DIY Nut butters

Nut butter I absolutely refuse to buy nut butters from shops now that I know how easy it is to make my own without all that extra processed crap in it. I like to do this with any left over baking nuts I have. I’m using ground almonds here, but you can apply this to cashews, walnuts, desiccated coconut…mmmm…

Almond butter:
100 g approx. ground almonds
a pinch of sea salt flakes

Just look at that ingredient list! Two! I mean, if you’re being fancy sure you can probably add honey or maple syrup and cinnamon…but you know: Keep it simple stupid (for now anyway).

Get your oven to 170°C, line a baking tray with some parchment and spread the nuts evenly exposing as much of them to the heat of the oven. Pop them in for about 10 minutes and keep checking to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let them cool to room temperature.

Now whack the nuts and the pinch of salt into a food processor and blendity blend blend. Ground almonds and desiccated coconut take literally a couple of minutes to turn into the gooey loveliness, you can even use a hand blender I’ve found. You might need to use a rubber spatula occasionally to *scrape* *blend* *scrape* *blend*. For larger bits of nuts you’ll need a stronger food processor, but don’t doubt the process! Give your nuts at least 10 minutes and I promise they’ll go from chopped nuts to the magical joy of blended deliciousness.

Salted Caramel Sauce

salted caramel sauce

Good grief. Do you know what I realised? Minikin Kitchen is 1 year old today! It’s been an interesting experiment into cooking and blogging. I just discovered a recipe of mine doing the rounds on Pinterest which is rather exciting. As I started this thing on Halloween and I’m prepping some treats for a Halloween party tomorrow, I thought I’d post something that I just knocked up. Be warned this stuff is way too ‘I’ll just dip my pinky into it’ addictive and anyone *anyone* who tells you they don’t like salted caramel is a bloody liar.

Salted Caramel:
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
110g butter
1/2 cup double cream
1 tbsp sea salt flakes

On medium to high heat, get a heavy bottomed stove on and melt your sugar. With a metal spoon, only stir the sugar occasionally to help it all dissolve evenly. If you want to use a sugar thermometer, you want this to reach 175°C but I have to admit, I kinda eyeballed this. You want it a rich golden brown colour and basically don’t want it to burn. Once it reaches the desired temp, add the butter and double cream and stir well. Now add the salt and set this aside to cool.

The temperature of the sugar really dictates the viscosity of this sauce, you’ll notice I’ve made a bit on the fudgy side, but if you want a runnier constancy add more double cream. I basically add this to most things. I drizzle it over yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, filled macarons with it…I even put it in the freezer to firm up and rolled little salt caramel balls and stuffed them in homemade chocolate truffles (stroke of genius if I do say so myself).

Addictive and indulgent. A fitting birthday post.

Golden Prawns – 黃金蝦 – Prawns stir fried with salted egg yolks

黃金蝦

I few posts ago I mentioned my Auntie Ann who is a great home cook, and I realised I had to learn how to make her lotus root fritters once I went back to visit the family in Hong Kong. So since I’m here at the moment, I asked her about a cooking lesson and she was so pleased I wanted to learn, that a date was quickly set. It was only a couple of days ago that I had the pleasure of not only making said lotus root delights but also this particularly scrummy prawn dish. For those uninitiated to the salted egg yolks stir fried with prawns, I can imagine that it’s actually a pretty bizarre taste sensation. It’s creamy, mushy, salty, deliciously prawny & and has a texture a bit like wet earth. This is from the preserved salted egg yolks and it’s the earthy sensation that actually makes them *good* so don’t be too alarmed next time you try this dish at a decent Chinese restaurant. I learned loads of new techniques and was even more impressed that my Aunt can churn out all this great food on just a two hob stove in a kitchen a third the size of my own mini proportions back in London.

To make this dish you want to buy some salted eggs from your local Chinese supermarket and you’ll need about 1 salted egg yolk per 2 big ass prawns. We had six prawns between the two of us. Oh, and I guess I should give a bit of a warning here: this dish is absolutely loaded with cholesterol. But that’s what makes it so utterly delicious.

Golden Prawns:
6 large prawns with their shells still on
3 salted eggs
1 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil - not olive oil
2 tbsp corn flour
couple of pinches white pepper
1 tbsp butter

Depending on what type of salted eggs you buy (or you know, you can make your own), they are raw inside so you want to clean off the charcoal stuff before you cook with them. Crack your salted eggs into a plate and steam them for around 15 minutes until the egg yolks are just cooked. When they are done, remove the yolks from the egg whites and put them in a small bowl. Using a metal spoon, gently cut each yolk in half and remove and discard this hard pea sized nubbin from inside (removing this is actually optional, it’s just a harder piece of yolk, my mum says keep it in – meh – sisters will disagree). With the same metal spoon roughly chop the yolks – you want nice bits to chew on so nothing smaller than a centimetre cubed. Save for later on.

Wash and prep your prawns*. Use a pair of scissors and trim the legs off, cut off the sharp front part off the head – chop off about about half an inch- and trim a bit off the tail. At the bit of the prawn where the head meets body, make about a half an inch incision along the top of the the body and remove a bit of that section either side of the body. This helps keep the prawn intact as most of it’s shell is still holding it together, but also gives the yummy egg mixture a chance to get to flavour the fleshy bits of the prawn. Now use a small paring knife and tease the black vein out of the prawn. Rinse and pat dry the now cleaned and prepped prawns with a paper towel. Stir the corn flour with a couple of pinches of white pepper and dust dust dust each prawn and set them aside.

Wok on stove to high heat with a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is good and hot, stir fry your prawns until they are half cooked. Remove prawns and set aside on some kitchen roll.

Wipe down the wok. Heat to medium high. Add half a tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of butter. When the butter is at heat, get your egg yolks in and gently toss, it should all foam up and smell really nice. Carefully toss in the prawns and take the heat up high to finish it all off. You really don’t need to cook these for long you just want to coat the prawns and cook them through. Serve!

prawn illustration*Doodle of prawn prep

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