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Treats & Snacks

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

White Chocolate Truffles

Meet lucuma. A spoonful of this silky smooth Peruvian fruit is enough to incite poetry in Jeremy Clarkson.

We team lucuma with hazelnut butter to make these outrageously tasty white chocolates. (Was that a teensy squeal?)

When dried, lucuma is a cracking way of naturally sweetening desserts. You’ll also get a surprising dose of niacin (vitamin B3) to help crusade against cholesterol and depression. What a thoughtful gift for Mother’s Day, eh?

Lucuma is not always easy to find in stores, so I recommend ordering online or with your local health food supplier. It tastes like butterscotch vanilla. Think of it as a unique flavour rather than a straight-up sweetener. Your wallet will thank you.
 

 

what does lucuma look like?

 

White Chocolate Truffles

Cacao butter gives chocolate its mesmerizing call, and not the dark cacao pigment as is generally assumed. This tree butter is cream in colour, rock solid at room temperature, and intoxicatingly perfumed. One tablespoon, melted, will amplify any chocolate recipe and send your serotonin to another galaxy. Without it, you’d only reach the clouds. 

Cacao butter may require a little sat navving. I get mine online, where I can bulkbuy an artillery of scrummy stuff (like lucuma) without having to leave my lazy armchair. Makes approximately 36 truffles, which will happily live in the freezer.

 

1/3 cup cacao butter, melted (85ml)
3/4 cup hazelnut butter (185ml)
8 tablespoons brown rice syrup or 6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons lucuma powder
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Lucuma powder to dust

Melt the butter in a bain marie. All this means is placing the broken shards of butter in a shallow bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl is at least 4 inches above the simmering water. Remove from heat, and let the butter naturally melt over the hot water for 5 minutes.

Blitz the remaining ingredients in a mini electric blender or food processor. Keep the motor running, and slowly add the melted cacao butter in a steady stream.

Refrigerate this gooey glossy mix in the same bowl, with the blade, for about 3 hours. You should be able to make about 30-40 truffles from the batch. If the mixture seems too hard, or you’ve forgotten about it in the fridge, blitz it again to loosen it up. 

Using a teaspoon, take a teeny amount and form a bon bon between the palms of your hands. Drop into lucuma powder and roll again with dry fingertips. Store in the fridge until the munchies hit. Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Gluten-free Chickpea Crepes

If Ebola doesn’t get us, gluten will.

Nah, just kidding. GSOH folks! Gluten is not a poison – let’s get that straight. 

Gluten is not unhealthy either. For most people, gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) is more than tolerable. It’s bleedin’ great. Gluten is what makes baguettes fluffy and donuts spongy. So what’s the problem?  

The World Gastroenterology Organisation has estimated that 1 in 100 people cannot breakdown gluten. This is coeliac disease, an inflammatory condition where gluten irritates the digestive tract and can cause serious discomfort. Ireland has an impressive headcount of coeliacs, so we can’t all blame Gwynnie. The reality, however, might be a little more complicated because more than one in one hundred are reporting to be gluten-sensitive. This means we do not test positive for coeliac’s, but fall prey to similar digestive problems (fabulous diarrhea and bloating).

There are many theories but no clear, scientifically satisfying answers. Many respond well to FODMAP diets, an acronym for a series of carbohydrates that no one will ever remember: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. For more on that, take a look at Professor Peter Gibson’s research at Monash University.

But listen! If you are a member of the GF brigade, count yourself lucky. There are stacks of groovy grains and flours to play with, that may have otherwise never muscled for attention – quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, teff. These are your new badass friends. Many taste even better than regular wheat. 

Rosemary, olive and flaxseed bread, instead of boring slice pan? 

Mexican chilli beans, avocado and corn tacos, in place of soggy pasta evenings? Still with me? 

Sounds queer, but instead of feeling restricted with your food choices, expect to feel entirely liberated.

 

chestnut flour

 

Dr David Perlmutter, the Godfather of glutards, is a neurologist whose research purports to link gluten and excessive grains to Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression. Controversial? Yup. But given our diet is obsessed with wheat  (cereals, bread, pasta, cake, biscuits, even sauces) it does make sense to diversify. Worst-case scenario? Your taste buds will flirt with new flavours, and your mother-in-law will be engrossed by your brilliance. Let me help you do just that.

 

Chickpea and Chestnut Crepes

Who doesn’t love a hot crepe? This one is grain free. It’s crispy, but slightly doughy; savoury, but slightly sweet; the perfect 7am-er, but thrives at 7pm. I think you and he are bound to become good friends.

We serve ours with chilli and eggs for a quick supper. Or avocado, coconut yoghurt and raw honey y’all. Double the quantity to make more …

 

Makes 6:

1 cup (100g) chickpea flour

¼ cup (25g) chestnut flour

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 & ¼ cups sparkling water

Coconut oil or ghee, to fry

 

First, I whizz all the ingredients in a blender until it forms a smooth paste. Then I let it soak and swell for 30-60 minutes, or until it achieves the consistency of a thick smoothie.

Now you’re ready to heat your frying pan on a medium to high flame. Melt some coconut oil or ghee, whichever you are using. Add about ¼ cup’s worth of batter to the pan, although this will depend on the size of your pan of course. You want a thin layer, so it’s always best to add too little than too much.

Cook until the underside is slightly bronzed, then flip to cook the other side. This is more of a crumpled buttery pancake than a delicate one, so don’t fret if it turns out to be more Danny Devito than Danny Welbeck.

Happy Pancake Tuesday!