Last Wednesday, Waterstones held a Q&A and book signing to celebrate the launch of Ella Woodward's first book, and I was there with bells on. I was lucky enough to snag myself a copy of the book, and have spent the last few nights pouring over the recipes and trying to put some sort of order on which concoctions I'm going to make first.
Listening to Ella's story was truly inspiring. She's got a great philosophy and her passion and genuine enthusiasm for eating right comes across in a chatty, lovely manner. Something I loved the most about the evening was throughout, Ella is constantly telling people to adapt recipes to suit them - if you want to add fish to a curry, great. A side of eggs, feta, chicken or beef, go wild... Just because she's a vegan, it doesn't mean your recipes have to go without, if that's what you fancy.
It was a great evening, and health blogger Pamela did a fantastic job interviewing Ella!
(Love my 'ohmygod it's ella' face)
I've made a few of her new recipes, but one of my favourite so far absolutely has to be her Cacao and Hazelnut butter (aka, Deliciously Nut-Ella).
I don't really know how to describe this other than saying it's fan-bloody-tastic. It (obviously) tastes like Nutella, but without that sticky, fake feeling.
I adapted her recipe to make a smaller batch.
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
70ml 100% maple syrup.
Roast your hazelnuts in the oven for 10 minutes. The recipe said that you needed a really strong processor to blend the nuts, so I roasted mine for 20 minutes to soften them more, as I'm still playing around with my processor (is it lame to say best Christmas present ever?! Thanks M & D!) and didn't want to break it. It turns out I'm pretty crap at remembering to set timers, and circa 25 minutes later, I remembered they were still in the oven... the outer shell had burnt on loads of the nuts, and so for the next ten minutes, I de-shelled all of the nuts (yep, all of them) and discarded any burnt ones. Safe to say it was the most exciting ten minutes of my life.
Anyway. Blend for a few minutes, then add in your cacao and maple syrup. Once all three ingredients have blended, slowly pour in 100ml of water.
(Because I'd overcooked the hazelnuts, a slight bitter burnt taste did unfortunately come through on some mouthfuls, and reminded me a bit of coffee beans - it didn't ruin it, but it'll definitely taste so much better next time when I pay attention to oven timings!!)
I served mine on Biona rye bread, and I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't eating it right now out of the jar...