Friday, December 08, 2006

Nuts? Fruits? Seeds?

Firstly, I want to say a BIG thanks to all of you who sent me get-well wishes for the past week. I truly appreciate all your concern and kindness. I’m still nursing a cold/flu/
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

55g butter
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.


Anonymous said...

Donna Hay's recipes are so reliable, this looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

U got the pregnant lady here drooling all over Angie! :P

U take care yeah!

Nabeela said...

that looks delicious! Everybody seems to be baking from Donna Hay books these days :)

Gattina Cheung said...

You're right Angie! Almond is the most healthy amongst other nuts (but as you pointed out, moderation is another key)!
I just can't take my eye off the beautiful layout you made for WHB, and the glazing, and the cute cakes...!!!
Angie, thank you so much for your kind words :D... My computer's crushed (again, urgh!), luckily my hubby's just restored but somehow can't get me my old photo-editing program... I'm struggling with a new one; so sure if I can submit my WHB on time...

Edith said...

wow this looks yummy leh. Donna's recipes seems to be getting really good reviews.

WhItE_PoPlAr said...


Beautiful post! What a coincidence I also chose a Donna Hay's recipe for this week WHB! :)

Anonymous said...

Looks soooo good to eat :)

Anonymous said...

angie!! I'll be back this round! :) See u soon ya? :) Let u know the date via email... ;) hugz!

Sammy said...

Omg almonds! My favourtie nuts! (actually no, I'm equally crazy over cashews, but tt's not the point) Anyway, almond cake! wahaha I bet it would taste nice... too bad I can't really practice moderation around nuts, always finishing alot and feeling really sinful after tt.

Unknown said...

Brilynn, thanks! It tastes good too :)

Sherie, :p. You must take care too okie?

Nabeela, guess it's because her recipes are usually quick to whip up and delish to eat :)

Gattina, thanks for your kind words too :)
Oh dear, no wonder I was wondering how come no WHB post from you this week. Hope your PC can be up and running you'll manage to get used to the new program soon.

Edith, yup yup.

Anh, thank you! Maybe we have 'telepathy', hee...

Anne, thank you too!

Grace, yah yah, let me know okay? :) :)

Haha, YD, looks like you're a nut-lover :p

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie, I tried the carrot cake recipe you mentioned some time ago. But my didn't turn out as fluffy and moist as yours look. My was rather dense and dry. I'm not sure where I got the recipe wrong. For the grated carrot, do you measure them in terms of cup as stated in the recipe?

Unknown said...


Sorry to hear the carrot cakes didn't turn out well. Yes I measured one-and-a-half cup of carrots, which came up to 120g(for half recipe). But for all the other ingredients I converted them into grams. The reason for this is I don't know how much in grams the carrots will weigh, so I used cup measure and check the weight at the same time. Hope I'm making sense here?
Hmm, anything else I can help with? Maybe if you are interested, can give this recipe a try again using grams measurements?

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie,

Nice cake. Makes me crave for chocolate cake by looking at it. *slurp*


Anonymous said...

Welcome back, hope your feeling better and get to 100% again soon.

Anonymous said...

that chocolate must have been melted at exactly the right temperature to make it look so glossy. just perfect!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie, I tried the recipe in terms of gram measurements too. And like you, I measure 1 1/2 cup of grated carrots. Really wonder what wrong. 1 stick of butter is 110g?

For how long did you beat the batter after adding the carrot?
The recipe only uses baking soda right?

Anonymous said...

Your photos are amazing, I could print them and eat them!

Kalyn Denny said...

Very lovely, and they sound delicious. I'm a huge almond fan myself.

Unknown said...

Jennifer, thank you for your kind words. And also thanks for dropping by :)

D, thanks. I hope to get to 100% soon too!

Anna, thank you for your kind words :)

Yup, 1 stick butter is 110g. After the carrot, I probably only beat on LOW speed for about one min or so, just to mix everything together. Baking soda is also carrot. Hmm, I really cannot figure out why too, maybe I should give it a try again, coz I've only made these once...

Anna Haight, thanks for your visit, and for your kind compliments :)

Kalyn, thanks! We can form a "Almond Fan Club". :p