Tag Archives: ground almonds

A Moroccan Feast

Thank you, Easter, for providing us with a long weekend (Friday and Monday are Bank Holidays here in the UK). F and I wanted to enjoy some lamb as an ode to spring, so we invited friends to join us for a pre-Easter dinner on Friday. We could’ve done a traditional roast with the usual carrots and new potatoes, but in a fit of experimentation (and knowing we’d have the whole day to prepare — thank you again, Bank Holiday), F suggested we make Moroccan-style lamb. I suggested that we might as well go all-out and make Moroccan sides, too.

Needless to say, Googling commenced. I went straight to NYT Cooking, the New York Times‘ great hub for all the recipes they publish in their Food and other sections. I searched “Moroccan” and loads of vibrant, delicious looking dishes appeared. I was drawn to the Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad; Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style; and this couscous. Meanwhile, F found a recipe for Moroccan Lamp with Apricots, Almonds & Mint from BBC Good Food; it is a stew rather than a roast, which made it more attractive as it required less cooking time.

Here is how the meal turned out:

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Perhaps it is a bit monochrome, but boy was it delicious. The stew had such depth of flavor, thanks to cinnamon, apricots, and orange, and the ground almonds gave it a deceptively “creamy” texture. The carrot salad — dressed with lemon juice, spiced with cumin and garlic, and balanced with olives — turned out beautifully. We really liked the pearl couscous laced with cumin, golden raisins, and sautéed onions. The orange salad packed a bit of heat from cayenne, although I left out the garlic, parsley, and olives, as those were already present in the carrot salad.

All in all, a great and delicious success. Will we make these recipes again? Definitely. I’m already looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch.

Do you like Moroccan food? Ever cooked any of it? Post your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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Recipe: Scandinavian Almond Cake

 

Holy moly is this cake good. It’s moist (F said “mega-moist!”), buttery, not too dense, and just sweet enough. Cardamom adds a pleasing depth of flavor. It gets half a point for health, too, because there’s no flour — just ground almonds. I’d been wanting to make an almond cake for a while, and my birthday provided a good excuse to get in touch with my Scandinavian roots and make this delectable cake. I cut mine into squares and passed it around the office at work — it sure disappeared quickly! Guess I better make another one…

Update, 1 Oct 2017: I’ve made this cake repeatedly over the past few years, and it has gotten rave reviews from colleagues, friends, and fellow runners. I’ll definitely keep it in my rotation.

Scandinavian Almond Cake (adapted from Outside Oslo; makes 8 generous wedges or 12-16 squares)

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • just under 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g (~2.5 cups) ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cardamom, or 5-6 pods’ worth of seeds, ground with a mortar & pestle
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional: powdered/icing sugar for sprinkling

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 175C (350F) and grease a springform cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the almonds, baking powder, ground cardamom, and salt.
  • Fold the dry into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Spread the batter (it will be quite thick) into the cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool and, if you want, sprinkle powdered sugar (icing sugar) over the top.

Enjoy!

Recipe: The Best Wholegrain Banana Bread

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I’ve finally got it: the perfect banana bread. I’ve been fiddling with my sour cream banana bread recipe for a while, trying out different flour substitutions, and this combination produced the best one yet. It’s a moist, slightly nutty banana bread with a tight crumb and rich flavor. Even better? There’s no white flour to be seen and there’s hardly any added sugar.

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If this doesn’t become your go-to banana bread recipe, I don’t know what will. Even though it might feel like you’re eating cake, this banana bread gets a big burst of health from ground almonds, ground oats, and three bananas. Make it now — you won’t regret it.

no white flour there!

no white flour here!

The Best Wholegrain Banana Bread (makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients

  • Wet:
    • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sour cream OR plain yogurt OR crème fraîche
    • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Dry:
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup ground almonds (pre-ground, or grind your own)
    • 1/2 cup ground oats (I pulsed whole/quick oats in the food processor for a few seconds)
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • to taste: fresh grated nutmeg
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • optional: 3/4 cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 175C/350F and grease a loaf pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and mix in the other wet ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the nuts and/or chocolate chips, if using.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Enjoy!