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Treats & Snacks

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

2016 Chocolate Seed Soldiers

Coconut flour is quite the diva. It’s the Gordon Ramsay of flours. You can’t substitute it with any other flour. Try to, and your baked goodies will throw a hissy in the oven. This is because coconut flour demands alarming quantities of liquid in comparison to plain white flour.

I’m prepared to put up with coconut flour’s shenanigans because it makes a really great alternative to gluten or grain flours (hello paleo, hello coeliac). You won’t beat this flour’s fibre content either, ringing in at a whopping 42% (bye bye, haemorrhoids).

Extra bonus? You don’t even need to cook it.

Coconut flour works balistically well in this recipe, alongside cashew nut butter and a platoon of seeds. You can make great ‘cookie dough’ with it too, by combining the flour with some maple syrup, chocolate chunks, and nutbutter. No need to cook. Just roll into grenades and taunt the children into thinking it’s junkfood. They’ll love it.

 

seed soldiers the virtuous tart susan jane white
2016 Chocolate Seed Soldiers

The 2014 version is here which still knocks us sideways, like a puppy who ran into his birth brother. The 2016 ones are more wintry with orange zest, sea salt and creamed coconut.

 

The base:
1 cup (140g) dates, chopped
Just under 1 cup (100g) of milled flax or milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (55g-65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (75g) raisins
1/2 cup (140g) almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew nut butter
Up to 1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup or agave (honey doesn’t work)
3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
2 tablespoons goji berries
2 generous pinches of sea salt flakes
zest from 1 unwaxed orange

 

To top:

100g bar of 75% dark chocolate
1/2 block of creamed coconut (only 1 euro in specialist Asian grocers)
Handful of goji berries or dried mulberries
Some raw cacao nibs
Blue cornflowers (for a touch of Mary Poppins, but you can’t taste them)

 

In a food processor (a simple fork and a temper will also work), combine all the base ingredients until gorgeously gooey.

Spoon it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin. The perfect size tin is a 20cm x 25cm rectangular one, a little larger than the traditional 20cm x 20cm square brownie tin. I place another piece of parchment paper on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with my fingers. Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top piece of parchment. Chill in the fridge.

Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate and creamed coconut in a bain-marie. This is basically a pot of simmering water, 2.5cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise have gone. The contents of the bowl will gently melt from the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water underneath.

Smother the chilled base in this coconut and chocolate ganache. Parachute a couple of goji berries, cacao nibs, mulberries and blue cornflowers on top for colour. Refrigerate overnight. I doubt you’ll need an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning.

 

the virtuous tart cookbook

 

This weekend with The Sunday Independent, you’ll find my final Sugar Feature. Diets suck. That’s why I don’t do them. And guess what? I’ve never been so healthy or so happy. Once you master how to turn your pesky sugar cravings into a nutritional slam dunk, you’ll be levitating with satisfaction!

 

 

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Milf Muffins – with chocolate chips

I wasn’t going to call them vuffins (vegan muffins) or millet n’ teff muffins. Maybe Milf muffins have been invented before, but I ain’t brave enough to Google the phrase.

Check out this recipe’s armament: chickpeas, teff, raspberries, millet, psyllium, olive oil and almond milk. A balistically good way to foxtrot some goodness into your system. Lots of anti-aging allies in there too. In theory these muffins don’t keep longer than two days. In practice, they won’t keep longer than two minutes.

I made them on TV3 tonight, with Lucy Kennedy and Martin King. Tune into The Seven O’Clock Show, to catch a playback of the demo, and I’ll join you in your kitchen!

 

milf muffins the virtuous tart
the dry ingredients:

up to 1 cup (100–140g) coconut sugar or jaggery powder (or whatever darn sugar you fancy)
1/2 cup (75g) teff flour
1/2 cup (55g) sorghum (sweet millet) flour
1/2 cup (55g) chickpea flour (brown rice flour will also work in this instance)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1–2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
palmful of dried mulberries and / or a generous palmful of dark chocolate chips

For the plant-based ‘buttermilk’:
1 1/2 cups (375ml) almond or other plant milk
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons psyllium husks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F. Line a 12-mould muffin or fairy cake tin with cupcake cases.

To make the ‘buttermilk’, whisk the plant milk, olive oil, psyllium and vanilla with a fork, then leave to rest while you get jiggy with the other ingredients.

In a food processor (or with a whisk and tenacity), blend all the dry ingredients except the mulberries together so that the baking powder is distributed evenly. If you have potato flour loitering in your pantry, you can replace half the sorghum with it. Very nice.

Add the plant ‘buttermilk’ and beat or purée 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! Stir in the dried mulberries and / or chocolate chips.

Divide the dough between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for 28 minutes. When the muffins spring back to the touch, they’re ready. Remove from the oven, turn the muffins out of the tray and let them cool on a wire rack.

These are best eaten within 1-2 days, but I doubt that’s going to be a burden.

 

milf muffin the virtuous tart

 

From The Virtuous Tart cookbook, on sale on Amazon and all good bookstores across Ireland and the UK.

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

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

Vegan Banana Bread

Coconut blossom sugar is a great sub for anyone looking to keep blood sugars a little more subdued. We’re not looking at a health food here – just a less evil variety of sweetener than that bad white bitch. This new exotic sugar is tastier than white sugar, and sufficiently pretentious to earn bragging rights with that annoying athletic dude in your office.

True disciples carry little dinky pouches of coconut sugar around in their hemp-woven tote bags, to sprinkle into beverages and conversations during the day. Let’s all blame Gwynnie (a favourite hobby of my husband’s).

Coconut sugar’s unique minerally taste comes from its modest stash of, erm, minerals. There’s a snifter of potassium, iron and zinc in there, causing great pandemonium among the glitterati in LA.

Aside from its titillating nutritional profile, this is one very tasty sugar with an equally spectacular price tag. So the fantastical fairy tale ends there I’m afraid. Gram for gram, it’s more expensive than quinoa hand-harvested-by-Justin-Bieber.

 

vegan buckwheat banana bread

 

 

2016 Banana Bread (egg-free, vegan, gluten-free)

When my nippers hound me for something trashy, I like to make this banana bread and drizzle dark chocolate over the top. The result is comically hypnotic. That’s because bananas and buckwheat go magically well together. They are the Amy and Brian of the breakfast table. One is naturally sweet, the other robust and burly. Add to this, coconut sugar’s spell, and you’ve got yourself a new BF.

And look, if the coconut sugar is a step too far, you can use fine rapadura sugar or muscovado. I won’t mind. Much.

 

100g extra virgin coconut oil (for vegans) or ghee, room temperature
160g coconut sugar
350g or 4 bananas, mashed
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon psyllium husks, soaked with 3 tablespoons plant milk (an egg replacer)
4 tablespoons natural soya yoghurt or any plant-based milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
200g buckwheat flour or brown rice flour (220g sprouted spelt flour is spanking delicious. Regular spelt flour will require only 180grams. Wholegrain flours can have very different levels of absorbency)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dusting of oats, to top (optional)

 

Fire up your oven to 180C.

Then beat the fat with the sugar. Add the mashed bananas, salt flakes, gooey pysllium ‘egg’, soya yoghurt or milk, and the vanilla extract. That’s your glue.

Tumble in the remaining ingredients (flour and raising agent). Top with thinly sliced banana if you have any leftover. Scrape into a large 25cm loaf tin, lined with non-stick parchment. Dust with oat flakes if you have some. Bake at 180 degrees for 60-70 minutes, until it doesn’t wobble in the centre. This banana bread doesn’t overcook too quickly, so relax if you left in in 10 minutes overtime.

Remove from the oven and let it settle for 5 minutes before ejecting from its tin and letting it to cool on a wire rack. This bread keeps really well all week in a bread basket, covered with parchment. When it gets old, a scrape of butter helps keep each slice moist.

 

 

In other news …

Very psyched that Jamie Oliver tweeted my flapjack recipe as part of his “10 Healthy Snacks to Kickstart 2016”. You can check his list out here: