All Posts By

Susan Jane

Treats & Snacks, x For Freezer x

Chocolate Cups with Bee Pollen & Ginger

There’s something desperate about resorting to dust, scraped from the knuckles of bees. But who am I to judge? I’m suckered into superfood fandangos like iron filings to a magnet.

Bee pollen looks tots amazeballs on chocolate, yoghurt, smoothies and ice cream. It’s an extraordinarily healthy food, and tastes like fermented ear wax so I like to freeze all flavour from it. If the queen bee thrives on it, sign me up! 

Unusual for a plant substance, bee pollen contains all 22 amino acids making it a whopping member of the protein clan. It is naturally rich in enzymes to stoke digestion, iron (tough luck Popeye) and B vitamins to resuscitate dead batteries. Madame queen needs to lay hundreds of eggs, daily, and lives forty times longer than the working bee so her stamina is probably testament to this luminous superfood.

 

bee pollen chocolates

 

There are, no doubt, delicious varieties. Think about it – the taste of pollen is directly influenced by the flowers and shrubs that the bees forage. So don’t give up on your first taste. Ask a friend to buy a different brand to yours, and go halfies. It will keep for a year in the freezer (3 years in the fridge). I’ve seen some folk chew on bee pollen straight from the jar, without flinching. There’s a PhD there, in anthropology. Or psychology. Maybe one day.

Hiding it in chocolate is the easiest thing to do. Here’s one to get you started.

 

Chocolate Cups with Bee Pollen & Ginger

Makes 12-18 little chocolate cups, for storage in the freezer. Just double the portions to make a tart at the same time as the little cups.

 

Base:

3/4 cup sticky dates, like Medjool (150g)
1&1/2 cups walnuts (165g)
Pinch, good organic unrefined salt

 

Filling:

¼ cup hot water
5 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1x 170g jar cashew nut butter
2 teaspoons tamari soya sauce
5 drops culinary grade ginger oil, like Neal’s Yard or freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons cacao butter, melted
Decorate with bee pollen (I like this one the best)

 

To make the base, chop the dates into small pieces and pulse with the walnuts and salt. You will need the teeniest splash of water to bring it together.

Press the mixture firmly into a dinky tray of small cupcake holders. Silicone ones, like in the photo, are the best because the mixture won’t get stuck. Freeze. You can also use an 18-inch spring-form cake pan instead if it all seems too tedious. The mini-cups are useful for parties though.

To make the filling, give the hot water, cacao powder, maple, cashew butter and tamari a good whizz in the blender. You should have a dense, dark, glossy ganache by now. While the motor is running, slowly add a steady stream of melted cacao butter and 4-5 drops of ginger. You can use fresh ginger, grated on a lemon zester. Sometimes the mixture inexplicably splits for me if I use fresh ginger instead of ginger oil, so I fear this is a question best put to Harold McGee. Taste, and decide whether you’d like more sweetness, or perhaps more saltiness from tamari.

Once happy, spoon the filling into each of your prepped nut cups, and smooth the top with your tongue or spoon.

We store our platoon of chocolate cups in the freezer, ready to serve at late notice. The base is excellent to use with hummus too, for small hungry hands, or pureed avocado and mint.

 

bee pollen chocolate tartsbee pollen recipe

 

If you’re curious about the science behind food, I ask kitchen guru and scientist Harold McGee the all-important one on the BBC Food Programme here. Click on January 4 2015. Night!

 

Events

Thursday 29th January, Superfood Supper (SOLD OUT)

I’m teaming up with one of Ireland’s top chefs, Domini Kemp, at Harvey Nichols this month. Join us for a 3-course supersonic supper, free from dairy, wheat and refined sugar to kickstart your liver after the yuletide debauchery. 

I’ll be at hand to answer tricky questions about navigating health stores, feeding your sweet tooth without sacrificing your taste buds, and why kale is still achingly trendy.

Don’t panic – we won’t quarantine the wine list, so feel free to fortify the evening with whatever pleases you. Some say grapes are your 1-a-day, right? 

 

susan janedomini

 

ITSA, Harvey Nichols Dundrum

7pm

€29 per person

 

To book, please email HarveyNichols@Itsa.ie (advance payment will be required to secure your seat). Will we see you there?

 

Lots of love and goji berries,

Your local nut*

 

* nutritional cook

 

 

Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

The Ultimate Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

These are the greatest plant-based cupcakes to have ever seduced my nostrils and my tastebuds. I beg you to try them. 

Brown rice flour is the easiest gluten-free flour to bake with, and the most obedient to use. Its practically inflammable with B vitamins, acting like spark plugs in the body (most important for new parents, trainee doctors and idle cabinet ministers).

Team it up with sweet chestnut flour, and you’ve got yourself a little love bomb in the oven. 

Italians have been using chestnut flour for centuries y’all. These folk seem to know a lot about tickling taste buds. Chestnuts are naturally sweet, high in fibre and approximately 80% carbohydrate. What’s more, its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are like cheerleaders for the heart.

I’ve noticed that Denmark’s culinary doyenne Anette Harbech Olsen praises psyllium husks as the secret weapon in her gluten-free baking. So I gave it a go. I think you’ll find it a cinch to use, dead cheap, and will feel like a prize-winning chemist in the kitchen. Transformational stuff (erm, it’s also great for the bowels).

 

chestnut flour

 

For the plant-based ‘buttermilk’:

2 tablespoons psyllium husks (10g)
1 1/2 cups almond or soya milk (375ml)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (125ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Dry ingredients (I use British cups, 1 cup=250ml):

1/2 cup cocoa powder (50g)
3 tablespoons potato flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour (60g)
1/2 cup chestnut flour (65g)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (65g)
1 cup coconut sugar (150g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

35g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

 

With a fork, simply whisk the psyllium in with the plant milk, olive oil and vanilla, then leave to rest while you get jiggy with the other ingredients. Leave overnight if you’re prepping for a culinary sing song in the morning.

In a food processor, or a whisk and tenacity, blend the dry ingredients together so that the baking powder and cocoa is distributed evenly. Add the plant-based ‘buttermilk’ and beat or puree until smooth. Avoid tasting the batter – wet chickpea flour tastes and smells like cat’s pee. The cooked result is awesome though, so do persist! These are the greatest vegan cupcakes I’ve ever tasted.

Add the chocolate chips. Scoop the dough into exactly 12 cupcake liners and bake for 28 minutes at 160 fan / 180 regular Celsius oven. When they’re done, leave to cool in their cupcake tray. If the plant-based milk you used was of the unsweetened variety, you might want to sweeten the end result by drizzling melted chocolate on top, and leaving to set. Just saying.

For more inspiration on gluten free and plant-based baking, have a peek at Allyson Kramer’s blog. This one is a spin off from her peppermint chocolate cupcakes.

 

 

Chocolate Chestnut Muffins

 

This week, The Irish Times’ restaurant critic Catherine Cleary asks whether food can help you feel better. What do you think? Check out her podcast here on medicinal food for Lyric FM’s series “History on a Plate” (I join her for a quick chat, but thankfully wasn’t offered powdered mouse and 8oz of cinnamon).

Good night from me!

 

Susan Jane white Paris Workshop