We already know that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables results in an increase of antioxidants in our blood. We believe chocolate consumption may have the same effect. We forget that chocolate is derived from cocoa beans-the fruit of the cacao tree-a fruit that is a rich source of these potentially beneficial substances. - Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
As rain is not falling we have very little opportunity here to make mud pies outside in those luscious splashy puddles which form from a lovely downpour of the wet stuff. Little Eee gets to splash around outside in the puddles I make when watering our plants. Interestingly this morning she called it rain. She loved it so much when we caught a brief glimpse on the weekend and I am sure she longs for more. I promise, my dear girls, it will be mud pies on the menu next for your outdoor fun. Next we see rain that is, that could be days or weeks or...?
Another cause for some consternation in our home recently is that my oven element has blown, for the second time in less than twelve months. I am very glad we are not owners of this home at the moment! It is taking over a week to have the part ordered and replaced so all my cooking is done on the stove top or under the grill. I find that fine for meals but my poor dears - all three of them - are longing for some of my nourishing treats we bake regularly. On the weekend, my Generous Gentleman, whipped up another delicious batch of pikelets, doubling the batch so they have lasted during the week. He has taken to separating the eggs, putting the yolk into the batter, then whipping up the egg whites to fold through later. Mmm, how very light and fluffy they are these days. Someone taught him well, someone else has the patience to do it every time he makes them.
I, however, found another recipe to satisfy our desires. I have adapted Karen Martini's Little Mud Cakes to my own version:
Healthy Little Mud Cakes
150g pitted prunes
150g dark chocolate
2 tablespoons almond spread
2 tablespoons dark cocoa, sifted
50g digestive biscuits
(I used my husband's Nice and Morning Coffee biscuits)
150-200g cereal such as rice, corn and kamut puffs
Line an oven tray with baking paper or a silicon mat.
Put prunes and water in a small pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Melt chocolate in a bowl over water. (I melted mine over the cooking prunes).
Remove from heat and stir in the prune mixture, tahini, almond spread and cocoa.
Stir the cereal and crushed biscuits into the chocolate mixture allowing it to take as much cereal as it can while you are still able to bind the mix into small balls.
Roll into small balls with your children.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Counts the seconds, or minutes if you're lucky,
until your family starts asking you whether they are ready yet?
I am using this lovely little tea party setting now to enjoy my healthy;) snack of lemon myrtle tea, a banana and of course - a healthy little mud cake.
Yet the question remains in my mind. Are these truly healthy? Are they nourishing? Are they good for you? Perhaps I should try leaving out the biscuits, which I raided from my Generous Gentleman's stash. Yet the quantity of them is small. Then there is all that chocolate and cocoa. In my defence, the dark chocolate is fairtrade and is at least 70% cocoa. My Organic Times dutch-process cocoa powder is described thus: "Our quality organic cocoa is proudly grown and harvested in The Dominican Republic under the Rapunzel Hand-in-Hand Fair Trade program". The website raves about health.
What do you think? Do let me know. In your opinion, in your wisdom, are these little mud cakes to be considered healthy and nutritious or do they still fall into that decadent sweet treat category, to be consumed on occasion only? Oh, and don't let this last quote, and it's source, sway you at all will you ;) .
Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food. - Michael Levine, nutrition researcher
Finally, thankyou to my precious Ess for collecting the delightful little red gum blossoms on our walk to school this morning. She purposefully counted out enough for each one in our family and another for her best friend at school. I am simply sure the fairies came home in them with me this morning to help make this healthy snack so much more pretty for me. Can you see one in there, resting now, contentedly?