Guac + salsa

Guac + salsa

I love nachos. I do. They need to be crunchy, full of delicious melty cheese, and loaded with toppings. I don’t particularly enjoy spicy food so I usually love it when they’ve got guac, salsa and sour cream. When they’re warm out of the oven, cheesy, salty, zingy. They’re awesome.

Growing up I didn’t really eat avocado – I don’t remember seeing it much around! They’re obviously everywhere now but back in the day I thought of them as these strange “exotic” foods. And I think that nowadays they’re the kind of food that either you hate or you love. I love them. Problem is – like with most foods – that if you don’t season them properly, they doesn’t really taste like much.

Avocados are amazing, they’ve got lots of healthy fats and nutrients and they’re also really filling (as they’re so fatty!) so I really like incorporating them in my diet as much as I can, but let’s face it – if you always prepare foods the same way, they end up getting boring! So I love to find different ways to prepare avocados.

Same goes for tomatoes! I love them on so many things. I’m always looking for new ways to prepare them and have them on the side of lots of meals. They can get boring! And again, if you don’t season tomatoes properly they can be quite bland. I mean if you’re lucky enough to have beautifully ripe, gorgeous tomatoes you may not actually need to do anything to them and you may be able to eat them as if they were apples – lucky you! But living in England I’m unfortunately not that lucky. So they need a bit of dressing up!

Anyways, long rant just to say that I love these dipping sauces. Using them with nachos seems like the obvious way to use them (for a reason) but you can put them on – and as a side of – so many things. So let me show you basic salsa and guacamole 101.

 

 

Ingredients for the guac:

Guacamole

  • 4 avocados
  • 3 spring onions
  • A handful of parsley / cilantro
  • Juice of 1 -2 limes
  • Salt and pepper

 

How to make guacamole:

  • First, wash your spring onions and parsley / cilantro
  • Roughly chop up your spring onions and parsley
  • Cut up your avocados and scoop them out
  • Pop all your ingredients (avocado, spring onions, herbs) in a food processor

Guacamole

  • Blitz it all up until it reaches the consistency you like – I like it fairly smooth but if you like it a bit chunkier just pulse it until it’s where you like it.

Guacamole

  • Add in your lime, salt and pepper
    • For this amount of guac I added the juice of 1 1/2 limes and 1 1/2 tsp salt but start with less, mix and add more until it tastes the way you like it

Guacamole

  • Spoon it onto a bowl and if you’re not using it immediately, cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge

Guacamole

 

 

 

Ingredients for basic salsa:

Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • Handful of parsley / cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

 

How to make salsa:

  • First, make sure to wash all your ingredients – the tomatoes, spring onions and parsley / cilantro

Salsa

  • Finely chop your spring onions (green and white bits)

Salsa

  • Finely chop your parsley / cilantro and add it to the bowl with your spring onions

Salsa

  • Finely chop your tomatoes
    • Note: if you don’t want your salsa to be too watery you should de-seed your tomatoes. This basically means to remove all of their insides and just use the flesh

Salsa

  • Add your tomatoes to the rest of your ingredients

Salsa

  • Mix all your ingredients together and season to taste with lime juice, salt and pepper
    • For this amount I used the juice of 1 lime and 1tsp of salt but as before, start with a small amount, mix and taste and add more as needed.

Salsa

 

 

 

Bonus – Basic nachos!

You’ll need:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Grated cheese – something like cheddar works best but any blend of cheese that will have flavour and melt well
  • Sour cream
  • Guac and salsa
  • Jalapeños (optional)

 

To make them:

  • In a baking dish (use one that you like so you can bring it straight to the table) arrange your tortilla chips and grated cheese in layers
    • Nobody likes it when all the cheese is at the top and there’s nothing at the bottom!! I’d suggest putting a layer of chips with a healthy amount of cheese, then more chips and then even more cheese.

Nachos

  • Pop your nachos in a 180C oven for about 10-15 min, until your cheese has melted and your chips start to look a bit toasty
  • Top with whatever you like and eat!
    • I’d recommend a mixture of salsa, guac and sour cream.
    • I also like to add some fried chopped up chorizo bits if I’ve got some on hand because let’s face it – everything is better with chorizo!
    • Make sure to eat them immediately so you’re not left with soggy nachos – nobody wants that!

Nachos

 

 

 

Top tips:

  • Even if you remove the seeds of your tomatoes when making salsa, it’ll probably still release quite a bit of juice so don’t be surprised if you go back to it and suddenly your salsa looks a lot wetter!
  • I’ve used parsley on both recipes because I cannot stand cilantro. I’m one of those people to whom it tastes evil so I like to use parsley whenever I can instead. If you like cilantro tough, you should definitely use it here instead.
  • If you like your dips to have a bit of a kick I’d suggest using a jalapeño – just treat it like your spring onions. Chop it slightly and add it to your food processor when making guac, and chop it nice and fine when adding it to the salsa.
  • If you’ve got the time for it, I’d recommend making either of these recipes ahead of time. Something magical happens when they sit in the fridge for a little while – the flavours just marry each other and develop even more and they become that much more special!
  • If you do make the nachos be really generous with the cheese! You’d be surprised with how much that cheese just disappears – you’ll end up wishing you had put more!
  • If you’re making the nachos, make sure that when you assemble them your cheese is at room temperature so it melts better.

 

And that’s it! I hope you enjoy these simple, basic recipes and you get to give them a try next time you think about buying them in the store – they’re so easy to make and honestly so much better than whatever you might buy in a package at the store!

I hope you give these a try and enjoy them and if you do, make sure to share on social media so I can feel proud from a distance!! As always, thanks for reading and see you again soon!

Maple syrup caramelized pecans

Maple syrup caramelized pecans

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share a really quick and easy snack that’s kinda salty, kinda sweet and overall really yummy! You can eat these on their own (believe me, once you start you can’t stop!) or you can use them with other foods – just the way you would regular pecans. There’s no wrong option here!

So tell me, are you a pecan lover or hater? I’ve never really liked pecans that much, probably because I didn’t grow up eating them – we ate walnuts instead. But since I left Spain and started trying different kinds of foods I discovered pecans and to be honest I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. Pretty similar to walnuts actually.

I think what I don’t like about pecans is their texture – particularly how they leave your mouth feeling after eating them. Is it just me? It’s just this weird dry feeling that I struggle to get on board with. Through time I’ve learned that the only way I actually enjoy eating pecans is by toasting them. It makes them crunchy, much tastier and not feel so “dry”. This recipe takes them to the next level.

 

Pecans
Admittedly, not the prettiest thing to capture on photograph!

 

 

First things first:

  • Preheat your oven to 170C
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper

 

Ingredients:

Pecans

  • 80g maple syrup
  • 15g butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 200g pecans

 

What to do:

  • In a (preferably non-stick) frying pan, melt together your maple syrup, butter, salt and cinnamon on a low-medium heat

Pecans Pecans

  • When your wet mixture is fully melted and combined, add in your pecans and mix them through until they’re all fully coated

Pecans Pecans

  • Spread the mixture evenly onto your parchment paper-lined tray. Try to keep them on a single layer as much as you can!

Pecans

  • Put it in a 170C oven for 10 minutes, take it out and give it a mix

Pecans Pecans

  • Pop them back in the oven for another 5min and by now your house should smell heavenly and your pecans should look a deep caramel color. The edges might look a bit dark but don’t worry – it’s all good and delicious

Pecans

  • Leave them to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Pecans

 

 

These are such a quick and easy little snack! As they cool down they get really crunchy – it’s basically a really easy and safe way to make caramel. They are great just on their own but they’re also amazing in other foods such as carrot cake or even some salads – they’re super versatile.

Keep them in an airtight container (super important if you don’t want them to get super sticky and lose their crunch!) and they’ll probably last about a week or so (if you can keep yourself from eating them all before then!). If you want to make a big batch of it just double or triple the recipe and they’ll also be good in the fridge for a couple of weeks or even in the freezer for a few months.

 

Pecans

 

I hope you give these a try and let me know if you like them! I hope to see you again soon and as always, thanks for reading me!

Stuffed dates

Stuffed dates

Dates are one of those foods that I didn’t grow up eating at all. It’s not something that was around me as a child and I didn’t even try them until I was a grown-up. Honestly, I didn’t really like them at all. I remember just thinking “what a weird sweet and sticky food!” and they were just not for me. My husband loves them though so I thought that maybe if I tried to mix them with something they would be a bit more appetizing.

You’ve probably tried dates on their own and not really liked them and you’ve probably had them in other things without realizing they’re there! Things like healthy protein-type bars, some energy balls or bars, baked goods, and even some savoury meals. I think that you probably didn’t mind eating them that way because if you’re not used to having dates it’s actually pretty easy to hide them in other foods – I personally think the most difficult thing to get used to is their texture.

So here’s the best way that I’ve found works for me to eat dates – I love them as snacks, they’re super filling and they hit the spot with sweetness that’s not too sweet, but also a bit of saltiness that is just such a great balance! If you don’t particularly like dates give these a try – and if you’re already a date lover, this may be another great way to enjoy them!

Stuffed dates

 

 

First things first:

  • Make sure your nut butter of choice is nicely mixed – particularly if you’re using a natural one it’s completely normal that the oils separate from the rest of the butter. Just give it a good mix and it’ll be good to go!
  • Chop up your chocolate so that it’s easily mixable throughout.

 

Ingredients:

Ingredients for dates

  • Dates  – I like to use Medjool dates that have the seed inside. I find them to be the freshest-feeling and plumpest dates that just work best here.
  • Nut butter – I like these with crunchy almond butter but any kind of nut or seed butter that you enjoy eating will work!
  • Chocolate chips or regular eating chocolate that you like. I prefer it dark (70%). Make sure that they’re cut into small pieces!
  • Chunky / flaky sea salt
  • Optional: Hemp seed hearts

Note: I can’t really give you exact measurements here because every date is different so the amount of mixture that you’ll need will be different depending on your dates. It’ll also depend on how much you like to stuff them. On this day I made a total of a dozen dates and used about 100g of almond butter, and a tbsp of chocolate chips and hemp seed hearts.

 

What to do:

  • Mix all your stuffing ingredients together until they form a paste – your nut butter, chocolate chips, and hemp seed hearts

Almond butter mixture

  • Remove the seeds from your dates and make them into little boats – do this by cutting half of the date lengthwise and remove the seed that’s inside

Date and seed Date and seed

  • Once all your dates are de-seeded and ready to go, use a teaspoon to stuff them with your mixture
  • Sprinkle some chunky sea salt over the top (as much or as little as you want but please don’t skip this step!)

Dates Stuffed dates

 

And voilà! A quick little snack that’s both sweet and salty and a lot more filling than you may realize!

 

Top tips:

  • They’re ready to be eaten just like this but they’re even better if you put them in the fridge to cool down and set up a bit. That way they also keep their shape a bit better.
  • You can also freeze them by putting them on a plate or tray and putting them in the freezer until they’re solid. Then transfer onto an airtight baggie and they’ll last for a long time – all ready for when you need a quick snack!
  • You can play around a bit with what else you can add – maybe try some chia seeds or any other seeds, try some chopped up nuts if your nut butter is smooth, or even mix some protein powder with your mixture!

 

I hope you enjoy this little recipe and that you give it a try – it’s really helped me like dates a bit more and their texture doesn’t bother me at all when I eat them like this! I hope you like it and that you’ll stick around for my next recipe!