Chia, Date and Walnut Slice

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I don’t know how it happens but another week has gone, time is going way too quickly at the moment, I feel like I am in a constant whirlwind of laundry and dirty dishes.  It does mean though another weekend has rolled around and I have been kidding myself all week, thinking I could have just an incy little sleep in.  6:15am on a Sunday morning, is that a sleep in?  I don’t know anymore. All I do know is that if you value sleep…don’t have children!  Fortunately I also know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but until then there is a nice cup of tea, a hot shower and sunglasses (to cover the bags under my eyes!).

This week I thought I might share a multipurpose sweet treat that can be whipped up in a flash and serves as a mid morning pick-me-up, lunch box filler or a healthy dessert option.  It is basically an energy ball mixture that has been pressed into a tin to form a slice, so simple I wish I had thought of it before.  And with no added sugar or fat it is virtually guilt free.

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The recipe comes from a book called Supergrains which is full of simple and delicious ways to get more grains and seeds into your diet and as I mentioned before it is a cinch to make.  Start by measuring out the ingredients and placing everything but the dates in the bowl of a food processor.

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Blitz it all up until it resembles breadcrumbs.

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Then chop up the dates and while the motor is running add in the dates through the chute at the top.  It will give your food processor a bit of a work so be sure to only add a few at a time.  Mine wobbles around as if in protest!

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Once all of the dates have been incorporated the mixture should start to come together but may need the addition of a little cold water.  Test by taking a small amount of the mixture, if you squeeze it together it should hold its shape, however, if it crumbles and falls apart then add a little water. 

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Tip the contents of the processor bowl into a lined 20cm/8″ cake tin and press down firmly with clean hands until you have an even surface.  You can finish it off with the back of a metal spoon or fork if you prefer.  I like to use a silicone spatula, the firmer you press the denser the slice and the better it will hold together.

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Allow the whole thing to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until required.  Then cut into 16 equal wedges.

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The original recipe calls for a liberal dusting of icing sugar over the top, for presentation you may wish to do this, I personally don’t bother.  The dates offer plenty of sweetness and I think the dainty little wedges are pretty enough without this addition.

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chia, date and walnut slice

prep time: 10 mins, refrigeration time: 30 mins
serves 16, $0.40 per serve 

Ingredients:

  • 150g/1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 90g/3/4 cup walnuts
  • 35g/1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 45g/1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g pitted dried dates, chopped
  • a little cold water

Method:

  1. Line the base of a 20cm/8″ cake tin then measure all the ingredients out and place all but the dates in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Keep the motor running and gradually add the dates, a few at a time.
  4. Next add the water little by little until the the mixture comes together, you may not need all of it.
  5. Tip the whole thing into the lined cake tin and with clean hands press it down firmly and evenly.  You can use the back of a metal spoon or the tines of a fork for a neater finish if you prefer.
  6. Place in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour or until required.  Then cut into 16 wedges and serve.

If wrapped tightly with cling film this slice will keep for up to two weeks.  I tend to cut the whole thing in half wrapping half in cling film then portioning the other half into 8 wedges before placing them into an airtight container.  Once those have been gobbled down I will portion the second half.  I find it stays fresher a little longer that way, not that we need to worry too much as it doesn’t seem to last more than a week in our house anyway!

Double Coconut and Berry Baked Oatmeal

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Mornings used to be a relaxed time of day when Oscar (my gorgeous nearly 4 year old) and I would enjoy a leisurely breakfast, usually involving some eggs and fruit, a bit of toast, sometimes some avocado and if we were really lucky a little smoked Salmon.  We would talk about what we were going to do during the day, the dishes would get done, beds would be made and there would be absolutely no rushing!  In April a spanner, albeit a very cute and innocent spanner, was thrown in the works when baby number two arrived, since then eggs have become a weekend treat, mornings are chaotic and usually a mad panic to get out of the door on time and in one piece.

Baked oatmeal is my secret weapon in the fight against skipping breakfast.  It is also so delicious that Oscar often requests it for dessert too.  It is moist and cake like but not super sweet.  The best part is it is so quick and easy, you can knock it together in the evening whilst preparing dinner, bung it in the oven and you have breakfast sorted for the rest of the week.

Start by measuring out the dry ingredients.  You need an apple, oats, coconut and a little ground ginger and baking powder.  Just like in my Banana Oat Slice I like to use a mixture of wholegrain rolled oats and quick oats.  The chunkier wholegrain oats add texture while the quick oats ensure it binds together.

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Combine the dry ingredients and pop them into a lined brownie tin (20cm/9″ x 20cm/9″).

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Next combine the wet ingredients.  Make sure the coconut cream is full fat, no skinny coconut milk here!  You need the fat to help keep the slice moist as well as for the flavour factor.  There is no added fat so the skinny option just won’t cut it!

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Measure out the berries, you can use fresh when they are in season but for the rest of the year frozen works just as well.

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Mix half the berries into the dry ingredients before pouring the wet ingredients over the top.

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Using a butter knife carefully push the mixture around to ensure the wet ingredients have penetrated all the way through then poke the rest of the berries into the batter and sprinkle with a little extra shredded coconut.

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Allow the whole thing to sit for 5 minutes, this just allows the oats to soak up some of the liquid, softening them and adding to the cakey texture of the finished slice. After 5 minutes or so pop it in the oven to bake for around 35-40 minutes.  If the edges start to darken too much before the centre is cooked, simply remove for the oven, cover the whole thing with a little tinfoil and place it back in the oven to finish off cooking.  It is ready when the centre no longer looks wet and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Time for some patience, possibly!  If you let it cool completely in the tin you will be able to cut it into totally transportable slices, however, if like Oscar you cannot resist diving in whilst it is still warm, spoon a little into a bowl, add a dollop of extra thick greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey and you have a breakfast dish that would easily be mistaken for a sinfully delicious dessert.

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Keep it refrigerated, in an air tight container and it will be good for four awesome, stress free mornings.  Alternatively you can individually wrap the portions and pop them in the freezer and they will last for a month.

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Double coconut and berry baked oatmeal

Prep time: 10 mins, cook time: 40 mins
serves: 9, cost per serve: $0.95

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients…
  • 1 cup wholegrain rolled oats
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (plus extra for topping)
  • 1 apple peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
wet ingredients…
  • 1 400g can coconut cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup runny honey
other…
  • 1 cup mixed berries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180’c/350’f.  Line a 20cm/9″ square baking pan with greaseproof paper.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and distribute evenly in the lined baking tin.
  3. Mix in half of the berries.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then pour them into the baking tin.
  5. Using a butter knife, carefully check the wet ingredients are mixed through the dry.
  6. Add in the remaining berries, pushing them gently into the mixture.
  7. Top with an extra sprinkle of shredded coconut then leave to sit for 5 minutes before placing in the oven for baking.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  9. If you wish to create slices allow to cool in the tin before dividing into 9 potions.

Serve hot or cold.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for a month.

Note: *If using coconut cream free from emulsifiers (recommended) you often find the fat solidified at the top of can.  In order to incorporate this completely with the other wet ingredients gently heat the entire contents of the can to melt the fats and create an emulsion.