Category Archives: Snacks

Snack ideas from English Country Cooking.

Carrot Hummus, something healthy to start the year.

Carrot Hummus © Sue Todd 2015.

Carrot Hummus © Sue Todd 2015.

It’s that time of year where everyone is eating healthy food and the gyms are packed with those of us keen to shed the extra Christmas pounds.  Well we’re not going off to the gym and actually our diet hasn’t changed much even for Christmas, but we thought something healthy to start the year off was a good idea, so we offer you Carrot Hummus.

We stumbled across Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’ Carrot Hummus recipe while looking for another recipe, as yet unfound, its currently in one of those ‘safe’ places never to see the light of day.  It seems I’ve brought my penchant for safe places into 2015, oh well ….

Back to carrots…. This carrot hummus recipe works well with carrots that are past their best too.  I had a bunch of carrots that I suspected were headed for the compost pile – its currently feast or famine while I try to get the hang of this online shopping for groceries malarkey.  As we had more carrots than we actually need, we forgot about our original intentions and set too, to make this Carrot Hummus.  I have to say its fabulous and we had some for lunch today on toasted leftover french bread, along with some little quiches which also needed eating up like the bread.  It would work well to pop in a lunch box with crudites, pitta breads or on toast.

If you don’t have cumin seeds or coriander seeds but you do have ready ground cumin and coriander simply substitute these and miss out the toasting part.  It still tastes good.

Carrot Hummus garnished with basil and lemon © Sue Todd 2015.

Carrot Hummus garnished with basil and lemon © Sue Todd 2015.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds,
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds,
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil or rapeseed oil,
  • 1 tsp honey,
  • 500 g carrots, peeled,
  • 3 large garlic cloves, bashed,
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon,
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini, (or smooth peanut butter),
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Method:

If you are using a conventional oven, preheat it to 200C/Gas 6.  Using a dry frying pan, toast your cumin and coriander seeds until they are just fragrant, you don’t want to burn them, so no longer than a minute.  Then grind these with a pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder.  (If you are using ready ground cumin and coriander, miss this bit out!).

Take a large bowl and whisk together 4 tsps of your oil along with the honey and spices (toasted or non toasted).

Dice the carrots up into 4 to 5 cm chunks and put these into the bowl with your dressing and the add the garlic.  Mix it all up well and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tip the carrots and spicy dressing into a small roasting tin and pop it in the oven to roast.  If you are using an AGA, use the roasting oven.  They’ll need about 35 minutes in the oven, but do take them out half way through and turn them so that they cook/brown evenly.  When they  beginning to char nicely around the edges and are tender then remove them from the oven and leave them to cool for a while.

Tip the whole lot into a food processor now, ensuring that you remove any skins from the garlic cloves.  Add the tahini, the remainder of the oil and the orange and lemon juice and whizz up in the food processor until you have a puree.  Taste the resulting mixture and add more seasoning if needed.  That’s it!  Simples!

 

Carrot Hummus © Sue Todd 2015

Carrot Hummus © Sue Todd 2015

Vitamin rich smoothie

Vitamin rich smoothie © Sue Todd 2014

Vitamin rich smoothie © Sue Todd 2014

There’s no better pick me up than a vitamin rich smoothie, great as a fast breakfast or just to perk you up again during the day. Feel free to experiment and add in different fruits depending on what you have available. I’m not sure you can go far wrong really. You can almost feel it doing you good as you drink it. I love food like that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple,
  • 1 pear,
  • 1 handful of spinach (or kale),
  • 1 banana,
  • coconut water

Method:

Pop the spinach into a food processor or blender.  Core the apple and the pear and put the pieces into the food processor.  Add the peeled banana and blitz well.  Think down to the required consistency with coconut water and serve.

Variations:

You could add a teaspoon of vanilla and/or honey.  Additionally feel free to swap fruits out.  It’s lovely with pineapple added too.  You can miss the spinach/kale if you wish but it’s actually really nice.

 

Popcorn and beers, the perfect end to the week?

Homemade popcorn and beer © Sue Todd 2014

Homemade popcorn and beer © Sue Todd 2014

I grew up detesting popcorn, it wasn’t until I was grown up with children in tow that I realised it didn’t have to be oh so sweet and sickly.  I’d only ever been given the stuff that was coated in sugar and seemed ultra sticky, heavens it was vile, tooth rotting stuff.

However .. home made popcorn is the most wonderful fast snack food.  We can get through a large bowl of it quite rapidly. Better that than a bowl of nuts or crisps, especially if those crisps are bought in and not home made!  Very often there will be a bowl of popcorn on the menu early evenings when we’ve finished what we are doing but its getting later and dinner needs prepared.

More importantly you don’t need some sort of device to make it in, just a heavy based pan with a lid on the heat.

This is how we like it

Pop a knob of butter in the pan, on gentle heat to start, and when its melted, cover the base of the pan with popcorn without stacking it.  Literally just cover the base no more. Add a large pinch of flaked sea salt, put a lid on the pan and leave it to pop!  It will pop.  When it stops making a noise its ready. At this point tip it into a bowl and add salt (if you want) to taste and pepper.