Nutty Chocolate Truffles

So it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and this year I decided that instead of going through all the faff of making something decadent and swoon-worthy (like my previous Black Forest Chocolate Fondant’s), I’d make something super easy that didn’t require too many ingredients but still tasted good.

Such a romantic.

Tbf, these chocolate truffles are delicious and would definitely make a really cute gift to give to someone you love! Or yourself. It’s important to love ourselves too, right?

Shameless sexy photo of melted dark chocolate. Standard.

Nutty Chocolate Truffles
Author: Acorns & Custard
Serves: 24
  • 200g walnuts
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp almond butter
  • 4tbsp maple syrup, plus 1tbsp for the chocolate coating
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • Optional toppings: desiccated coconut, freeze dried berries, chopped walnuts
  1. Blitz up the walnuts and coconuts in a blender/food processor to a fine crumb consistency.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, almond butter, and maple syrup and mix till throughly combined.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up a little.
  4. Roll into bite sized balls and place on a cling film lined baking tray.
  5. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
  6. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts (stirring in between) till the chocolate is melted.
  7. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup and mix.
  8. Dip each ball into the chocolate to coat and set on another cling film lined tray.
  9. Sprinkle with any toppings you may want, then refrigerate till the chocolate has set.


Vegan Mac and Cheese

Ok, it seems like everybody has been going vegan for January as part of the ‘Veganuary’ campaign, and it’s pretty impressive! I mean, coming from a family that eats steak on the regular, I’ve always said that I’d find it hard to go vegetarian, let alone vegan, so the thought of cutting out meat, dairy and all other animal products from my diet has always seemed unimaginable to me!

However, now that I find my Instagram feed full of yummy looking vegan recipes, I’m not going to lie… I am a little bit curious.

Don’t get me wrong, a whole month still seems like a big commitment, but it has got me interested in figuring out how I would turn some of my favourite meals vegan. You know, if I were to try it for a day/week. Maybe it’s the scientist in me that relishes the challenge of having to research, experiment and trial new ingredients, techniques and recipes? Yeah, I know. Nerd.

Anyways, I figured I’d start with something that I eat far too often and yet never get tired of eating…

Mac and Cheese. (Ang’s Ultimate Comfort Food.)

Now, when I make mac and cheese I usually add a ton of cheese and bacon, so I knew this would be a challenge. I also wanted to steer clear of specialist ingredients that I wouldn’t normally buy or have in my kitchen, e.g. vegan cheese or vegan bacon… because that would make it too easy!

Whilst researching, I’d seen a number of recipes that used a creamy cashew “cheese” sauce, flavoured with various savoury, umami ingredients which seemed to work a treat. So that’s what I did. Added as much umami as I could! I also decided to fry some red peppers with smoked salt and smoked paprika, as an alternative to the smoky taste of bacon.

I was super impressed with how cheesy the “cheese” sauce turned out! I mean, look at the image below! Seriously, cashews are a game changer if you ever need to make a creamy yet dairy-free sauce!

Vegan Mac and Cheese
Author: Acorns & Custard
  • For the “cheese” sauce:
  • 150g cashews
  • 400ml almond milk,
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp yeast extract (Marmite)
  • 1tsp turmeric, optional (for colour mostly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • To serve:
  • 400g macaroni pasta
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1tsp smoked salt
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • a handful of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for minimum of 1-2 hours. Drain and place in blender.
  2. Pour in half of the almond milk and blitz to a smooth paste.
  3. Add the remaining almond milk and “cheese” sauce ingredients and blend to combine. Season with the salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the red pepper pieces with the smoked salt and smoked paprika to coat them. Tip into a lightly oiled frying pan and fry till they start to crisp and char. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. To the same pan, add the panko breadcrumbs and fry till golden in the smoky, peppery oil. Season with smoked salt and pepper as necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside also.
  6. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions till al dente. Add the broccoli florets to the water for the remaining 2-3 minutes.
  7. Whilst the pasta is boiling, pour the “cheese” sauce into another saucepan and warm up on a medium heat, continuously stirring.
  8. Add the spring onions, green chilli and smoky red peppers. If the sauce becomes too thick on heating, add a little water to let it down to the desired consistency.
  9. Once the pasta and broccoli is cooked, strain and add to the warmed sauce. Stir to combine and serve immediately, topped with the breadcrumbs.


Speedy Chicken Pho

An embarrassing amount of time has passed since I last blogged a recipe and that definitely needs rectifying asap. I guess it was after doing the whole ‘GBBO Showstopper Challenge’ for an intense 10 consecutive weeks that I realised I needed to give myself a break from blogging recipes so I could claim back my weekends and get back to my normal routine/life.

However, that break then became a whole fricking year. *hangs head in shame*

Anyways, we’re now in 2018, and a new year makes for the perfect excuse to give myself a good kick up the butt to get back into blogging! *flexed bicep emoji*

I don’t know about you, but it seems like everyone I know and their mother got taken down by some sort of flu/cold over the Christmas holidays. So, to help keep warm and toasty whilst I’m getting rid of my pesky cough, I figured I‘d make a Speedy Chicken Pho, packed with spices, fresh veg, chilli and ginger to help my immune system do it’s thing. Because nothing beats a steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re ill. Except maybe medicine… and bed. But also Pho.

Now, as a traditional Vietnamese chicken pho broth normally takes hours/days to simmer chicken carcasses/bones to impart their flavour, I opted for the speedier approach of using a decent store-bought chicken stock instead. Hey, shortcuts happen when you’re ill! And tbh, I was pretty pleased with how aromatic and flavourful my speedy broth tasted!

(For a vegetarian alternative, you can use vegetable stock and sub out the chicken for some shitake mushrooms. Just fry them off for a few minutes in an oiled pan till they turn brown, before adding to the broth.)

Speedy Chicken Pho
Author: Acorns & Custard
Serves: 4
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 inch piece ginger, thickly sliced
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 stick lemongrass, smashed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2l chicken stock
  • 500g chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 300g instant rice noodles
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • handful of bean sprouts
  • pak choi, sliced in half
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • a large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  1. In a large dry pot, cook the onion, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass on a medium high heat for 5 minutes till they start to brown/toast.
  2. Once browned, add the spices and continue to toast for a few minutes till they begin to sputter and give off an aroma.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Once boiling, add the chicken breasts and cover with a lid. Bring back up to the boil, then reduce to a low heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken breasts are just cooked.
  5. In the meantime, wash and prep the veg. (I actually added the coriander stalks to the broth too.)
  6. Cook the rice noodles as per the package instructions. Rinse under cold water to prevent them sticking together. Drain and divide between 4 bowls.
  7. Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts from the broth and shred using two forks. Divide between the 4 bowls.
  8. Strain the broth through a sieve to remove the whole spices and veg, and pour back into the pot. Bring back to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and chicken.
  10. Serve as desired with the fresh veg, and a squeeze of lime.
For optional added heat, squirt in some Sriracha!