Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lunchbox treats

There's a lot of talk of the new Nigella Christmas book, and while I am deciding whether or not I want it too, I have pulled my other Nigella books off the shelves, at least those that contain Xmas recipes. There is enough in there for my own Xmas needs, as limited as they are, but of course, there's always space on the shelf for Nigella, whose books are so carefully made and make you yearn for her lifestyle, if not her life. Well, not really her life, with its truckload of tragedies, and certainly not her husband, egg-diet thin or not, those she can happily keep. But her beauty, wealth, creativity, her lavish table, etc. These are attractive assets.

Browsing through Nigella Express, I realized I hadn't used it nearly enough yet. It is the type of food I want to make these days, because I am a bit frazzled and have little energy yet want to eat good food. I happen to have a head of escarole, courtesy of my veg box, and I found a recipe to use it with pasta, the Italian way (the French eat "scarole" as a salad). But I also remembered these baby lunchbox treats.

Nigella passes them as healthyish because they contain rice malt syrup and sesame seeds. While I agree they are not overloaded with fat and white sugar, I can't vouch for the healthful benefits of rice krispies, which contain high fructose corn syrup... I usually don't buy rice krispies, but a few weeks ago, for Maya's birthday (which I still haven't blogged about), I tried my hand at marshmallow crispy squares (aka rice krispie treats) also to be found in N. Express. I think the only person who liked them was Oma, my mother-in-law. I ate a few because I didn't want them to go to waste, but wasn't too impressed. And now I have all those rice krispies left over. When I eat them with milk as a cereal, I feel hungry 30 minutes later. So I have to dispose of them one way or the other. Also I have a really old bottle of rice malt syrup from one of my health food store expeditions, and this recipe uses quite a lot of it, so it was perfect.

Nigella suggests donning latex gloves to shape these treats into balls but I just spooned them into tiny paper cups. These are good after a stay in the fridge, they take on a really crispy texture that pops in the mouth. They are not really a chocoholic's fix, but they do help if you're a bit hungry and need something sweet and with some grains (there is a bit of oats in them after all).

Recipe, adapted from Nigella Express

50g milk chocolate
150g rice malt syrup
55g butter
60g rice krispies
30g cornflakes (I used all rice krispies)
40g quick cooking oats
75g sesame seeds

Melt choc, butter and syrup in a pan over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Shape into balls or spoon into paper cases and leave to set in the fridge for an hour.
N. says they can stay there for a week (preferably in a plastic container though). It made a ton but you'll find yourself popping 5 or 6 into your mouth in a row if you're not paying attention!

If you're new here, well first of all, welcome! Also, if you can read French you might be interested in my book, which I have talked about here and there already...


Emily said...

Those are so cute!

I need to buy a Nigella cookbook. I don't have any!

Lunchbox Obsessed said...

Yum, will have to give these a try. We make a something similar with Peanut Butter, will have to give these a try so we have more variety. Thanks!

Christina said...

Hello Julie! These little cakes were probably the first thing I ever 'cooked' with my children. We've done versions too with melted Mars bars, and also with melted toffee and marshmallows - all healthy, low-calorie stuff!
I adore Nigella too and have 4 of her books. They are a pleasure just to read, not only to cook from, and my 11yr old daughter has been known to take 'Feast' to bed with her as her bed-time reading!
We found the Middle-Eastern shop in Trier, by the way. Thank you for your excellent directions - we found it straight away. I stocked up on Haloumi (Delhaize was out of stock when I last went) but sadly it was the worst Haloumi I have ever eaten and now I have 5 packs of it sitting in my fridge! Great olives, breads and huge bunches of coriander though!

julie said...

Emiline, thanks, you NEED a Nigella book!!

Lunchbox, these must be good with PB too, must try that to finish my packet of krispies.

Christina, I'm happy you found the shop, too bad about the halloumi, perhaps melted on a gratin it would be edible? I have only had the one from Delhaize so cannot compare.
It's interesting and nice that your daughter like to read Nigella in bed, seems so grown up :-)

Christina said...

....it might be hard for you to imagine with your little one and baby on the way, but they do grow up very quickly! Rice Krispie cakes one day, 3 course meal the next (I refer to the meal my daughter cooked me and my husband for our wedding anniversary back in August!!)
The haloumi melted on a gratin is a good idea and I'll give it a go.
And I agree, anyone even remotely interested in food should own at least one of Nigella's books!

Jacqui said...

Just found your blog and look forward to following it. I too am a self confessed cookbook junkie,and proud of it. I guess I am a cookbookaholic.
I have just started to food blog and am loving it.


Hope you'll take the time to have a look in the meantime I will keep checking yours out

julie said...

Jacqui, thanks for stopping by, I'm off to check out your blog.

Lorraine E said...

Oh wow, I had no idea about the Nigella Christmas book. How exciting, she always has such amazing ideas for special events and holidays! The treats look delicious and I like the small servings of them.

Kelly-Jane said...

They sound great, I've not made these...yet!

Sandy said...

Julie, I am surprised about the traditional rice crispy treats. Most people I know can't keep them in the house.

I haven't used Nigella Express as much as I should either. Those treats looks good. Did you end up making the escarole past dish and if so, was it good? I love escarole.

julie said...

Truth is, this recipe makes A LOT of bite-sized treats so be prepared to give some away!

Sandy, the escarole with pasta was good. In fact, I'm getting some escarole in my veg box this week and will probably make it again.