food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘walnuts

meringue cake with strawberries

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Cindy made this Mostachon (big moustache), a speciality of Monterey in Mexico. The cake has a deliciously chewy walnut meringue base and a rich cream cheese topping which droops around the edges – hence the name? It’s always served with fruit, in this case it was strawberries.

Preheat oven to 170°C (340ºF). Grease and line the base of a 22cm (9″) springform cake pan. Using an electric mixer, whisk 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks. Continue whisking while adding 1⅓ cups of caster sugar, a little at a time until you have stiff peaks. Add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and combine. Fold in 150g (5.3 oz) of plain sweet crushed biscuits and ⅓ of a cup of crushed walnuts, then spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and dry to touch. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before adding the topping. To make the topping beat 250g (8.8 oz) of cream cheese for 5 minutes until smooth then beat in 250g (8.8 oz) of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Spread this over the cake and top with sliced strawberries.

* from this recipe by Phoebe Wood



Written by michelle picker

May 1, 2019 at 12:20 am

flourless brownie

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This is rich, delicious and my favourite brownie. Easy to make too.

Melt together 200g (7 oz) of 70% dark chocolate, 650g (23 oz) of butter and 50g of cocoa powder until smooth and glossy. In another bowl whip 2 large or 3 small eggs with 150g (5½ oz) of caster sugar. Add this to the chocolate mix and transfer to a baking paper-lined tray. Press walnuts into the mix (optional) and bake in a moderate oven until firm.

Written by michelle picker

April 10, 2019 at 12:06 am

honey walnut cheesecake with figs cooked in ouzo

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Here’s a deconstructed cheesecake which celebrates Greek flavours. A simple and elegant way to serve cheesecake as a dessert for a dinner party.

At least a few hours before or even the night before, strain 500g of Greek-style yoghurt. Place in a piece of cheesecloth or fine linen, tie together and hang over a bowl or sink, allowing the liquid to drain.

For the figs trim the hard stem from 16 whole dried figs and place them in a saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of hot water and leave to soak for 1 hour. Add ½ a cup of ouzo, 1 cinnamon stick and a large strip of orange zest. Bring to boil over high heat then reduce to medium and cook until the figs are plump and soft. Remove from the stove and allow to cool.

For the crumb preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Combine ½ a cup of oats, ½ a cup of almond meal, ½ a cup of walnuts, ⅓ of a cup of dark brown brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter and (if using unsalted butter) ¼ of a teaspoon of fine grain sea salt. Process everything in a food processor until you have a medium crumb. Spread onto a baking tray and bake until golden brown. Set aside to cool. 

For the cheesecake blend 250g of cream cheese, 1 cup of the strained yoghurt, ¾ of a cup of honey, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch sea salt. The consistency should be firm enough to pipe. 

To assemble, place 2 tablespoons of crumb into the bottom of each glass. Pipe in the cheesecake mixture then top with some figs, either whole or in segments. 

Written by michelle picker

August 1, 2018 at 12:19 am

Posted in cakes & desserts

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miso chicken with grapes and walnuts

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Another unexpected and delicious combination of flavours in this recipe from (of course) Yotam Ottolenghi.

In a large bowl combine 80g (2¾oz) of white miso paste, 40g (1½oz) of finely grated ginger, 4 tablespoons of mirin (sweet cooking sake) and 4 tablespoons of cider vinegar. To this add 8 bone-in pieces of chicken and mix well. Cover and allow to marinate for a few hours or, ideally overnight in the fridge. Before cooking the chicken peel 12 small shallots, place them in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook fo 5 minutes before straining, cooling and cutting them in half lengthways. Place the chicken pieces on a baking tray, skin-side up, with all the marinade and place under a hot grill for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan and add the shallots, frying them on medium heat until golden brown. Add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, briefly cook to reduce then pour in 200ml (7fl oz) of white wine, 6 tablespoons of water, ½ teaspoon of salt and some white pepper and continue to cook for about 6 minutes. Add the chicken and all its cooking juices and stir gently. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken pieces to a serving dish and keep them warm. To the remaining liquid add 125g (4½oz) of walnut pieces, 80g (2¾oz) of unsalted butter, 1½ tablespoons of maple syrup and 250g (9oz) of small seedless red grapes. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes until the butter emulsifies. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Written by michelle picker

April 4, 2018 at 12:10 am

Posted in poultry & game

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torta di cioccolata

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This Italian-style flourless chocolate cake has a crisp crust, a wonderful rich dark chocolate flavour and a light, moist, melt-in-the mouth centre. I prefer my cakes not too sweet so I reduced the sugar in this recipe which comes from one of my favourite cake books, Bake your cake & eat it too! by Tamara Millstein.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and prepare a 22cm (8″) springform tin by greasing and lining the bottom with baking paper. In a heat-proof bowl over a bain marie, melt 350g (12⅓ oz) of good quality chocolate pieces and 100g (3½ oz) of chopped butter until smooth and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of dutch cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of instant coffee and set aside. In another bowl beat 5 large eggs with 220g (7¾ oz) of caster sugar until thick and pale. Add 5 tablespoons of ground walnuts and 100g (3½ oz) of walnut pieces. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Switch off the oven and leave the cake in the closed oven until completely cool. When cool, remove from the pan. Combine 1 tablespoon each of cocoa powder and icing sugar and dust the top of the cake to serve.

Written by michelle picker

October 11, 2017 at 12:26 am

mushroom, walnut and lentil loaf

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Not in the mood for meat? Here’s a high protein, gluten free loaf that everyone will enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with baking paper. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add a mirepoix of finely diced onion, celery and carrot in roughly equal portions. Cook until the onion is translucent and soft. Add 240g (8½ oz) of finely chopped mushrooms. I used Swiss brown mushrooms and added a sprinkling of powdered porcini mushroom for added flavour. Cook until the mushrooms are soft then add 2 finely diced or crushed cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Continue to cook for a few minutes more before adding ½ a cup of red lentils and 1¼ cups of vegetable stock. Cook over low heat until the lentils are soft and all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to col a little. Finally add 150g (5 oz) of crushed walnuts, 100g (3½ oz) of finely ground (instant) oats, 100g (3½ oz) of grated sharp cheddar cheese, 3 lightly beaten eggs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and press it down. Bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes until quite firm. Serve with tomato sauce and a fresh green salad.

Written by michelle picker

August 25, 2017 at 5:48 am

mushroom barley casserole + baked peppers with walnut and feta

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Here’s a hearty vegetarian meal to satisfy eaters of all persuasions.


Finely dice 2 onions and fry them over low heat in some olive oil until wilted. Add 450g (1 lb) of chopped fresh mushrooms and 7g (¼ oz) of finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have wilted then add 1 cup of dry pearl barley. Allow the barley to heat and become coated in the oil and cooking juices before adding 3 cups of boiling stock. Bake in a moderate oven until the stock has been absorbed. In a small bowl combine ½ a cup of sour cream, 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cornflour, some chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Spread this over the casserole and top with a mixture of ¼ of a cup of finely grated parmesan and 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika. Return to the oven until the topping has browned a little.


I served my casserole with these roasted peppers.


Slice 2 red and 1 yellow pepper and 3 cloves of garlic and spread them in an oven tray with ½ a cup of shelled walnut pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and top with crumbled feta. Bake until the peppers have wilted and the feta has melted.

Written by michelle picker

November 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm