Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple and Feta Whole Wheat Crackers. And all about SmartEats



A couple of days before we were leaving a box of goodies arrived at home in Delhi. This box from SmartEats meant that I had I needed to photograph, eat and give my feedback rather quickly. And while I did eat and give my feedback, I wasn't able to photograph the box.

So my uber talented friend Passionate About Baking, lent me a hand and gave me her photographs, because after all she'd got the same box too.


Ok, ok so I'm rambling. Let's start at the beginning shall we? SmartEats is a company that is making 100 per cent natural snacks which are made with whole grains, so that they are high in fiber and micro nutrients. In other words, a box of healthy goodness.

Starting what they call a "Healthy Eating movement", SmartEats wants to ensure that we have an option to eat something healthy and delicious. Their main idea is to have a monthly membership where a new box with five new snacks will be delivered to your doorstep. Baked, roasted, full of fruits and nuts, there's a lot in store for you if you become a member.



Oh and do you know my other uber talented friend Sangeeta Khanna? She's the recipe scientist  for Smart Eats and she's made quite a few of these delicious snacks.

In my box, which was called the first box, I got five snacks  - crackers, cookies, dehydrated fruit, roasted mix and roasted nuts. I loved how neatly it was all packed and couldn't help but grab and open everything and eat. I've broken my experience down into taste, packaging, look and my take




1. Honey Chilli Nuts

Taste: Crisp, spicy and sweet. This nut mix was perfect and I couldn't stop popping them
Look: The sizes of the almonds were very even, which made them look very pretty
Packaging: Was perfect
My Take: These were quite perfect, and I'm really looking forward to a fresh new flavour

2. Parsley Pepper Crackers

Taste: Crisp, cheese and herby.
Look: The crackers weren't evenly cut, but that was a good thing. Since it made it feel more home-made and less factory-made.
Packaging: These crackers should have come vacuum-packed. They retain the crispness longer and would also not be subject to breakage
My Take: While I really liked how they tasted, I thought they were too thick. These paired beautifully with a bit of marmalade and cheese though

3. Very Berry Strawberry

Taste: Sweet and chewy. Taste of the fruit came out beautifully
Look: Perfect
Packaging: Was perfect for the fruit
My Take: I was a bit surprised to see liquid glucose as a part of the ingredients, but I suppose with dehydrated fruit you do need a flavour enhancer. I did think letting the strawberries remain slightly tart might have helped with the health angle.

4. Oatmeal Chewy Cookies

Taste: Chewy, not sweet and too doughy
Look: Like home-made cookies
Packaging: These cookies should have definitely been vacuum-packed. Because by the time they got to me they were soggy. While a replacement was sent, I still felt that it's essential to keep air out if it
My Take: Least-favourite of the lot for me and you know I love me a cookie. The weren't sweet, they felt too oaty and the mouthfeel was rather undercooked. The almonds made for a wonderful addition but this is something that needs a bit of rework.

5. Lean bean mix

Taste: Spicy, crispy and quite a party in the mouth
Look: Perfect, with bits of baked beans
Packaging: While I have no complaints about the mix being soggy, I do wish this was vacuum-packed as well.
My Take: This was a lovely mix, but I found it a little too spicy for my taste. I mixed with with a bit of plain puffed rice, which balanced the flavours and then I made a bhel with the same concoction which didn't need any additional spices.

All in all, I'd like to give this box 3.5 on 5. I think with a few twists and changes, it'll get its five star rating. And you can order your box from here.

But having eaten all these healthy snacks, I felt it was time for me to make a go at baking something that could be eaten relatively guilt-free especially when that 6 pm hunger pangs take over.

So the other day from the farmer's market, I bought some artisanal feta. While it was a great cheese, it was unfortunately not salty enough for me. I was wondering what to do with it, when inspiration struck, I'd bake some crackers.

These crackers are quite unlike crackers that you've eaten. These are double-baked, almost biscotti like crackers that use only the fat off the cheese. One tip though, you must let the dough rest and then bake it for a loooong time on low temperature.


Apple and Feta Whole wheat crackers
Makes 60 small crackers

Ingredients
3 cups grated apple
1 cup feta
1 cup almonds slivered
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp paprika

Directions

1. In a bowl mix together the whole wheat, sugar, salt and paprika
2. In a bigger bowl mix together the apple and feta and slowly add the almonds
3. Add the wholewheat mix in one go, mix well, resisting the urge to need. The dough will be very wet, so you might need a bit more flour, but resist that urge too
4. Let this dough rest for atleast 2 hours in the fridge or overnight.
5. Divide and shape into logs and bake for 40 minutes at 160 degrees.
6. Take out and let it cool, slice thinly and bake for a further 30 minutes at 150 degrees or until dehydrated and crisp.
7. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.




5 comments:

  1. Will put the mixture in the fridge tomorrow and bake day after. Sounds fairly simple. Hope it turns out that way too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Ruchira, Thanks a ton for doing this review. Despite all that must be going on with relocation, you took time out and that's really amazing! Thank you!

    We at SmartEats are really glad that you liked most of the snacks. We are learning and growing to make each next box better and tastier. So your feedback is very welcome.

    We are getting rave feedback on Fruity Granola bar, Whole Wheat walnut biscotti and festival fruits. Would love to send that to you but overseas is a challenge..any solutions?

    Thanks
    Avni Garg
    CoFounder SmartEats
    www.SmartEats.in

    ReplyDelete
  3. SmartEats is a good idea..and I ordered a box too, sadly my oatmeal cookies was a bad batch and got fungus within 2-3 days...i loved strawberries most, folowed by parsley crackers & honey chilli nuts....
    lean bean mix i wasnt so hung upon...but its grt to shoo off hunger pangs while working late in office!!

    http://thelearningcookblogs.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Learning cook, So sorry to hear about the cookies. Please email us your name at info@smarteats.in and we'll send you a replacement snack immediately. We have stopped the production of Oatmeal cookies to investigate and resolve.

    Thanks
    Avni Garg
    CoFounder SmartEats
    www.SmartEats.in

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Learning cook, Thanks for your interest in SmartEats movement and sorry to hear about your problem with oatmeal cookies. Please email us your name at info@smarteats.in and we'll send you a replacement snack immediately. 100% natural food comes with its own challenges and we are willing to face those vs. adding chemicals to the food. We have stopped the production of oatmeal cookies to resolve this problem.

    Avni Garg
    CoFounder SmartEats
    www.SmartEats.in

    ReplyDelete

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