It's What's on the Inside
My family don't trust me. It's shocking, saddening and disrespectful to say the least.
When it comes to my cooking, they chant 'Liar, liar pants on fire'.
Regardless of what I say I have cooked, baked or sauteed, I am hit with the inevitable question, 'Yeah, but what's in it?'
There MAY be a history of bottom of the harbour ingredient substitution that has prompted this response, but I think they have taken their distrust of me to a slightly over-dramatic level.
Like many Aussie parents, we have become slammed with the realities of the ingredients of our childhood. While we were all happily chowing down on our CocoPops and Redskins, our bodies were being attacked by flesh eating chemicals. In fact we are lucky to be here at all, albeit minus a few teeth. If the inappropriately named raspberry chewy toffee didn't kill you, then going flat out on the Green Machine into oncoming traffic was going to.
I may be guilty of a little over-dramatisation myself.
Fast forward to the late nineties and a life-changing trip to Africa, where for an unknown meat dish or another, I became a pescatarian (a vego that eats fish). The Gent calls it Pest-Catarian. Throw in a recent gluten intolerance and you have a grade 'A' pain in the arse. The one vice I have left of course is whiskey and other social beverages that keep me from being called a boring old cow.
So I have a restrictive diet. I am still fun I promise, and I don't enforce it on the rest of the fam, but it has made me health conscious...so shoot me!
In my bid to promote a healthy household, I have had to try a few recipes with an oscillating register of success.
Like the first time I introduced raw cacao (not cocoa) to The Gent.
After another brutal day dealing with tech boffins and other nerdy types, the ever-suffering Gent took a breath in front of the tele. He innocently thought his after-dinner treat with his cuppa tea was a fresh gooey brownie. His eyes lit up thinking it was Christmas. Wifey has taken pity and decided to make treats, yippee? However instead of a brownie, he bit with full force into a raw cacao slice made with blended dates and coconut oil. His response was akin to the first time you give a baby a lemon slice to suck on, minus the blue language that followed. I of course collapsed into hysterics.
There was also the time I made 'chocolate cake' with cacao, grated zuccini and yes, good old reliable coconut oil, among other organzicola things. I proudly presented this after-school delight to the girls. They promptly turned up their noses at what they said looked like 'burnt quiche'.
Not to be discouraged, I offloaded it to The Gent after dinner, hoping to slip it under his nose while he was distracted watching boring bloody Bloomberg. By the way, I thought we had paid for a Bloomingdales channel not some yawn-worthy financy channel. Not happy Jan.
Anyhoo, The Gent takes a bite out of the zuccini-chocolate-cake-quiche-slice de jour and recognising the nose-hair burning taste of cacao, immediately directs his attention from the 'snews' to get a closer look at what he is eating. As he drew his head back, a long strand of grated zuccini hitched a lift between his teeth.
His look is understandably of confusion, trying to reconcile the presence of a vegetable in something that is supposed to be a dessert, then he remembers who he is married to. I have gone arse over tit on the couch, dissolving into fits while The Gent is left with dangling zuccini and begging why he can't be left in peace to watch his boring crap TV without being poisoned by his wife.
The Gent has somewhat come to accept his life of confronting food, but every now and then he will stand in the pantry (it's a walk-in) and exclaim, 'Is there anything that I can eat that isn't fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, taste-free or against my civil rights?' Sheeesh what a drama queen, and he says I over-embellish things. By the way The Gent is very grateful of my attempts at keeping the family healthy, he is not a caveman, I think he just wished it wasn't so distasteful and didn't give him a case of the squirts.
I have now progressed on to the odd success story in among the roadkill of LSA, dates, cacao nibs and chia seeds. The difference is that rather than doing it myself, I now follow/stalk the most amazing gal called Monique who runs a website call Ambitious Kitchen. Oh my giddy aunt, she has changed my life (and success rate), and she is much better at measuring out ingredients than me (I put it down to Dyslexia of numeracy or some such misfortune). Monique can cook anything using healthy fresh ingredients and make traditional sweets with half or no saturated fats and sugars, and it is actually fit for human consumption.
This is a recipe (pictured above) that I have made several times that EVERYONE in the house loves. They are a great treat for the lunch box, or 3pm nibble or after dinner sweetie. I of course have had to quadruple the ingredients from the original recipe that Monique published, otherwise the locusts I live with would polish them off in about 5 minutes and I can't be stuffed making them more than once a week.
No Bake Paleo Cookie Dough Truffles
by Ambitious Kitchen
(Call them this at your own peril, or just call them chocolate chip cookie dough balls to avoid any unwanted questioning or complaints).
Ingredients (quadrupled because my family have no internal food valve)
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal or LSA (that's L-S-A thank you very much)
4 tablespoons unsweetened almond/rice or preferred artsy fartsy milk
8 tablespoons melted coconut oil
12 tablespoons coconut sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups packed almond flour
8 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons dark chocolate chips, dairy free if desired
For chocolate coating:
1 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, dairy free if desired
4 teaspoons coconut oil
In a medium bowl mix together flaxseed meal or LSA, artsy farsty milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla and coconut sugar. In a small bowl mix together almond flour, coconut flour and salt.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix well until a cookie dough consistency forms.
Fold chocolate chips into the cookie dough.
Roll cookie dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls, place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently. You can also microwave the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments until melted. Quickly use a fork to dip each cookie dough ball into chocolate, making sure to coat evenly. Transfer back to parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt if desired.
Immediately place baking sheet back in freezer for 20 minutes. Keep in freezer until ready to eat or the hoards have sniffed them out.
Hope you love them. Check out Monique and her too gorgeous recipes, she is a clever duck. Ambitious Kitchen.