Tag Archives: seeds

Darkest Peru magic bullets!

Raw balls of pure energy

Do you feel sometime that you need a break from your daily life? That you are up for a different kind of challenge?! That you are hungry for new views, new flavours, new emotions? Last week, this blog was travelling to Galicia in Northern Spain. You might know that already if you follow me on FB or Instagram… I was walking the millennia old Pilgrim’s Way and feeling way out of my comfort zone…  But loving every minute…

The Way of St James

The Way of St James

Here are some of the items I carry in my backpack :

Energy balls ready to pack!

Energy balls ready to pack!

Lucuma fruity energy balls to sustain my companion and I through the long daily walks! This is a new version of my Energy Balls– this time flavoured with orange , chocolate and Lucuma – a protein packed Aztec powder that a Peruvian friend introduced to me this year. To say my walking companion is addicted is an understatement: I have promised the recipe and here it is.

Lucuma Cocoa and Orange Energy Balls or Darkest Peru magic bullets!
Ingredients list:

  • Cup of almond(soaked)
  • Cup of dates
  • Handful of raisins
  • Zest of one small orange
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp linseeds
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds
  • 2 or three squares of very dark chocolate (I use 100% cocoa sans sugar)
  • Cocoa powder and more Lucuma powder to roll in

Mix it all in a grinder /blender until it makes a sticky paste.
Roll each bite into a mix of cocoa and lucuma, as you would for a chocolate truffle! Those healthy chocolatey truffle melt in the mouth and done in the Thermomix, they are smooth and fudgey… Plus super packed with everything you need to walk all day with 8 kg of back-pack!
Store in a metal box. They can keep for weeks but they will not last that long.

We were walking from Santiago de Compostella to Finisterre, the “end of the world” – or at least the extreme western point of Europe!

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 Postscript: You can find Lucuma powder in Peru -but also at your nearest Wholefoods store. It is rich in B vitamins and has a high protein content. It tastes a bit sweet and chocolatey so goes really well with cocoa and orange!

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Great Fun Flapjacks (GF)

The name of these gluten-free flapjacks is the result of a bit of banter between my 22 year old nephew and I about finding the right acronym for his condition ! Being gluten-free is undoubtedly a constraint and sometime can be felt as a bit of a stigma, but it is not as complicated to cater for as I first thought and because our nephew is staying with us in London at the time of this writing, I have had to extend my repertoire of coeliac-friendly recipes and this is one of the first that I tweaked for him.  So here is the harbinger probably of a series of gluten-free meals that I will try and share with you.

Whether you are intolerant or not – and the figures here differ from 10 per cent to may be 40 per cent of the population!-, eating a diet lighter in gluten is possibly not a bad habit. It seems to me that we are generally having far too much of it and from food not necessarily associated with wheat! Did you know Malt vinegar, most soy sauces and many industrial products including sausages contain gluten?!

Crunchy with a tender heart

Crunchy with a tender heart

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Ingredients list:

  • Butter, 100g
  • Rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp
  • Treacle, 1 tbsp
  • Porridge oats, 200g (choose Nairn’s GF variety)
  •  Agave syrup, 2 tbsp
  • Muscovado sugar, 50g
  • Xantham gum, 2 Tbsp
  • Mix of sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds, sesame and raisins, 120g

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan.

Put all the dry ingredients together 
in a big bowl, then pour the melted butter and mix while adding the 
agave syrup and the treacle.

Spread into an oiled tray so that you get 
a depth of about 1 cm. Put in a hot oven at 180° for about 20min. The edges 
must look brown and crispy before you take it out. Let it cool down 
then cut big squares with the tip of a knife. The GF version is more brittle than the original but the magic of the Xantham gum helps in binding it together quite satisfactorily.

Oats are very good at lowering your cholesterol . The agave syrup is a health option because its low glycemic load means that your glucose levels won’t shoot up too quickly, so no hunger pangs straight after and more long term energy.

Coeliac is a very serious and precisely diagnosed, defined, medical condition and unless you suffer from it there is no reason to go gluten-free, but may be going gluten-light carries it own health benefits. If you are interested in this stream, I am sure more “Great Fun” recipes will be coming your way and I hope you enjoy the change and maybe experience some health benefits yourself.

Porridge days – Why not?!

Porridge is a warm, satisfying and healthy breakfast. I always recommend it to  children because oats has so many health benefits. I enjoy it with nuts, dry fruit, a pinch a cinnamon, some seeds and a drop of maple syrup. Seeds are great to give you healthy springtime energy!

A spring time version of an old classic

A spring time version of an old classic

If you are in a bit of a hurry, there is no need to cook it: you can just soak the rolled oats into the same volume of boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes while you prepare your bag. Then just flavour it with anything you fancy and “Bob’s your uncle”!

Other mornings, when you might be a little bit better organised, just cook one cup of porridge in two cups of boiling water for a 5/8 minutes, until it starts swelling and getting creamy. Then put a tiny pinch of salt, a dash of single cream (or soya cream like me) and spoon it out into two bowls. It is better to cook it with water then add the cream when you serve it, I find. If your children still prefer it cooked in milk that’s fine but the Scots always do it in water and it is much surprisingly creamier and better digested that way – try it for yourself!

Add raisins, pine nuts, seeds or just cinnamon and maple syrup. I don’t even bother with the syrup and instead add half a grated apple and some dry raisins for sweetness.

It is the best way to start a day and your tummy will feel grateful and comfy for a long time after it- so no hunger pangs at 11am while you are trying to get this important contract buckled down!..

Quick ingredients list – the obvious ones… for two bowls

  • One cup porridge oats (Quaker Oats or Flahavan’s)
  • Two cup of boiling water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon OR ANY TOPPING YOU FANCY…

Cookies for fit-birds, with seeds and spices!

Seeds are not just for birds (as my eldest keeps complaining…), they are also a very good healing food and can be used very successfully in baking. To breads, cookies or even fruit cakes, they give a deliciously healthy dimension.

These seeds cookies are adapted from the recipes of a lovely Jersey restaurant “The Jersey Pottery”; taken from the book Handmade and homemade, recipes from Jersey by Jersey pottery. I made my version gluten-free and I added xantham gum for extra binding but you can use normal wheat flour if you prefer.

A gluten-free cookie

  • Plain flour or Doves farm’s Gluten and wheat free flour blend, 230g
  • Xantham gum, 1 tsp (if using Gluten free flour)
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp
  • All spice, 2 tsp
  • Butter, 160g
  • Rolled oats or oatmeal, 80g
  • egg, 1
  • Brown sugar, 90g
  • Almond slivers, 60g
  • Pumpkin seeds, 1 Tbsp
  • Sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp
  • Linseeds, 1 tsp
  • Pine nuts, 1 Tbsp
  • Poppy seeds, 1 tsp

This mix makes about 15 biscuits.

I used pumpkin butter instead of pumpkin seeds because I had ran out and I swapped part of the sesame seeds for japanese black sesame seeds because I like the dark speckles in these biscuits. I also used gluten-free flour but you don’t have too. If you do though, add a spoonful of Xantham gum and that worked really well to bind the mix. The texture was dense but flaky and had a nice crumbly feel in the mouth, a little bit like a spanish ‘polverone’ which I found intensely pleasurable. The taste is nutty and subtle – not too sweet. They would go very well with ‘grown-up’ teas such as a smoky Lapsang Souchong or the neroli flavoured Earl Grey sold by The East India Company.

First sift the flours and spices together.

Combine the butter, sugar and egg to make a paste.

Then bring all the ingredients together to produce a cookie dough.

Dust the worktop with flour and roll the dough until you get a nice thick log.

Wrap it in cling film and let it harden in the fridge for a few hours.

Warm your oven and cut the log in thick disks, then lay them out onto a grease-proof sheet. You can also freeze part of it for later…

Bake at 170° for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottom bit gets  slightly brown. These biscuits hold quite well through baking so you don’t need to space them out too much as they will keep their shape. You can even use a cookie stamp to personalise them!

Nutrition notes:

Straight into the cookie jar…

Linseeds or flaxseeds are a good source of vitamin B6, iron and Thiamin. Thiamin (or vitamin B1) is essential for your nervous system.

Pine nuts, like all other seeds and nuts, bring you a lot of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and help look after your skin, eyes and joints. They are also great at regulating moods and at helping children concentrate.

Homemade granola

>Ingredients list:

45 g butter

2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

1Tbsp treacle

200g porridge oats (I used a blend of oats and quinoa flakes)

2tbsp agave syrup

150g raisins, nuts and seeds mix : linseed, sesame or pumpkin are all good!

Melt the butter in a medium pan.

Add the 
Agave syrup and the treacle. It is easier to get the treacle out if you use the spoon you have just dipped into the warm butter.

Add the oil. Keep aside warm.

Put all the dry ingredients together 
in a big bowl, then pour in the melted butter and mix.

A wild garden, last summer

Now choose a healthy mix of nuts, seeds and dry fruit. Choose anything you like! My own favourite is a blend of currants, sesame seeds, linseeds, pumkin seeds and brazil nuts, roughly chopped up. Mix it in.

Pour on a tray, being careful not to have too thick a layer or it will roast unevenly.

Bake in a hot oven (180°) in the middle shelf for about 20 min but watch and shake from time to time so it does not burn! It does so very quickly and you want golden, not black…

Enjoy with yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast or after a light dinner. Here you are, Pauline, as requested – Hope you didn’t have to wait too long!