Sunday, 3 July 2011

Nibbles and snacks

Over the past month or two I have been gathering recipes and ideas for snacks and nibbles.  Little bites to stave off hunger - perfect for after school, around a campfire, with a chilled kir in the garden on a sunny evening, or any other time when supper is still a way off and you want something tasty to nibble on that isn't cake.

I now have a good collection of favourites, and I try to make them on Friday evening and Sunday evening so that we've got a good supply for the weekend or week ahead.  Here's what I made this week.

Honey and Soy Seeds

This recipe is by Annabel Karmel, and I always make it for camping.  It is also great for packed lunches because it contains seeds, not nuts, so is permitted by schools with a no-nut policy.  Children go wild for it and eat it by the handful.

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 75g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Heat the sunflower oil in a non stick frying pan.  Add the seeds and stir to toast them for a couple of minutes, or until they are lightly browned.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce and honey.  It will sizzle like mad.  Stir for another minute and then leave to cool.  Store in an airtight container - will keep for up to a week, but there's no way they'll last that long!

Seeds to nibble on


This recipe is by Jill Dupleix, an Australian cook who used to be the Cookery Editor for The Times.  She writes beautifully simple recipes, packed with flavour, and this is the one of hers I make most often.

  • 120g oats
  • 100g plain flour
  • 80g butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  With the motor of the processor running, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together in a big clump (about 2 to 4 tablespoons altogether).  Take the dough out and roll it on a floured surface until it is about 1cm thick.  Cut out into rounds with a biscuit cutter.  I use my smallest cutter which is 4cm across, but it is entirely up to you how big you want the oatcakes.

Bake on a non-stick baking sheet at Gas 4 for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

I LOVE these served with a dab of cream cheese and some herbs or sundried tomatoes but the toppings are endless.  They are also delicious with:
  • hummous
  • slices of avocado
  • stinky blue cheese
  • little French cornichons
  • roasted tomatoes
  • little snippets of salami
  • aubergine dip

Little stack of oatcakes

Oatcake with cream cheese, pepper & basil

Russian roulette popcorn

  • a large saucepan with a lid
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • popping corn
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chilli flakes
Make the popcorn by putting the sunflower oil and enough popping corn to just cover the base of your pan into the saucepan and heating over a medium heat with the lid on.  Shake the pan occasionally and after a few minutes you will hear the corn start to pop.  Keep the pan on the heat, still shaking it from time to time, until you can't hear any more popping.  Turn off the heat and tip the popcorn into a large bowl.

Gently heat the chilli oil, butter and chilli flakes in a saucepan (I re-use the one I just made the popcorn in) until the butter is melted.  Tip slowly over the popcorn and stir everything around for a minute or two.

This popcorn gets its name from the fact that you never quite know how much chilli - if any - you will get on each mouthful of popcorn.  The children love this excitement and dare each other to eat just one more mouthful. 

If your family are not chilli lovers you can make a lovely rosemary version by keeping the butter but swapping the chilli oil and chilli flakes for olive oil and finely chopped fresh rosemary.  Will keep in a tin for a few days.

Russian roulette popcorn

What savoury snacks and nibbles do you like to make and eat?  I'd love to increase my collection of recipes!


  1. Brilliant ideas. I make very similar things so can't really contribute anything new I'm afraid. I haven't made oatcakes before. Must have a go as my daughter loves them. I must admit that lately I have neglected the savoury, nibbly snacks in favour of cake -which of course I scoff. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Oh how I wish I wasn't on a diet! Those recipes sound delicious! Lucy x

  3. I have been stuffing my face with fresh raw peas all afternoon. Less washing up that way!Biscotti (Dragonflys recipe) is a great standby for weekends, no fat in it (we ignore the sugar and white flour) so not TOO unhealthy either.x

  4. Yuuuuuum! Popcorn counts as a portion of your 5 a day too - double the joy!

  5. These all sound delicious! Think I'll try the seeds first.

  6. Oooh such a good idea. Ice pops are my current nibbles, but not sure those really count :) K x


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