Winter Sofa Snacks
Come December, a piece of fruit just won’t cut it when it comes to lazy afternoons and candlelit movie nights on the sofa (although I do love a clementine or ten at Christmas). Anything green and crunchy is out, anything white and carby is in.
So I thought I’d show you a couple of my favourite things to make for a cosy night-in, that are still a tiny bit healthier than your normal Christmas fare (mainly through their lack of pastry and mincemeat). I’m not strictly dairy or sugar-free (everything in moderation right) so you will find butter and sugar in a few of these but I try and make up for it with a lot of fibre and vitamins. But feel free to switch in substitutes where you need to. I’ve tried to offer suggestions with this where I can but I haven’t tried doing this so I can’t 100% guarantee they will taste all that!
Live the cliche and serve with red wine, Nancy Meyer movies and fairy lights.
Dark chocolate and Cinnamon Popcorn
Melt a big heaped spoonful of coconut oil in a heavy, deep saucepan. Stir in 250g of popcorn kernels, cover with a lid and wait for them to start popping. Tried not to overfill the pan or some will start to burn. As they’re popping, melt a bar of 70% cocoa dark chocolate in a large pyrex bowel over simmering water (you could add a pinch of sea salt if you’re a salted chocolate freak like me).
Stir the popcorn into chocolate and keep stirring till every one is coated. Sprinkle over generously with cinnamon and stir again. If you want it a little sweeter, add a little agave or maple syrup. The beauty with this is it looks and taste really chocolatey while still being really light. I did one batch recently with just half a bar of chocolate and it was still really good so go with whatever you feel like.
(The dish is by Falcon Enamelware and the book (just seen) is David Mitchell’s new one The Bone Clocks)
Chia Seed, Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Flapjacks
Melt 150g butter, 100g light brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of maple agave syrup. Fold in 180g oats, 170g spelt flour (could try buckwheat or wholemeal), 1 tsp bicarbonate soda, 1 heaped tablesooon of milled chia seeds, 1 tablespoons of Maca powder, 2 decent handfuls of cranberries and pumpkins seeds.
Bake in an 11 inch square tine (lined and greased) for 15/20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Don’t squash down into the tin – this keeps the flapjacks light and crumbly.
Chilli Hot Chocolate
This creamy hot chocolate is healthy, nutritious (gotta love Maca) and has a spicy kick. Plus, it’s dairy-free so it’s good to help cure a cough or cold.
Warm the following in a saucepan until it starts to thicken.
2 x desert spoons of raw cacao powder
1 x desert spoon maca powder
1/2 desert spoon of coconut oil
Teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Tiny pinch of red chilli flakes
1 mug full of unsweetened almond milk (Rude Health is my favourite – no nasties)
Ph. via Pinterest, all other my own.