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Treats & Snacks

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Aubergine Bacon

My attempt to stay well-informed with world politics is at odds with my attempt to stay sane these days. It’s increasingly necessary to distract my head from translating Trump’s alternative facts and brain farts.

I console myself with spectacularly weird recipes like this plant-powered bacon. Know what I mean? The more arcane the recipe, the longer I spend away from US politics and Cyclone Twitter. It’s kind of like hacking into my own network of synapses, and writing in some anti-viral code to stop my adrenal glands from imploding. I highly recommend it.

Back to plant-powered bacon. Yes. Meat-free rashers. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meat. But I find myself wondering whether future generations will look back and yak at the idea of supermarkets selling solid lumps of animal flesh. If you arrived on Earth today and saw how we dismembered other living creatures, then sold them in plastic boxes, you’d think that we were greasy psychopaths. (Some of us are. See first paragraph).

But for now, the mass manufacturing of meat limbs seems perfectly acceptable. Strange, eh? (Come to think of it, we’d probably find our obsession with Wow Brows and golf equally disquieting).

If society’s relationship with factory meat seems disturbing, could we start buying less of it? Give sales a massive wedgie? I’d love to see footfall directed back into our butchers, where it mindfully and respectfully belongs. We’d also be doing our wallet, our health and our environment a whopping great service. Look, I’m pretty caffeinated right now, and this aubergine bacon is making me disproportionately emotional. Try it.

 

1 large aubergine

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 -1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chilli

1/2 tablespoon tamari soya sauce

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon rapadura or coconut sugar

3 tablespoons filtered water

 

Using a sharp potato peeler, thinly slice long strips of aubergine. Give the aub a slight turn every slice. The idea is to leave a small strip of peel on each piece, and work around the aubergine. Compost the seedy centre.

Lay the strips out on a cutting board. Sprinkle evenly with your salt and let sit for 1 hour to draw out all the moisture. Pat dry with kitchen towel, and wipe away as much salt as you can. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and let the slices marinade for at least 1 hour, but frankly as long as you fancy.

Preheat the oven to 120C. Transfer the marinated aubs onto a roasting tray (unlined) and bake for 70-90 mins, or until dry, CRISP and deeper in colour. You can do this in a dehydrator at a lower temperature for longer.

Aubergine bacon makes a kickass DVD snack with some popcorn, or as a breakfast with avo toast.

 

And in other news, THE VIRTUOUS TART cookbook has gone paperback in Ireland. Which means another fun cover shot with Jo Murphy! This is what you’ll spot in bookstores across the country …

 

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

Mint Chocolate ice-cream pops

What do you get when you blend up a popular nut, a green vegetable and Lisa Hannigan’s new album? A Nobel prize in chemistry.

Please don’t’ ask me to explain what happens at an atomic level – I haven’t got the foggiest. The end result feels inexplicably gifted, like Allan Rickman and Sharleen Spiteri dirty dancing at the petrol pump.

Music can heighten the enjoyment of a recipe. Watch what happens to your appetite when you play Bob Dylan on repeat – your synapses will feel like a potted geranium dropped from six stories high. Don’t get me wrong. I have all his albums. But just not in the kitchen. Crank up the volume on Lisa Hannigan when you’re at the stove, and her groove will magically transfer to your fingertips and dimples. Food just tastes better. She gives me wings.

 

 

When cashew nuts are soaked for six hours, they blend up like thick cream. Cashews are the David Blaine of vegan ice cream. Magic.

Add to this sumptuously whipped avocado and sticky honey, and you’ve got yourself a blueprint for any dairy-free ice pop.

Cashews have a neat supply of copper, a rather important trace mineral for our bods. Copper is a Big Wig for a whole suite of essential enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase. SOD (geek speak for superoxide dismutase y’all) buoys up our mojo and energy production. And you know what? A good handful of cashew nuts rings in at over 100% of your recommended daily intake of copper. Score.

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate & Mint Ice Cream

I’ve added matcha green tea powder for its groovy glow (and to give my frontal lobe a good rave). Then great big chunks of 70% dark chocolate, because St Patrick is all about chocolate. I. Think.

Drop the coconut milk, if you prefer less ice in your popsicle.

 

100g unsalted cashews

2 avocados

1 tin full-fat coconut milk

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5-8 tablespoons rice malt syrup (for IQS fans) or raw honey (stronger tasting) 

Pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

½ teaspoon real peppermint extract

40g your favourite dark chocolate

 

Soak your cashews in filtered water for anything between 6 and 12 hours (overnight is perfect). Drain and discard and soak liquid. Tip the softened nuts into a high-powered blender and add the remaining ingredients, all except for your chocolate of course. Blitz the bejaysus out of it. When it’s silky and creamy, stir through your chunks of chocolate.

Spoon into lolly molds and freeze for 6 hours before annihilating in one glorious binge. Just kidding! Keep a lid on that lust!

 

 

Breakfast, Events, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, Videos, x For Freezer x

Filming in NYC

New York’s cadence makes me dizzy with awe.

If you do one thing online today, check out Food52. It is the culinary mecca of NYC (and I got to canter around it’s kitchens like a caffeinated Muppet). Their online store is unrivaled in brilliance.

Scroll down to “All Videos” (click here) for my goofy big mug beaming into camera like a child set loose in a Lego store. Hit “show more.” I’m making a hotass dessert.

Until next time! Have a lickety-good week,

Love Susan