Pip & Nut | Nut Butter Balls & Cookbook Review

You know you’re an official Nut Butter Nutter when you get as excited as I did seeing that my favourite nut butter brand Pip&Nut had created a beautifully presented cookbook.  Dedicated to the versatility that nut butter has in the kitchen the book begins with a brief but very interesting introduction into Pip Murray and how she launched her business in 2015. It then goes on to talk about the humble nut (and seeds I should add), the various types and their healthy benefits followed by a quick lesson on nutrition and the importance of protein and ‘good fats’ in a healthy diet. Finally, before it gets onto the recipes we’re given a step-by-step guide on making you own DIY Nut Butter – perhaps my favourite part of the whole cookbook.

“The Nut Butter Cookbook takes the most simple and straight forward ideas and turns them into over 70 delicious, beautiful works of art”

It’s very rare that you’ll catch me reading a cookbook like a novel, but the evening this arrived it came with me bed and I read through the first half word for word.

I never knew quite how many uses there were for one of the hottest condiments on the shelf but The Nut Butter Cookbook takes the most simple and straight forward ideas and turns them into over 70 delicious, beautiful works of art. Take toast as an example. To us peanut butter on toast is a convenience meal, something we slap together in a hurry as we rush out of the door in the morning or need a quick snack. Pip&Nut make toast a meal to be taken seriously, so seriously that they have a whole section of the book dedicated to it. From Chilli and Coriander to Grated Apple and Maple Syrup you could quite literally have nut butter on toast for breakfast lunch and dinner. I had the pleasure of trying their Chilli and Coriander Peanut Butter on toast during one of their events last week and it was probably the best slice of toast I’ve ever eaten.

This theme of simple and delicious ideas runs throughout the book with savoury, sweet and liquid recipes. Obviously one of my first ports of call was their baking section. From tarts, muffins, brownies through to smaller bites like the Cashew Oatmeal Drops and Protein Balls I made last weekend, there isn’t a recipe in there that is too complex or difficult to replicate.

I’m not new to a Protein Ball, and followers of this blog will know that I’ve made plenty before. However, previously I’ve included oats in them all as my way of keeping them filling. The Pip & Nut version doesn’t have an oat in sight meaning they’re completely gluten/carb free and use the energy from the nuts and dates to fill you up. The best thing about these balls is that you can experiment as much as you like. Pip gives you the base ingredients and then asks you to follow a ‘pick and mix’ style method, suggesting the nut butters and ingredients to use as the fillers and coating. There are no hard and fast rules though and with these you can certainly colour outside the lines by adding whatever takes your fancy – in fact Pip welcomes that, it’s just the combinations she suggests are the ones we know work perfectly.

“There are no hard and fast rules though and with these you can certainly colour outside the lines by adding whatever takes your fancy”

I’ve included the recipe below for the two flavours I made | Pistachio, Cacao and Cashew Butter and Cacao, Chia and Coconut Almond Butter. Both are equally as delicious as the other..seriously I can’t make a decision on which is better. Have a go for yourself and let me know which you prefer?

Head to your nearest Wholefoods or Oliver Bonas to find the book OR simply order online at Amazon (if you’re prime it’ll be with you by lunchtime the very next day)

You can find most Pip&Nut Nut Butters in your large grocery stores, Wholefood supermarkets or head to her website an buy direct from there – http://www.pipandnut.com/shop/



Makes | 15 -18 balls

Preparation time | 20 minutes


The Base

60g raw almonds

120g date, pitted

40g dried cherries/cranberry


Nut Butters

Cashew Butter

Coconut Almond Butter


The Filling

20g chopped almonds, pecans and pistachios

2 tbsp. cacao

1 tbsp. chia seeds


The Topping

Finely chopped pistachios

3 tbsp. cacao


Pistachio, Cacao and Cashew Butter

Blitz the base ingredients in a food processor for 3-5 minutes or until it forms a sticky dough.

Add 2 tbsp. cashew butter, the mixed chopped nuts and 1 tbsp. cacao and blitz again until combined. but not completely smooth so you keep some texture.

Pour the finely chopped pistachios onto a plate, then take a tsp of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make a bite-sized ball.

Roll each ball around in the chopped pistachios until coated.

Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.


Cacao, Chia and Coconut Almond Butter

Blitz the base ingredients in a food processor for 3-5 minutes or until it forms a sticky dough.

Add 2 tbsp. coconut almond butter, the mixed chia seeds and 1 tbsp. cacao and blitz again until combined. but not completely smooth so you keep some texture.

Pour the caao powder onto a plate, then take a tsp of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make a bite-sized ball.

Roll each ball around in the cacao until coated.

Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.

My Kitchen Favourites – Macarons

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Thank goodness it’s April, the beginning of spring and lighter baking. As much as baking indulgent cakes and desserts pleases the little fat child inside of me I’m always pleased when we reach the summer months as it gives me the opportunity to test out fruiter, lighter and brighter bakes. This is not to say they can’t be indulgent though and macarons are exactly that, light, bright jewels of pure indulgence.

This edition of Kitchen Favourites is in honour of my new baking bestie, the macaron. We may not always see eye-to-eye but with there are a few tools and ingredients which have ensured we will always have a life long friendship.


FOR BAKING

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TWO CHICKS|FREE RANGE LIQUID EGG WHITES

Aside from being cast as one of the most difficult bakes, the one issue I have with macarons and meringue is that I have to separate eggs. Food wastage is one of my biggest pet hates so when I bake macarons or meringue I always try to use the egg yolks for something else such as custard or rich shortcrust pastry.

This isn’t always convenient though so you can imagine my delight therefore when I discovered Two Chicks and their carton of liquid egg whites. Absolutely genius!! You get roughly 15 liquid egg whites in each carton which translates to 7 batches of macarons in my world, and at a very affordable price of £2.25 from most leading grocery stores they have fast become my favourite kitchen ingredient.

The Two Chicks brand also includes Liquid Whole Eggs, Pancake mix and Chirps, a light puffed egg white snack.


FOR GUIDANCE

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SWEET MACARONS | BY JACQUELINE MERCORELLI

There are so many different Macaron recipes out there. Some using the French meringue method, others opting for the Italian meringue method. Before I read this book, the French method was all I used. To be honest it was all I was really aware of as the Italian recipe always seemed more daunting and long winded. I’m right, it is more long winded but daunting it is not and this guide made me realise that.

The Sweet Macarons guide by Jacqueline Mercorelli, a self taught French baker and blogger since 2005 gives you recipes for both methods and guides you through the process with ease. A must read for anyone wanting to make macarons at home.


FOR DECORATION

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EDIBLE LUSTRE DUST | SUGARFLAIR

So you’ve made your macarons and now you want to decorate them with finesse. There are so many options to choose from be it dusting with coco powder, espresso powder, sprinkles or chopped nuts, the list really is endless. One of my favourite options thought is Edible Lustre Dust. The effect gives macarons that real wow factor and turns them from pretty to stylish. I love working with Lustre Dust as it can be added to almost anything. When mixed with a tiny splash of vodka you can create a gold paint to brush over macaron shells, fruit and fondant or left as dust it can be scattered over buttercream.


FOR PREPARATION

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3AM JOURNAL | KIKKI.K

The last 4 weeks have been some of the most manic of 2016 so far. I took a week off work last week before Easter just so I could catch up with it all. I’m generally a very organised person, but if I showed you my iPhone notes app you’d have a hard time believing that. With random thoughts, recipe ideas and meeting notes all thrown randomly in the mix to say it’s chaotic would be a severe understatement.

I decided last month that my thoughts needed a home, but not just any home. As a self confessed stationary obsessive I wanted them to live somewhere pretty, which is why I’m so happy to have found Kikki.K Stationary.

The Swedish brand was the creative child of Kristina Karlson a stationary lover looking for beautiful products and stationary for her new home office. Her light bulb moment came weeks after struggling to find anything that inspired her. If you can’t find it, create it, was her motto and it wasn’t long before Swedish design stationary boutiques popped up in her favourite cities around the world.

Thank you Kristina, I see a bright future for me and Kikki. K Stationary.

My Kitchen Favourites – Cakes and Macarons

Hello there! And welcome to the first post of my brand new blog design. I’m sorry it’s been a little quiet on here these last couple of months, but it’s been a pretty hectic start to the year. Hectic but exciting I should say as already in 2016 not only have I been busy building my “made to order” business (more details on this will be shared shortly), but we’ve also moved out of our rented flat and are in the exciting, albeit gruelling process of buying our very first home. Therefore with 2016 seemingly the year of newness, I decided to give my blog a gorgeous new home too. However, as with all new homes it is going to take a little time settling in so please bear with me while I find my feet in these new surroundings.

You may notice that my recipe categories have been refined a little which I hope you are okay with. This way I am able to focus on the bakes I love most and give you the best content I can. Reductions leave room for additions though so you will also see that some new areas have been introduced, such as Baking Biography, where I will share my baking tips, essential ingredients and equipment, regular roundups of my current Kitchen Favourites, troubleshooting and reviews of my favourite bakeries, cakeries, and anywhere else that sells baked goods.

And with that I give you my first Baking Biography post in the shape of my current Kitchen Favourites for cakes and macarons.


FOR BAKING

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A traitor to our beloved metal tins, silicone molds have taken over kitchens in recent years and I haven’t exactly been their biggest fan. I was first introduced to silicone in the shape of a cupcake liner but as an avid lover of the classic paper liner I quickly disregarded them. Them and every other large silicon mold I was introduced to.

However, and I say that with emphasis as and I haven’t exactly given silicone the best Kitchen Favourite review so far, when I tested these French patisserie silicon molds I was pleasantly surprised. Although completely non-stick I sprayed them with a tiny bit of some cake release for good measure, but I really don’t think they needed it. They almost fell out of the molds when I brought them out of the oven, and they were so evenly baked  I could have passed them off as almost professional.

Unfortunately, although these softened my uncertainty of silicone, I haven’t been completely converted and remain an advocate for classic metal tins and parchment, however for smaller bakes such as these and macarons I would recommend them, not just for the great results, but also for how easy they are to store away.


FOR GUIDANCE

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“How Baking Works (and what to do when it doesn’t)” is James’ (you know the sciency guy from Season 3 of The Great British Bake off who created a giant Paris-Brest choux wheel in the shape of a bicycle) second book, but the first that I was aware he had published and my goodness I’m glad I found it. It does exactly what it says on the tin, to the extent that I have been reading it cover to cover like a novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a baking book with such depth before.

Compared to his first book “Brilliant Bread” it covers everything non yeasty such as cakes, cookies and macarons which suits me down to the ground considering my recipe offerings. Best of all though is how he explains the theory and science behind baking techniques, why certain ingredients are so important and my favourite of them how to prevent common baking blunders.

While the title may call to all novice bakers out there, I urge those of you who are experienced not to be deterred.

Buy your copy of “How Baking Works” HERE


FOR DECORATION

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Not the most glamorous item in My Kitchen Drawer but putting my spatula to one side Piping Nozzles are my most used tool, so ensuring I have the best quality is important.

Over the years I have managed to amass dozens of nozzles of all designs and sizes, and I must say it has become a rather impressive collection. Of this hoard three have become my staple and I can’t seem to get through a bake without them.

Kitchen Craft are my favourite supplier for nozzles as they are hardwearing, dishwasher safe and you can get almost every design in small, medium and large. The Sweetly Does it Range is supplied in almost every baking shop in the UK, Super Markets and Amazon and they cost between £2.50 – £4.00

I could talk to you all day about how I use them, but will dedicate a whole post to this very soon.

Large Closed Star – Tip size: 20mm (9 point star)

Large Round – Tip size: 12mm

Large Petal Tip – Tip size: 24mm


 FOR PRESENTATION

cake stand

I like to think of cake stands as the shoes of the baking world. No seriously bear with me here.

On a few occasions recently I have seen beautifully dressed cakes, adorned with intricate designs and toppers presented only on their cake boards. This to me is like wearing your best dress with a pair of old flats; you look beautiful but the shoes are letting you down.

A good cake stand is like the perfect pair of heels. It will give your cake height and drama for presentation, and can either be the splash of colour you need to bring your cake alive, or the perfect way to make a simple design sublime.

I am obsessed with marble so could be happier with this White Marble stand from John Lewis, Croft Collection. It is utter perfection.

Sadly this is no longer available online at John Lewis, but you can buy it from Design Luxuria HERE.