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8 unusual ingredients explained

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

Over the years I've had lots of questions about the weird and wonderful ingredients I use in my recipes. If you're a little confused about terms I often use, like arrowroot and barberries, this is the post for you!

Claudine's unusual cooking ingredients include xylitol, sesame seeds, seaweed, gelatin, raspberry pieces, pomegranate molasses, gelatin powder, arrowroot and barberries

What even is xylitol? Wondering how and when to use pomegranate molasses and gelatin powder? Don't worry, all will be revealed! You may not have heard about them all but most are very easy to buy in major supermarkets or online.

1. Arrowroot

I use this to thicken sauces rather than flour. You need less to create a lovely consistency, therefore reducing the carb content and keeping the nutrient content higher. This is great in recipes such as my egg pancakes. I buy my from BuyWholeFoodsOnline.

2. Barberries

These little berries are sharp and sweet, so pretty and low in sugar. They make a great addition to sausage rolls, meatballs and even granola and are full of antioxidants and Vitamin C. I buy mine from the Ottolenghi store.

3. Gelatin powder

Rich in protein and amino acids, gelatin has many health benefits such as reducing joint and bone pain, increasing gut health, and brain function and helping to reduce the signs of skin aging.

Homemade easy quick to make healthy grass-fed gelatin hearts with raspberry pieces to decorate, gelatin from Great Lakes or Planet Paleo

4. Pomegranate Molasses

A delicious sweet and sour syrup that enhances everything from a beef stew and smoked mackerel salad to dipping sauces, salad dressings, roasted chicken and even sweet dishes. Full of antioxidants and Vitamin C, this is a handy bottle to have and a small drop goes a long way. I buy mine from the Ottolenghi store.

5. Raspberry pieces

These healthy little freeze-dried pieces are beautiful sprinkled over almost anything! I use them on homemade healthy ice-creams, mousses, cupcakes, doughnuts, smoothies, creamy desserts etc to give a quick boost of flavour, colour and look so pretty. Raspberry powder quickly and easily flavours any dish with a healthy swirl of vibrant pink delicious flavour. I use it in homemade healthy milkshakes, icings, baked creamy desserts, pancakes, chocolates, jellies, ice-creams and seed bars.

Claudine often cooks with sesame seeds, seaweed, xylitol sugar substitute (Total Sweet), raspberry pieces, pomegranate molasses, barberries and arrow root

6. Seaweed

Seaweed has an impressive nutritional content. It is rich in antioxidants, protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins, specifically vitamin K, iodine and folic acid. I love dried seaweed in salmon dishes or seaweed such as laverbread in prawn fritters. Dried flakes can be pretty to sprinkle on finishes dishes such as fish-balls or salads.

7. Sesame seeds (black and white)

These seeds look so pretty, taste delicious (but are mild so most children like them) and are full of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Claudine's youngest child kid making easy to make sausage rolls and decorating them with black sesame seeds

8. Xylitol

A natural bark, this is a sugar substitute. It has a low glycemic index meaning it won’t spike blood sugar levels and is much better for children's teeth.

Let me know in the comments below if there are any other ingredients you've encountered for the first time on my website or Instagram. I'd love to hear from you.

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