Saturday 17 March 2018

Recipes: Your new ally

Boost your culinary credentials -- and your libido -- with Susan Jane White's 2014 guide to healthy eating

Chopping carrots. Photo: Getty Images.
Chopping carrots. Photo: Getty Images.

Susan Jane White

Anyone can bake. Elegant and talented as she is, Nigella Lawson is no genius.

Don't worry, I love her, too, but she's just an adorable rogue in an apron, whose sex appeal is magnified by her ability to lust after her ingredients. What Ms Lawson playfully proves is the surprising ease at which we can be utterly consumed by our food, and the pleasure derived through full submission. Hallowed be Nigella.

So, really, it's all within your reach, even if you have the domestic instinct of a distracted springbok.

Here's a year-long resolution that doesn't involve self-flagellation, and will make you outrageously popular at the office. Choose a recipe in LIFE magazine every week, and own it. Get to know it like a new friend -- an ally to the New You.

You're looking for something that will ignite passion between you and your wooden spoon. Quite apart from the self-administered dose of serotonin, you are sure to boost your culinary credentials and your libido. Get going now, and you'll have mastered over 50 dishes by this time next year.

Expect to be nothing short of a worshipped deity to those around you. Sounds good? Or would you rather set your alarm clock for a 6am jog in the pitch dark? I'm here to show you that healthy eating should never tax your taste buds. Actress Anna Friel nailed it when she assured a room full of journalists that health is beauty, saying, "If someone takes care of themselves, you can see it shine within them."

So, nosedive into that apron and baptise these quinoa cupcakes, darling!

Quinoa Carrot Cakes
Makes 10 cupcakes.

Did you know that soaking one tablespoon of flaxseed in liquid for 15 minutes makes an awesome egg replacer? Not that eggs are unhealthy, but I realise they might be off-radar for vegans and readers with heart disease or allergies.

This recipe's nutritional kudos is ramped up by the whackload of milled flax I wrestled into it. Flax is one of nature's best sources of lignans, which are naturally occurring phytoestrogens found in some plants. These chaps are associated with happy hormones and boisterous antioxidant behaviour.

Studies have shown a reduction in prostate and breast cancers, with a corresponding increase in dietary plant lignans. Wahoo! A cancer-fighting cupcake!

For the cupcakes, you will need:

  • 8 dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 2 handfuls whole walnuts
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
  • 3 tablespoons milled flaxseed (aka linseed)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the topping, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon rapadura or coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Line a generous muffin tray with 10 paper cases. In a large bowl, mix the chopped dried apricots, the mashed banana, the whole walnuts, the apple juice, the brown rice syrup or the honey, whichever you're using, the flaxseed and the extra-virgin olive oil. Stir through the grated carrots and the sea salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, sieve the quinoa flour and the brown rice flour with the baking powder and the cinnamon. Make sure the baking powder doesn't stick in one place. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and scoop the wet mixture into it. Mix. Spoon the dough into the cupcake paper cases. You're aiming for exactly 10 cupcakes.

Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven and stir the rapadura or coconut sugar, whichever you're using, and the cinnamon together, then sprinkle a little over each cupcake. A great way to start the New You, eh?!

Irish Independent

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