries
A couple of tablespoons of almond milk and a couple of raw sugar, optional

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Recipe: Half-baked Fruity Muesli

closeupI just couldn’t resist the pun in that title.  Sorry.  But it really is half baked, because I did toast about half of what went into this muesli while leaving the rest untoasted.  The reason for this is that we are about to have a houseguest who has expressed a preference for cereal for breakfast, and has diabetes.  I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable about diabetes as I should be, but to me this sounds like something low-GI is called for, and oats are pretty much the definition of low-GI.

Except that if I’m making muesli, I’d like to make a kind that I’ll eat myself, and I do rather like my muesli toasted.  But toasted means you have to toast it with something, generally either fat of some kind or sugar of some kind, neither of which are particularly diabetes-friendly. 

So I’ve compromised.  I haven’t used any fat, and have used a small amount of apple juice and agave nectar to crisp things up.  And then I’ve added extra, un-cooked and un-sweetened oats at the end, along with the dried fruit, to dilute any inappropriate sweetness.  I know I’ve created something delicious; the question will be whether it is both delicious and something my guest can eat…

Your shopping list

250 g rolled oats, plus 100 g rolled oats for later (proper oats, not the quick kind, please)
100 g flaked or chopped almonds
80 g raw unsweetened pistachios
85 g sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
30 ml agave nectar (or honey, of course)
60 ml unsweetened apple juice (which, lets face it, is plenty sweet already)
60 g dried cherries
60 g dried cranberries
60 g dried apples
60 g dried apricots

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Recipe: Oaty Chocolate Cranberry Biscuits

This recipe is a riff on my favourite choc-chip cookie recipe, with nods to Tessa Kiros’s recipe for choc-chip cranberry cookies and to the cranberry oatmeal cookie mix I get at the markets sometimes.  (It works even better if you don’t totally forget about the oil until you add in the choc chips and cranberries and wonder why the mixture doesn’t stick together, so I recommend actually using all the ingredients in the list.)

This recipe is brought to you by the most beautiful dried cranberries I’ve ever seen, which I found at the greengrocer last week.  They deserved some kind of celebration, and these cookies seemed like the place to start.

They are *so* very yum.  The cranberries are really sour and give these cookies an amazing zing, and cinnamon and oats just make the whole thing cozy, and do I even need to justify the chocolate?  I think not.

(I also like it that I can pretend this recipe is healthy now – it has oats and cranberries, and coconut sugar replacing half the sugar, and everyone knows that dark chocolate has anti-oxidants!  Just pour yourself a glass of milk – dairy or non-dairy, I’m not fussy – and you have a healthy breakfast!  Sort of…)

Your Shopping List

75g butter, softened
60 ml canola oil.  Don’t forget to put this in!
100 g coconut sugar, brown sugar or raw sugar
100 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small egg or 1/3 cup smooth tofu
100 g rolled oats
150 g flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
90 g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or better, and Lindt is good), chopped
90 g dried cranberries

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