Cakes & Bakes: Fig, almond and walnut loaf

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.

Tinned figs | H is for Home

One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.

Mixture of eggs, bicarbonate of soda and pouring in coconut oil

Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.

Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home

Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.

Sliced fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later.

Fig, almond and walnut loaf
Ingredients
  1. 100g/3½oz dried figs
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz water
  3. 60g/2oz walnuts
  4. 175g/6oz ground almonds
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
  7. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1tsp cider vinegar
  9. Pinch of saltHome-made fig almond walnut loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  3. Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
  4. Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
  5. Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
  6. Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
  7. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
  8. Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
  9. Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
  10. Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
  11. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
  12. Cool on a wire rack before eating
Notes
  1. You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
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Adapted from River Cottage
Adapted from River Cottage
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut macaroon hearts

Home-made coconut macaroon hearts | H is for Home

You may remember that we had a glut of eggs when we looked after our neighbours chickens whilst they went on holiday. Well, we had a freezer rearrange last week and realised that we had some egg whites that needed using. We also have a huge 1 kilo bag of dessicated coconut (not in the freezer!), two of the main ingredients needed for macaroons.

Coconut macaroons mixture | H is for Home

Seeing as it’s also Valentine’s Day we thought we’d make them a little extra special and made some coconut macaroon hearts drizzled in dark chocolate.

Coconut macaroons mixture formed into hearts | H is for Home

They probably take 10 seconds or so longer to make into hearts than the traditional dome shapes but don’t they look pretty?

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts | H is for Home

If you prefer, you could also dip each heart into the melted chocolate instead of drizzling it… or omit the chocolate altogether, if you prefer.

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts drizzled with dark chocolate | H is for Home

I never realised that they were so quick and easy to make – just throw all the ingredients into a bowl, stir then spoon them on to a well greased or tray or parchment paper. A quarter of an hour in the oven, and they’re done!

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts drizzled with dark chocolate | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Pin this coconut macaroon hearts recipe for later! | H is for Home

Coconut macaroon hearts
Yields 40
It probably takes 10 seconds or so longer to make into hearts than the traditional dome shapes but don't they look pretty?
Ingredients
  1. 200g/7oz dessicated coconut
  2. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  3. 4 medium-sized egg whites
  4. 1tbsp cornflour
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2tsp vanilla extract
  7. 75g/2⅔oz dark chocolate
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, cornflour, salt, vanilla extract and egg whites
  4. Form the mixture into little heart shapes using a small cookie cutter placed on the baking tray
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until the macaroons begin to turn golden brown Allow to cool for 5 minutes before lifting the hearts off the greaseproof on to a wire rack
  6. Break the chocolate up into chunks and melt by putting it into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  7. Lightly drizzle over the macaroons
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/