Tahini, Cacao and Chestnut Fudge

It’s been a very busy time over here behind the scenes working several projects for print, and now Christmas has come and gone and I can hardly believe it. I must admit, I completely switched off over the Christmas break to enjoy time with family in London, but I didn’t want the holiday to pass without sharing this lovely recipe I made as edible gifts this Christmas for those who have meant so much to me this past year. I always think that a home made gift is a fun and personal way to say thank you. I recently tried and loved a fudge recipe by Susan Jane White and have adapted it slightly here because I had some chestnut puree in the cupboard. So here it is, a delicious (and surprisingly healthy) Tahini, Cacao and Chestnut Fudge to make for your holiday gifts this year, and the year round too because they’re so sweet.

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3 tbsp coconut oil
175g good quality tahini
200g chestnut puree
3 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tsp sea salt

Melt the coconut oil gently in a small pan. Stir in the chestnut puree until well combined. Turn the heat off and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a square or rectangle tin or dish (lined with baking paper) and press it down to fill the corners with a spatula and smooth over the top of the fudge. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt and cacao nibs and put it in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

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When the fudge is ready you can press out stars as I did or simply cut into cubes and I gave mine a dusting of edible gold glitter, just because it was Christmas. Thank you Holly (interior stylist and photographer over at Avenue Lifestyle) for these gorgeous images.

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year. I hope the coming year is one filled with much love and happiness, and a little bit of fudge.

x

Recipe and Styling: Ajda Mehmet | Photography: Holly Marder (Avenue Lifestyle)

Chia Pink Grapefruit Breakfast

Here’s a little post of a new favourite breakfast recipe I’ve been making a lot these days.

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Usually I eat pink grapefruits for breakfast by slicing them in half, loosening the segments with a knife, sprinkling lots of sugar over and eating with a spoon. Delicious but not so nutritious with all that sugar. This version is somewhat healthier, (if like me you ate way too much cheese over Christmas), and also serves as a second alarm clock with the ginger, grapefruit, mint and passion fruit combo giving you a big slap around the face.

Serves 2

4 tablespoons chia seeds

1 pink grapefruit

100 ml milk (you can use coconut or almond if you prefer)

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon honey

2cm piece of ginger, finely grated

1 passion fruit

Fresh mint leaves

Start with the chia seeds in a bowl. Segment the grapefruit holding it over the bowl of chia seeds so that you catch all the juices, (this youtube video shows you exactly how it’s done). Add the milk, desiccated coconut, honey and ginger, mix well together and set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you’re not a morning person. When you’re ready to eat, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp, add some fresh mint and that is it!

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Give it a try, it’s perfect for an on-the-go breakfast, you can make it in advance and take it to work in a flask or plastic container. It makes a lovely change from porridge and is much more filling than a juice or smoothie. Add your own favourite flavours if you’re not a fan of pink grapefruit and ginger. try mashing a banana into it or some raspberries, replace the grapefruit juice with orange juice, whatever takes your fancy!

Hope your 2015 is off to a great start x

Images | Ajda Mehmet

Roasted Squash and Lentil Soup

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Turkish lentil soup or mercimek çorbasi is one of those dishes that reminds me of being a kid. A sick kid come to think of it. My mum used to always make this for my sisters and I when we were feeling ill. Maybe that’s why I love it so much because it was always served with buttery toast and lots of sympathy? Anyway, it was and still is one of my favourite, most comforting things to eat. My mum’s version is the best although I do love to squeeze loads of extra lemon on top of mine. This Instagram post seemed to be a big hit recently with lots of lovely feedback from people that tried it out and loved it so I thought I’d share the recipe here. It’s just so easy and tasty, all year round in my opinion but especially now that it is much colder.

Not that mercimek çorba needs any pimping (it’s a world of goodness for the soul all on its own), this roasted squash alternative, if you will, brings this humble soup recipe to a whole new level. If you are 1 or 2 persons I advise making this whole batch as its keeps in the fridge for a few days.

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Roasted Squash and Lentil Soup

Serves 6-8

You will need:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes

1 large carrots, peeled and halved

2 onions, peeled and quartered

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

Handful of thyme

Olive oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

200g red lentils

2 litres of bone broth or chicken or vegetable stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

To garnish:

Crème fraîche

Hemp seeds

Garden cress

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Toss all of the prepared vegetables and sprigs of thyme into a large roasting tray, drizzle generously with some good olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, turning halfway through, until all of the vegetables are soft and have begun to singe and caramelise on the edges.

When the roasted vegetables have about 20 minutes left to cook, you can make a start on the lentils. Place a large, heavy-based saucepan on a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the garam masala, cumin, cayenne, coriander and paprika and stir with a wooden spoon for about a minute. Add the lentils and continue to stir and cook for a further minute until all the lentils are coated in the spices and oil. Pour in your stock, increase the heat to high and bring the lentils to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat back down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

At this stage your roasted vegetables should be ready. Add the entire contents of the roasting tray to the lentils, sprigs of thyme and all, pour in the lemon juice, stir well to combine and cover and cook for a further 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to take on the flavour of all of the spices. Once the soup is ready set it aside to cool for about half an hour.

You can use a hand blender or a regular blender to purée the soup, although you may need to do it in batches if using the latter. Once the soup has been blitzed and is completely smooth, taste it and season well with sea salt and cracked black pepper. To garnish, sprinkle over some hemp seeds and garden cress and a generous dollop of crème fraîche

Lovely served with sliced, crusty bread, toasted with grated gruyère cheese!

Here’s me perfecting the dollop! All in a days work…

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These images are the result of another inspiring collaboration with Holly {Avenue Lifestyle}. We headed to Belgium together to meet Christian Kocx, owner of online shop Mooi Goed (selling contemporary design home accessories), to shoot his stunning home. Well Holly did that part, I tucked myself away in the kitchen roasting veggies and making soup. You can read all the lovely things Holly wrote about this soup here, she’s a keeper that one. Thank you Christian and family for letting me take over your kitchen and Holly your house!

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Hope you like this one! x

CREDITS | Images Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle}

Amsterdam

There is this never-ending list on my phone of places I need to go to eat and drink coffee in. I had a similar list when I lived in Dublin but it was somewhat shorter and easier to keep up with. Amsterdam, not so much. It’s been 5 months now and this love affair continues where I am eager to discover everything there is to know, head-in-the-clouds happy, still overlooking the daily displeasures, (namely the fact that it is 0 degrees outside and I don’t want to get on my bike), that aside, my list continues to grow.

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Just over a month ago, I wrote an article for Image Interiors and Living Magazine about a few of my foodie favourites that I have managed to tick off my list since moving to Amsterdam. It was only available to buy in Ireland so for those of you that haven’t seen it yet I thought I’d share it with you here. The lovely Rincy (who took all of the beautiful photos for the article) and I literally ate our way around the city during the few days that she was here and it was awesome!

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There was also a mini Insta-Amsterdam version you can see on Image Daily here.

Still loving and regularly visiting Headfirst Coffee Roasters, Scandinavian Embassy, SLA, Hollandaluz and Daalder.

Hot on my list right now are Paper Planes (pictured below), CT Coffee and Coconuts and Vinnies Deli (pictured below).

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Looking forward to trying Jacketz next after reading what Amsterdam Foodie wrote.

Here’s to cosying up and comfort-eating our way through this winter that is about to hit x

CREDITS | Images 1, 2, 3 Rincy Kosy | 4, 5 Image Interiors and Living | 6, 7 Ajda Mehmet

From Orchard to Table; My Favourite Crumble

The first thing I ever made my boyfriend was apple crumble. He LOVES it. I think I’m pretty sure that if he had to choose between me or apple crumble, he’d pick apple crumble. Truth. Apple is his favourite, but he’ll accept apple and pear, apple and blackberry or rhubarb at a push. Me, on the other hand, well I’d choose any other dessert before a fruit crumble, usually something creamy and chocolatey like tiramisu, ooh, or maybe something really lemony like tarte au citron, yummm! It’s not so much that I dislike it, I just much prefer other things when given the choice, hence why I don’t make it as often as he’d like.

When Holly of Avenue Lifestyle and Anouschka Rokebrand asked me to collaborate on an Orchard to Table shoot and create a dessert using the freshly plucked apples and pears from De Olmenhorst, it had to be crumble. In an attempt to make a version I’d enjoy eating as much as he does (if that is even possible), and something slightly different, this is what I came up with. But first the orchard and the gorgeous Lisa (our model).

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Fresh from the orchard, I got busy baking whilst Holly did what she does best styling and making my kitchen and the table setting look absolutely gorgeous whilst Anouschka worked her magic capturing everything so beautifully.

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This crumble is light and fresh tasting, not heavily spiced with cinnamon, with a unique twist which makes it really special. I favour a traditional crumble topping of flour, brown sugar and butter, so as to show off the filling, if you prefer it crunchier you could easily add some oats, muesli or nuts.

Apple and Pear Crumble with Orange and Rosemary

Serves 6-8

For the filling

Juice and zest of half an orange

3 large elstar apples, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

2 large pears, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

50g salted butter

1 tbsp salted caramel or dulche de leche

50g soft light brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Large sprig of rosemary

For the crumble

200g plain flour

150g salted butter, diced into 1cm cubes

100g soft light brown sugar

2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

50g dark chocolate chips/drops

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Starting with the filling, add all of the ingredients into a wide pan and place on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Remove the sprig of rosemary, tip the mixture into an ovenproof pie dish (approx 7”x10”) and set aside.

To make the crumble, place the flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it looks like crumbs and the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Stir in the finely chopped rosemary. Spoon half of the crumble mixture over the apples and pears. Sprinkle the chocolate drops evenly over the crumble and then cover with the remaining half of the crumble mixture.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until bubbling and golden on top. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

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Myself, Anouschka, Lisa and Holly (as seen here and here), have all been converted, but we probably don’t count! Would love for you to try it and let me know what you think. Perfect winter weekend comfort food x

 

For more on this shoot you can have a look at Holly’s post here and Anouschka’s post, including beautiful film images, here.

CREDITS | Styling and Concept: Holly Marder (Avenue Lifestyle) | Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand | Recipe and Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet | Model: Lisa Groothuijzen | Location: De Olmenhorst | Table Linen and Tea Towel: Dille & Kamille | Cream Plate: Hélène Millott Furnishings

Shakshuka

Nothing sweeter than breakfast with best girls. I’m not talking about your average brunch, NOPI does it best, extra special. Ottolenghi’s french toast with star anise sugar and orange yoghurt still has me drooling and I have been making it that way ever since. Sometimes I use a combination of cinnamon and mixed spice (allspice) sugar but, for me, french toast without a little sweetness just doesn’t cut it!

There are times when I only want a savoury breakfast. I definitely have an unhealthy addiction to eggs, I eat far too many, any which way, with every meal pretty much. Shakshuka is best when I’m not starving and I make the time (not that it takes long to make), all store cupboard ingredients and super easy too.

I use Ottolenghi’s recipe from Jerusalem except I leave out the peppers and a couple of other little changes.

Serves 2

Olive oil

1 large onion, halved and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 tsp tomato purée

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp sugar

200ml water

2 large eggs

3 tbsp thick yoghurt (I use Turkish)

Pinch of cumin

Drop of balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. When the onions have softened and are beginning to colour add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, cumin and sugar and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the water, increase the heat until it begins to boil and then reduce it slightly and let it simmer away and thicken for about 10 minutes. Taste and season with plenty of sea salt and pepper. Crack in two eggs and simmer gently until the whites are fully cooked and the yolk is still runny. Serve with a couple of dollops of yoghurt. I use Turkish yoghurt as it has a sharper flavour and I also mix in a pinch of cumin and a drop of balsamic vinegar. Serve with some crusty bread and fresh parsley if you have it.

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And my recent Instagram post

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It’s All In The Details

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This sole image was the inspiration behind the colour scheme I wanted for my contact cards and logo design. Ahem, the colour scheme was the only thing I was sure of but, being the true talent that she is, Belinda Love Lee just ‘got me’, what I wanted and I could not be happier.

For anyone wondering whether to invest in a designer or illustrator, I’ll just say this. Every single person I have given a card to has hovered over it, run their fingers over the cotton paper and letterpress and commented on how lovely they are. More than just a card with some details on, I really can’t recommend her highly enough.

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In case you need to see a little more, these three ladies that I adore have also had the Belinda Love Lee treatment Rincy, CiaraNathalie and the results are gorgeous!

Seeing as though I’m a little obsessed at the moment, and in keeping with my favourite colour scheme, here’s a shot from a recent shoot with Holly and Anouschka, it’s a P E A C H!

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Image credits: Tumblr | Belinda Love Lee | Anouscka Rokebrand