whatever, but am itching to step into my kitchen for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging.
Weekend Herb Blogging, which is started by our lovely Kalyn, has taught me a great deal about herbs, vegetables, fruits, flowers and the like. Actually I also want to thank a good pal of mine, Gattina, who is the one who ‘got’ me into WHB. With a beautiful herb garden and innovative food ideas, coupled with her excellent photography, Gattina produces the most stunning creations week after week for WHB. Who can be un-moved by her passion for WHB?
For this week’s WHB, hosted by Pookah of What’s Cooking in Carolina, I chose to use a nut- almond.
An almond is not a herb, or vegetable, you might be thinking. So how does it fit into WHB’s theme? True, almonds are neither herbs or vegetables. But almonds are actually the seeds of the fruits of almond trees. Almond trees belong to the same family as the apricot, plum and peach trees. The most striking difference is that while these trees bear fruits with the juicy and succulent pulp which we love so much, the almond tree has fruits with a brown hard shell that encases the almond ‘seed’ within.
I am a lover of almonds, I always snack on a handful of dry roasted almonds, au naturel. I love them for their rich, buttery ‘nuttiness’. Many people shun almonds(or rather nuts in general e.g. walnuts, peanuts etc) because of their high fat content. But do you know that the fats in almonds are actually the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which have a role in lowering cholesterol? Besides that, almonds pack a bunch of beneficial vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and anti-oxidants. But if you’re on a calorie-sensitive diet, it might be a good idea to eat almonds in moderation.
So what did I do with almonds this time? Friands is the answer. Friands are small cakes made from ground almonds, egg whites, flour, butter and sugar. Traditional friands are baked in special friand molds, but I just used the usual muffin cups, and they turn out fine too.
This is a quick recipe, which once again, I modified from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 2. You just need a sauce pot for melting the butter, and the rest can be mixed with a whisk. Fresh berries can also be added into these soft and nutty cakes, though I chose to dress it up in black and blue.
Friand with chocolate sauce and sugared blueberries.
Quite messy to eat, but I hope no one’s complaining :p
Friands (adapted from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 2)
Makes 5 regular muffin-size cakes
90g sifted icing sugar
40g plain flour
55g ground almond
¼ tsp baking powder
90g egg whites
For serving (entirely optional)
Blueberries, or other berries you desire
Melted dark chocolate
1) Melt butter over low heat in a pot until completely melted. Continue to heat for another two minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
2) Combine icing sugar, flour, ground almond and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk to mix well.
3) Add egg whites to the flour mixture and stir to mix. Then add the cooled melted butter and mix until everything is combined.
4) Spoon into greased/lined muffin cups* and bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for about 20-25 minutes until a light golden brown. Be careful not to overbake.
5) Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve.
Note: if you are using a 6-cup muffin tin, fill the last empty cup halfway with water before placing the tin into the oven to prevent the tin from smoking.