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

Healthy Marmalade

If you’re not eliminating waste from your bowels, you’ll end up wearing it on your face. Listen up. The skin is our body’s largest excretory organ. Crazy but true. You want luminous skin? Make sure your pipes are on speaking terms with you.

Cranking up the fibre in your diet will have you shaking your booty like Lady Marmalade on the dance floor. By fibre, I don’t mean a bowl of wholemeal pasta. Nice try. When you want fibre, you need to call in the services of black belts like flaxseed, bran, oats, prunes, beans, hummus, and psyllium.

 

psyllium husks

 

Research confirms that scoffing more than 35g of dietary fibre a day can result in a 40% chance of living longer. Jeesh.

Here’s what happens in our very own waste plant. Insoluble fibre from our food acts like a traffic warden, clearing jams and keeping junctions clear. His job is to keep things moving. If nothing moves, waste can build up and re-enter the bloodstream. One way of ridding toxins is to sweat them out on a treadmill. Or frequent the village sauna. Both options are about as appealing as sex with Donald Trump.

So let’s fight with our fork?

Arm yourself with this marmalade. It’s criminally good and much more refreshing than the regular jammy stuff. One taste will ignite your dimples, like kissing Bradley Cooper, or giving Michael Flatley a wedgy live on stage.

The weird sounding seeds can be purchased in savvy pharmacies or health food stores nationwide. They help to set the marmalade. Prunes Shmunes. Psyllium are the King Kong of the colon.

 

healthy marmalade recipe

 

A healthy marmalade

3 unwaxed organic oranges

3 tablespoons psyllium seed husks

Pinch of sea salt

2-3 tablespoons local honey

 

Start by grating the zest from 2 of your oranges. Set aside. Then slice the bum off each of the 3 oranges, and sit them on a chopping board. Carefully carve the skin from each orange with a paring knife, and discard. The white pithy stuff is a little bitter, but it does contain a whack load of nutrition so maybe don’t take it all off.

Cut the orange into chunks, to check for pips.

Add the orange zest, the juicy chunks, your psyllium husks, sea salt and really good honey to the blender (or food processor). Pulse until jammy, but not entirely smooth. You still want beautiful blobs of orange in there.

Scrape into a scrupulously clean jam jar and leave to set for 30 minutes before spreading over hot toast. Refrigerate for 1 week – it will set even more when chilled.

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

Easy Raw Chocolates

The mere whiff of cacao butter sends a cavalry of hormones pelting through my veins like a pinball machine.

My chest swells and my nostrils levitate. It would be a tragedy to miss out on a cacao-butter-head-rush. You think I’m joking. I get regular online deliveries, and squeal louder than a One Direction front-row fan when the courier calls.

 

cacao butter filler

 

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 powder is basically the by-product of making cacao butter. Here’s what happens in the heavenly lands that grow chocolate trees;

The cacao tree harvests hundreds of pods, enveloping lots of beans. Once ripened, the pods are broken to reveal the moist cacao beans.

In order to dry the beans, they are spread over hot roofs under the blazing sun. Once dried, the beans form a skin that needs to be removed before any further production can be done.

Here’s the ingenious part. The beans are then blasted against a wall, while a high-powered fan blows away the bean’s skin before they drop into a basket below. The smashed nibs are shipped to chocolate makers, or further pressed to form cacao butter and cacao powder. Groovy, huh?

 

raw chocolate vegan

 

Raw Chocolates, without the fuss

You can easily make these into probiotic chocolates, by adding high quality live strains of probiotics (I use Udo’s). 1 or 2 capsules, opened up into the mix is plenty.

 

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

sprinkle of sea salt flakes

just over 1/3 cup (85ml) melted cacao butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave (not coconut nectar or brown rice syrup)

1 tablespoon melted extra virgin coconut oil

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

 

Start by chilling your chocolate mould in the freezer. I use a silicone ice cube tray from Dunnes. Works great.

Loosely sprinkle in the cacao nibs and a flurry of sea salt flakes.

Then slowly melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie until you get just over 1/3 cup (85ml). A bain-marie is basically a pot of gently simmering water with a heatproof bowl sitting on top in place of the lid. The contents of the bowl will melt gradually from the steam of the water underneath. Just make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water.

Using a fork, whisk in the syrup and melted coconut oil. Try not to skip the coconut oil, as it improves the mouthfeel of the final chocolate rather than imparting a coconut flavour.

Stir in the cacao powder, keeping the bowl warm to prevent it from seizing up. Work at speed!

Taste, and decide if you need a tiny bit more sweetness.

Pour into the moulds and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps them set quickly before they get a chance to stratify and form layers (there are methods to avoid this, which involves special thermometers. But pah to that!)

Store in the fridge thereafter for up to six weeks. And send me some telepathic jubilation.

 

raw chocolate recipe

 

An extract from The Virtuous Tart cookbook, with my fabulous team Orla Neligan and Jo Murphy.

If you haven’t done so already, I’d love to hear your (kind) reviews on Amazon here. It would sure mean a lot. In return, I shall send you telepathic love bombs!

Night night, and thanks

xx

Virtuous Tart Final Cover

 

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

Mini Banoffee Pies

I’ve been making these banoffee pies on the Seven O’Clock Show. You can click here to me cooking them, with Big Brother star and the deadly Lucy Kennedy.

The recipe is from my cookbook The Virtuous Tart and has proved the biggest hit in the entire book so far. Here’s why we love ’em …

 

Snoozage

Stress drinks up our banks of zinc and B6, resulting in a deficiency at night. No one functions well on a poor night’s sleep. Not even Mary Poppins. Our concentration falls, our patience wheezes and our immunity chokes. Of course, ditching caffeine and taking up meditation is the most effective way of repairing adrenal glands. But for most of us, such a proposal is enough to send our stress levels to precarious heights.

So who would have thought that a twist on the classic banoffee pie could help? Bananas are steaming with B6 and the mineral zinc can be sourced from the pecans in this recipe. I recommend investing some quality time with these foods before booking into a fancy hypnosis centre or resorting to Celine Dion’s greatest hits.

 

1 1/2 cups (210g) regular pitted dates

1/2 cup (140g) cashew nut butter

3 tablespoons lúcuma powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unscented coconut oil

good pinch of sea salt flakes, such as Maldon

250g Greek or natural yoghurt, or DIY coconut milk yoghurt

3 bananas, sliced

4 squares of dark chocolate

Raw or lightly toasted pecans / walnuts

 

Cover the dates with a little water in a small saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Whip in a food processor with the cashew nut butter, lúcuma or vanilla, coconut oil and a good pinch of sea salt until seriously smooth. Allow to cool down before you judge! At this stage, it won’t taste or smell like caramel.

Scoop some thick cold yoghurt into six little pots. Add a few slices of fresh banana, followed by a glossy kiss of the caramel. Top with optional shavings of dark chocolate if you have some. No biggie if not. Toasted pecans scattered on top give a great crunch.

Serve to unsuspecting guests and see if they notice the difference.

 

Virtuous Tart Final Cover

Photos Jo Murphy / Styling Orla Neligan.

And in other news, here’s a meaty interview I did for Trinity Mag TN2 this month. Includes everything from vices to victories. Until next week!