Monday Meditation: Relax with these Raw Tiger Nut, Cacao & Coconut Treats

9D53B3F2-CD26-408F-8731-EA58B260A9E2When life is relatively calm, ie no family crises, and I find myself alone with no urgent tasks, I like to sit down and just let my mind wander where it will. I might close my eyes and just wait for my breathing to slow, or I watch the birds, or just take in my surroundings: the paintings, the family photos, the gentle flames of the woodburner.

When I am completely relaxed, I might get the urge to be creative. This can mean painting rocks, making cards, or even writing a letter – the old-fashioned way! But often, I like to bake or cook. It needs to be simple, quick, and not require that I keep several plates spinning at once, and definitely no interference.

Cooking on my own at leisure is a different experience from the pressure cooking of doing a meal with other bodies around and people requiring my attention or getting in my way. I like to be free to select whatever appeals, create something for my own pleasure and not have to be mindful of others’ pernickety tastes!

B2D4B8E0-1499-443E-962E-920F164433FEI rarely follow a recipe, or if I do, it’s more of a starting point that inspires a variation of the original, as with these no-added sugar energy balls. I fancied a little something with my cup of tea and didn’t really know what the result would be, but on looking in the cupboards I found some Tiger Nut Powder that needed using and remembered a recipe on The Tiger Nut Company Instagram page for Tiger Nut Macaroons by Eve Kalanik.

I used the general measurements, but made some substitutions: almond butter for the cashew, cacao nibs for the coconut chips and coconut water for the plain water in the original recipe. I also added some wild berry-flavoured supergreen powder.

These take literally seconds to make in the food processor and once in the fridge, by the time you’ve cleared up and put on the kettle, they are ready to eat.

It’s easy to make your own substitions so long as they’re like for like, but the texture or flavour will be different.

These easy raw treats are Vegan, Gluten-free and can be made Nut-free if you use Seed Butter. 

Please note: Tiger Nuts are Tubers, Not Nuts.

Ingredients

100g Tiger Nut Powder

45g Desiccated Coconut 

1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Nibs, for a bit of crunch

2 Tbsps Almond Butter 

A pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

4g Vivolife ‘Thrive for Her’, Raw Green Superfood Powder, Wild Berry flavour

Approx. 4 Tbsps Coconut Water (or water or apple juice)

Pulse all ingredients except water for a few seconds. Add water and process for a couple of seconds to mix.

Scoop spoonfuls of the mix and roll into balls.

Makes about 10.

Place in the fridge to set.

Keep for days in an airtight container in the fridge and for a long time in the freezer if you can resist!

So much healthier and satisfying than a shop-bought biscuit or pastry to have with your afternoon cup of tea, and will give you a lift, making you more alert and energised without the inevitable slump afterwards.

The tea, by the way, is Pukka Herbs’ Licorice and Cinnamon. A perfect relaxing combination on your own or to share with a friend.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III

img_2467This is the second post describing our quest for a moist, tasty gluten-free loaf that doesn’t sound like a lab experiment or dry out and break up after the first day. If you’d like to read the original post first, click here.

I rarely eat bread and I rarely miss it, but just ocasionally I get a craving for it. I buy some new product that maintains it isn’t like any other gluten-free bread, costs the earth and inevitably it is such a disappointing experience, I go back to being bread-free. On Sunday, we decided to have another go at making a tiger nut loaf.

We have been using BBC Food’s Dan Leopard’s recipe as a guide but mixing up the flours for more flavour and nutritional content. Which flours we used tended to be those we had in at the time.

In our previous, second, attempt, we only used 1 oz of Tiger Nut Flour as the original had a much larger amount and had been a little too grainy. We also decreased the amount of water from the first loaf which spread too much.

This time, we used the much finer Tiger Nut Powder from The Tiger Nut Company (they ship overseas) and made it the main ingredient – by accident as it turned out since my husband thought we were out of cornflour but of course I later found it on a different shelf at the back of the cupboard, as you do! We substituted the cornflour with gluten-free self-raising flour bought for another recipe. As it happened, it was a lucky accident, because this loaf turned out to be the best yet.

We also decided to bake it in a loaf tin this time to stop it spreading so much and produce a deeper loaf.

It turned out to be tasty, firm, moist and still fresh the next day. And the next.

We sliced it up and put half in the freezer while a third was wrapped and kept in the bread box. On the third day, I got some out of the freezer to have with soup and to see how it had stored. Once thawed, it seemed just as fresh. No need to toast it.

I also tried a slice from the remainder of the loaf that had been wrapped and kept in the bread box. It too was still fresh enough to spread peanut butter on without having to toast it. This is a big deal in the world of gluten-free bread! You always end up having toast because it’s so dry.

It won’t resemble your average thin white sliced that you can make into sandwiches – homemade glutenfree bread is often the consistency of, say, a more dense madeira cake  – but I love it topped with yeast extract,  tahini, nut butter, avocado, banana, salad – or often a combination! We found it easy to spread and handle, it wasn’t as delicate as some gluten-free bread is.

This is such a nourishing, nutritious and satisfying loaf. It has so many good things in it, protein, calcium, healthy fats, fibre, probiotics and prebiotics, B vitamins – I could fill the page! And it doesn’t have anything artificial in it or need a chemistry degree to understand the label.

Here’s the new, improved recipe watch out nearer Christmas when we hope to produce a fruity tiger nut loaf.

(All measurements are approximate, you may need to adjust to suit your own tastes or your oven).

Ingredients

25g – 50g (10z – 1 3/4 oz) Organic Golden Linseeds

450 mls (16 fl oz) Warm Water

2 1/2 Tsps Quick-acting Yeast

1 Tsp Sugar

80 mls (3 fl oz) CoYo Plain Coconut Yogurt

100g Self-Raising Gluten-free Flour

100g Organic Chickpea or Garbanzo/Besan Flour

250g Tiger Nut Powder

1 Tsp Salt

50g (1 3/4oz) Organic Psyllium Husk Powder

50 mls (1 3/4 Fl oz) Organic Raw Virgin Olive Oil

A little extra olive oil and flour

Method

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4

1. Warm the linseeds on a tray for about 10-12 minutes, until they darken slightly (the toasted seeds will release a sticky gluten-like substance when mixed with the wet ingredients, and they give the loaf a wheatgerm-like flavour).

2. Switch off the oven.

3. Mix together the water and yeast, then stir in the yogurt and seeds. Set aside.

4. Mix together the flour, tiger nut powder, salt, sugar and psyllium husk powder in a large bowl.

5. Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix well until it resembles a smooth thin batter.

The liquid will turn into a sticky dough within a few minutes as the linseed, flours and psyllium husk powder become gel-like.

6. Once the mixture is firm enough, knead it for 10 seconds on the worktop to mix everything again, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm but not hot place for 30 minutes.

7. Place the dough into a non-stick or lined 2lb loaf tin and brush with the extra olive oil, cover and leave it to rise for about 30-35 minutes.

8. Heat the oven to 240C/465F/Gas 9

9. Make some diagonal cuts across the dough with a sharp knife, sprinkle with a little cornflour and bake for about 40 minutes, or until rich golden-brown in colour.

10. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Here are the three loaves to compare:

 

Latest on the left, second attempt in the middle and first on the right. The middle one was good, but I think the latest is the most successful.

Copyright: Chris McGowan