Tag Archives: Dates

Middle Eastern Meatballs With Yogurt And Tahini Sauce

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Humble mince, I can remember joking as a child that my Mum had one hundred and one ways of cooking mince but this certainly wasn’t one of them!

Loved by the boys the meatballs are sweetened with dates and the sauce tastes very mild. I serve these with Lebanese flatbreads and salad, as we all know, food tastes so much better when you eat with your hands!

I use fresh gluten free bread for my breadcrumbs and these meatballs freeze well too. Just brown them, place in freezer proof tray, and pour over the sauce. Cool and then freeze.

Makes 40 meatballs.

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and quartered

3 garlic cloves

70g dates

80g breadcrumbs, gluten free if needed

100g pistachio kernals

5 teaspoons ground cumin

6 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

50g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

600g ground beef/ minced beef

SAUCE

350g Greek yogurt

90g tahini

1 garlic clove, crushed

zest of 1 lemon

150mls water

salt and pepper

Method

Using a processor, process the onion and garlic.

Add the dates, breadcrumbs, pistachios, cumin, ground coriander, fresh coriander, salt and pepper.

Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.

Tip this paste into a bowl, add the egg and minced beef and using your hands mix really well.

At this stage you can leave the meat in the fridge for 4-12 hours to develop its flavour or carry on as below.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.

Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. You can add a little oil if you want but I tend to just use the dry pan.

Form the meat into small meatballs, you should get around 40.

Cook the meatballs in batches, just to seal the outside. Place the sealed meatballs in an oven proof dish and continue to cook the remaining balls.

Once all of the meatballs are sealed, spread them evenly in your oven proof dish.

In a jug, combine the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon zest, water and salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over and around the meatballs.

Place the meatballs in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are just cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Peanut Bliss Balls

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Three ingredients to make these yummy treats, perfect for school lunches and sweet treats.

Makes 32 bliss balls.

Ingredients

560g dates, pitted

200g roasted unsalted peanuts

30mls coconut oil

Method

Check each and every date for a stone! I have been caught out before!

Pop the dates, nuts and oil into a food processor and whizz until the mix is all well chopped.

Using your hands, take small handfuls, around 20g, of the mix and squeeze into balls.

Chocolate Mint Bliss Balls

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Continuing on the bliss ball theme………. I give you choc mint bliss balls!

Choc mint ice cream is one of my boys favourites so it made sense to have a go at a choc mint ball!

For all of my baking I use a Dutch cocoa  it has a stronger flavour and darker colour and the pistachios as for a minty green “chip”, cashews work just as well!

Makes 22-24 balls.

Ingredients

350g dates, stoned

2 tablespoons coconut oil

75g raw, shelled pistachio nuts

50g ground almonds

2 tablespoons cocoa podwer

1 teaspoon peppermint essence

Method

Check the dates are properly stoned before you do anything, I have been caught out by a stray stone before!

Process the dates and coconut oil until the dates are chopped into smaller pieces.

Add the pistachio nuts, almond meal and peppermint essence and process, using the pulse button, until the mix begins to come together.

Scoop out and roll into small balls.

Keep in the fridge.

Chocolate Orange Bliss Balls

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What can I say! No added sugar, gluten free, egg free, dairy free and phenomenally tasty!

Loved by all the boys, these are a wee treat this week.

Makes 24.

Ingredients

250g stoned dates

75g raw cashews

40g desiccated coconut, plus extra for coating

zest of a large orange

10g cocoa powder

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

Process all of the ingredients, except the extra coconut, until a thick paste is formed.

Roll into small, teaspoon sized, balls.

Roll the balls in the coconut.

Store in the fridge.

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce

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I used to make a regular version of this pudding but with a little fiddling it is now gluten free and you really cannot tell. If you don’t need it to be gluten free, use regular self raising flour.

It makes a nice change from meringues and roulades which are my usual gluten free desserts and the fact that the cooled baked pudding can be frozen saves on time at a later date, I just defrost it and then warm it up in the oven or microwave.

Any leftover toffee sauce is crying out to be poured, warm, over vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients

250g ready to eat dates

120g walnuts

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 apple, peeled, deseeded and grated

2 tablespoons golden syrup

4 tablespoons brandy

100g cubed butter

2 eggs

120g caster sugar

150g gluten free self raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Toffee Sauce

225g soft brown sugar

150g butter

140mls cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade.

Take a 2 litre pudding bowl, grease with butter and cut a small disc of baking parchment that covers the base of the bowl.

In a food processor, process the dates and walnuts.

Add the carrot, apple, syrup and brandy and process again.

Now add the butter, egg and sugar, process again.

Finally add the flour and bicarbonate of soda and process one last time.

Scoop out the pudding batter and fill the pudding bowl, evening out the top.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 80-90mins.

While the pudding is baking make the toffee sauce.

Combine all if the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat, once the butter has melted, allow the sauce to bubble to ensure that the sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the pudding is baked, turn out onto your serving plate, top with half the toffee sauce and serve the remaining sauce on the side with cream and maybe a little vanilla ice cream for a treat!

To freeze, allow to cool completely in the bowl, wrap in baking parchment and then a double layer of plastic wrap.

Bliss Balls

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I hate to admit it but these might actually be reasonably healthy!

Raw ingredients and coconut oil make these little mouthfuls of deliciousness, and, did I mention, gluten free, dairy free and egg free, a winning recipe!

Makes 32.

Ingredients

200g ground hazelnuts

30g Dutch cocoa

120g desiccated coconut

250g dates

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

Place the nuts, cocoa, half the coconut, dates, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a food processor and process until the mix is beginning to come together.

Pour the remaining coconut onto a plate.

Take small quantities of the nut mix, around 20g, and squeeze and then roll with your hands into a ball.

Next, roll in the desiccated coconut and pop into a paper case.

Repeat until all of the nut and date mix is all used up.

Date and Peanut Cookies

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Sometimes the boys have “gone off” dried fruit and any sign or a raisin, date or sultana has caused protest.

This is a sneaky way of getting  the dried fruit in with no one knowing! I have used raisins, sultanas, dates and apricots in this recipe, all work well.

These are very quick to make in a food processor.

This recipe makes around 30 cookies.

Ingredients

100g dates, chopped

100g peanut butter

100g butter

100g caster sugar

100g brown sugar

1 egg

220g self raising flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Line two baking sheets and set aside.

Measure out dates, peanut butter, butter, sugars and egg.

Pour into food processor, process to mix well and chop dates finely.

Add flour and mix to a dough.

Roll into walnut sized balls, place on the baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake for 20-25mins.

Cool for five minutes on the trays and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Store in an air tight container.

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