Walking through a delicatessen is like suddenly entering a bazaar filled with alluring, high-end treats from the far-off corners of the world.
While the fancy granolas, nut butters and grainy crackers all call your name, with such a hefty price tag, you’re more likely to walk out empty handed than with a $20 bag of cinnamon and orange granola.
Your food dreams have been answered: you can create your own gourmet food using cheap ingredients with these three recipes from Real Food Projects by Kate Walsh.
These sweet and savoury recipes are easy and make for lovely gifts for friends and loved ones (or yourself).
Pear, Hazelnut and Ginger Granola
Makes one litre jar.
If granola served with natural yoghurt, fruit and honey is your cafe breakfast go-to, prepare to be thrilled. This cafe-style granola recipe, with its rich sweetness from the pear and honey, will make you swoon.
"Learning the simple art of making granola will wean you off supermarket breakfast cereals forever. And there is something so satisfying about the sweet smell of toasty granola fresh out of the oven," Walsh said.
- 1 free-range egg white
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 tablespoon light-tasting vegetable oil
- 90g (¼ cup) honey
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 145g (1½ cups) rolled (porridge) oats (not the instant or quick-cooking variety)
- 100g (½ cup) quinoa
- 40g (¼ cup) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 75g (½ cup) hazelnuts, skins removed, roughly chopped
- 135g (¾ cup) dried pears, diced
- 110g (½ cup) unsugared crystallised ginger, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line a large baking tray with baking paper. It’s best to use a tray that has sides, so the granola doesn’t spill out everywhere.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white and water until slightly foamy. Add the oil, honey and vanilla extract and give it a good stir.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the dried pear and ginger. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, making sure all the ingredients are well coated.
- Evenly spread the mixture over the lined baking tray, making sure the layer is no more than 1cm thick, otherwise the granola won’t crisp up nicely.
- Toast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, then break into small pieces, into a large clean bowl. Mix the dried pears and ginger through.
- Transfer to a large jar or airtight container and store in the pantry. The granola will keep for up to one month.
Maple Peanut Butter
Gourmet nut butters are ridiculously expensive, but not when you make them yourself. Home-made nut butters are not only affordable and easy to make, they also boast more flavour and depth compared to regular store-bought varieties.
"Grab a handful of nuts or seeds, roast them, blend them with some honey and spices and you’ll end up with the most luscious, sweet spread that is just waiting for a thick slice of toast -- or, if you are like me, simply a spoon," Walsh said.
Makes one 280ml jar.
- 280g (2 cups) unsalted roasted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
- Place the peanuts in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast until just golden, but do not let them brown. The peanuts will take about 10 minutes.
- Let them cool slightly, then place in a food processor. Add the sea salt and maple syrup and blend for five minutes, or until smooth. Be patient as the nuts or seeds will take the full five minutes to transform from powder to crumbs to clumps, and then to a smooth butter. If after 5–7 minutes the butter isn’t a lovely smooth paste, add an additional tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
- Using a spatula, scrape your nut butter out of the food processor, into a clean jar. Screw the lid on tightly.
- The nut butter will keep on the shelf for up to one month, or in the fridge for up to two months. If you store it in the fridge, bring it to room temperature before using, to make it easier to spread.
Crackers dipped in hummus is the ultimate healthy savoury snack. Instead of going for store-bought crackers -- or gobsmackingly expensive fancy ones -- try these delicious, cheap and easy crackers.
"This is a basic recipe, so feel free to play around with the toppings -- smoked salt, different chillies, seeds, dried herbs and spices. Roasting the spices in a small frying pan will really intensify their taste, so please don’t skip this step," Walsh said.
Makes eight crackers.
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 150g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 60ml (¼ cup) water, plus 3 teaspoons extra
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- small frying pan
- large mixing bowl
- wooden spoon
- rolling pin or large bottle
- 2 baking trays, lined with baking paper
- wire cooling rack
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
- In a small frying pan, gently toast the spices over low heat until they are fragrant; this should take about 30 seconds. There is no need to use any oil. This step is important as it brings out the beautiful flavours of the spices.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, oil and 60ml (¼ cup) water, using a wooden spoon, until just combined. The mixture should be a little sticky and shaggy; you may need to add a little extra water, say about three teaspoons, depending on the flour and humidity.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured work bench, then knead for about a minute, or until the dough comes together; it should have the texture of a soft playdough. The best thing about this dough is that you can’t overwork it. Mixing it only a little will give you a flaky cracker; work it a lot and the crackers will be more uniform in texture.
- Shape the dough into a log about 30cm and cut into eight pieces. Using your rolling pin, roll each piece into an oblong shape that looks like a crocodile’s snout. They should be as thin as a piece of paper. If they are too thick, they will be doughy, not crispy. They will also stretch a little more when you transfer them to the baking tray.
- Sprinkle each piece of dough evenly with the salt and the toasted spices. Gently roll the rolling pin over the top to make sure the spices are incorporated and don’t fall off when they are cooked.
- Transfer to baking trays lined with baking paper. Brush with a little olive oil, then prick all over with a fork, to stop air bubbles forming. Bake for 6–8 minutes, or until they are golden.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack. When cooled, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the pantry. The crackers are best consumed within two weeks.
Recipes and images from Real Food Projects by Kate Walsh (Murdoch Books) available now in all good bookstores and online.