Home Made Crackers

It is pretty cool -and hopeful- to see how rapidly the food paradigm is changing. More and more people are questioning their food choices, becoming more demanding as consumers. Supermarkets are having to adapt to new lifestyle demands.

My husband and I have kept a Friday Night Fun (FNF) tradition going for years now. It is that precious time at the end of the week when we sit down together for a drink, reflect on the past days, share our stories and plot the days to come.

What we prepare for our FNF-time has changed considerably throughout the years. Potato chips with additives and tons of salt, have been replaced by cassava crisps 'au naturel'; peanuts made room for walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds and macadamia nuts; rubbery cheese was substituted by olives.
(Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming post 'Friday Night Fun' for a list of ideas....)

I have been buying (raw vegetable/seed) crackers from Lifefood for quite a while. They can be quite pricey and need to be shipped (which in itself is not particularly environmentally friendly....).

A good friend from South Africa visited us a few months ago. Darren couldn't believe I didn't make my own. "It's so easy and fun!", he said.

I tried his recipe and believe you me, it's 'fool proof', quick to prepare and absolutely delicious. The best part?  They taste way better than any cracker I have ever purchased!
This is the tool you have been looking for, to compliment your home made dips! Or to offer your bread-munger friends during a sit-down meal! The ingredients have tons of health benefits, too many to list. But I do encourage you to look up the links for more in-depth information.

(for 3 oven trays)
•200 g sunflower seeds
•60 g flax seed
•100 g (hulled) sesame seeds
•2 tbs psyllium seed husks
•500 ml water (room temperature)
•1tsp crushed Himalayan salt

What you do
•preheat the oven to 160°C;
•cover 3 oven trays (or flat baking trays) with parchment paper;
•combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and add the water; leave the mixture to stand for 5 minutes. Mix well;
•spread the mixture on the baking tray carefully, making use of the back of a metal spoon. The spread should have no holes in it;
•bake in the oven until crispy (approx. 60-65 min.);
•remove from the oven and as soon as the baking tray allows it, remove the parchment paper from the cracker spread and let the cracker cool down either on a rack or standing up;
•once cooled, break the crackers into any size or shape you like and store left overs (if any!) in an airtight container.

•you want to work the uncooked seed mixture into the tray without loosing time. The longer you wait, the more sticky the mixture will get as the psyllium hardens. This will make it increasingly more difficult to spread the raw mixture onto the tray in an evenly fashion;
•even though the original recipe calls for "spreading the mixture as thin as possible onto the tray", I tried thicker and thinner options and liked the slightly thicker result better. Experiment and see what you prefer. Do keep in mind you do want to spread the mixture evenly for it to cook properly...
•the first time I made these, I did not remove the parchment paper from the cracker till half an hour after the cracker had come out of the oven. This turned out to be a big mistake :-( The steam coming off the baked cracker condescend at the bottom/paper end and ruined the cracker... I ended up 'saving' it by putting the cracker chunk back into the oven for a few minutes (this time with no paper of tray, just on the rack) to dry. Worked like a charm!
•if the raw mixture starts sticking to your metal spoon, dip the spoon in a glass of water and carry on. This should do the trick!