Thursday, 10 May 2012

Muesli Cookie Squares- vegan

Muesli cookie squares are great energy snacks

I was asked to make flapjack last Friday evening but we had run out of oats, so I used some muesli and flour instead and got something much better than my original idea! I added cardamom (elaichi) and coconut to the mix, which makes these cookie-cum-flapjacks perfect companions to the redbush masala chai in my previous post. Thanks to the sugar and flour, they hold together well and are satisfyingly crunchy at the edges. (I would have used gour in preference to the sugar as it is a healthy choice, but I had run out.) The quantities below make 16 cookies, and I used imperial measurements as I based the recipe on my mum's old flapjack one.

8oz sugar-free muesli
8oz organic wholemeal flour
10oz demerara sugar
4oz desicccated coconut
2 oz sunflower seeds
1 tab powdered cardamom
6floz olive oil/ ricebran oil
2floz water

  • First put the muesli and flour in a blender or food processor until broken down into smaller pieces.
  • With a balloon whisk, beat the oil and water together using a small handful of the muesli/ flour mix to emulsify it.
  • Melt the sugar and oil mixture together until the sugar has almost dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat and add the flour and muesli and all the other ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  • Press well into an oiled shallow baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180C (fan oven temperature.).
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When partly cooled, cut into 16 rectangles and remove when completely cold. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Redbush Masala Chai

Redbush Masala Chai

I was recently asked for a masala chai recipe, and what better base than redbush (rooibosh) tea for a mild-tasting and caffeine-free alternative to black tea? I find this a great drink for night time, as it is sweet and relaxing, and doesn't keep you awake like caffeinated teas. There are so many different masala combinations for chai, and I chose this one mainly according to what I had in the cupboard, but you could experiment with a cinnamon stick and/ or nutmeg if you want. Remember that redbush tea has a very delicate flavour, so spice it with a light touch.
For each person, take:
1 redbush teabag
300ml water
1 clove
1/2 a star anise
a small pinch of black pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
soya milk/ cows' milk to taste
about a tsp gour, crumbled
  • Put the teabag and the water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil with the spices.
  • Add the gour (try date syrup if you prefer) and stir until dissolved.
  • Add however much milk you like, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Strain and serve piping hot. (Alternatively, add the milk and gour to the individual cup to suit everyone.)
Note: Just as I finished making the chai, the phone rang and I returned to re-heat and drink it after an hour. This really gave the flavours a chance to infuse thoroughly.