Nutty Date & Chocolate Slice

My two eldest girls can be quite challenging when it comes to food. Miss C will happily eat avocado, mangoes and prawn dumplings by the bucket load, but is generally not all that food focused at meal times (preferring instead to snack and graze throughout the day). Little J would happily have yoghurt for breakfast lunch and dinner, and has no interest in more ‘traditional’ meals such as sandwiches.

Needless to say that if I was to present them with a bowl filled with dates, they would be looked at with suspicion and remain uneaten.

Put dates in a chocolate covered slice however? Well that proved to be a winner!

This slice contains no flour, no eggs, but it does contain nuts so is not allergy-friendly for school lunchboxes.

The texture of this slice is almost fudge-like, and we all loved the little pops of crunchiness throughout. Covering the slice in dark chocolate took the whole slice to the next level too – and worked perfectly to fool my suspicious eaters!

Print Recipe
Nutty Date & Chocolate Slice
Course Baking
Cuisine Slice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Slice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper, leaving a little overhanging the edges.
  2. Process the dates and nut butter in a food processor for a few minutes, until the mixture is well combined and forms a paste. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir through the puffed rice and chopped nuts.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the lined tin (it will be quite sticky so you may want to use wet hands to do this). Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the slice, and place in the fridge to set for 1 hour. Cut the slice into squares and serve.
Recipe Notes

Keep the slice in the fridge until ready to eat as it will soften at room temperature.

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Spicy peanut sauce

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I’m not sure how I was introduced to spicy food. Growing up I didn’t eat a lot of spicy food, nor was my family that adventurous when it came time to eat out.  Sure we visited the local Chinese restaurant from time to time, but I recall only ordering mild dishes – such as omelettes or sweet and sour chicken.

But over the years I’ve really come to love spicy food. Perhaps it was the time we spent in Thailand, or having a partner who is definitely adventurous when eating out? Needless to say, aside from a rather random aversion during my pregnancy with Charlotte, I now tend to lean in favour of ‘hotter’ rather than milder, so much so that I will sprinkle chilli flakes on just about anything.

So when I had a hankering for peanut sauce the other day, I couldn’t resist adding a good amount of chilli to the mixture.  Resulting in a rather spicy peanut sauce, that was hot and flavoursome but still a little sweet.  And not to mention being super easy to make and void of lots of the nasties that you tend to find in jarred sauces.

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On this particular occasion we used the sauce to jazz up a tofu / vegetable stir-fry – but you could use it in so many other ways. A dipping sauce for chicken skewers comes to mind…

And you could easily tweak the recipe to make it milder, if that’s your preference, or add more chilli If you wanted it even hotter! IMG_8743

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tbs kejap manis
  • 2 tbs hot chilli sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • zest and juice of half a lime
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Water
  1. Process all ingredients (except for the water) until almost smooth.
  2. Add water, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

 

 

 

Gado Gado

The inspiration for this dinner came courtesy of an aisle wander through our local Asian grocer. An aisle wander that revealed this Gado Gado peanut sauce. IMG_3690 An Indonesian salad consisting of boiled vegetables served with a peanut sauce dressing….? Don’t mind if we do! And the resulting meal turned into quite the feast. And when I say ‘feast’ I mean “oops-we-made-too-much-and-it-probably-could-have-fed-a-family-of-four” kinda feast. IMG_3698 What can I say? We had an abundance of veggies that week…. I boiled some potatoes and eggs, then got to work building this delicious monstrosity. IMG_3693 Potatoes and eggs, layered on mixed lettuce, capsicum, pineapple, cucumber and carrot. IMG_3694 Finished with fried tofu puffs and a handful of alfalfa and, of course, drizzled with the peanut sauce (that I had warmed). IMG_3695 Served on a platter and shared ‘family’ style at the dining table. And I am not kidding when I say this salad well and truly defeated us and our hearty appetites (the bonus being I had lots leftover for lunch the next day). IMG_3700 As for the sauce – well it was delicious. And SPICY! A tasty meal all round really! What about you? Ever tried Gado-Gado?

Spicy Tofoodles

Training: Run 6km / Body Balance Happy Wednesday! Today started with a "BANG"….of the training variety! I had a non-work appointment at 8.30am, so decided to spend a little longer at the gym than I normally would (I usually get to work at 7.30am). So, in addition to my regular Wednesday morning Body Balance class, I hit the treadmill for a 6km run – 3.5km before the class, and 2.5km afterwards. It was actually kinda nice to break up the run into two parts – particularly to relieve the boredom factor. And, with the news displaying constant updates of the horrific NZ earthquakes, I got my news and training fixes simultaneously. My thoughts and well wishes are with all of our neighbours affected by the continuation of Mother Nature’s fury. The scenes were truly shocking, and reiterated to me how important it is to make the most of every day xx Dinner Training and world news aside, I had an evening date with my kitchen to look forward to. Having certainly had my fill of read meat over the last few days, first with slow roasted lamb, and then with lamb and feta pizza, I was craving something of the non-meat variety for dinner. IMG_5969 So with tofu in the fridge, a packet of rice noodles in the cupboard, and Carol’s recipe for spicy noodles as inspiration, these Spicy Tofoodles were born! IMG_5974 I started by prepping the the nutty sauce… IMG_5944edit A wonderful combination of sweet, spicy and savoury. IMG_5949 Followed by the tofu and veggies.  IMG_5947 Cooked all together… IMG_5950 Until the veggies were tender, and the tofu had almost caramelised in the sweet sticky sauce. IMG_5952 Stirred through a bed of rice noodles… IMG_5955 And topped with fresh coriander, raw cashews and sesame seeds.  IMG_5964 Oh. my. goodness. IMG_5978 This super speedy dish was packed with flavour. IMG_5976 The combination of peanut butter, chilli, tamari and honey resulted in a rich sauce that was well balanced, and soaked up perfectly by the tofu.  IMG_5971 Sweet + nutty + savoury + spicy.  IMG_5967 And only one frypan to clean. My kinda dinner indeed 🙂 Spicy Tofoodles (adapted from Simply Gluten Free)

  • 1 pkt flat rice noodles (cooked according to packet directions)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbs chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 block tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • cashews, coriander and sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Heat oils in a large frypan. Add the chilli flakes, peanut butter, honey and tamari. Cook for a minute or until the peanut butter melts.
  2. Add the tofu and vegetables, stirring to coat.
  3. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the tofu has cooked through and the veggies have softened slightly. Add a splash of water if the mix begins to stick to the pan.
  4. Pour the tofu mixture over the noodles, and stir well to combine.
  5. Divide among serving dishes, and top with peanuts, coriander and sesame seeds.

 What about you? Do you like to use peanut butter in cooking? I am a HUGE fan of the peanut butter + chilli combination! Happy Baking 🙂

A little nutty…

IMG_2857 Training: Ride 25km The rain lingered this morning so I decided to cut my losses and head to the gym for a before-work spin class. A new release + a desire to work hard = a killer workout! The lingering rain, however, has brought with it some worrying news. Yep – the massive amounts of rain have resulted in the lake (where the half ironman swim is set to take place) being closed due to high bacteria levels. Plus, the first short race of the triathlon season scheduled for this weekend has also been cancelled. Did I mention that more rain is also on the radar?! I. will. not. panic. just. yet. While the half ironman organisers have a ‘duathlon’ (run/bike/run) contingency plan in place in the event the lake is still closed next weekend, I would be so very disappointed to not compete in the ‘traditional’ race. Particularly given all my early morning swim sessions over the last 3 months!!! But as I said…I. will. not. panic. just. yet. One of the other members of our family was clearly not worried… IMG_2864 So let me focus on other things….like this dinner.   IMG_2870   Toasted spelt sandwich with turkey, olive tapenade, avocado, jarlsberg and zucchini.  IMG_2874 IMG_2873  Served with zucchini slices and a side of carrots. IMG_2871 And  leftover sushi! IMG_2872 There was no time to rest after dinner though as I needed to start packing to move into our new house next week! Not feeling motivated enough to tackle anything too strenuous, I decided to start with the kitchen pantry. IMG_2820 Check out all the stuff I found! IMG_2830 Amongst the packages was a big bag of roasted peanuts. IMG_2812 And what does one do with a big bag of peanuts? IMG_2853 Why make peanut butter of course! 1 cup of roasted peanuts, IMG_2815 and 1 cup of raw peanuts in their shell. Processed for 15 minutes, scraping down the bowl frequently. 2 minutes… IMG_2816 4 minutes… IMG_2817 8 minutes… IMG_2819 11 minutes… IMG_2827 And 15 mins… IMG_2837 IMG_2839 Combined with a teaspoon of salt. IMG_2836 IMG_2840 So. very. delicious. IMG_2844IMG_2845IMG_2846 And so.very.easy. IMG_2860 I simply cannot wait to use this homemade peanut butter in tomorrow’s breakfast oatmeal. IMG_2852 IMG_2856 And I am already dreaming of a special peanut butter dessert. IMG_2859   Stay tuned … Happy baking 🙂

Training and tofu

Two very welcomed ‘T’s” in my day. Training: Today’s training called for a one hour bike ride. While it was actually a perfect day to jump on my bike and commute to / from work, which will probably be how I get my bike mileage in during the week, I needed the car for a lunchtime meeting. So, instead, I headed to gym for an early morning spin class. I added an extra 15 minutes of spinning before the 45 minute class started, rounding the total to 1 hour. 2nd HIM training session: DONE! It was actually a blessing that I fit in my workout early as my day ended up being a crazy one. Having barely left my desk all day, I was dying to get outside when the clock struck 5.30pm, and I wasted no time in driving home and heading into the kitchen to get dinner started. I had planned to make a chicken / beansprout salad this evening, but I discovered that we had neither ingredient (=meal planning fail). Rather than head back out in the cold to the shops, which I had no desire to do, I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and see what I could come up with. And so my second “T”  came to be. In the form of a nutty tofu stir-fry. Into the food processor went peanuts, cashews, garlic, 2 chillies and a splash of water. IMG_0229 Processed until a paste had formed. I then heated the paste in a frypan with a little extra water, then added cubed pressed tofu, baby corn, beans, peas and broccoli. IMG_0232 Stir-fried until the tofu had browned slightly, before adding rice vermicelli noodles to give the dish some carba-licious bulk. IMG_0230 A quick and easy meal, which although being random, was actually quite tasty. But then again, I am biased when it comes to nuts and chilli! IMG_0235 It cant have been too bad, both Mr BBB and I went back for seconds! Happy Baking 🙂

African-inspired Mystery Box

When I drew out tonight’s Mystery Box ingredient, initially I was stumped….

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Potato flour – sounds easy right? Perhaps not.

From what I read, potato flour is often overlooked as a suitable flour on the basis that it has a heavy texture and a strong taste.

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Not exactly a rave review?!

Undeterred, I researched a little more and came across a recipe for fufu, that sounded just perfect.
Fufu, is a staple food of West and Central Africa, and is an accompaniment to stews or soups. It is usually made by boiling starchy foods (such as cassava, yam or plantain), then pounded into a glutinous mass (akin to a dumpling) using a a mortar and pestle.

What I discovered, however, is that an ‘instant’ version could be made using potato flour and flakes, thus eliminating the need to beat it in the mortar and pestle. Sounded like the perfect use for the flour to me!
So with my Mystery Box ingredient catered for, the next question was what to serve it with.

In keeping with the African theme, I discovered that Africa was also known for its Nkate Nkwan, or ground peanut soup. This hearty peanut / tomato soup is full of protein, and thought to have originated in Western Africa. I love peanuts and I love tomato, so I was pretty much sold on the idea of this stew.

So, let me introduce you to….African-inspired peanut and chickpea stew, served with fufu.

I started by cooking an onion and a couple chillies, then added cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger and mixed spice.

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 Once aromatic, I added carrots, zucchinis, green beans, chickpeas and a tin of tomatoes.

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Followed by peanut butter and vegetable stock, and simmered for an hour or so or until the stew had thickened.

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Just before serving, I had the assistance of Mr BBB to make the stars of the show….the fufu. I was a little nervous when I read the instructions, but it all came together easily.

First, potato flour and warm water were mixed together in a jug.

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In the meantime, the potato flakes and boiling water were placed into a saucepan.

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Then it was simply a case of adding the two mixtures together, and stir, stir, stir until the magic happened (ie. mixture formed a sticky dough…)

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Once the dough had firmed, I was able to roll it into balls.

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Served alongside the stew – which might I say, was super spicy!

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I read that fufu is usually eaten by tearing off bite size pieces to scoop the stew.  So scoop we did 😉

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No forks = less dishes 😉

Oh my goodness…..the fufu were brilliant!!!! The potato flour worked well as a binding agent, and the potato flakes turned the mixture into a beautiful creamy dough balls.  Or as Mr BBB called them…“gelatinous balls of goodness”.

If you make anything I have featured on this blog, you have to make these.

Fufu (makes 4 large balls)

Ingredients

  • 800ml boiling water
  • 200ml lukewarm water
  • 90g potato flour
  • 180g potato flakes

Method

  1. Place 200ml of the boiling water into a saucepan to warm it.
  2. Meanwhile, in a jug, mix the potato flour with 200ml of lukewarm water.
  3. Remove the water from the saucepan, and add the potato flakes and the remaining 600ml of the boiling water.
  4. Immediately add the potato flour mixture to the saucepan, and stir vigorously until the ingredients combine and the mixture turns into a dough.
  5. Once the dough is firm and smooth, roll into balls using moistened hands and place into a bowl.

African-inspired peanut and chickpea stew (serves 3 to 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2cm ginger, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/8 tsp ground chilli
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g green beans, chopped in half
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas,  drained and rinsed

Method

  1. Cook onion and chilli in a little water over a high heat.
  2. Add spices and stir until aromatic.
  3. Add the vegetables, and stir through the spice mix.
  4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, peanut butter and broth, and simmer (uncovered) for an hour or so or until the stew has thickened.

What about you? Have you ever cooked with potato flour? Apparently it is also used in some bread mixes but I’m not so sure….

Happy baking 🙂