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Lemon sultana couscous cake recipe

Lemon sultana couscous cake recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Cakes with fruit
  • Citrus cakes
  • Lemon cake
  • Lemon loaf cake

A low fat, moist lemon loaf cake made with couscous. Lemon curd adds a nice texture and extra sweetness.

48 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 260g uncooked couscous
  • 80g sultanas
  • 260ml boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line an 1lb loaf tin with baking paper or foil. Set aside. Soak the couscous and sultanas in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon curd and lemon juice; stir into the couscous. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the centre is cooked through when you test it with a knofe or a skewer. Cool, then remove from the tin. Slice and serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(7)

Reviews in English (6)

Very unusual cake, with an interesting texture - more of a pudding than a cake. Very lemony and fresh. I enjoyed it myself and it went down well with two dieting workmates who liked the low-fat aspect. Will definitely make it again.-07 May 2012

Very easy to make and smelt very lemony but did not like the texture.-10 May 2011

Interesting texture to this cake. Nice as a change, and very easy to make. Might not make the lemon flavour again, but will be tempted to try other variations using cous cous-27 Mar 2010


Banana & Sultana Cake

I have a notebook, which I’ve called my ‘Baking Bible’. It sounds a bit twee (which it probably is) but it’s where I add baking recipes once I’ve discovered the recipe-to-end-all-recipes. There are thousands of recipes out there for the same things: millionaire’s shortbread brownies chocolate chip cookies etc. And I’ve tried a fair few. But I’ve been disappointed with many. So when I hit upon a recipe that, to me, seems to be perfect, it goes in the Baking Bible. I’m hoping *fade to black & white with soft music playing* that this notebook will be passed down the generations, and be lovingly used by future HC generations. It may even feature on an episode of Antiques Roadshow one day……

This banana cake was a recipe I got from a friend a few years back. It has the right quantity of banana, the juicy sultanas to add texture, a lovely hint of cinnamon, and is sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. If you need to use up a few ageing bananas, this is a perfect solution.

Ingredients

110g butter / buttery spread
110g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
4 bananas
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
140g sultanas

Note: I went through a stage of only using butter in my baking. I was doing the whole ‘parental guilt’ thing, worried about how much rubbish my kids eat, and thought I could at least bake with butter, then I’d be ‘filling them with goodness’.

Ha. Whatever. The buttery spreads you can buy, yes they contain some ingredients that most certainly didn’t come from a cow, but when it comes to actually baking, it’s very hard to tell the difference. Plus they’re actually easier to use as they’re already soft. And they’re cheaper. So funny old thing, I’m back to using buttery spreads in my baking. The kids will be fine. I’m sure. I hope. Anyway…

1. First off, cream together the ‘butter’ and sugar until the mixture has paled a bit. This adds air into your mixture, which will help to make the cake light, so creaming is an important step and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. I don’t kick the arse out of it, but I’ll give it a jolly good beating for about 4-5 minutes.

2. Add the eggs and give another good beating.

3. Mash three of the bananas and chop up one (in the pic I’d only sliced up the fourth banana, but do chop it up a wee bit more).

Add this to the mixture and give it a good stir.

4. Add the dry ingredients (I read recently that sifting flour for cakes is basically a waste of time, so I’ve given that up) and fold into the mixture.

Then add in the sultanas and mix.

5. Pour the mixture into a greased, lined 2lb loaf tin.

Note: I’ve got two tins, one is smaller than the second, but both pretend to be 2lb loaf tins. I put this mix into the smaller one and it was too full, so then had to pour into the second. Loaf tins can be tricky like that. I didn’t grease either as I’ve got lovely loaf tin liners for the smaller one, and as the second is silicone, it doesn’t need to be greased (but I do place it on a baking tray to make it easier to take in and out of the oven).

6. Bake this in a preheated oven of 160C (fan) for about 1 hour, checking it from around 45 minutes that a skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with loaf cakes. I love the ease – especially with the loaf tin liners, no greasing/lining, just make the batter, chuck it in the tin and bake. Simple.

However. I find baking a loaf cake a bit of a pain. They take an age to cook. I’ve reduced the temp for this recipe and increased the cooking time. It means you don’t have to worry about the cake browning too much (and thus having to cover with foil), but it does take at least an hour (mine actually took 70 minutes) and it didn’t have a lovely crunchy crisp top. If you really want your cake to have the crunchy crisp top, cook it at 180C (fan) but you’ll probably have to cover it after about 40 minutes. And it’ll still probably take around an hour. But as everyone’s ovens are different, baking is usually a bit of trial and error anyway.


This doesn’t need anything added to it – it’s not bread, so it doesn’t need butter or anything. It’s lovely just as it is.


Baked lemon cheesecake

For the base, put biscuits in a food processor and whiz until fine. Melt butter, add to biscuits and mix in the processor until well combined.

Tip the mixture into a greased 20.5cm (8in) springform tin. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the base. Chill for 1hr until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) mark 4. Grate the rind from the lemon and put aside. Halve the lemon, cut three thin slices from one half and put to one side. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl or cup.

To make the filling, put the lemon rind, lemon juice, curd cheese, soured cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cornflour into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk together until thick and smooth, then fold in the sultanas.

Pour mixture into tin and shake gently to level. Bake for 30min. Put lemon slices, overlapping, on top. Bake for another 20-25min until just set and golden brown. Turn off oven, leaving the cheesecake inside and door ajar. When cheesecake is cool, chill for at least 2hr or overnight.

Remove cheesecake from the fridge half an hour before serving. Run a knife around the edge and sit the tin on an upturned bowl. Release the side of the tin and remove. Slide a palette knife or fish slice under the base and carefully move the cheesecake on to a serving plate.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 pounds lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 pears - peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup blanched slivered almonds

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the lamb meat to the pan, and fry until just browned on the outside. Season with cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Pour just enough water into the pot to cover the meat. Cover, and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until meat is tender and the mixture is stew-like. Displace lid a little after an hour if there appears to be too much liquid.

Add the pears, golden raisins and almonds to the stew, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the pears are soft. Serve with rice.


Alison's Pantry

Thousands of New Zealanders swear by this recipe and have used it regularly since I made the cake on TV more than thirty years ago!

MAKES 1 X 23CM ROUND OR SQUARE CAKE

700g Alison’s Pantry Sultanas
500g Alison’s Pantry Raisins
250g Currants
50g mixed peel

432g can crushed pineapple in juice
3 cups high grade flour
1 tsp each cinnamon and mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
225g butter
1 cup sugar
½ tsp each vanilla, almond and lemon essences
6 large eggs
50g Alison’s Roast Unsalted Almonds, to decorate (optional).

*For a modern twist on an old classic substitute the cake mix listed above for:
Cake Mix:
200g Alison’s Pantry Select Dates, chopped
300g Alison’s Pantry Sultanas
250g Alison’s Pantry Raisins
200g Currants
200g dark chocolate drops
300g Alison’s Pantry Figs, chopped

The day before mixing the cake, put the dried fruit and undrained pineapple in a large fry pan. Cover pan, heat until liquid boils then simmer until all juice is absorbed. Leave overnight, or until cold.

Next day, combine flour and spices and set aside. In a very large bowl, cream butter, sugar and essences until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, adding 2 tablespoons of the spiced flour with each.

Stir in prepared (cold) fruit and remaining spiced flour. If mixture seems too soft, add extra flour until mixture will just drop from a spoon. Put in a lined tin, levelling the surface. Decorate with blanched almonds.

Bake at 150°C for 1½ hours, then 130°C for 2 hours longer, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Brush hot cake with ¼ cup brandy or sherry if you like.)

Note: I usually bake this cake without using fan bake.

Mango & Passionfruit Panacotta

This quickly made and delicious dessert is just the thing to serve to friends on warm summer evenings!

25 g (¼ cup) finely chopped Alison’s Pantry Sliced Mango
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
3 level tsps gelatine
2 Tbsps water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsps passionfruit pulp
1 ¼ cups cream
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chop the mango into pieces the size of passionfruit seeds. Put in a medium-sized pot with the orange juice and first measure of water and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until nearly all the liquid has been soaked up and the mango is tender. Meanwhile, mix the carefully measured gelatine with the next measure of COLD water in a small container and leave it to swell. Add the sugar and passionfruit pulp to the pot and stir gently over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatine until it melts.
Take the pot off the heat and stir the cream into the warm mixture. (If you have big enough moulds, you can add up to ¼ cup of extra cream.) After the cream is stirred in, stir in the milk and the vanilla. Stand the pot in a bigger bowl of cold water and ice blocks and cool, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens just enough to hold up the seeds and mango pieces. Pour into four cleaned, wetted small glasses or bowls, each of which holds ½ cup (or a little more). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Dip moulds in water just warm enough to soften the outer layer of each dessert, then un-mould onto flat plates. Pour a little coulis over each dessert just before serving.

MANGO AND PASSIONFRUIT COULIS

Chop 50g Alison’s Mango slices into very thin slices with scissors. Simmer with ½ cup each of orange juice and water for about 10 minutes, then puree fruit and liquid until smooth. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of passionfruit pulp, and leave to cool, then thin to pouring consistency with extra juice if necessary. Keep in a covered container until required.

Golden Christmas Cake

Celebrate our southern summer Christmas with this delicious, golden cake enriched with ground almonds and studded with crystallised tropical fruits. This is a lighter style of fruit cake.

For a 20cm square or 23cm round or square (2.25kg) cake:

1½ cups Alison’s Pantry Sliced Mango
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Pineapple Pieces
2 cups Alison’s Pantry Premium Sultanas
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Cranberries
1 cup chardonnay
¾ cup glace cherries
250g butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Ground Almonds
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp almond essence
Rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon, finely grated
1 cups high grade or bread flour
1 tsp baking powder

Pour boiling water over mango, cranberries and pineapple to soften, drain and then cut in 5mm cubes. Add washed sultanas. Simmer fruit in chardonnay in a covered frypan for 5 minutes or until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Spread in a roasting pan to cool and soak up remaining liquid. Leave several hours or overnight, then stir in cherries.

In a large bowl or food processor, beat the soft (but not melted) butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in one egg at a time, adding a spoonful of ground almonds after each. Beat in essences, remaining ground almonds and finely grated citrus rinds, then the sifted flour and baking powder. Use your hand to mix in the cold, prepared fruit.

Spread in a lined tin and bake below middle of oven. Bake 23cm (5cm high) cakes at 150°C for 45 minutes, then 130°C for about 1½ hours. Bake 20cm (6-7cm high) cakes at 150°C for 45 minutes, then 130°C for about 2 hours. (Reduce temp by 10°C for fanbake). Cakes are cooked when a skewer pushed deep in centre comes out clean. Cook longer if necessary.

For best flavour, leave a week before eating. Serve as is or ice with almond or white icing.

Storing Christmas cakes:
– Cakes should not be stored in a completely airtight container unless they are refrigerated or frozen, otherwise they may go mouldy. Rich cakes freeze well for up to six months.

– Wrap cake in greaseproof paper, clean towels or non-airtight metal tins which allow some air circulation. Never wrap until completely cold.

Date & Walnut Cake

You can’t actually see the fruit and nuts in this delicious cake, because they are so finely chopped. Serve it for dessert or for a special occasion, with coffee. (You need a food processor and beater to make it).

1 cup (150g) Alison’s Pantry Dates (chopped)
1 cup (90g) Alison’s Pantry Walnuts
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsps flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Turn oven to 180°C, or 170°C if using a fan oven.

Line the bottom of a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper and spray sides with non-stick spray. Measure the dates and nuts into a food processor. Add half of the measured sugar, the flour and baking powder then chop until dates and nuts are as fine as rolled oats. In another bowl beat the egg whites with half (2 Tbsp) the remaining sugar until their peaks turn over when the beater is lifted from them. Beat egg yolks with the rest of sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Combine the three mixtures, folding them together lightly, and turn mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the centre springs back when pressed. Leave for 10 minutes then turn onto a rack to cool.

Serve topped with whipped cream, quark or ricotta, decorated with an interesting selection of chopped dried fruit and nuts, such as dates, dried apricots, walnuts and pecans.

NOTE: This cake may be made ahead and frozen. It is best decorated within three hours of serving.

Cranberry & Orange Muffins

100g (¾ cup) Alison’s Pantry Cranberries
¼ cup water
2 oranges, rind and juice
75g butter
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 cups self-raising flour

Turn the oven to 170°C with a rack in the middle.
Put the cranberries in a microwave-proof container, pour the water over them, cover them and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take out and put aside about a tablespoon of the cranberries.
Finely grate the orange rind into the bowl with the cranberries, then squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Measure juice carefully, adding extra water if necessary to make it up to ½ cup. Add this to the cranberry mixture.
Melt the measured butter until just liquid and put it aside, meantime.
Beat the eggs until well blended in the measuring cup, and put aside, as well.
Into a large bowl (big enough to hold everything) measure the sugar and the self-raising flour. (Stir the flour in its bag with a fork, then fork or spoon some of it into a measuring cup, filling it. Level it off without banging or pressing it down. ) Toss the sugar and flour together with a fork.
Coat the muffin pan with non-stick spray or oil.
Add to the flour mixture, without stirring, the orange and cranberry mixture, the melted butter, and the mixed eggs. When everything is added, fold the liquid and dry ingredients together with a flexible stirrer, until no streaks of flour are visible. (At no time beat the mixture or the muffins will be tough and rise in peaks.)
Spoon the muffin mixture into the muffin pans using two household tablespoons. Help the mixture off the first spoon with the second spoon. Put a few of the put-aside cranberries on each muffin.
Bake the muffins at 170°C for about 12 minutes, until the muffins spring back when pressed. Leave muffins in their pan for a few minutes, so they are easy to lift out.

Christmas Panforte

This chewy, very firm, dark and compact flat cake, of Italian origin, is flavoured with chocolate, nuts and fruit. Carefully gift-wrapped it makes a dozen or so special and unusual gifts for good friends.

For about 12 – 15 servings:
75g butter
½ cup dark chocolate drops
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Blanched Almonds
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
1 cup Alison’s Pantry Pecans
1 cup dried fruit (we suggest Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots, chopped)
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Crystallised Ginger
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 150°C. Melt butter and chocolate chips together in a large bowl in the microwave oven at 50% power for 2 minutes, or over a pot of hot water. Roast nuts in a shallow baking dish as oven heats until lightly coloured, about 10 minutes. Tip hot nuts into melted chocolate mixture. Stir in your chosen dried fruit and chopped ginger.

Stir sugar and honey over low to moderate heat, until sugar dissolves. When mixture bubbles all over the surface, stir hot syrup into nut mixture.

Sift in flour, cocoa and cinnamon until blended, then pour the warm mixture into a round tin about 24cm round, or 23cm square tin with bottom and sides lined with a Teflon liner or baking paper. Pat out evenly, with a piece of plastic between the cake and your hand, if necessary.

Bake at 150°C (on fan bake if possible) for 30 – 45 minutes, or until centre looks and feels as cooked as the part 5cm from the edge. Longer cooking gives a firmer, more toffee-like cake. Mixture will feel much softer than usual for a cake, but firms on cooling. Leave at least 24 hours before cutting with a very sharp or serrated knife. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Store wrapped pieces in the refrigerator or freezer, if you are making it some weeks before it is needed.

Notes: Replace half the cocoa with same amount of extra flour for a milder chocolate flavour. Mixture contains no baking powder, soda or eggs.

Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownies

Everyone loves these! They have just the right texture and really good flavor.

¾ cup Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts
½ cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 cup standard flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup cocoa

Heat oven to 180° (or 170° fanbake) with the rack just below the middle. While it heats, lightly brown the hazel nuts on a baking tray for 5-10 minutes. (Do not overcook!) When cool, place nuts in a folded, clean tea towel and rub off the skins. Line the base and sides of a baking pan about 20cm square with baking paper.

Combine the next five ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat with a fork. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa and stir until evenly mixed. Chop the nuts as finely as you like, then stir them in, too.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean. (Don’t worry if the sides rise higher than then middle). Cool, then lift from the pan and cut into pieces of the size you like.

Serve large pieces with vanilla ice-cream for dessert, drizzling a little hazel nut liqueur over the ice-cream if you like. OR cut in smaller bars to serve with coffee. Store in an airtight container in a cool place, up to 5 days.

Variations: Replace hazel nuts with chopped almonds, pecans or macadamias.

Apricot Slice

This slice tastes of apricot and caramel – yum! New Zealand Apricots give the slice more intense flavour.

150g Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots
¼ cup orange juice or sherry
75g butter, melted
½ a 400g can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup brown sugar
250g packet of malt or wine biscuits
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Shredded Coconut
extra coconut

Line the base and long sides of a pan about 18x18cm with baking paper. Finely chop the dried apricots and heat them in the orange juice or sherry in a large pot until there is no liquid left. Add the butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add condensed milk and brown sugar and heat gently, stirring often until the condensed milk is golden brown, then take off the heat.

Crumb the biscuits, and stir them and the coconut into the apricot mixture. Sprinkle the lined baking pan with extra coconut, then tip in the mixture. Press in evenly to the depth you like (it need not cover the whole tin). Sprinkle the top with more coconut, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into pieces the size you like. Serve with tea or coffee, or pack in lunches. Refrigerate in a covered container, up to a month.

Variation: For apricot and Almond Slice, add ½ cup Alison’s Pantry Sliced Almonds (lightly toasted and chopped) with the crushed biscuits.

Apricot & Almond Cake

This special occasion cake tastes very good! Don’t crush the biscuits too finely, or the cake will be too firm and dry.

140g (1 cup) Alison’s Pantry Sliced Natural Almonds
20 “Snax” crackers (75g)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Alison’s Pantry Apricots, chopped small
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Turn oven to 180°C or 170°C fan bake. Toast almonds until straw-coloured in a frypan over low heat, or in a sponge roll pan under a grill. Put toasted nuts and biscuits in a large (Alison’s Pantry) plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Or chop nuts and crackers in a food processor. In either case, mixture should be in small pieces coarser than breadcrumbs. Add baking powder and chopped apricots.

In a large, grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat again until peaks stand up when beater is removed. Fold in the crumb mixture, then spoon mixture into a ring pan, well coated with non-stick spray. Bake for 30 minutes then carefully tip on to a rack.

When cold, turn right way up on to a flat serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream, and garnish with more apricots and lightly toasted almonds. Serve the day it is made.

Apple and Hazelnut Filo Pie

This pie is quite spectacular and is rather fun to make. I make the filling using the first Cox’s Orange apples that I pick from our own tree.

If time is short, or if you don’t have fresh apples, make the pie using a can of apple pie filling, preferably with the suggested added flavourings.

500-600g Cox’s Orange or other apples
1 Tbsp butter
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup white wine
8 Alison’s Pantry Choice Apricots (chopped), optional
¼ cup sugar
1Tbsp flour
¼ cup toasted Alison’s Pantry Hazelnuts (chopped)
8 sheets filo pastry
About 2 Tbsps melted butter or olive oil
4 Tbsps apricot jam, sieved
Icing sugar for dusting

Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Cut the quarters in half again. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and turn the apple pieces in it, over a fairly high heat. Add the orange juice and wine, then the finely chopped dried apricots. Sprinkle the apples with the mixed sugar and flour, stir in, and cook gently until the apples are just soft, in a small amount of lightly thickened sauce. Stir in half the chopped hazelnuts.

Trim the rectangular sheets of filo pastry into squares, then place one sheet on a dry surface and brush it lightly with melted butter or olive oil, using about a teaspoonful per sheet. Place another square over it so you have a filo “sandwich”. Use the remaining sheets to make three more sandwiches.

Lie the first sandwich in a lightly buttered or oiled 20-23cm pie plate or low-sided cake tin. Place the next sandwich over the first, but at a different angle. Continue layering the sheets until the four sandwiches are used up.

Pile the prepared filling into the filo lined pan, and sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts.

Working carefully and gently, fold the filo corners and edges back over the apple filling, one at a time, frilling and arranging them attractively. Bake at 190°C for 20-30 minutes until the filo in the tin is golden. If the top filo browns too fast, cover it with foil or spray it with water at intervals.

When the pie is cooked, brush the exposed apple filling with warmed apricot jam to glaze it, dust the filo edging with icing sugar, and serve warm or reheated, cut into wedges.

VARIATIONS: Put the filling into a single or double crust made of homemade short pastry or bought flaky pastry, if you like. Alter cooking times and temperatures to suit the pastry you use.

Persian Couscous Salad

1 cup Alison’s Pantry Israeli Couscous
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, heated
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp each of Alison’s Pantry Sliced Almonds, Sunflower, Sesame & Pumpkin seeds
(makes ½ cup)
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Jumbo Raisins & diced Alison’s Pantry Apricots mixed.
(Alternatively use Alison’s Pantry Berry Zest)
¼ cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped

Optional extras: cubed carrots, finely chopped celery, chopped sundried tomatoes, diced red capsicum, lemon juice.

Cook onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add fruit and couscous, cover with heated stock and cook until couscous is al dente, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the lid for a few minutes to reduce all the liquid. Stir in nut and seed mixture and herbs. Season with pepper.

Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

The pistachios, parsley and avocado oil give this, our best pesto ever, a vibrant green color as well as a delightfully nutty flavor.

1 cup (100g) Alison’s Pantry Pistachios
400g packet fresh pasta
1 cup (60g) parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ cup avocado oil
½ tsp salt
extra avocado oil

Shell the pistachios (this yields about ½ cup). Boil the pasta according to packet instructions. While it cooks, put the parsley, garlic, and oil in the food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the shelled nuts and salt, and process until nuts are chopped finely but not puree. (Add more oil if mixture seems too dry).

Drain cooked pasta leaving 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid in the pot. Toss the pistachio pesto through the pasta, with extra oil if you like. Serve topped with shavings of parmesan and a few extra chopped pistachios, and salad if desired.

Dee’s Curried Cashew & Carrot Soup

Cashews transform everyday soup into something really delicious, unusual and exotic.

1 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp curry powder
2 small onions, chopped
500g carrots (3 large carrots) chopped
3 cups vegetable or soup stock
100g Alison’s Pantry Roast Cashews

Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot, and the curry powder and chopped onions.
Cover and cook until the onions are soft but not brown. Add the carrots and stock and simmer until the carrots are tender.

In a blender or food processor, process the roasted cashew nuts to the consistency of ground almonds (the finer the grind, the smoother the soup). Drain the cooked carrots and onion and put into the food processor with the ground cashews. Process, adding enough cooking liquid to reach the thickness you like. Taste and season if necessary.

Reheat and serve as is, or top each serving with a spoonful of yoghurt and a little chopped mint or coriander, or more chopped cashews.

Chicken in Pastry

There are times when you want a small group of people to sit down for a festive dinner which looks special, but is not too complicated or time consuming. Here is a recipe which fills these requirements.

It consists of four flattened chicken breasts. Two are placed on pastry and topped first with stuffing, then with the remaining breasts. They are wrapped in pastry, garnished then baked. The package is best served hot and when sliced should show colourful stuffing between layers of chicken, the whole thing surrounded by pastry.

4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 large onion
1 cup parsley sprigs
1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
¼ cup Alison’s Pantry Pine Nuts
6 spinach leaves
12-15 pieces sun-dried tomatoes OR a jar of sliced red peppers
400g puff pastry
1 egg

Pound each boneless, skinless breast between two plastic bags using a rolling pin, until the breast is double its original length and width.

Chop the onion, parsley and sage finely. This may be done in a food processor or by hand.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onion and herbs until the onion is soft and transparent but not browned. Add the pine nuts and brown very lightly.

Wash and chop the spinach. Cook briefly until wilted, then drain and stir into the onion mixture.

To make a red layer use sun dried tomatoes or a drained jar of sliced red peppers. If using the tomatoes, chop them and soak them in a little boiling water for 15 minutes. Roll the pastry out thinly and evenly on a floured and double strip of baking paper until it is 45cm square.

Place two of the flattened fillets side by side on the centre of this, patting them into an oval shape. Spread the spinach an onion mixture evenly on top, leaving the edges clear, then arrange the drained tomatoes or peppers on this. Place the two remaining fillets of chicken on top, covering the stuffing. Pat into a neat shape.

Now cut the four diagonal lines from the corners of the pastry to the chicken.

Beat an egg with 2 teaspoons of water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Keep this on hand to brush the pastry layers to help them stick to each other, then later to brush the surface.

Now fold the pastry over the chicken. Fold the ends in first, trim away excess, then fold the longer sides of pastry over the chicken. Again trim away excess pastry, but leave enough to fold under the ends. You should finish up with an oval package. Brush the surface with egg mixture. Cut whatever shapes you like from the pastry offcuts. Place on the egg-brushed surface and brush again.

Lift the baking paper and the pastry package onto a sponge roll tin and bake at 220°C for 45-60 minutes until golden brown. Lower the heat or cover the pastry loosely if the top browns too fast.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This is nice served with new baby potatoes, baby carrots and seasonal green vegetables.

Chicken & Waldorf Salad

FOR 2-3 SERVINGS: DRESSING:
1-2 crisp red apples 1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice ¾ tsp salt
2 stalks celery 1 tsp curry powder or paste
200g sliced cooked chicken meat 2 tsp Dijon or mild mustard
½ cup Alison’s Pantry Walnuts 2 Tbsp each lemon juice
sour cream & canola oil 2-3 Tbsp chicken stock or water
3 cups salad greens

First make Curried Sour Cream Mustard dressing. Whisk all dressing ingredients except water or stock together until smooth. Thin to coating consistency with water or chicken stock.

Assemble salad just before serving. Cut unpeeled apples into wedges or cubes and toss in the lemon juice. Slice celery 5mm thick. Add celery, cooked chicken and half the walnuts to apples. Gently toss together, adding enough dressing to coat. Spoon onto salad greens (torn or chopped if necessary) on individual plates and sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Let diners spoon extra dressing over salads if desired.

10 Minute Salmon & Couscous Salad

Just the thing when you don’t want to cook at the end of a hot summer day!

FOR 2-3 SERVINGS:
1 can (100-200g) salmon
1 ½ cups liquid (see below)
½ tsp minced chilli (optional)
¾ cup Alison’s Pantry Couscous
2 spring onions and celery stalks, sliced
3 cups torn or roughly chopped lettuce leaves
1 cup each cubed cucumber and tomatoes
chopped fresh coriander, basil, dill, etc.
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive (or other) oil

Use whatever sized can of salmon suits you (red salmon looks best). Drain salmon liquid into a measuring jug and make up to 1 ½ cups with chicken stock (or 1 teaspoon instant chicken stock and water). Stir in the chilli, then bring mixture to the boil in a microwave oven or pot. Pour the boiling liquid over the couscous in a large shallow, heatproof bowl. Cover with a plate and leave to stand for 5-6 minutes. Meantime, prepare the vegetables and herbs.

When couscous has soaked up all the liquid, break the drained salmon into chunks and mix half of it through the warm couscous with half the lemon juice and oil. Taste, season if necessary, then mix in the prepared vegetables and herbs. Top with the remaining salmon and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and oil. Serve piled in shallow bowls, with crusty bread rolls.

Variation: Add cooked prawns, mussels, surimi, or chopped hardboiled eggs. Replace lemon juice and oil with your favourite salad dressing.


Couscous Cake - Lemon and Blueberry

There is never a dull moment with Slimming World, and the variety of food we can eat while staying on plan always inspires me. I saw a couscous cake while browsing on Pinterest recently and thought - this is a free food on slimming world, there must be a way to make this low syn! So, I've made a fresh and tasty version adding Lemon, Blueberry and Poppy Seeds and using low syn and free ingredients. Enjoy enjoy a few with a cuppa and still have syns left over for the day.
If you are dubious, worry not - sweet couscous is not what we are used to in the UK and Ireland but it's quite normal for some cultures. You'll soon be won over by the gorgeous aromas filling your house, it smells exactly like a blueberry muffin.
In terms of texture, I was pleasantly surprised - there is no graininess to it so long as it is cooked to the instructions and mixxed well with other ingredients. Definitely something I'll do again.

Note: Since this is not the intended use of couscous, it is considered a "tweak". To account for this we add a further syn per slice, bringing the syn value to 1.5 syns per slice.

Ingredients:

  • 100g couscous, cooked as per instructions
  • 3 medium eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Half tbsp poppy seeds (1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp sweetener (1.5 syns)
  • 2-3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yoghurt/Quark
  • 100g Frozen Blueberries (2 syns)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.
  2. Cook the couscous as per instructions. Add lemon juice and leave to cool
  3. Whisk the eggs, and add the cinnamon, yoghurt and sweetener
  4. Add the poppy seeds and cooled cous cous and mix well
  5. Line a cake tray with parchment paper or spray with a non-fat cooking spray
  6. Pour gently into the tray, and place blueberries evenly into the mixture
  7. Cook for 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into 8

A couple of tips:

Make sure the fruit is well frozen to retain its shape. Fresh fruit will spread a lot more!

You can mess around with flavourings, such as vanilla essence or nutmeg if you’re not a fan of cinnamon and lemon.

This mix works very well for muffins too.

The seeds are completely optional.

Have you tried any variation of the couscous cake? What should we try next? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Instagram!


Couscous salad

This recipe is a great salad for a barbecue and works especially well with grilled meats. You could even use roasted vegetables if you wish.

Preparation

Cooking

Skill level

Ingredients

800 ml vegetable stock
400 g couscous
50 g sultanas
50 g currants
½ bunch mint

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

50 g dried tomatoes, in oil, roughly chopped
1 red capsicum, washed, halved, deseeded and chopped
1 green capsicum, washed, halved, deseeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Standing time: 10 minutes

Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and pour in the couscous, sultanas and currants. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork.

Roughly chop the mint. To make a dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the dried tomato, capsicum and onion, and toss to combine.


Vegan Golden Vanilla Cake Recipe

No matter the occasion, this vegan cake recipe is sure to hit the spot! With National Baking Week being celebrated from 14th-20th October, it's also the perfect excuse to dig in to something sweet. Feel free to get creative when decorating your cake, too, perhaps adding seasonal fruits or edible flowers.

Ingredients:

For the frosting:

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of two 20cm cake tins.
  • For the cake, put the milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) into a jug, whisk and set aside.
  • ​Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or by hand with a wooden spoon), beat together the butter and caster sugar.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
  • Now, ​whisk the oil and vanilla extract into the milk and lemon mixture.
  • Drain the liquid from the chickpeas into a medium bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat for two minutes until light and very foamy.
  • ​To the beaten butter and sugar, add half of the flour, half of the milk mixture and half of the aquafaba, and beat together until just incorporated. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients.
  • Divide equally between the two prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden, risen and a cocktail stick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean with no raw cake mixture clinging to it.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully tip out onto a cooling rack to cool completely
  • ​While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until very pale and fluffy, adding a little milk if the mixture feels too stiff to spread.
  • Put one of the cakes onto your serving plate or cake stand and spread over roughly 1/3 of the frosting, spreading out to cover the cake. Top with the other cake and the remaining frosting, spreading it out to cover the tops and sides of the cake.
  • ​Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Carrots (Gajjar) , peeled and cut into sticks
  • 2 Stalks Spring Onion (Bulb & Greens) , roughly chopped
  • 1 Onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Button mushrooms , quatered
  • 1 Stalk Celery , peeled and chopped in big chunks
  • 3 - 4 cloves Garlic , peeled
  • 2 sprig Parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns , pounded
  • 3 Bay leaves (tej patta)
  • 1 tablespoon Sultana Raisins
  • 10 cups Water

How to make Moroccan Lentil Stew Recipe With Raisins

To start making Moroccan Lentil stew with raisins, make Moroccan spice mix first. Blend all the ingredients mentioned for the spice mix and keep aside. We will need 1-1/2 teaspoons of this mixture to this recipe.

Heat oil over medium in a pressure cooker.

Add onions and sauté until translucent.Add ginger and sauté until fragrant.

Add the chopped celery, cook until they are soft.

Add the prepared moroccan spice mixture, toast them until fragrant.

Add tomato paste and cook until it is caramelized.

Add diced carrots, sweet potato and cook until tender.

Now add lentils, vegetable stalk, water and season with required salt. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles on medium flame.

Switch off and open the cooker once the pressure is down.When lentils are tender, check for salt.

Add chopped raisins and stir well. garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve warm with couscous or rice.


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