Apricot & Almond Crunch

I can’t get enough of apricots! But, here’s the thing: I like them cooked unless they are at peak ripeness. Cooking (grilling, baking, frying) apricots brings out that deep, unique flavor. I’ve used a lighter topping that a traditional crisp, because I wanted this summer dessert to be lighter, but still have a crunch. It took me 10 minutes to put together – so a very easy dessert.

Serves 6

6-8 apricots

1/3 cup Elderflower cordial (or fresh orange juice)

1cup almond meal

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup light brown sugar + 2tbsp for topping

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sliced almonds

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

De-stone apricots and roughly slice them. Place them in a baking dish (greased generously with butter).

Pulse the topping ingredients in a food processor.

Top the apricots with the almond meal mixture.

Sprinkle the sliced almonds and the extra sugar on top.

Place in the oven for 1/2 hour or until lightly browned on top.

MOROCCAN CHICKEN STEW

 

I’m obsessed with my 360 Cookware slow cooker now that it’s getting a bit chilly. It’s the most user-friendly model I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tested a few,) – I think it’s because it’s easy to start it off on the stove top and transfer to the base. It also works better period – I won’t go into it here – but if you want to find out about the technology of these pans- check it out.

Anyway, with Halloween coming up, I wanted to try out a really tasty stew that I could have bubbling away sending a delicious aroma throughout my home. Halloween night, we’ll probably go to a friend’s pot luck party where there’s tons of chili and cornbread, but this might be a good variation for those who prefer chicken.

After the chicken has slow-cooked for hours – it fall apart, much like pulled pork, into the rich, unctuous stew of bright orange apricots and crunchy cashews. The sweet of the fruit pairs beautifully with the salty olives. It’s perfect served with either quinoa, cous cous or brown rice and I like to serve it with a simple dark green leaf salad – I prepared a spinach and arugula salad with a balsamic fig dressing.

Although there’s a lot of ingredients in the recipe, once gathered, it’s really quick and easy to prepare – 15 minutes tops.

This recipe of for 8 so if there’s fewer of you, it freezes really well.

 

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Serves 8

1tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup sweet white wine

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp of the following: turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander

1 cinnamon stick

8-10 pearl onions

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 bayleaves

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tsp of cornstarch or Tapioca starch

2tsp cold water

1 1/2 cups dried apricots

1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives

1 15oz can garbanzo beans

1 cup raw cashew nuts

2tsp sea salt

1tsp agave nectar

1/2tsp ground pepper

 

Heat the oil and fry off the onions.

 

Add the spices and fry for a minute on a low heat.

 

Add the pearl onions and fry gently for another minute.

Add the white wine and stir until it evaporates.

Add the chicken, the broth and the bayleaves.

 

Remove pan and transfer to slow cooker and turn onto a high heat.

Mix the tapioca/cornstarch with the water in a cup and  mix into the stew.

Cook on high for 1/2 hour and then turn down heat to medium (for 4- 6 hours). If it’s a bit longer, it’ll be fine – so don’t rush back from work.

Half and hour before eating, add the apricots, olives, cashew nuts and stir in the agave , balsamic vinegar, and seasoning.

 

 

HAZELNUT PAVLOVA WITH APRICOT COULIS

My mom used to make this incredible dessert for dinner parties when I was little. It’s a fantastic winter version of a traditional meringue Pavlova, but actually even more delicious. I think it’s a perfect Holiday Dessert because of the nutty fall flavors. As we come closer to the Holidays, I love to use Hazelnuts in both desserts & salads. Not only do they have that sweet & earthy flavor that is utterly unique, but they are also really good for your heart.

I made one last weekend and it was inhaled around the table with requests for another asap – so if you want to wow your family and friends – this might well be the way to go.

Yes- there is sugar and dairy in it – but it is gluten-free!

I have included the cooking method for those of you who live in high altitudes – I’m off to Boulder, CO this weekend and will be making this – thank Goodness my mother-in-law reminded me to adjust the recipe accordingly so I don’t wind up with pancakes instead of meringues.

 

Hazelnut Pavlova With Apricot Coulis

½ cup raw hazelnuts

2tbsp cornstarch*

12 oz caster sugar

1pinch salt*

1cup water*

6 large egg whites

6 oz ground hazelnuts

10 oz dried apricots

1/4cup water

Juice of 1 large orange

1” cinnamon stick

2tbsp soft brown sugar

4tsp tapioca starch or arrowroot mixed with 4tsp cold water

*Only use these ingredients if you are baking in a high altitude.

Serves 8

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

 

Soak the apricots overnight and drain them but retain the soaking water.

 

Toast the hazelnuts in a small skillet on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, turning them around the pan to avoid burning. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, slowly add the sugar while still beating. Using a metal spoon, fold in the hazelnuts.

 

*If you are baking in a high altitude:

Stir together the salt, sugar and cornstarch and mix in the water. Microwave this mixture for 2 minutes and then allow it to cool. When you are beating the egg whites – when they are beginning to form soft peaks, beat in this sugar mixture.

Use 2 8” round cake tins. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the whole pan really well.

Divide the egg white mixture between the two pans, piling the mixture up in the center.

Place in oven for 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a ½ hour in the pans before carefully turning out onto 2 plates.

 

You can make these meringues a couple of days in advance and keep them in an airtight container.

Place the apricots in a small heavy saucepan with the cinnamon, sugar and ½ cup of the soaking water. Simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Mix the tapioca starch with cold water and stir into the apricot mixture. When the mixture has started thickening, remove and allow to cool completely.

Whip up the cream until stiff.

Now you are ready to assemble: place one meringue on a large platter and spread the apricot mixture evenly over it.

Now top with ½ of the whipped cream.

Place the other meringue on top and finally top with the rest of the cream. Decorate with the toasted nuts, which I break up a bit with a large knife. It’s looks pretty to have some whole nuts and some pieces.

In the unlikely event that you don’t manage to finish eating it, it keeps really well for up to 2 days in an airtight container.