Yummy peanut and date bars (chocolate topped so extra kid-friendly!)

It’s a nice feeling giving your kids a snack and knowing exactly what is in it. These nutritious yet moreish peanut and date bars contain only roasted peanuts, dates, a little honey and some chocolate on top, and are simple to make.

peanut date bars

Peanut and date bars (makes around 10 bars)

200g unsalted peanuts
250g dates, roughly chopped
A good squeeze of honey
100g milk chocolate buttons (or more if you want it really chocolatey!)

First put the peanuts on a non-stick oven tray and roast in the oven at gas mark 2/150 degrees for approx 10 mins until golden brown (make sure you check them regularly and keep giving the tray a good shake – burnt nuts are bitter and horrible!)

Put the peanuts, dates and a good squeeze of honey in a food processor/blender and blend until the mixture is sticky and fine (you may need to do this in two batches). Cover a shallow square/rectangle shaped container with tin foil then press the mixture on to it until evenly dispersed. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (do this in short bursts to avoid burning) and pour and spread it evenly over the mixture. Refrigerate for a few hours then cut in to bars.

Keep them in the fridge – they will last a few days!

Kulfi (Indian cardamom spiced ice cream) – no ice cream maker required!

easy kulfi annum an and

I am very happy to have successfully made kulfi, an Indian style ice cream containing cardamom, which must be one of the most beautiful, delectable spices in the world. It definitely makes it in to my *exciting ingredient* list.

This kulfi is refreshing, surprisingly easy to make (95% of the work is stirring), you don’t need an ice cream maker and it tastes gorgeous and exotic. I have my sister to thank for my obsession with cardamom – she went to University in Bradford and every visit involved a trip to the Indian sweet shop.

The ice cream contains whole milk, ground almonds, rice flour, sugar and cardamom and is cleverly topped with flaked almonds and chopped pistachios to give it a little crunch. Allow about 1 hour 30 mins to make it (as I say most of this is stirring and cooling) and then at least 5-6 hours for it to freeze. It serves 4-6 people depending on what container you use – I recycled glass ramekins but you could use any small freezable container. You can get rice flour from most supermarkets now (sometimes in the gluten free section) and ground cardamom from Indian shops. If you can’t find ground cardamom you could buy cardamom pods from the supermarket and crush them. My kulfi was a little lumpy in parts when I put it in the ramekins but it still worked!

The recipe is from the inspiring book Indian Food Made Easy by Anjum Anand. It is a great book if you want to try out Indian cooking for the first time and then feel pleased with yourself! For two equally manageable and delicious recipes from the book check out these previous posts: https://katielovescooking.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/paneer-tikka-masala-authentic-curry-in-50-mins/ and https://katielovescooking.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/stupendous-halloumi-and-veg-tandoori-kebabs-with-quinoa-pilaf/.

Kulfi (serves 4-6 people)

1 litre whole milk
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp rice flour
5-6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder or crushed cardamom
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
2 tbsp flaked almonds

Heat the milk in a saucepan over a low heat and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and cook gently, stirring often. Place the ground almonds and flour in a small cup and once the milk is warm, stir in a little milk, make a thin paste and stir back in to the pan with a little sugar. Continue to cook gently as the milk needs to reduce by half – this takes about one hour. If a skin forms on the surface just stir it back in.

Stir in the cardamom powder to taste. Cool completely, then decant in to your freezable containers (you will need 4-6 depending on the size). Freeze for at least 5-6 hours and take the containers out of the freezer 20 mins before serving. Dip them for a while in hot water to loosen them (and you may need to use a knife to cut around the edge) then turn on to serving plates. Sprinkle with the nuts!

From Indian Cooking Made Easy by Anjum Anand