Black Forest gateau energy balls

I’ve not posted for a while, so I thought I would share a new recipe. This is loosely based on a recipe for Rocky Road Power Balls I found in Men’s Health Magazine in the summer of 2019, but I a) couldn’t get all the ingredients in the original recipe, and b) I like to experiment with recipes. As the flavours are predemoninately chocolate and cherry, it reminded me of those Black Forest gateaus of the 1970/80’s that you used to get. Interestingly, as a kid, I hated that flavour, but these energy balls are really good (even if I do say so myself).

They are really easy to make, and require no cooking as such. They are great to take on a big bike ride, or for post workout energy boosts. They are packed with carbs and fibre, so not recommended for snacking!! Most of the ingredients should be readily available in your local supermarket. The only ingredient I struggled to source, was the cocoa butter, which I got online, but I think you could substitute this ingredient with another hard fat, such as butter (but obviously that would be for non-vegans).

Most of the ingredients

Ingredients

  • 250g of pitted dates
  • 40g of dried cherries
  • 10g of dried blueberries (alternatively use raisins or sultanas)
  • 10g of dried cranberries (alternatively use raisins or sultanas)
  • 4tbsp of cocoa butter
  • 6tbsp of mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, golden linseed in mine, but any edible seeds should work)
  • 8tbsp of ground almonds
  • 4tsp of cashew nut butter (almond or peanut should also work pretty well – note this is the only teaspoon and not tablespoon portioned ingredient)
  • 4tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2tbsp of golden syrup (or maple syrup)
  • Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Soaking the dried fruit

Method

Soak the dates and dried fruit in some boiled water to soften them. This should only take a few minutes. Whilst the fruit soften, melt the cocoa butter and the syrup in a pan on the stove, until all has melted and mixed together. In a food processor whizz the ground almonds with the seeds and cocoa powder, until you get a rough crumb type texture

Blending the ingredients

Add the drained fruit to the food processor along with the other ingredients, and quickly whizz, until you get a sticky dough. Tip that into a mixing bowl.

The sticky dough

If you find the dough a little too sticky to hold its shape, then add a little more dried ingredients (e.g. ground almonds and cocoa powder), a spoonful at a time. If you have some plastic food grade gloves, they might come in handy for the next part. Using your hands, take a piece of the dough and roll it until you have a neat little ball about the size of a golf ball or a ping-pong ball. To keep them from sticking together, roll on the ball on a plate of icing sugar. I made 22 out of my batch. They can be placed in a food grade airtight container. They can be frozen, and taken out on the day of use to thaw out.

Vegetarian Chilli Non Carne

This is a great meal for sharing informally around the dinner table. It is cheap as chips, and healthy too. Its very simple to make, and takes around 1 hour prep and cooking time. It was a new recipe for me, so part of my 5 ways to wellbeing being, learn something new! This is a great meal for sharing, helping you to connect!

It will serve between 4 and 6 people depending on your appetite, and what you plan to serve with it.

You will need

  • 1 large onion diced small
  • Vegetable oil, such as olive oil (for frying)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half (alternatively a quarter of a tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2tsp of cumin seeds, slightly crushed (alternatively, a 1/2 tsp of ground cumin)
  • 2 can of black beans
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 jar of roasted red (0r mixed) peppers (alternatively, roast 3 fresh red peppers in your oven), chopped small
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (and use half a tin of water – see note in method)
  • 2 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 2 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of chipotle paste (available in most supermarkets)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

It’s always best to prepare all the ingredients and have them ready to hand. In a large heavy pan, sweat the onion, garlic and cinnamon stick on a low to medium heat for around 10 minutes until the onion has softened, and just started to brown.

Onion, garlic and cinnamon

When the onion has softened, add all the other ingredients (beans, tomato puree, chipotle paste, coca powder, and half a tin of water, etc.)

Cook over a gentle heat, with the pan lid on for around 30 minutes. Taste, and see if it needs seasoning, or an extra spoon of chipotle paste. Stir from time to time. When the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, you are ready to serve. Serve with rice, or fill tacos, etc.

Just a few more minutes, sauce still a little too runny