by Emma Chow

‘Tis the season of unexpected guests. Usually I hate unexpected guests, because I’m anxiety prone and would be a hermit had I not had children. Have a few of these on hand to break out for visitors. They will never smack of stale pantry findings, but make you look like a hostess of impeccable forethought.

Tamari Almonds

I used to make tamari almonds in an organic store and we sold them in little 100g tubs for $8. That works out to be $80 per kilo! Insanity!

Make these tasty nuts at home, with only 20 minutes cooking time and 10 minutes cooling, this more-ish snack is handy to have around.


500g raw almonds
3 tablespoons of tamari (tamari is has a richer flavour base than regular soy sauce, and tastes less salty. It also is less likely to contain gluten, though do always check the label).


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. In a large baking dish, pour in your raw almonds and roast for 15-20 minutes or until just starting to smell toasty. You could taste a hot almond now, but they tend to crispen up as they cool.
  3. While still hot, toss the almonds with tamari until fully coated and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Cheese Straws

cheesy snacks need not mean having several rounds of brie or camembert ready to go in the fridge. Cheese straws may be old school, but they’re a classic and that’s because they are delicious.


3 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 cup of strong flavoured cheese such as cheddar, Gruyere or emmenthal, grated
1 egg
salt and pepper


  1. Lay out your pieces of pastry on the counter.
  2. Beat the egg and brush each piece of pastry lightly with the egg.
  3. Sprinkle the grated cheese over each sheet, also sprinkle a pinch of salt over each and some cracked black pepper. Using a rolling pin, gently press the cheese into the pastry. Cut each sheet into 10 strips. Twist each strip a couple of times before placing on the lined baking sheet. You can freeze these at this point. Lay them on a flat tray that fits in your freezer. Once frozen, you can put them in zip lock bags or containers and keep them in the freezer until needed.
  4. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius and line a baking sheet with paper or a silicon mat. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, puffed and crisp. Turn and bake for a couple more minutes until coloured on the other side.

Bake and Slice Rosemary and Parmesan Crackers

Another cheesy snack, these aren’t true crackers, but more of a savoury shortbread.


120 grams butter
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 long sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter until lightened but not fluffy. You could do this in a stand mixer.
  2. Add the grated cheese, herbs and salt and pepper. Beat to combine.
  3. Add the flour and beat together until large chunks of crumbly dough form. If too dry, add a touch of milk or water.
  4. Press the dough into 2 log shapes and wrap tightly with cling film. You can keep it in the fridge for a week or freeze the logs for a few months.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celcius and line a baking sheet with paper or a silicon mat. Slice the unwrapped dough log into pieces about 3/4 cm thick and lay at least a couple of centimetres apart on the tray. Bake for 20 minutes until just brown. They need to cool before serving because they are very fragile.

Frozen Cookie Balls

All egg and butter based cookie doughs that ask you to portion the mixture into balls before baking can be frozen in ball shapes on a tray before packing them into zip lock bags. Pack a dozen into a bag and label with the variety. Make a range of different cookie doughs now, before the weather gets really hot and butter starts liquifying. When you want to bake them, just lay the cookie balls out on a tray. Try my favourite basic cookie recipe. Add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, lemon zest, whatever you like.


120 grams butter
200 grams sugar
1 egg
180 grams flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt.


  1. Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and beat thoroughly to combine.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking soda and salt. After this is mixed in, you can add other ingredients like chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts etc. Add no more than 200g of any extras.
  4. Roll into tablespoon sized balls and line on a tray to be frozen. Once frozen, place in zip lock bags of lidded freezer-safe containers to await baking.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Place cookie balls on a lined tray and allow to defrost for about 15 minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden on the edges. Allow to cool before serving.

Roasted Chickpeas

I know, I talk about these all the time. But they’re pretty much my favourite snack and are both delicious and clean eating! Find MamaBake’s recipe for roasted chickpeas in a variety of delicious flavours right here. Make several flavours and keep them in a airtight jar and bring out one or all when unexpected guests drop by.


3 cups cooked chickpeas
and some spices like: paprika, cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon, whatever kind of spices you like.


Toss the chickpeas with the spices, pour onto a lined baking tray and bake for one hour at 160 degrees C or until the chickpeas are crisp.
Allow to cool fully before storing in jars.

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