I’m so glad this month doesn’t feel like a normal grey January. The sun has been shining, intermittently but more often than not, and London just feels more upbeat. A much happier January! There are, however, those cold afternoons when you just want to cosy up in bed or by the fireplace, have a cuppa tea, dunk a chocolate chip cookie or two and chew through that softness… then possibly have a quick nap. And in that moment when you just want something sweet, the trick is to always have another option at hand, something that satisfies the sweet craving sufficiently and means you don’t need the cookie. So here’s some of my options, both when I’m out an about and when I’m at home.
Sometimes, when you just need that chocolate and nothing else will do it, go for the dark chocolate option and raw chocolate is even better. My favourites are Ombar, Raw Chocolate Company and Lovechock – but there are just so many options!
Then there’s my own snacks and right now, Coco Fudge is my absolutely favourite. Having just one or two pieces really does the trick – it has that buttery softness, the chewy crunch of the dates and it’s full of goodness with chickpea flour, dates and coconut oil as the only three ingredients. You’ll find these at Raw Press, Holborn Dining Rooms and a few other places.
I do love granola bars but don’t often indulge – some of them are real indulgences! But I recently came across the Ollybars when I was at Albion in Shoreditch – they’re a good medium size, full of flavour and texture and crunch and they just do the trick!
If you’re a fan of coconut and you love yoghurt, then you will love this Coconut Tart with saffron yoghurt I made recently, and you can make it in small glasses so that you’re able to restrict yourself to that one portion!
For an even quicker delicious snack, if you have banana or apple at home, chop up a few pieces, add a teaspoon of almond butter (or any nut butter) and eat! I always find myself eating more than my first serving though – it really is divine if you like nuts.
Not everyone likes prunes, but I certainly do, and sitting at a restaurant earlier this week, pekish but not hungry, I ordered a small portion of yoghurt with prunes, to have with my coffee. And I have to say, it was rather yummy. If I made this at home I would start with soaked prunes at the bottom of the glass, then a few spoons of yoghurt, topped with flax seeds, broken walnuts, pumpkin seeds and some chia seeds.
When out and about, carry a couple of medjool dates with you, and some walnuts –you could remove the seed from the dates in advance, stuff the dates with the walnuts and then sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top, so they’re entirely ready to be eaten. Dates alone can be a little too sweet and eating walnuts alone, I always feel something’s missing – it’s a perfect marriage.
I was almost about to leave this post at 7 snacks when I remembered the brownie from Detox Kitchen which is just heavenly chocolatey! I do wish it was just slightly smaller but if you’re disciplined you can cut it in quarters and save some for later. And have this with a cup of my chai latte, which you’ll find at Detox Kitchen, a blend of seven spices with coconut sugar.
And I’ll end with one of my favourites, the mocha rice cake from Roots and Bulbs, large triangular crispy rice chunks bound together with luxurious nut butter… something I have started craving as I write!
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.