lime-spiked pineapple chips

We’ve actually had a bit of sunlight here in Scotland over the past week, and it’s been absolutely glorious! Nothing gets me more excited than eating my first perfectly ripe piece of summer fruit on the very first truly sunny, can-actually-wear-shorts-without-your-legs-turning-into-ice day of the year.

Lime Pineapple Chips // thefoodieteen.com

Well, that and getting a new camera! After four years and sixty-five thousand (yes, I know!) photos, I finally made the jump and bought myself a new camera, a Canon 5D Mark III (eek!). The result of many hours of research, many questions, and many months’ worth of savings, it would be a bit of an understatement to say that I was just a little excited to finally hold it in my hands! There may or may not have been some slightly obsessive parcel-tracking going on while it was on its way…

I’m definitely still getting used to it, and there will be plenty of frustrating moments as I figure out what on earth all the buttons do, but hopefully you’ll start to notice a bit of a difference in photo quality over here. Okay, geek-out over!

Lime Pineapple Chips // thefoodieteen.com

While I adore that fresh summer fruit on a hot day, drying fruit has to be one of my absolute favourite ways to eat it. You concentrate the flavours, add a wonderfully chewy texture, and it prevents your fruit basket from being taken over by the soggy, wrinkly fruit you didn’t quite eat in time.. it’s not like I have a habit of buying way too much fresh fruit at the farmers’ market  because I get distracted by the gorgeous colours or anything.

Inspired by some beautiful pineapples, I’m working with Lakeland again to bring you these lime-spiked pineapple chips using their food dehydrator. Essentially, it pumps hot air around the five trays to remove the moisture, leaving you with soft, sweet, and delicious dried fruit with no preservatives or funky ingredients. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing.

Lime Pineapple Chips // thefoodieteen.com

The lime zest and juice in these add a wonderful zing and smell along with really brightening the pineapple up. It couldn’t be easier, either – slice the pineapple up, brush over the lime, and chuck in a food dehydrator for a few hours! If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also place the brushed pineapple slices on a cookie rack set over a baking tray and pop in the oven at the very lowest setting for about two hours, until the chips hold their shape when you pick them up. Enjoy!

 

lime pineapple chips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large pineapple, cored and sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • the juice and zest of 1 lime

Instructions

1. In a small bowl, combine the lime zest and lime juice and mix well. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers!), spread the lime mixture evenly over all the pineapple slices.

2. Place the pineapple slices in the dehydrator for 8-10 hours. Enjoy!

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homemade raw, naturally-sweetened chocolate

This post took a lot of research.. and when I say research, I mean chocolate tasting! Someone’s got to do it, right?!

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I’ve been making my own chocolate for about two years now, but during that time I’ve run in to quite a few problems along the way. I started off making the coconut oil version you can find all over the internet, but I wasn’t convinced; it tasted like coconut, had a greasy texture, and had to be kept in the freezer or it’d melt all over you. I knew there had to be a way to make proper chocolate, so I bought some cocoa butter and began to play around.

I’m happy to say that, after a lot of experimentation (and eating!), I’ve teamed up with the wonderful people at Lakeland to finally find the perfect way to make silky, delicious raw dark chocolate that can be kept at room temperature, has a lovely shine, and has that crisp ‘snap’ when you break off a piece.

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And the best part? After trying many, many different methods, most of which needed fancy equipment like a marble tempering slab or a candy thermometer, the method which produced by far the best results was the incredibly easy, simple, no-equipment-needed one.

You’re going to need some raw, organic cacao butter (make sure it’s the edible kind as it’s often sold for use in lotions and soaps as well), some cacao powder, and a splash of maple syrup or your preferred liquid sweetener.

The most important thing to remember when you’re making chocolate is to keep any water far, far away from your chocolate – one little droplet of water can easily turn a bowl of silky chocolate into a seized, grainy mess! However, if it does happen, keep stirring in hot water spoonful by spoonful until the mixture comes together again (this will produce what’s called a water ganache).

To make pure dark chocolate, though, you’ll want to try and avoid that happening!

To begin, place your cacao butter in a wide, shallow heatproof bowl. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of hot (but not boiling!) water, then set the bowl over the saucepan to form a bain marie or double boiler, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place the saucepan over a very low heat. Very slowly, the cacao butter will start to melt – don’t try to hurry this process, or your chocolate may turn out grainy.

Once the cacao butter has completely melted, lift the bowl from the saucepan. Use a tea towel to wipe the underside of the bowl, then place the bowl on the countertop. Let the cacao butter cool to room temperature – this will take about one hour. Once it’s completely cooled to room temperature, pour in the maple syrup.

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Whisk well, then add in the cacao powder as well and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.

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If your mixture suddenly stiffens up and becomes quite thick, don’t worry! This is just the cacao butter solidifying, and it’s easily fixed – just place the bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds or set it over a pan of hot water again until it returns to a liquid.

Once everything has been mixed and you have a smooth, shiny mixture, taste it! You might want to adjust the levels of sweetener to your tastebuds. If you want to add some more, simply whisk it in teaspoon by teaspoon.

If you want to add in any flavouring oils,  you can do that at this point as well. I love stirring in a few drops of peppermint and orange essential oils – just make sure that your additions are oil-based and do not contain water, or they could seize your chocolate.

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Now comes the fun part – the moulds! If you want to simply make a bar of chocolate, you can pour the mixture you have into a shallow rectangular container. However, if you want to make bite-sized pieces, have some fun with moulds. You can get inexpensive silicon moulds at most supermarkets, and while they’ll do the job, it’s hard to get the chocolates out and they have a slightly dull finish. 

I’d highly recommend you take a look at some polycarbonate ones if you really want that professional, shiny look. Not only are the polycarbonate ones a lot more sturdy and hard-wearing, but they really do produce a much better looking product; I had been using simple silicon moulds for years, but when I was very kindly sent a polycarbonate one, I loved it so much that I immediately went and bought three more with different shapes! 

Simply pour the chocolate into the mould you’re using.

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At this point, feel free to add any fillings or additions – I love adding in nuts and pieces of toasted coconut, but go ahead and experiment with your favourite flavour combinations.

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If your moulds get a little too full and you need to level them off, you can use an angled spatula or a scraper to get rid of any excess chocolate.

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When you’re done, place the moulds in the freezer for half an hour. This will allow the chocolate to set and shrink a little in order to make it easier to get them out of the moulds. When the time is up, remove the moulds from the freezer. If you’re using silicon ones, just push the chocolates out, and if you’re using the polycarbonate ones, turn them upside down and bang them on the counter – the chocolates will simply fall out.

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And that’s it! You’ve made your very own chocolate. Store the chocolates in a container at room temperature for up to a week (that is, if you have any left!). Enjoy!

Many thanks to Lakeland for their support of The Foodie Teen!

 

homemade dark chocolate

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (24 chocolates)

  • 200g cacao butter
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

1. Place your cacao butter in a wide, shallow heatproof bowl. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of hot (but not boiling!) water, then set the bowl over the saucepan to form a bain marie or double boiler, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place the saucepan over a very low heat. Very slowly, the cacao butter will start to melt – don’t try to hurry this process, or your chocolate may turn out grainy.

2. Once the cacao butter has completely melted, lift the bowl from the saucepan. Use a tea towel to wipe the underside of the bowl, then place the bowl on the countertop. Let the cacao butter cool to room temperature – this will take about one hour. Once it’s completely cooled to room temperature, pour in the maple syrup.

3. Whisk well, then add in the cacao powder as well and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. If your mixture suddenly stiffens up and becomes quite thick, don’t worry! This is just the cacao butter solidifying, and it’s easily fixed – just place the bowl in the microwave for 10 seconds or set it over a pan of hot water again until it returns to a liquid.

4. Once everything has been mixed and you have a smooth, shiny mixture, taste it! You might want to adjust the levels of sweetener to your tastebuds. If you want to add some more, simply whisk it in teaspoon by teaspoon. If you want to add in any flavouring oils, you can do that at this point as well. I love stirring in a few drops of peppermint and orange essential oils – just make sure that your additions are oil-based and do not contain water, or they could seize your chocolate.

5. Pour the chocolate into the moulds and add in any fillings.

6. When you’re done, place the moulds in the freezer for half an hour. This will allow the chocolate to set and shrink a little in order to make it easier to get them out of the moulds. When the time is up, remove the moulds from the freezer. If you’re using silicon ones, just push the chocolates out, and if you’re using the polycarbonate ones, turn them upside down and bang them on the counter – the chocolates will simply fall out.

7. Enjoy! Store the chocolate in a container at room temperature for up to a week.

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roasted carrots with parsley-cilantro pesto

Also known as that-recipe-I’ve-been-eating-on-repeat-for-three-days-because-I’m-completely-obsessed.

Roasted Carrots with Parsley + Cilantro Pesto // thefoodieteen.com

I can’t stop.

Roasting the carrots coaxes out their natural sweetness and intensifies their delicious, subtle flavour. They become beautifully tender and soft inside, and their crisp, roasty ends are seriously addictive.

Roasted Carrots with Parsley + Cilantro Pesto // thefoodieteen.com

All you need to do is toss them with a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and shove them in the oven for half an hour; they’re the perfect easy, quick side dish! Or not.. I’d happily eat an entire plate of them and call it dinner!

Roasted Carrots with Parsley + Cilantro Pesto // thefoodieteen.com

Oh, and this pesto – don’t even get me started. Those verdant leafy greens turn in to a delicious pesto which has a gorgeous hue, a wonderfully spicy flavour, and goes with absolutely everything. I’ve been spooning it on anything and everything in sight, but ladled over these tender, roasty carrots definitely has to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy.

Parsley + Cilantro Pesto (dairy-free) // thefoodieteen.com

You can make the pesto a few days in advance if you wish and store it in the fridge until you need it (although it might end up being eaten before it gets to the carrots!). Enjoy!

 

roasted carrots with parsley-cilantro pesto

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the Roasted Carrots

    • 1kg (2lbs) carrots, trimmed and peeled
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp salt

    For the Pesto

    • a large handful of cilantro
    • a large handful of parsley
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

    2. Place the carrots on a lined baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil, and sprinkle the salt on top. Use your hands to mix until every carrot is evenly coated, then roast them for 30 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelise.

    3. To make the pesto, place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and whizz until smooth. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle the olive oil in through the feeding tube.

    4. Spoon some of the pesto over the carrots and enjoy. Leftover pesto can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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    chocolate hazelnut truffle squares

    This week, I had the privilege of guest posting over at Juli’s incredible blog, PaleOMG! To get the recipe for these, simply follow the link at the end of the post. Enjoy!

    I know, I know, four layers in one little bite-sized square may sound excessive, but being asked to guest post by one of your absolute favourite people and food bloggers definitely calls for a celebration!

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    And when there’s chocolate and hazelnuts involved, there can never be enough layers..

    There’s the dark, dense, nutty base layer, which is smothered in a thick, fudgy, buttery, decadent mixture of silky smooth hazelnut butter, rich cacao powder, fragrant vanilla extract, coconut oil, almond milk, and maple syrup, then sprinkled with a smattering of toasty, fragrant chopped roasted hazelnuts and finally, generously drizzled with silky dark chocolate.

    In one bite, you’ve got the toasty crunch of hazelnuts, the fudgy, melt-in-your-mouth, dark chocolate hazelnut truffle mixture, and a hint of the slightly chewy, nutty base… perfection!

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    These were inspired by my Ferrero Rocher Truffle Recipe, which, although extremely delicious, are a little time-consuming. Considering the rate at which they mysteriously disappear whenever I make a new batch, I needed to find a way to make them a little faster and easier to make. Well, mission accomplished!

    These freeze really well too, so they’re great to make in advance for when you need a sweet treat or for when you’re expecting guests! Just keep them in an airtight container and let them defrost in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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    Grab the recipe over at PaleOMG