Healthier marzipan

Great British Bake off got a little Nordic last night with their marzipan moments. I think all Norwegians love marzipan. No matter what season or occasion it would seem that the answer lies in a dyed, shaped figurine of marzipan. Winter is especially full of it with everything with shelves brimming with chocolate coated almond pigs. I too love it but not the commercial kind. It makes no sense to me that sugar comes first in list of ingredients. Surely its in the name, almond paste. So where are we going wrong?

I was inspired to make a new kind of marzipan because of Alex. Its his favourite sweet treat. He inherited that Nordic gene. We dont like to talk about it but there was an incident involving a 1.5kg box of marzipan, a hungry Alex and well, the rest is history.

Almonds are actually a stone fruit related to cherries, plums and peaches. Most of the almonds that we buy today tend to come from the USA and they are normally pasturised.

The vitamin E in almonds can help protect against both UV light damage and also boost brain activity. Eating almonds will help provide your body manganese, which helps form strong bones and also regulates blood sugar. They are packed with magnesium, which is essential for organ, muscle and nerve function and can help regulate your blood pressure.

By making almonds the main ingredient, you are getting all the taste but you are also getting the heart healthy LDL lowering oleic acids rather than inflammatory causing sugar.

This is a sweet treat made healthier. You need three ingredients, they taste amazing & take five minutes to make.

You can keep these naked but I can only recommend rolling them in melted raw dark chocolate and then in cocoa nibs or flaked almonds.

150g blanched almonds
1.25 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rosewater

Place the almonds into a food processor & pulse until you have a fine flour like powder
Add in the syrup & rosewater
Pulse until you have a dough
Roll into balls or any shape you like
Store in the fridge for up to a week

Matcha marzipan chocolate cups

It is my 32nd birthday today and I hate to quote my parents, but seriously where have the years gone? What’s funny is that I can’t remember all my birthdays, can you? I remember turning 6 as it was our first year in Norway, I got a kidney infection the day before and I also got a Polly Pocket, which was top of the secret wish list. I also remember 17 as it was the first time we were allowed to have a house party at a friends. I got so ‘merry’ that I was home and in bed by 9pm. 21 was fun and my first grown up birthday, spent in Troy bar in Shoreditch. 30 we spent paddle boarding in LA. 31 was the last one just the two (plus nanuk) of us, we were impatiently waiting the arrival of the little one, and I ordered very spicy thai green curry for lunch in a bid to try and get her to hurry up.

This year is my first birthday as a mama. There were no lie ins or long runs. There was a 5am start and a lot of snuggles. Somehow today doesn’t feel as important, it has somewhat paled, especially as all I can think about it the upcoming first birthday of the kid. Still, its nice to have a few treats. I have been showered in gifts, had beautiful walks in the sun, have a bottle of something bubbly in the fridge for later and I made these little chocolate cups. Alex loves marzipan and I love making it. It is so easy, just ground almonds, a splash of rose water and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I use maple syrup as it has the lightest taste and allows the almonds to shine. This time I added in matcha, for its colour, for its caffeine and for its beautiful earthy flavor. You could mix these up and make some filled with almond butter, sunflower butter, chia jam or anything else that takes your fancy. Mini muffin tins (the silicon ones) make a perfect ‘two bite size’ for a sweet moment on a sweet day.

Ingredients (makes 12 mini cups)
130g 90% chocolate

0.5 tsp matcha powder

1 tbsp maple syrup

6 tbsp ground almonds

0.5tsp rose water

Place half the chocolate into a bowl over a bain marie and melt

Pour into mini muffin molds up to 1/3 of the way up

Place into the fridge until set

Whilst the chocolate hardens, mix the almonds, syrup, rose water and matcha together

Place small spoonfuls of the marzipan into the centre of the chocolate bases and then flatten to almost the edge

Melt the remaining chocolate and pour over the marzipan

Place back into the fridge and allow to harden


Roasted strawberry and vodka sorbet

When your friend drops off a bottle of ‘Mama vodka’ (seriously that is its name) you are duty bound to make something delicious with it. We are still in the middle of a mini Munich heat wave and so whilst it was tempting to simply grab some ice and a slice, I wanted to make something worthy of the weekend.

Alcohol works wonders in a sorbet as its higher freezing temperature stops the fruit mixture from freezing rock solid. This means it is always at the perfect scooping consistency. I love vodka. Maybe its growing up in Norway. Maybe because it was my drink of choice during the party years on Lower Marsh in London (cranberry and vodka felt so grown up back then!). Maybe its because it works so well in recipes with fruit. It somehow manages to pack a serious punch without overpowering other flavors.

Strawberries were the obvious choice for me, mainly because I had a few punnets languishing in the fridge. Strawberry season is over now and these summer fruits have past their prime. The ones I had were seedier than normal and didn’t have that super sweet juiciness of their July counterparts. By roasting them I was able to draw out their hidden sweetness and caramelize their natural sugars. There are other options though: lychee and ginger is going to be my next experiment and I bet peach and pistachio would be delicious too.

This is a really simply sorbet. It is three ingredients and is ready to eat after two hours in the freezer. It is refreshing, sweet and packs that secret kick. Make it tonight and enjoy all weekend.

…..and just as a little side note. If you want instant vodka sorbet then all you need to do is combine vodka, maple syrup and frozen fruit…happy friday!

400g strawberries

6 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp vodka

Preheat the oven to 180C

Place the strawberry into an dish and roast for 25mins

Once cooled place into a blender with the maple syrup and the vodka

Pour into a shallow dish and allow to freeze for 2 hours or more