Recipe For Nasturtium Jelly

Nasturtium is an Indian cress and has large, shield shaped, peppery leaves and cheerful, helmet shaped flowers in yellow, orange and red. These flowers make an attractive, edible garnish. (information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs). I tossed a packet of seeds into the garden portion outside of our fence, and since then I have had an abundance of nasturtiums. A few years ago I removed ten plants for a friend to plant at her fence line and the following year, you could not even see the gap!

"a protea amongst the nasturtiums"

a protea amongst the nasturtiums

I made nasturtium pesto with the leaves, which is really amazing but I thought I could do one better, and make nasturtium jelly with the flowers. I have used the jam with cheese and it is perfect, as well as with pork and it made a great change from apple sauce. I gave a small jar to Greg as a gift, and he really enjoyed it as well.

"Nasturtium Jelly"

Nasturtium Jelly

Nasturtium Jelly
 
This jelly is perfect with scones and can be adapted to use any organic flowers.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 25g nasturtium flowers
  • 500mls reserved liquid
  • 30mls lemon juice
  • 380g fructose
  • 15g pectin
Method
  1. Place the flowers into a large jar and cover with boiling water
  2. Make sure that the flowers are completely covered and submerged
  3. Seal the jar and leave overnight
  4. Strain through a muslin cloth and reserve the liquid
  5. Place 500mls of the reserved liquid into a sauce pan
  6. Add the lemon juice and the fructose
  7. Bring to the boil over a medium temperature, stirring until the fructose is dissolved
  8. Remove 60mls of the liquid and add the pectin to make a slurry
  9. Add this to the sauce pan and whisk in
  10. Skim off the scum, reduce the temperature and leave to simmer
  11. When at jam set stage (over 104° Celsius) remove from the heat - this took me an hour
  12. Place into sterilized glass jars
  13. Leave to cool before sealing and storing in the fridge
  14. Bring up to room temperature before using
Cooks Notes
The straining through the muslin cloth is to catch any insects that might have found their way into your flowers

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Wine Tasting At Anura, Stellenbosch

On The Simondium Road, close to Klapmuts you will find the most beautiful wine estate, Anura. Dave and I took a drive through one Friday before lunch, and started our visit at the estate with a wine tasting. The wine steward was very informed, giving us anecdotes about the wines we had chosen, as well as his personal preference in each glass.

"Wine Tasting At Anura, Stellenbosch"

Wine Tasting At Anura, Stellenbosch

Dave and I shared a wine tasting (R25 for 6 glasses). We tasted the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (R95/bottle) first. The grapes were sourced from Durbanville and the wine displayed heavy minerality. Our next glass was the Legato 2012/13 (R60/bottle) which is a blend of 55% merlot and 45% cabernet sauvignon. The wine is light, slightly acidic and cherries forefront on the nose. After this we tasted the Merlot 2012 (R70/bottle) which has spent 12 months in oak and has the most amazing aroma of red roses and is a dry, light wine for every day drinking. We then moved on to the Pinotage 2012 (R70/bottle) which spent 12 months in heavily toasted American oak. This is responsible for the chocolate aromas and the wine has a lovely spicy nose and is extremely dry. Our wine steward suggested we try the Arpeggio 2011 next (R68/bottle) as an extra. This is a blend of 58% syrah, 32% mourvedre and 10% viognier. The nose is full of red currants and a whiff of smoke. After this we tasted the Syrah Mourvedre 2005 Reserve (R95/bottle) which is 85% syrah, 10% mourvedre and 5% granache. The wine is very dry and heavy on tobacco. Our last tasting was the Petit Verdot 2008 (R95/bottle) which was placed into new French oak for 22 months. The grape has a thick skin which results in a very complex, dry, smooth wine with beautiful legs. The nose is cassis and the wine has strong mineral flavours.

"Wine from Anura"

Wine from Anura

We so enjoyed the Arpeggio that we bought 3 bottles to take home with us. We have enjoyed one bottle already at a friend, and the nose is so dominant that each sip is a full taste sensation.

Contact them on +27 21 875 5360

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Recipe For Ginger Caramel

In 2002 I met the most amazing vet, Bruce Niland, who worked at the local practice in Gordons Bay. He introduced us to Maxine, the Boxer who stole my heart, and saved her life when she jumped at a glass window. However, very shortly after Maxine cut her paws to shreds Bruce and two of his friends decided to buy their own practice in Strand which left me in a conundrum. I continued to take the dogs there for serious problems, like when Patch (our Jack Russell) needed to have her eye removed but not for when our dogs needed their annual injections. This all changed when I took Patch to the local vet in Gordons Bay in 2013. She has a lesion on the remaining eye and without paying any attention to the eye, the vet told me I must put her down. I went home in tears, determined not to listen to the vet, and clear up the lesion as best as possible. A few months after this, we got a new dog from the animal welfare and she went to the same vet for spaying. This is part of the conditions of getting a dog from them. The vet failed to check her temperature before operating, and she was deathly sick. So. from that moment on I decided to take all the dogs to Bruce for anything and everything. Last weekend James told me that Toffee, their ginger caramel Pomeranian cross Jack Russell had been to the local vet in Gordons Bay and needed surgery. I immediately suggested we go to Bruce for a second opinion. So Carli and I took Toffee and Patch to see Bruce. Patch still has the lesion, and Bruce has given her a cream to put on when necessary. But other than that she is in amazing condition for a 13 and a half year old dog. After giving Patch her injections he took a look at Toffee and told Carli that they needed to do surgery. But that the surgery was more complicated than the other vet had said. I am so glad we went there, as his partner Faure is a specialist for the surgery Toffee needs, and he will get the best care there.

"Ginger Caramel"

Ginger Caramel

5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe For Ginger Caramel
 
The warming ginger spice gives this caramel a lovely kick of flavour
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 115g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 45g liquid glucose
  • 20g ginger, thinly sliced
  • 100g cream
  • 20g butter
Method
  1. Place the sugar, glucose and ginger into a stainless steel frying pan
  2. Place onto the stove on a medium temperature
  3. Leave without stirring until golden brown
  4. Slowly whisk in the cream until completely incorporated
  5. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter
  6. Continue whisking until cool
  7. Leave for 30 minutes to continue infusing the ginger
  8. Strain into a sterilized glass jar

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I served the caramel with the gingerbread I made, as well as some ice cream.

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Pop Goes The Weasel, M J Arlidge

Pop Goes The Weasel opening line: The fog crept in from the sea, suffocating the city.

"Pop Goes The Weasel"

Pop Goes The Weasel

This book follows on from a previous novel, and it took me quite some time to work out what had happened before. I find this the most frustrating thing when I have not read the first book in a series, when the author relies too much on what has happened in the past, assuming the reader will know. Once I had got over that hurdle I really enjoyed this book. Here Detective Inspector Helen Grace is chasing a serial killer and caught up in this drama is her relationship with people who survived the last case with her, an adopted child, her own needs and a new boss who is intent on derailing her.

This killer is attacking men who lead a double life, and until the team can work out the reason why they will not catch her, for the one thing they know for sure, it is a woman who is brutally murdering men who stray from their marriages.

First published by the Penguin Group in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-405-91495-6

Paperback – 426 pages

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Recipe For Overnight Sourdough Bread

To me, there are very few things that beat the smell of fresh bread. If you have ever left a loaf of freshly baked bread in your car for a bit you will know what I mean. That, and the smell of freshly ground coffee, and rain on recently mown lawn make the top of my list. Sometimes I feel like freshly baked bread but I don’t want to wait for the sourdough to be fed and then the bread dough to prove and rise. Because I wanted to be able to enjoy my sourdough bread whenever I felt like it, I started working on an overnight sourdough bread recipe. Being as impatient as possible, I fed my sourdough once. I took 125mls of Cordelia out of her bottle, fed Cordelia to replace what I had taken out and fed the starter with 60mls flour and 60mls water. Once the sourdough was bubbling (about an hour) I started making the dough. This went into the fridge overnight and used as needed. Dave has declared this his favourite sourdough loaf, and I must agree. It takes very little effort to turn out a stunning loaf and the bread lasted us 3 days with no problem.

"Overnight Sourdough Bread"

Overnight Sourdough Bread

5.0 from 6 reviews
Overnight Sourdough Bread
 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 225g fed sourdough starter
  • 500g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250mls water
  • 10mls salt
Method
  1. Place the sourdough, flour and water into a stand mixer bowl
  2. Knead on a low speed with a dough hook until a dough forms
  3. Increase the speed for 1 minute and add the salt
  4. Knead on a medium to fast speed for 5 minutes
  5. Cover and place into the fridge overnight
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back
  7. Shape and place the dough into a floured banneton
  8. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove until doubled in size
  9. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  10. Bake for 45 minutes
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

I have baked this bread without forming it in my banneton, using half the dough at a time and the photograph below is the crumb structure of the loaf. I love how the very edge of the crust is perfectly crispy, while the bread is soft.

"Overnight Sourdough Bread Crumb:

Overnight Sourdough Bread Crumb

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Rust En Vrede, Stellenbosch

When we were having dinner at Cavalli, Dorothy told us that John had secured them a booking at Rust en Vrede (Rest and Peace) to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. I mentioned that I had wanted to go there for a while, and could she please let us know how it was so that I knew whether to book or not. John then suggested he change the booking to four, and that we join them and make it a joint wedding anniversary celebration. As our is 4 days before theirs, this made perfect sense.

"Rust en Vrede"

Rust en Vrede

We arrived shortly before 18h30 and made our way from the parking lot on a lovely pathway through manicured lawns past the wine tasting rooms. The first thing I noticed was a sign saying that no smoking is permitted on the premises. An absolute bonus point for me as even vaping bothers me. We chose a table outside overlooking the lawns and vineyards and waited for John and Dorothy to join us. While we were waiting we were offered a drink from a young gentleman whose sole task it is is to serve drinks. I settled for a glass of still water (which is complimentary) and we took a look through the wine list. It is a tome and far too much to read through and make choices.

"The wines and wine list at Rust en Vrede"

The wines and wine list at Rust en Vrede

After John and Dorothy arrived we decided to start with a bottle of MCC. However, the owner of Rust en Vrede, Jean Engelbrecht, has made a decision to only serve French Champagne and we decided to rather go for a local white wine. I would have tried the Charles Heidsack champagne as I have been told this is the best in the world, but price wise, it can wait until I find a local distributor. John who is a winemaker decided he also was not going to page through the wine list and so the sommelier came over and suggested a bottle of the Cape Point Isliedh 2012 (R400) for us to start the evening off with. This wine has perfect minerality with a hint of limes, and tropical fruit.

We managed to stay outside for the entire bottle, enjoying the stunning view, snacking on canapés, and talking up a storm. Our nibbles consisted of a felafel, pumpkin fritter, pastry straws and a croque monsieur. As there are heaters above each table, the setting sun did not make us feel cold at all! After we had finished our wine, we were shown to the table by a very friendly waitress and given our menus. We decided that choosing wines for the a la carte menu was too daunting and so decided on the 6 course tasting menu with wine pairings (R1150 per head).

"To start at Rust en Vrede"

To start at Rust en Vrede

As we were there for a celebratory meal, I took photographs but no notes. I asked our waitress if I could please have a copy of the menu and she told me that as we were having the tasting menu with wine pairings we would be receiving gifts when we left and that the menu would be with the gifts. With this information, I did not even read what we were having!

We were offered bread rolls before the meal, and after the first course and the variety was good, and the bread excellent. The amuse bouche was pork belly which was very tasty. Our first course was a scallop and sea bass ceviche, served with smoked avocado, sushi rice, wasabi wafer and a ponzu emulsion and was served with Keermont Riverside Chenin Blanc 2013. I absolutely loved every bite of this dish and the scallops were perfect. The creamy texture of the wine suited the dish perfectly.

"The main courses at Rust en Vrede"

The main courses at Rust en Vrede

This was followed by tortellini e fagioli served with white bean, smoked tomato, parsley gel, Parmesan and pork crackling. The accompanying wine was a 2013 Jordan Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. The one bite tortellini were filled with a liquid centre but sadly for me, the pasta was too thick and tough. This was the general consensus around the table. The wine had a similar palate to the previous one, both having hazelnut and citrus.

The next course was crown roasted baby chicken and leg presse served with leek, asparagus, truffle, white Port and foie gras sauce and a glass of the 2009 Ashbourne Sandstone from Hamilton Russell Vineyards. The chicken was extremely tasty and this course was really good with the minerality of the Sauvignon Blanc complimenting the dish perfectly.

By this stage we were all looking forward to the Kalahari blesbok loin as it would be served with a glass of red wine. The dish was accompanied by shank sausage, celeriac, apple, chestnuts, pomme dauphine and the much awaited 2011 Rust en Vrede Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The strong, intense wine with a black currant finish was prefect for the meat.

"The desserts at Rust en Vrede"

The desserts at Rust en Vrede

Until I read the menu today, as I was typing up this review, I could not remember what the meat course was, other than it being venison. I think the wine leading up to this point starting fogging the memory. But, the goats cheesecake was so bad that I could well remember that the next morning. It was served with beetroot, a goats cheese beignet, elderflower jelly and an olive tuile and a glass of Sumaridge Pinot Noir 2011. I managed one bite of the cheesecake but as I am not a huge fan of goats cheese, this did not work for me at all. Dave who prefers a cheese course to dessert and does not mind goats cheese did not like this course either. Thankfully I enjoyed the cherry undertones of the wine, and finished the glass instead of the cheesecake.

We were then given a pre dessert to sweeten our palates, which was much needed and then our dessert was served. I loved the strawberries and cream which was a strawberry course served with clotted cream, a thyme meringue, jelly, shortbread and a doughnut. The wine for this course was the 2012 Shannon Macushla, a pinot noir noble late harvest with a hint of honey on the palate. After dessert, Dave and Dorothy had an espresso each (R15) but John and I decided we had not had enough red wine! The sommelier suggested the Rust en Vrede Estate 2010 (R115 per glass) and I must say, it went down very well! Our wine and coffees were served with petit fours and I loved the presentation, and the fact that we were given a choice of what we could have and there was no restriction. The chocolates paired perfectly with the wine, which has dark chocolate on the palate and whiffs of vanilla on the nose.

"Petit Fours at Rust en Vrede"

Petit Fours at Rust en Vrede

I was the last person to leave the restaurant and I was assured that Dave had been given the menu. When I got to the car I discovered that we had neither the menu, or our promised gifts. Dorothy told me they had been given their parting gift of a brownie and a chocolate. Overall, the food was great but did not blow me away. The wine pairings worked well but given that we started with a bottle of wine, and had 6 glasses during the meal, and a glass at the end, I did end up drinking quite a bit. I think it would be a nice touch to recommend wine per the glass for each of the a la carte menu dishes so that people can make decisions based on the meal.

"The Restaurant at Rust en Vrede"

The Restaurant at Rust en Vrede

The atmosphere is perfect with the smallest attention to detail looked at, even in the bathrooms. I loved the open plan kitchen and glassed in wine cellar and would go back to enjoy a meal of my choosing. The cutlery, crockery, glassware and linen are of the highest quality and the entire evening was memorable. They are open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday and bookings are essential. Contact them on +27 21 881 3757. You are encouraged to inform them at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements but I was pleased to note that our waitress asked us when we sat down if we had any food allergies she needed to know about. This is a first for me when dining out.

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Recipe For Dulce De Leche Tart

"Dulce De Leche Tart"

Dulce De Leche Tart

2014 was a difficult year for so many people around me. On the first day of January last year my sister-in-law Anne called me to tell me that my other sister-in-law. Dawn was terminal and had been given days to live. I sent Dawn a message to tell her we were with her in thought and prayer and the next morning she passed away. My first concern was for Dave’s mum who had now lost two of her children. As Anne flew over to the UK to be with Dawn’s children, Dave and I went to Sedgefield to be with Marguerite. And this signalled how the year would play out. My friend lost her husband, another friend her father, my mom’s sister passed away and each month another friend or family member died. It seemed that death was a constant part of our lives last year. With all the sadness around us, I wanted there to also be sweet moments. I seem to have made more desserts that savoury dishes in 2014 and I think that this trend might continue. This dulce de leche tart was one of the sweetest desserts I made, and it was delicious. Each bite of crisp pastry with soft, sweet custard like topping was perfect. And that is what I am wishing for 2015 – a perfectly sweet year.

"Dulce De Leche"

Dulce De Leche

5.0 from 5 reviews
Dulce De Leche Tart
 
These pastries are custard tarts taken to a whole new level!
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
Method
  1. Bake your pastry and set aside to cool
  2. Preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  3. Place the dulce de leche into a saucepan
  4. Over a medium temperature bring to 38°Celsius
  5. Pour over the eggs, whisking continuously
  6. Once completely combined pour into your pastry shells
  7. Bake for 40 minutes
  8. Allow to cool before removing from the tin

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

"Use baking paper to make handles to lift your tart out of the tin"

Use baking paper to make handles to lift your tart out of the tin

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Recipe For Floating Islands

I am one of those people who actually loves to shop. I can lose myself in a shopping centre, spending hours looking at what each store has to offer. I am also one of those people who hates crowds. So, December is a very trying time for me. I spend as little time in the shops as possible, as they are always full of people. This is good for our local stores but not for me! I keep a running shopping list of what I need and when I am desperate for one item on the list I pack my shopping bag with my wallet and phone and walk the block down to the local Woolworths. The other day some gentleman (and I use this term loosely) was shopping with his child. They took up an entire aisle, without leaving space for anyone to pass. The first time this happened I waited patiently and they ignored me. The second time I actually said something! And to make it worse, they had a staff member assisting them in blocking the path. My usually pleasant shopping experience was anything but pleasant with having to navigate my way through crowds of people who are oblivious to others. When making Floating Islands you have to give the meringues space to poach. I did mine one at a time, not crowding the pan in any way to allow each fluffy white pillow of egg white to poach slowly and gently. The custard is made with a lot of sugar which makes it overly sweet when eaten alone, but with the snow egg added on top, the dish is perfectly balanced.

"Floating Islands"

Floating Islands

5.0 from 4 reviews
Floating Islands
 
These floating islands need a sweet custard to achieve the perfect balance in taste.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 500mls milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 23g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds removed
  • 125g sugar - I used fructose
Method
  1. Place the milk into a medium size sauce pan
  2. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a rolling simmer
  3. Make sure at all times you do not let a skin form
  4. Place the egg whites into a stand mixer bowl with a pinch of salt
  5. Whisk until stiff peaks form
  6. Slowly add the caster sugar until glossy and firm
  7. Use wet serving spoons to quenelle the meringue
  8. Gently place the meringue onto the milk and poach for 2 minutes
  9. Gently turn over and poach for a further 2 minutes
  10. Place the cooked meringue onto kitchen cloth to dry
  11. Touch the meringues as little as possible
  12. Repeat this until you have cooked all the meringue
  13. Place the vanilla into the milk and leave to infuse
  14. Place the egg yolks and the sugar into a bowl
  15. Whisk until at the ribbon stage
  16. Whisk in half of the milk and return to the sauce pan
  17. Stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened
  18. Strain into a pouring jug and set aside to cool completely
  19. Place into the fridge for an hour
To assemble
  1. Pour the custard into a deep dish, or deep bowls
  2. Gently place the meringues onto the custard
  3. Serve immediately, or place into the fridge until you are ready to serve the dessert

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines:  The January Daring Cooks Challenge will ensure that no matter where in the world you are, you will have a bit of snow! Kim from Ask a Foodie challenged us to make Ouefs à la Neige, or “Eggs in Snow”.

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A Year In Review: 2014

I am never one to look back and wonder what could have been, or worry over what was. But I am the type of person to give gratitude. This post is a look at my blog – a year in review, for 2014. It is a way for me to remind myself which posts are most popular, and to thank the people who read and comment on this blog.

"Sangria"

Sangria

My busiest day of 2014 was January 9th and the most popular post that day was my Recipe For Sangria. Last year I decided not to post every day as I had done since 2009. This meant that in 2014 there were only 198 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,308 posts. I have tried to post on average 3 times per week, and this year it will be the same. You will find new recipes on a Monday and Thursday and a review or commentary style post every Wednesday. Sunday’s will be reserved for book reviews, and Fridays for my out and about posts.

"Pap And Wors With A Tomato And Onion Relish"

Pap And Wors With A Tomato And Onion Relish

My top post remains the Recipe For Mielie Pap followed by my tip on How To Sterilize Glass Jars / Bottles. The other 2 popular recipes are for Pastry Cream and a Truffle And Mushroom Sauce. Visitors this past year came from 173 countries in total and the most comments I received last year was my post showcasing what was In My Kitchen in May

"Cinnamon And Coffee Soufflé"

Cinnamon And Coffee Soufflé

A few special thank you’s go to Celia, Lorraine. Cheri, Uru, Rachel and Mandy. Take a look at their blogs if you have not already done so.

"Beef Fillet With A Truffle And Mushroom Sauce"

Beef Fillet With A Truffle And Mushroom Sauce

I would like to thank every one who makes this blog possible, especially Dave who eats all the dishes you see here, and the ones you don’t.

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Recipe For Praline

When I was 7 I knew that I could play at my friend Angie’s house if her mother was in a good mood. I knew that if I hurt myself I had to go across the road to to get the cut cleaned. I knew that if I was out playing I had to be home before the street lights turned on, and I knew that any day I felt like it, I could climb over the wall and spend time at my neighbour’s house. I knew how to read, tie my shoe laces and get myself ready for school. When I was 7 I did not know how to play chess, I didn’t know that electricity could kill you and I did not know that flesh smells disgusting when burnt! But, I learnt all of that very quickly. One afternoon Kerry (my sister) and I were at the neighbour’s house. We were playing in the swimming pool with David and Peter, and we all went inside to listen to records. The record player had a transformer box, and the plug was loose. I tried to put the plug in, but it fell onto my wet hand and I was electrocuted. That day I learnt that something really bad had happened as my mom came home from work to take me to the Doctor – I was not told to go across the road to have Mrs. Matchin look at my hand. That was the day I became paralysed in my right arm. And the day I started learning a whole lot of new skills. I have never stopped learning new skills and in case you were wondering, I was lucky enough to get the use of my arm back after 8 months of therapy. One of the skills I have learnt is that working with fructose is not as complicated as I thought it was. I have made praline with fructose and learnt that if you use it straight away it will keep its crunch. If kept in an airtight container it will clump together! I made this praline for my Paris-Brest pastries that I made last year.

Have you learnt a new skill recently?

"Paris-Brest"

Paris-Brest

5.0 from 2 reviews
Praline
 
This is a great addition to chocolates when making truffles
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 200g sugar - I used fructose
  • 200g nuts of your choice
Method
  1. Place the nuts into a non stick frying pan and heat over a low temperature
  2. Place the sugar into a stainless steel frying pan
  3. Hear the sugar over a medium temperature until a caramel forms
  4. Add the nuts and stir quickly
  5. Pour out onto a silpat immediately
  6. Leave to cool
  7. Blitz in a food processor until fine

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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