Heart-Healthy Carob, Walnut & Lucuma Smoothie

29934304_UnknownI can’t describe how heavenly this is! I surprised myself, even though I love carob. This is one of those thick smoothies that can be served for breakfast or dessert. It’s very filling so maybe split between two if having it after a meal.

I used buckwheat flakes* because I had no oats left and lucuma powder as I’d run out of baobab. Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit grown at high altitudes, the powder has a subtle malty flavour. It is nutritionally healthy, containing protein, calcium, iron, B3 as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Carob is also from South America and is a tasty alternative for anyone who can’t eat chocolate or cacao. I discovered it in the 1980’s when I was trying to find a healthier alternative to commercial chocolate bars and hadn’t yet come across raw cacao. It’s caffeine-free, low in sodium, contains calcium and is high in fibre. Carob contains gallic acid which is antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, acts as an analgesic and antioxidant.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Organic)

1 Heaped Tbsp Carob Powder

1 Banana, chopped

3 Dried Figs, chopped

Good Handful Walnut Pieces (and a few to serve)

1 Dsp Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes or Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Coconut Water

1 rounded Tsp Lucuma Powder or Baobab Powder

***

Blend, chill (if you can wait!), add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, and serve. Bliss.

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*See also:

Vegan Chilli with Aduki Beans & Buckwheat

Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Ageing Cherry, Chia and Lucuma Smoothie (no bananas necessary!)

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Taste-Testing The New Tiger Nut Company Raw Chocolate Bar: Does It Roaarrr! or Does It Whimper?

As many of you will know from previous posts, I love homemade horchata or tiger nut milk. It is a sweet and creamy plantbased alternative to dairy milk and so very good for you. Tiger nuts are also a good nutfree alternative for all those allergic to nuts as they are in fact small tubers. (You can also buy tiger nut flour).

As you will also know, we are big fans of raw chocolate in our family: we use cacao in our smoothies, in our porridge, in our raw baking and of course we eat raw chocolate bars.

So, how happy am I that The Tiger Nut Company* has just brought out their first raw chocolate bar made with tiger nuts and cacao?! When I placed my order for tiger nuts the other day – calamities, I didn’t know we’d run out so no horchata this week! – the lovely Ani sent me a bar to try and as I write she is anxiously awaiting my review, knowing how much we love raw chocolate!

 I won’t keep her waiting any longer, I hope this will put her out of her misery and I’ll post as quickly as I can.

img_6316When I received the bar, our daughter’s family were visiting and there was no way I could have shared it between us all so I had to be disciplined and refrain from trying it until today. I had almost forgotten about it and then when I was nigh on knee-deep in Christmas (yes, it’s for overseas) and birthday wrapping paper, I felt I needed a break and the lightbulb went on! HB was doing a bike repair, so the coast was clear! (He’s a chocolate fiend).

The first thing you notice is the presentation: the crushed tiger nuts are pressed into the top of the chocolate rather than mixed in which is usually the case with nutty chocolate. It sets the bar apart, makes it visually arresting. The second is how dark the chocolate is and how lovely and chunky. It’s a good size, 55g, and sectioned into 5 pieces which makes it easy to break up (and share if you’re so inclined).

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This bar has a lovely crisp snap when you break it and a satisfying bite to it that doesn’t threaten to break your teeth but makes you feel it is substantial.

There are all sorts of tastes and textures going on in this bar! Ani tells me the bars are sweetened with dates and lucuma (a South American fruit powder that has a malted taste). So no refined sugar.

The chocolate is very dark, it is 80% raw cacao, a little bitter like good quality dark chocolate (no milk, dairy or otherwise) and this is offset by the lightly malted taste of the lucuma powder. I used to love Maltesers many moons ago and the use of lucuma reminded me of them, though it is more subtle here. The chewy texture of crushed tiger nuts also contrasts with the smooth creaminess of the chocolate.

My husband came in while I was on my second piece and I offered him a piece to try. To my surprise, he hesitated, saying he was just about to make his lunch! Then he quickly changed his mind. His first reaction was that the tiger nuts tasted a little like sesame seeds but he’s not known for his sensitive palate and I don’t think I would agree with him. They don’t have such a distinctive taste and have a mild sweetness. Then he said the chocolate was very dark, which I do agree with. He decided he liked it.

After the second piece, I felt satisfied, I didn’t want to gobble up the whole 55g bar as so often with commercial chocolate where you tend to eat mindlessly. I enjoyed what I had and wanted to save the remainder.

Overall, we liked this new take on raw cacao chocolate bars. We also like that it is a healthy raw snack.

Foods that are described as ‘raw’ have not been heated over 42C and this means they retain their nutrients. Cacao is full of vitamins, minerals, omega fats, micronutrients and is regarded as a mood enhancer and good for the memory. Dates are naturally sweet and contain minerals and fibre. Lucuma is labelled a superfood by the health industry, while tiger nuts are prebiotic (good for gut health), and contain vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy omega fats.

These bars are organic, which is something I wasn’t aware of until I asked, it isn’t mentioned in the main part of the packaging or in the title on the Shop page of the website (you have to read the full description), so I would suggest the company advertise this a little better as I for one positively seek out organic treats and reject those that aren’t.

Would I recommend them? Yes, they are a little different, healthy, satiating, smooth and tasty. They are handmade, vegan, glutenfree, paleo, nutfree, organic and contain no refined sugar. And the customer service is always excellent! Well done!

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Ps Theobromine in good quality dark chocolate is an effective treatment for dry coughs! If that isn’t a good enough reason to eat chocolate, I don’t know what is! 50-100g of dark chocolate is the recommended dose.

*https://www.thetigernutcompany.co.uk/

Copyrght: Chris McGowan