Showing posts with label pine nuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pine nuts. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dimbleby's Breastfeeding Bread #BreadBakers

A flavorful, low gluten bread made with spelt flour, this subtly spiced loaf is divine toasted, which enhances the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and sunflower seeds.

First, let me set your mind at ease by saying that I am not going to tell you my lactation stories, although I did nurse both daughters until they were 13 months old. Nor will there be a single photo of anyone’s breastal region, although I firmly back your right to bare yours if you are feeding your baby, even in public. (Oh, the strange and wonderful places that I have bared mine for the cause... but I promised.)

The name of this bread recipe comes from its creator, one Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of the highly successful Leon restaurants and food writer for the Guardian, who wanted to use up a packet of spices given to him to make an infusion for his wife, supposedly to stimulate her milk production, just after she had given birth. He made the hot drink, tasted it and decided that his wife had suffered enough. So he used the rest of the spices to bake bread, which seemed to have the desired effect in a much more appetizing package. He assures his readers, so I duly assure you on his behalf, that it works only on lactating women; the rest of us can enjoy it for the taste.

This month Bread Bakers is hosted by Robin of A Shaggy Dough Story, who challenged us all to make bread using only ancient grains, defined loosely as grains that have remained largely unchanged/un-hybridized over the last several hundred years, which means NO MODERN WHEAT. Some examples include spelt, quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, teff, freekeh, chia seeds, farro, kamut and einkorn. I already had a bag of spelt flour hanging out in my freezer from before I made these super fudgy brownies, so that’s where I started my recipe search. Many thanks to Robin for this most excellent challenge! If you haven't read A Shaggy Dough Story, do head over there. Robin is an over-achiever that grinds her own flour, bakes gorgeous loaves and takes beautiful photographs, but I love her most because of her fabulous sense of humor.

Mr. Dimbleby’s recipe makes three loaves so I have adapted the ingredients for only one deliciously nutty spelt loaf. Check out the original, if you’d like three on hand. He says they freeze well in freezer bags.

Soft butter, for greasing your loaf pan

For the bread dough:
1 teaspoon aniseed
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek
4 1/8 cups or 500g strong wholemeal spelt flour
7g fast-acting dried yeast (I used Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise.)
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (Use less if yours is fine grain.)
1/4 cup or 50g pine nuts of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
1/4 cup or 50g pumpkin seeds of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
1/4 cup or 50g  sunflower seeds of which: 1 tablespoon set aside
3 tablespoons or 45ml extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups or 350ml warm water

For the egg wash:
1 egg
Splash water

To decorate:
1 tablespoon of each of the pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, set aside from the original amounts for the dough.

Grease your bread pan generously with softened butter and set aside, along with your one tablespoon of each pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for decorating.

Grind your spices with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Mix all of your dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer or in a bowl large enough to knead the dough in.

Add in the oil and mix well.

Add in the warm water and mix again.

Knead with your bread hook or by hand in your bowl for just a few minutes, until smooth. Mr. Dimbleby says you can add more flour if necessary but “wetter is better.” I was using my bread hook so I just kept going. The dough was very slack and it would have been very sticky to knead by hand, so do what you need to, if you don’t have a machine.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl and use damp hands to shape it into a loaf and pop it into your buttered loaf pan.

Whisk the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash.

Cut some slashes into the top of the dough and then brush it with your egg wash.

Sprinkle on the reserved seeds and nuts, tapping them down gently so they stick.

Place in a large plastic bag in warm place and leave to rise until doubled. When my kitchen is cold, as it is this time of year, I like to partially fill one basin of my sink with hot tap water (about halfway up the loaf pan) and place the loaf pan in the water, covering the whole basin with a large cutting board and “sealing” the gaps with multiple dishcloths. Behold!

When your dough is nearly ready, preheat your oven to 450°F or 220°C.

Bake the bread for the first 20 minutes at that temperature, then turn the oven down to 400°F or 200°C for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cover with foil if your toppings look like they might begin to scorch.

Turn out to cool on a wire rack.


Do you like to bake using ancient grains? Hope we inspire you to try if you haven't before. And give you a few new ideas if you are already a fan. Here's what our creative bakers came up with.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Monday, August 31, 2015

Pesto Pine Nut Parmesan Muffins #MuffinMonday

Savory mini muffins with pesto, pine nuts and Parmesan make the perfect snack at cocktail time or really, anytime.

A little #MuffinMonday history
Food Lust People Love was almost one year old before I joined my first baking group in June of 2012. Muffin Monday was run by a talented blogger named Anuradha from Baker Street. We became friends over the next year and a half that we baked muffins together. Even though she worked full time, her blog was filled with lovely baked goods and she was very active on social media. The first year or so, Muffin Monday had a steady stream of participants but then they dwindled until it was just the two of us baking each week, for more than six months. I offered to help with sending out the emails or adding folks to the group but she would assure me that a work project was about to finish and then she’d have more time.

And then she stopped updating her blog and seemed to drop completely out of the social media circus that is blogging. I can’t tell you how sad I was but I completely understood how sometimes life can get in the way of all the things we want to do and something’s gotta give. I will be forever grateful to Anuradha for starting me on this path. Maybe someday, if she gets back to blogging, we can bake together again. I’d really like that.

As for me, I wasn’t done with muffin baking. I love the ease of the muffin baking method, the flexibility for adding ingredients to a sweet or savory batter, the short baking time and the portability of the muffins themselves. It seemed that the hashtag #MuffinMonday was widely in use on the internet, so I went solo and continued Muffin Mondays on my own for another 73 editions. For anyone who is keeping count, that means 153 muffin recipes on my blog. It’s quite the collection.

The future of #MuffinMonday
This summer I took a few weeks off, as I was traveling anyway, but also because I wanted to think about Muffin Monday and what the future might hold. I decided that if I really wanted to spread the love of muffins, I should open it up. So I have invited a small group of like-minded recipe creators to join me here for Muffin Monday. And since a weekly post is a large commitment – and I wanted them to say yes to the invitation – we will be posting only once a month, on the last Monday of every month.

I hope you all enjoy our creative muffin recipes. Make sure to scroll down to see what my Muffin Monday baking friends have for you today!

I’m kicking this one off with mini muffins that are great to serve at cocktail time. And, bonus, they freeze beautifully so make them ahead for your next party. What better way to celebrate baking muffins with a group again?

Pesto Pine Nut Parmesan Muffins

Ingredients for 18 mini muffins
1 cup or 125g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup or 80ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil
1/4 cup or 60g classic pesto
1 egg
3 oz or 85g Parmesan
1/4 cup or 40g pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your mini muffin pans with a little olive oil or non-stick spray.

Grate your Parmesan and set aside a good handful for sprinkling on the muffin tops before baking.

In one big mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients, that is, the flour and baking powder. Add in the larger pile of grated Parmesan and stir well.

In small mixing bowl, whisk the milk, olive oil and pesto with your egg.

Fold the liquids to the dry mixture, stopping when they are just mixed.

Set aside a small handful of pine nuts for topping and fold the rest into your batter.

Divide the batter between your prepared muffins cups,  then top each one with a few pine nuts and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Remove from the muffin pans and finish cooling on a rack.


The new Muffin Monday won't have a theme or a necessary ingredient so members are free to create muffins with whatever inspires them, wherever they may live. I look forward to seeing what they'll come up with each month! A drumroll, please, for the inaugural line up:

Many thanks to my daughter, Cecilie, for creating our badge. 

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pasta with Creamed Yogurt Peas and Feta

A simple one dish meal, big on flavor and so satisfying, this creamy pasta with peas and yogurt is topped with toasted chili pine nuts which add a pop of color and welcome hit of heat.

I read this post on Orangette some time last year and wasted little time before taking Molly’s advice and making this dish. I had every intention of making it again while in Providence visiting my daughter for spring break because this is just the sort of dish she’d love. Sadly, we never did get around to it but, as I head back to Dubai, I figured it was time to share. So she can make it when I’m gone.

1 1/2 cups or 400g whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic
1 pound or 500g fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 teaspoon flakey sea salt (I use Maldon. If you use fine grain sea salt, use a 1/2 teaspoon.)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Scant 1/2 cup or 60g pine nuts
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns or crushed red pepper
1 lb or 500g dried pasta
8 ounces or 240g feta cheese

Process the 2/3 cup or 100g of the peas and the garlic with the yogurt and half of the olive oil in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth and creamy.

 Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, add in the salt and smoked paprika and stir.

In a small saucepan, over a medium fire, sauté the pine nuts and Sichuan peppercorns in the remaining olive oil.

Turn the fire off as the pine nuts start to turn slightly golden and remove the pan from the heat. They will color a little bit more as they cool.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta is lightly salted water according to the package instructions, adding the balance of the peas to the pot when the pasta has just a minute or two left in cooking time.

While your pasta is boiling along merrily, crumble your feta with a fork.

Drain the pasta and peas in a colander. Add the hot pasta/peas a little at a time to the bowl with the yogurt pea sauce and stir well between each addition. Molly says that adding it all at once could cause the sauce to separate so definitely don’t dump it all in.

Add in the crumbled feta and stir.

Serve each bowl topped with a spoon or two of the toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of the chili oil.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Honey Date Pine Nut Muffins #MuffinMonday

Honey Date Pine Nut Muffins are beautiful, with the most tender crumb inside and a lovely sticky muffin tops, even before the extra honey.

One of the best parts of living all over the world is being able to learn about and experience not only traditions and practices of other cultures and religions, but also to be introduced to the special foods that are an integral part of those traditions.  As I sat down to write this post, I started counting up the many countries I’ve lived in and, out of the 13, five have them have been Muslim majority nations.  So, while I am no expert in any way, I have come to know a little bit about their celebrations over the years. 

This ninth month on the Islamic calendar is the month of Ramadan during which Muslims observe a complete fast from food or drink (and other carnal activities like smoking or sexual intercourse) from sunrise to sunset.   The act of fasting is supposed to help the person focus on the spiritual, rather than the worldly things, and teach self-sacrifice and empathy for others.  While traditional dishes vary from country to country, one thing seems standard.  The fast is broken first by eating three dates and perhaps some water.  There is often yogurt or a yogurt drink to follow.  And then the feast, called iftar in this part of the world, truly begins and continues on into the night!

When I received the email with this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, I was delighted by the two main ingredients, pine nuts and honey because they are everywhere in the shops right now. Ramadan markets have sprung up all over with fruits and nuts and all manner of sweet treats. 

I knew these muffins would be perfect to send home with my lovely lady who helps me around the house a few days a week.  She is the sweetest person and we adore her.  Especially the Boxer dog, who greets her effusively every time she comes.  Bless her, she loves him back!  I decided to add chopped dates and ground pine nuts, and replace half of the milk with yogurt in the batter, in order to make these delightful muffins even more iftar friendly.  If that’s a thing.   I also added more sugar because folks here like things sweet.  

Honey Date Pine Nut Muffins

Perfect for Ramadan or anytime you need a treat that is not super sweet, these muffins go well with a cup of coffee or hot tea. This recipe has been adapted from this post at Caffeiiina which came originally from this recipe at Taste of Home.  

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 60g pine nuts (plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling before baking)
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
Scant 1/2 cup or 110g yogurt
1/4 cup or 60g butter, melted
1/4 cup or 60ml honey plus extra for drizzling on baked muffins
4 1/2 oz or 125g unpitted dates (I used 11 dates, if you are counting.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Grease or line your muffin tin with paper cups.

Grind your pine nuts in a food processor or blender.  Either way, you may have to keep shaking the machine so the grinding nuts fall back towards the blades.  They tend to blow up against the sides and out of the reach of the blades.  Grind them as finely as you can without making pine nut butter.

The ground pine nuts clump together but, not to worry!
We will mash the clumps when we mix this with the flour and sugar.

Using a sharp knife, cut the seeds out of the dates.  Chop them up into little pieces.  They stick together (and don’t bother trying to make them not, because you can’t and it doesn’t matter) so it’s hard to see how small they are getting but just keep after it for a few minutes until you feel the pieces are as small or smaller than, say, raisins.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground pine nuts, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Use a spoon to mash out all the soft pine nut lumps that are clinging together.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter and honey.  

Add in the chopped dates to the liquid bowl.  Use your whisk to break up the sticky dates into their individual pieces.  

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold gently until just mixed through. 

Spoon into your prepared muffin tin and sprinkle the top of the batter with the extra pine nuts.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.

Once they have cooled for a few minutes but are still slightly warm, drizzle lightly with some honey.

And to all my Muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem!  Enjoy!