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Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Gin & Tonics and a Buttery Walnut Whip

Christmas is about giving (out). I like to give my husband material for his new play, so I activate my ego and let it loose alongside the turkey giblets. A playwright’s worst dream is having a happy Yuletide. It gives them Writer’s Block. I would never do that to my husband.

The run up to Christmas often feels somewhere between an Alfred Hitckcock movie and a bad Wes Anderson screening. Everything appears dreamy and beautiful. But beneath the surface, our collective passive-aggressive venom is enough to alarm the UN General Assembly.

So with military incisiveness, I start the season with a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on my husband. I cannot begin to tell you how much this exercise enhances the Christmas spirit. When I’m feeling particularly generous, I even share my analysis with the in-laws.

In between, I cook, eat, feed and nark. Over the course of my theatricals, I have come to realise that irrespective of how hideously I behave, good food can mend moods and marriages.

 

If you’re looking for novel ideas, or trying to take the hell out of healthy, here are a few life jackets from 2016’s Sunday Independent Crimbo special. (Walnut & Rosehip Cookies, Lapsang Souchung Christmas Cake, Festive Florentines).

This pomegranate halva should add a sophisticated splash of romance to your Christmas party. One taste can ignite libido, like finding Bradley Cooper under the mistletoe.

But if you don’t want romance at your party (think family gathering) then feel free to horse into this walnut whip (recipe below). It’s got enough garlic to end up on Norway’s Richter scale. We serve it alongside special G&Ts, to take the nip off our bite (alos, below).

Merry Christmas my friends. See you in 2018.

 

 

Buttery Walnut Whip

Makes 18 pass-aroundies

 

130g good walnuts
1 fat clove of garlic
1 teaspoon ground all-spice
1-2 tablespoons water
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
A few twists of the salt and pepper mill
Small punnet of redcurrants

 

Tip the walnuts, the garlic and your all-spice into a pestle and mortar. Pound for about 5 minutes, until you’ve got an oily butter. If the mixture is still crumbly, keep going my friend.

Now add the water, some lemon, and a few twists of the salt and pepper mill. Water tends to change the colour of the mixture from biscuity brown to light beige. Don’t worry – you’re on the right track. It’s really up to you how creamy or thick you want it.

Spread across discs of cucumber and crown with juicy redcurrants. If you’re crazy fancy, try filling teeny Brussel sprout leaves with this whip, and top with scarlet pomegranate seeds.

 

 

Gin & Cucumber Ice

Makes many, many ice cubes for your festive freezer

 

2 cucumbers, juiced
1 wedge of lime
25ml chilled gin
55ml chilled tonic water

 

To make the cucumber ice, press or juice 2 cucumbers. If you don’t have a juicer at home, you can purchase pure cucumber juice from your nearest juicer. It won’t be on their menu – you’ll need to coax them into giving it to you.

Pour and fill your empty ice tray(s) with this verdant green potion. Freeze for 6 hours before using.

A gin and tonic’s sweet spot is just about twice the amount of tonic, to gin. But some prefer a little extra tonic. Depending on how many lucky peeps you are serving, measure up, squeeze in the lime, and drop 2 cucumber ice cubes into each glass. Small, chilled glasses are best. If you want extra ice, you can always freeze some tonic water a few hours before the party. Fa la la la lahhhhhh …

 

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox.  Namaste!

 

The Virtuous Tart cookbook

 

 

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

Gingerbread Men

If my kitchen frolicking has taught me anything, other than the limits to my belt-expansion, it is that how food tastes qualifies as only one segment of its true appeal. When is just as crucial to our taste buds because of the memories it can set in motion. And who plays a decisive role in a food’s celebration.

Nothing demonstrates this better than Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Gingerbread Men are suffused with happy memories for me. I start pimping them from early November, just so I can bathe in childhood memories and mad amounts of oxytocin.

Happy holidays everyone! May endless mistletoe and sherry be upon you.

 

 

Ninjabread Men

A note for wily mums; you can replace some of the ground almonds with milled flaxseed or hemp powder, to inject some omega-3 artillery into your little ones.

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup (or raw honey for snotty noses)

100g (4oz) ground almonds

1-2 teaspoons ground ginger

Pinch of unrefined salt

 

Gently melt your coconut oil in a small pan over a shy flame. Remove from heat and stir through the remaining ingredients. Scrape the mixture out over a sheet of baking parchment. Press it into a rough dough ball, then place another sheet of parchment over it and flatten with a pastry rolling pin. You’re looking for a couple of mm in depth.

Transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes, until barely set. Alternatively, you can freeze for up to 3 month and let thaw for 5 minutes before cutting into gingerbread men. Choose a cookie cutter, and off you go! No need to bake. We store ready-to-eat gingerbread men in a freezer bag, waiting for unexpected playdates and midnight munchies.

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox. Free of charge. Namaste!

 

 

 

 

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

Sea Salt, Date & Cacao Halva

Apparently, women think about chocolate more then men. Some scientists think this is because eating cacao helps release a cavalry of dopamine in the female brain, the same substance released during orgasm. It’s even been suggested that when women eat chocolate, it affects activity in the cerebral hemisphere responsible for regulating sexual desire.

Only one way to find out …

 

 

Sea Salt, Date & Cacao Halva

 

3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 mug light tahini (circa 340g)
Up to 1/2 cup date syrup (125ml)
Good pinch of flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons carob powder (can be subbed with cocoa/cacao)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs

 

1. In a small saucepan, melt your coconut oil and date syrup together over a gentle flame.

2. Keeping the pan on a very low heat, add the remaining ingredients together, mushing with a fork. Ensure the oil is well mixed. Taste, and adjust with vanilla or sweetener. Work quickly, as the oil will begin to separate from the other ingredients as soon as it starts cooling. If this starts to happen, whack up the heat.

3. Line a small rectangular container (a little lunchbox perhaps?) with cling film so that it comes out over the sides. Transfer your gorgeous gooey gloss into the lined container and tickle with more cacao nibs and flaky salt (if you have any left).

4. Transfer to the freezer for 6 hours before indulging. Store it there too, as it melts quite quickly at room temperature.

We serve this in great big hunks and chards, alongside coffee and hygge (naturally).

 

******

This recipe is from page 208  Tasty. Naughty. Healthy. Nice. cookbook my friends. One of 140 healthy-assed recipes to help turn your kitchen into a wholefood mecca. 

If you live in the States, you can nail 20% off both my cookbooks this month by using the code SUSANJANE20 at the checkout of my US publisher’s online store www.RoostBooks.com. Here’s hoping I lovebomb your kitchen! Namaste. xxx