When the cold weather finally hits, I find that my usual Summer go-to snacks of juicy, fresh fruit, smoothies and cheese and crackers seem distinctly unappealing. I crave food that will warm and nourish the body, providing comfort and energy with robust flavours. These things may require the use of the stove, oven or microwave (if you happen to have one, which I don’t) but somehow in the colder months, the process of making a hot snack is a welcome activity, rather than a sweaty annoyance.
1. Hot Nuts
I imagine you may be giggling at that title. I certainly was when I wrote it. Think about those times you walked through a weekend market or in the city in Winter and smelled the delicious scent of nuts toasted over open coals or similar. That’s the natural oils in the nuts heating and smelling heavenly.
I never ever buy ready roasted nuts because I don’t know when they were roasted, and between that time and the time I want to buy them, the heated oil has frequently gone rancid and the nuts taste awful. Buy a quantity of raw nuts of your choice and heat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius. You can dress them with some herbs, spices, salt or sugar if you like (a little oil, melted butter or beaten egg white helps these things adhere to nuts) and place them on a tray and roast for 15 minutes or until toasted to your taste. Give them a few minutes to cool before consuming or you will burn yourself.
2. Root Vegetable Chips
The above picture of beetroot chips happened when I discovered that the beetroots I planted one day had actually grown and were not in fact just silver beet like the rest of the garden bed. I thinly sliced my fat prize, tossed with a little olive oil and salt and lay them flat on baking tray to crisp for half an hour. That afternoon my sons and I gorged on tasty little beetroot chips. Karen has a method for sweet potato chips that employs a microwave, meaning you get chips in 5 minutes flat. Nice one, Karen!
Find the recipe here
We’re not talking your instant sachets of sodium filled cup-of-soup. This requires a little pre-planning, a little divine preparation. Anytime you make a big pot of soup for your family, pour a single serve into a microwaveable container or freezable container and chuck it in the freezer. Maybe label the lid. I constantly forget what I put in there. When hunger strikes in days or weeks to come, you will thank yourself as you heat that lovely little serve of home made goodness. Maybe think about incorporating this into your next MamaBake session; family sized portions plus one mama-snack size portion.
4. Baked Potato
When I’m just starting to think about eating something later, I crank the oven to 200. I grab a potato or 2 if I’m sharing, prick them all over with a fork, run them under the tap and then scatter with salt. Into a baking dish they go and in the oven for about 40 minutes until tender and steaming inside. Just in time for when I am definitely hungry and ready to smash some food. I find baked potatoes a suitable snack at any time of day and was known to eat one for breakfast on my days off from my chef job. As I tended to wake up around 11:30 on those days, it made a lot of sense.
Find my best jacket potato recipes here.
5. Toasted Sandwich
If you can find 2 pieces of bread to rub together, whatever kind, be it regular supermarket, home made, flat bread, then you’re already winning. Sometimes all mama is left with are the hard ends of a loaf. But smash something delicious between them and chuck it under a griller, in the oven or toast both sides in a pan, and you have an excellent snack. Cheese is obvious. Any cheese is good. But even that lone leftover piece of roasted pumpkin from the night before is good squished between 2 pieces of bread and heated to your liking. Surprisingly good fillings include any cheese like mozzarella or Gouda toasted with roasted leftover broccoli. Sounds crazy but tastes amazing.
6. Vegetable Pancake
This is something I also frequently make for weekend lunch when it’s nearly market day and all I have left is a couple of potatoes, a carrot and a withered piece of pumpkin or zucchini. The aim is to get at least a cup of grated veg per person, whatever you may have. Squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can, Combine with 3 tablespoons of your preferred flour or starch, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some herbs if you happen to have any lying around. In a shallow pan add a couple tablespoons of oil and place on high heat. Fry handfuls of vegetable mixture, flattened with the spatula, for about 3 minutes each side or until golden and serve. If you have bits of leftover meat or similar, feel free to chuck it into the mixture. These are really delicious and satisfying.
Keep a pack of tortillas in the cupboard or freezer and your snack game will always be strong. The deliciousness of anything toasted between 2 pieces of flour or corn tortilla cannot be denied.
How to make a kick arse quesadilla that your kids will love, here.
8. Corn on the Cob
An ear of corn can be cooked within minutes in the microwave, oven, in a pot of water or on the grill. Sweet, wholesome and full of flavour, this vegetable can also be elevated to a magically delicious state when you add butter and salt. Or go one better and try making Mexican Street Corn, which can be found in our 5 ways with Corn article. It employs sour cream, mayo, cheese, a hint of herb and spice and lime juice. Make 3 pieces and you have yourself a meal.
9. Ginger Spring Onion Noodles
Noodles have always been the saving grace of any snack or meal emergencies. If you have this sauce on hand, then you have an instant delicious noodle snack possible at any moment, no sauce flavouring sachets needed. Finely slice about 8 spring onions, grate a thumb sized knob of ginger, add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of soy. Place all the ingredients in a container and give it a good shake. Keep it in the fridge and toss a couple of tablespoons over just cooked noodles of any kind. It is particularly good on thin egg noodles.
10. Popcorn Cauliflower
Cauliflower are cheap, healthy and surprisingly popular with children. My eldest demands it in stir fries, on pizza, and wonders at the possibilities of putting it in a cake in the same fashion as his much loathed carrots and beetroot. This is one of my all time favourite MamaBake recipes and an awesome snack. I’m trying to think of a good way to sneak this stuff into a cinema without other patrons feeling unappreciative of the vegetal scent against their faux-butter covered snacks.
Find the recipe here.