Sumac (also spelledsumak) is a spice derived from the flowering plant of the same name, common to Africa and North America. It's sold as a bright red powder, very similar to tandoori powder in appearance but completely difference in taste, and it gives a savoury citrus flavour to dishes. I bought mine from excellent Persian food store Persepolis (if you live in London I'd really recommend giving it a visit), but you can also get it in some supermarkets now (Waitrose being one of them).
I've been meaning to try cooking with sumac for ages, having seen it mentioned in some Ottolenghi recipes, and wondered 'what the heck is that, and where can I buy it?' (Ottolenghi being notorious for using at least one crazy/mysterious ingredient per recipe), so thought this challenge would be the perfect chance to give it a go. I went for a very simple snack dish which requires only 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper, and I think I might have found a new favourite snack. If you've never tried cooking cabbage in this way (or kale of brussel sprouts) - do it now! You won't believe how moreish the result is.
Sumac Dusted Sweetheart Cabbage Chips
Salt and pepper
For one portion (roughly the equivalent of a bag of crisps) use three large leaves. Pre-heat oven to 180oC/160oc fan. Wash and dry them with a paper towel (don't skip this step as there tend to be dead critters lurking between the leaves!). Cut out the stem, then slice into pieces. In a bowl, toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1/2 tbsp of sumac, plus a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Use your hands to make sure each piece of cabbage is coated well.
Lay pieces out on a lined baking tray - they can be touching but shouldn't overlap. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crisp and starting to brown. Eat straight away, or leave to cool and store in an airtight container.
Note: I was a bit overcautious when laying the cabbage out on the baking sheet - they really don't need as much room between each piece as pictured here. But you really MUST use a good non-stick surface, and keep a beady eye on them after the 10 minute mark as once they catch they tend to burn quite instantaneously!
Traditional flapjacks, made with butter, sugar and golden syrup or honey are one of my favourite cheap and easy snacks to bake. Being full of oats and – the way I bake them – nuts and seeds, they always feel a little healthier than cakes and biscuits. But realistically, a few oats does not a healthy treat make. So how to make them healthier? Well, this recipe gets rid of the sugary things altogether, replacing them with brown rice syrup, and instead of regular butter you’ll find nut butter and coconut manna (whole coconut in a jar, sometimes called coconut butter).
I've made ‘healthy’ versions of flapjack before, usually by substituting
some or all of the butter with apple sauce, but obviously these were still high
in sugar. Plus, you end up with something quite tasty, but far more spongy in
texture – not really anything like a traditional flapjack. This recipe,
however, is the closest I've found to that traditional chewy, crumbly flapjack
texture. The peanut butter is very subtle, with the coconut coming through more
strongly (of course, you could experiment with adding more or less coconut as
you prefer). Plus they're nice and sweet. They’re also surprising buttery in taste – I guess from the
coconut manna and nut butter.
Definitely my favourite healthier flapjack recipe to date –
and sugar-free, dairy-free and vegan to boot!
>> This recipe make a small batch of six 'fingers' of flapjack (as pictured). To bake these I used a lined 2lb loaf tin. For a bigger tray, and more flapjacks, just double the recipe.
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp fine desiccated coconut
1 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 tbsp coconut manna/butter
¼ cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 200oC/180oC fan. Line your tin of choice.
Mix the rolled oats and coconut in a large bowl.
Melt the peanut butter, coconut manna and brown rice syrup gently in a pan, stirring together. When liquid, add in the vanilla and pour over the oat mix. Stir well to combine.
Pour into the tray and use the back of a spoon to press down into an even layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just turning golden brown.
Remove from oven and cut in the tray while still warm, before moving to a wire cooling rack.
I love this skirt. It cost me the princely sum of £12 from (truly) lovely vintage shop Threads on Bellenden Road in Peckham (I really must do a Bellenden Road shopping and eating guide some day - lots of nice places to pop into). It sits high on the waist and is, er, snug but not unwearably so. You can't really see in these pictures, but it is buttoned all the way down the front and comes to just above my ankles; perfect for swishing. I've taken to wearing long, high waisted skirts with little, sleeveless tops as often as possible. A little bit predictable perhaps, but as a friend said - if you find a style that suits you why not stick with it!
p.s. if you know anywhere that does good sleeveless button up shirts (that aren't see through) let me know. I need MORE!
Not a huge amount of link love this week as a hectic schedule has left me with almost no time for catching up on blog reading. Boo. I did spot some gems on the sites I managed to read though, shared below for your clicking pleasure...
Spotted these stunners on University Park in Nottingham at the weekend when we ventured out for a stroll around the lake there. Felt a bit of a prat getting right up to the flower bed to get a good close-up, but I couldn't let them go undocumented. I think these might be my favourite flowers of Spring so far.