Breakfast, Treats & Snacks

Saffron apricots with pistachio yoghurt and mandarin sauce

Dried apricots are basically a bundle of nutrients squeezed into juicy, amber baubles. Good for all things dermal and duodenal *inappropriate wink*.

These soft saffron apricots with sticky mandarin sauce is what I am waking up to every morning this week.

 

apricots unsulphured bag

 

I noticed there’s a preposterous difference between bright orange apricots and dark apricots. The dark dried ones have no preservatives, and taste considerably better than the bright orange ones. But they are also hard on the wallet, like saffron.

Don’t go buying saffron especially for this recipe my friends. Chances are, someone you know will have a jar of saffron, and often no idea what to do with it. Go get it!

 

 

Saffron Apricots with pistachio yoghurt and mandarin sauce

A highfive for Anna Jones, who inspired this version of lickystickyummy.

 

250g dark dried apricots

a good pinch of saffron strands

Juice from 6 mandarins

1 cup Greek yoghurt

Handful of shelled pistachio

 

 

Heat the apricots, saffron and mandarin juice in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the apricots are plush. The timing will depend on how hard the apricots were in the first place. If you bought semi dried apricots, simply simmer for 5 minutes instead.

Serve right away with thick clouds of yoghurt and smashed pistachios, or cool and refrigerate until needed (for up to 8 days). Trickle in some orange blossom water for a good Persian smack, if you have some in your cupboard.

 

saffron

 

 

Treats & Snacks

Coconut & Cardamom Custard

I found a great recipe for coconut jam in The Guardian. It could have been fabliss except for the nostril-flaring amounts of white sugar. My mouth felt like a badger’s arse afterwards with all that clawing sweetness, fuzz-bombing my tongue.

Spices can add great complexity to a dish, and can happily negate the need to knock us out with sweetness. So I switched the white stuff for coconut sugar, halved the amount of sweetness, and added cardamom to make the coconut sing. The result? A requiem for MacGyver.

Coconut sugar is a great sub for anyone looking to keep blood sugars a little more subdued. We’re not looking at a health food here – just a less evil variety of sweetener than that bad white bitch. This new exotic sugar is tastier than white sugar, and sufficiently pretentious to earn bragging rights with that annoying athletic dude in your office.

 

 

christmas healthy recipes

True disciples carry little dinky pouches of coconut sugar around in their hemp-woven tote bags, to sprinkle into beverages and conversations during the day. Let’s all blame Gwynnie (a favourite hobby of my husband’s).

Coconut sugar’s unique minerally taste comes from its modest stash of, erm, minerals. There’s a snifter of potassium, iron and zinc in there, causing great pandemonium among the glitterati in LA.

Aside from its titillating nutritional profile, this is one very tasty sugar with an equally spectacular price tag. So the fantastical fairy tale ends there I’m afraid. Gram for gram, it’s more expensive than quinoa hand-harvested by Justin Bieber.

 

 

Cardamom and Coconut Custard

Serves 4

You can release your inner MacGyver too, and switch the cardamom for cinnamon or chai spices. Or a DVD boxset of The Fall. Tag me on your instagram feed so I get to highfive your genius #thevirtuoustart @susanjanekitchen

 

 

2 cardamom pods

400ml really good coconut milk (I buy mine in tetra packs at Asian stores)

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

60g – 70g coconut sugar

Squares of dark chocolate, to serve

 

 

Gently coax the black seeds from the cardamom pods. Crush with the base of a wine bottle, or something equally as lethal. Add to the coconut milk, egg yolks and coconut sugar.

You’ll need a shallow bowl to fit snugly over a saucepan of barely simmering water. The water needs to be maximum 1 inch deep. Stir with a metal whisk when the sugar has dissolved, to prevent the mixture curdling. It’s almost like making lemon curd.

Move constantly until the mixture thickens like a custard, and coats the back of a spoon – about 8 minutes. Podcasts are really useful at this stage, because you can’t neglect the cooking process, even for 10 seconds.

Pour into little pots or espresso cups, and set in a fridge. Serve with squares of pitch dark chocolate. Fab stuff.

 

 

 

Events

To you, a massive thanks

The Virtuous Tart has just been named as the best cookbook in Ireland at the Irish Book Awards.

This undercooked tart was up against many of Ireland’s food gurus, such as Diana Henry, Trish Deseine, Neven Maguire, Rachel Allen and Donal Skehan. Shocker!

I lost my voice, and a heel. (Surely the hallmark of a great night out?)

And I want to thank you very much. Yes, you. Without you, I would have no wings.

Love and peas,

xxx

 

And another honking thanks to those of you who left sweet (and funny) messages on Amazon, helping other readers make their minds up about purchasing The Virtuous Tart. Reviews are so important *highfive.*

The Irish Book Awards susan jane white winner