Amaretti are my favourite biscuit, not only because they taste delicious but also because they are so easy to make and pretty healthy – as far as biscuits go.
It’s not the gluten free bit that makes them healthy, although it does come in handy with the current popularity of eating ‘gluten free’. No, what makes them healthy is the fibre and unsaturated fats from the almonds – essential for beautiful skin, hair and nails, girls!
In this recipe I have reduced the sugar by almost half. Most amaretti recipes use equal proportions of ground almonds and sugar but they taste just as good with less.
With this recipe your hands are your utensils – no mixing spoons. It’s a little like re-living that wonderful childhood pastime of squishing mud between your fingers. Just make sure you don’t have to answer your phone! Pop them into the oven for five minutes and you have the perfect treat for the lunchbox or with a strong Italian coffee.
400g pack ground almonds
2 small cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Dash almond essence
4 egg whites (I make custard with the leftover egg yolks)
Mix almonds and sugar in a large bowl with your hands. Add essences, then egg whites. Mix with hands. (It feels all squidgy like a kid playing in mud!)
Sprinkle icing sugar on bench. Roll a portion of almond mix into a sausage shape. Coat in icing sugar. Cut into 2cm pieces.
Place baking paper on flat trays. Stand each biscuit upright on tray and press down with fingers to make a nice, uneven shape.
Bake at 170-180 5-6 minutes until just beginning to crack
“How can I use up this quinoa?” I asked my good friend. A bag of the stuff sat in my pantry, a brown paper reminder of a moment of inspired healthiness while browsing the health food shop. Weeks later, my good intentions still sat there, waiting for me to be re-inspired. And inspired I finally was, not by my friend’s suggestions but by the recipe book she bought me as a present.
I flicked through the recipes, salivating at the gorgeous food photography and mentally noting which ones I would try first. Then one caught my eye: Spiced Vegetable Couscous. I love roast vege salad and usually toss it with red wine vinegar. This recipe has the added fibre and flavour of chick peas, mint, coriander, tzatziki and a Moroccan spice mix called ras el hanout (paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, turmeric, fennel, allspice, cardamom, dill, galangal, nutmeg, caraway, black pepper, cloves, rose petals and much more) which I bought at Herbies, a dedicated spice shop, just up the road in Rozelle, Sydney.
It’s Boxing Day and I’m sitting on a picnic rug in the Botanic Gardens overlooking the beautiful Sydney Harbour. We’re here to catch a glimpse of the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race – one of the most dangerous yacht races in the world. Helicopters buzz overhead while a myriad of vessels laden with well-wishers swarm around the racing yachts as they sail up the harbour and out to sea. We’re also here for a picnic of Christmas leftovers – prawns, baguette, cherries, Christmas mince tarts, chocolates (Santa was overly generous with the chocolates this year), and terrine.
Terrines look like hard work but are really quite easy to make. You make it one or two days in advance and on the day, simply take it from the fridge, slice and serve – ideal for a warm southern hemisphere Christmas.
Last night I marinated some lean lamb back straps in caramelized balsamic vinegar and orange juice, then pan-fried them and served them over rocket leaves accompanied by hummus, tomato, cucumber and mint salsa, and flat bread.
It was my attempt to honor the night before Good Friday when the Jewish people celebrate Passover. Lamb, bitter greens (rocket), vinegar and flat bread (no yeast) are just some of the foods that remind the Jewish people of their miraculous escape from Egypt thousands of years ago.
It is also a significant meal for people who celebrate Easter because Jesus would have eaten similar foods as he celebrated Passover with his friends on the night before he was arrested and killed.
Religion aside, this Middle Eastern food combination is a lovely, relaxed way to start the Easter weekend. Enjoy!
2 lamb back straps
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup caramelized balsamic vinegar (If you use plain balsamic, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar)