Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cookbook of the Month | 26 Grains

Think you know all there is to know about grains? Think again. I sure did. I was admittedly undecided about picking up this cookbook because grains are not something you would otherwise get excited about, am I right? Considered a staple, I had always thought of them as something to bulk up meals, rather than being the star ingredients. After an eye-opening visit to 26 Grains in Neal's Yard and consequent purchasing of the cookbook, I now know to never underestimate grains again. The way you treat and cook with grains can mean the difference between an ordinary bowl of porridge and an extraordinary one. I know which option I'd take, even if it involves a bit more prep time!

26 Grains has become my go-to cookbook not only this month, but the months previous. It is filled with both time saving recipes and ones that take that little bit more effort, but each meal I have tried has made me rethink the basics. Alex has elevated otherwise simple meals without any unnecessary fuss. Over a recent period that has seen me lack the motivation to get creative in the kitchen, her approachable recipes mean I can whip something easy up that doesn't compromise on taste.

I have so far tried and loved these recipes: Hazelnut and Butter Porridge, Blueberry Porridge, Porridge Pancakes, Spelt Salad with Beetroot, Feta, Chickpea and Apple, Coconut and Butternut Squash Curry with Black Sticky Rice, Tomato Coconut Rice with Halloumi and Avocado, and Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut and Cinnamon Cookies.

If that's not enough to whet your appetite and convince you to get your hands on a copy of 26 Grains, then this recipe for chai spice will, which makes for the perfect cup of comfort for those experiencing a cold December. Alternatively, this chai spice added into Alex's recipe for homemade almond butter will make you wonder what life was like before the phenomenal condiment graced your taste buds. It can be enjoyed on toast topped with fruit, on pancakes or straight out of the jar. The spiced almond butter also makes for a perfect veganised chai caramel for caramel slice...Watch this space, because I'm currently trying to create the perfect recipe!

Chai Spice by 26 Grains
5 tbsp ground cardamon
2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
Good grinding of black pepper
1/2 tbso freshly grated nutmeg
40g coconut palm sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a jar in a cool, dry place for several months (most spices deteriorate after a year).

To make a chai spiced drink, mix 1 teaspoon of the spice blend with 250ml milk of your choice and heat gently, stirring continuously.

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