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Treats & Snacks

Treats & Snacks

Pancake Tuesday, Feb 21st

While I like my pancakes trashy, I also love them to be healthyassed. So this week our pancakes are fraternising with flaxseed, brown rice and banana while smothered under a rich tahini sauce. Eating something nourishing that feels deliciously sinful can feel strangely conflicting, like being mugged by Cupid.

Makes 6-8

For the pancakes:

1 large or 2 small bananas, peeled

230ml your preferred type of milk

2 tablespoons milled flaxseed

180g plain flour or brown rice flour (or 100g flour with 80g oats works well)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Dot of butter, ghee or coconut oil, to fry

For the chocolate tahini sauce:

1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder

3 tablespoons maple or date syrup

100g seriously silky, runny tahini

Flaky sea salt, to taste

1- 3 tablespoons water, oat milk or coffee

Belt the listed pancake ingredients in a blender until silky smooth. Feel free to do this by hand with some muscle and Spotify tunes. Leave the mixture to bloom and absorb for 15 minutes.

Then heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat with your preferred fat (we love ghee, which has a naturally high smoking point). Drop in a little batter about the size of a scone, and cook on both sides. You’ll know when it’s time to flip the pancake as teeny little bubbles will form on the surface after 60 seconds. We’re going for thicker American pancakes rather than thin French crepes.

Taste this cooked pancake before starting another pancake, so that you know whether it needs more time in the pan, or less time.

To make the chocolate tahini sauce, beat all the ingredients except the water together with a fork until smooth. A little bit of water helps to thin it down, but too much water actually thickens it right back up! I find 1 tablespoon of water perfect, but this will depend on the viscosity of your tahini so start splashing in small amounts until the sauce resembles pouring cream.  Drizzle over your cooked pancakes, and nosedive into the lot.

Treats & Snacks

Zero Waste orange, cardamom & Ginger Cake

Here’s a zero-waste cake with financial, nutritional and earth-friendly benefits. (Was that a backflip?)

It’s basically the lovechild of Claudia Roden’s legendary orange cake, and Tom Hunt’s vegan twist. By adding the skin of the orange, we’re mainlining bags of antioxidants, vitamin C and fancy polyphenols for our body to enjoy. Besides, adding the whole orange makes it taste like a badass marmalade cake. It’s a win-win situation.

But instead of eggs, we’re using aqua faba to keep our vegan friends happy and for extra sustainability points. Aqua faba is the soak liquid from a tin of chickpeas that we usually pour down the sink (you can check out more aqua faba recipes from my Sunday Independent column right here).

And when you spot your ginger going gnarly, simply peel the skin with a potato peeler and freeze it whole. This way, you have fresh ginger to grate on demand. Zero waste baby! You can also use whatever citrus you have that may be turning in your fruit bowl. Citrus only keeps at room temperature for 3-4 days before it starts to deteriorate. Try storing them in your fridge for longevity and highfives.

I love this recipe. Hope you do too. Go ahead and use an 8-inch brownie tin instead if you can’t get your mitts on a circular spring form tin. A generous drizzle of dark chocolate will give a healthy Jaffa vibe.

I’ll be cooking my absolute favourite vegetarian midweek meals, live on Zoom next week. See here for more details and how to bag your ticket before Tuesday!

For more zero waste recipes and kitchen tips, you might like my weekly Sunday Independent recipe column focusing on sustainability in 2022 (back catalogue here).

Zero Waste Orange, Cardamom & Ginger Cake

2 organic or unwaxed oranges

2 teaspoons freshly grated (or freezer) ginger

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

6 cardamom pods, seeds coaxed out and papery shells removed

5 teaspoons psyllium husks (find in pharmacies, health food stores, online, and in bulk refill stores)

160ml aqua faba from a tin of chickpeas (anytime you’re making a chickpea curry, go ahead and freeze the aqua faba to make this recipe later, or my aqua faba brownies)

230g golden caster sugar

300g ground almonds

1 level teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Melted dark chocolate, to drizzle (optional)

1. Cover your whole oranges with water in a small saucepan, and boil for 90mins. When cooked and soft, transfer carefully to a food processor without scalding yourself, and open carefully with a super sharp knife to remove any pips. Once the pips are gone, let the grated (or frozen) ginger join the oranges alongside your turmeric, cardamom seeds and splendid psyllium husks (these are for our vegan and gluten free pals!) Pulse briefly in the blender to a chunky marmalade consistency – not a puree. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Line a square 20cm x 20cm brownie tin or an 18cm springform circular tin with non-stick parchment paper. Then fire up your oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted).

3. Whisk the aqua faba on high speed until shiny peaks form as if you were making a meringue from egg whites. (This might require the company of a podcast, as you’ll be whipping for 5-10 mins). Now whisk in the sugar, a third at a time, until fully incorporated. This part only takes 1 minute.

4. Fold in your ground almonds, sea salt and baking powder. Transfer the marmalade mix to the party, and as best you can, fold gently but firmly.

5. Spoon into your prelined tin, and bake for 60-70 mins until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Allow to cool down in the tin, before drizzling with optional dark chocolate. We love it served alongside a blob of sourcream or thick Greek yoghurt.

Originally appeared in the Sunday Independent January 2022 as part of a series on zero-waste recipes and tips. Click here for more.

Treats & Snacks

Home Made CHai SPice

Chai is an orgy of healthy spices that has become a sensation across certain postcodes of Cork and Dublin. Here’s why. There is ginger to warm your tonsils; cinnamon to ignite your toes; nutmeg and clove to heat your insides; and cardamom to excite your synapses.

Chai coffee is my winter battery. I just add a pinch to my French press, and let the spices perform acts that only a defibrillator could rival. A teaspoon of chai will also dazzle crumbles, cakes and bakes. We love it sprinkled on top of foamy hot chocolates with some crunchy cacao nibs and woolly socks by the fire. Or packed into dinky jars as little gifts for friends feeling under the weather during these crazy viral times.

However, packets of spices can be dastardly expensive and wasteful. Most recipes only call for small amounts, so what’s the point in buying big supermarket packets? I recommend ordering the exact quantity you need, from as little as 10g, at specialist refill stores. Check out for example where you can buy this recipe in its entirety, no excess, no waste, no plastic. Other nation-wide delivery options include and . (See here for a map of Ireland with refill / bulk stores nearest to you).

3 tablespoons green cardamom pods
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 whole star anise (optional)
Fresh crack of the black pepper mill
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

Coax the cardamom seeds out of their papery pods. You can compost the pods, and then transfer the seeds into a coffee grinder or Nutribullet.

Add the remaining ingredients, and grind into a fine powder. That’s it!

Store in a screw-topped jar and use within 5 months. A pinch is all you need on top of hot chocolate, or 2 teaspoons in cakes and bakes.

Originally appeared in the Sunday Independent December 2021

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