Almond, Coconut & Chia Seed Butter

Now who likes peanut butter? I used to hate it. Growing up I disliked nuts generally. I remember family buffets, sitting at the table with my sister and picking all the dried fruit out of the fruit and nut mix. However, I did used to like walnuts. Both of us at ours Grandma’s, cracking open walnuts in front of the fire. It’s funny how I wouldn’t eat them in a nut mix but I would out of their shells. Peanuts were another no go. My dad loved (and still does) salted peanuts and my friend would always buy peanut M&Ms when we would go to the cinema. But me, I just couldn’t stand the smell of them. I would sit as far away as possible.

But now, I love them. I’d quite happily snack on a handful of unsalted nuts (my favourites being cashew and almonds) and peanut butter has a multitude of uses. Mixed into chocolate brownies, cookies, with banana on toast, stirred into porridge or spread on a rice cake. Then I tried other nut butters, like almond, and these were even better than your bog standard peanut butters. When you start to look into the ingredients on some of the nut butters on the market, it’s crazy some of the extra things that are added like sugar and palm oil. So it got me thinking, is it difficult to make your own?

My first attempt was following Jamie Oliver’s basic recipe in his Everyday Superfood book. I toasted a mixture of cashew and almond nuts and then blitzed them in a mini chopper. Now, a lesson I learnt from making this batch was that I didn’t blitz them for long enough. If you think you have, add on an extra five minutes. The texture of mine was quite thick and although it tasted nice, it was difficult to spread onto toast or stir into my morning porridge. A second attempt was needed.

Then, my sister gave me some almond and coconut butter to try. I’m not a big fan of coconut, in particular desiccated coconut because of the texture. Bounty’s are always left at Christmas when the Celebrations tub comes out. But this nut butter was amazing and I was gutted when I finished it.

So, imagine my delight when I came across a recipe book by Pip & Nut. In the book was a recipe for Almond, Coconut and Chia Nut Butter. There was also a detailed guide on how to make your own standard nut butter. For this process, they advised that it would take at least 10 minutes to blitz the nuts into a butter (depending on the power of your food processor) and that it should be smooth and glossy. I use a mini processor as it is a small quantity being blitzed. I also stop every two minutes to let the motor cool down so I don’t overheat (lesson learnt when using a hand mixer to make a Christmas Cake one year). So, would take me longer than 10 minutes but at least it’s an idea (more than I had with my first attempt). If you are a fan of nut butters, you need to give this recipe a go. There are even more recipes in the book and suggestions for use (an excuse to go buy a copy). Below is how I made the nut butter. This was different to how the recipe stated due to me misreading it (whoops). Chia seeds aren’t a must to the recipe so don’t worry if you don’t want to include them. However, they are not difficult or expensive to buy. Home bargains sell bags of these a lot cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen. Tesco also sell ‘shot packs’ which would be enough to make this butter. By the way, the recipe makes enough for one jar. I’ve been keeping mine in the cupboard.

nut-butter

200g whole almonds (skin on)

1 tbsp chia seeds (white or black)

75g creamed coconut (buy from supermarket, packed in individual sachets)

pinch of sea salt

1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or honey or maple syrup)

To roast the almonds:

Pre-heat oven to 150C. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until golden brown. This will take around 10-15 minutes but keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn. Once roasted, cool for 5 minutes.

To make them into butter:

Tip the nuts into a food processor. I find that my mini food processor is more powerful when chopping nuts compared to my standard one. Blitz for two minutes. The nuts will turn into a crumble texture and will need scraping down with a spatula. I left my processor to cool for two minutes. I blitz for two minutes and left to cool for two minutes throughout the process. After six minutes of blitzing, a ball formed. After another four minutes of blitzing the nuts were smooth but looked to still have a rough texture (this was when I stopped when making Jamie’s nut butter). After another four minutes, the nut butter started to look smooth and glossy. If you want a basic almond butter, stop at this stage.

Add the creamed coconut and sea salt and blitz until smooth. I found that this made the texture appear runnier and glossier than before. Add the chia seeds and agave nectar and blitz until well combined. Pour the nut butter into an airtight container. When pouring into a jar, I found the texture quite runny but it has thickened over time.

The result, a lip smacking delicious nut butter. Although it feels like a long process when you blitzing (especially when taking the rest periods like me) the final product is definitely worth it. Now I know the basic method of making it, I am going to be trying my own combinations.

 

 

Overnight Oats

I don’t know if many of you have heard of this quick and easy breakfast solution. It’s great if your short on time in the morning as all the preparation is done the night before. Essentially it’s porridge oats soaked overnight in some form of liquid and then the desired extras added. Once the basics are mastered, the combinations are endless meaning breakfast can get a little more exciting.
It takes a bit of trial and error to get the ratio of liquid to oats right for you. Some recipes suggest an equal amount of liquid (milk or juice) to oats, others throw yoghurt in the mix. Personally, I prefer 1 part oats to 1 part milk to 2 parts plain Greek yoghurt. You can then add any fruit, spices, nuts or seeds. These can be mixed into the bircher and left overnight or added to the mix just before eating. Sometimes when I’m mixing the oats, milk and yoghurt, I will add in a grated apple or mushed banana with a spoonful of chia seeds.
Once you get the right ratio to get a consistency that you like, you can then work on the actual amounts. I found recipes online made way too much for me to eat in the morning. I think oats are quite filling and therefore you only need a small amount. Therefore, my recipe below is what I make for myself. Adjust if you want.
Now, the reason I wanted to blog about overnight oats/bircher pots is because I finally got round to making one that sounds a bit crazy for breakfast (it has veg in it!!) but it tastes amazing. Carrot cake overnight oats.
I found a number of different recipes for this so I took some of the ingredients suggested and made my own. It really does taste like carrot cake. Yummy.
Carrot Cake Overnight Oats – 2 servings
50g porridge oats (not instant)
50ml milk (normal, soya or nut)
125g low fat Greek yoghurt
50g carrot, finely grated
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon raisins
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle mixed spice
A few chopped walnuts
1. Mix together the oats, carrot, chia seeds, spices and raisins.
2. Add the milk, yoghurt and vanilla extract and mix together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Next morning, transfer half into a bowl and top with the walnuts.
This will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Adding the toppings before eating prevents them going soft. These can be heated in the microwave before eating (though I haven’t tried thus yet).
By finely grating the carrot, you can’t notice it texture wise as it is similar to the oats. Also, it’s the spice combination that makes this taste like a carrot cake.
Give it a try. I dare you ☺
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