Black Forest Smoothie Bowl fortified with Aronia

Black Forest Smoothie Bowl cj 2.jpg

‘Nothing tastes better than fresh ingredients and this black forest smoothie bowl is the ultimate breakfast or dessert.  I poured melted chocolate over the ice cold mix and it solidified in a few seconds.  My photos are taken by CJ during a live tv show’

You will need:

1/2 purple raw carrot
1/2 cooked beetroot
4 dates
2 kale leaves
1/4 peeled apple
2 frozen bananas
2 cups mixed frozen cherries and cranberries
1 teaspoon agave
2 tablespoons aronia concentrate
2 cups cashew milk
3 tablespoons oats

Top with : 100g fresh cherries, 50g dry roasted flaked almonds and 50g melted dark sugar free chocolate, baby chard

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Add all the ingredients to the blender and combine until it is a smooth consistency.

While you are doing this melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie.

Pour into a bowl.

Arrange the fresh cherries on top of the smoothie mix.

Add some dry roasted flaked almonds.

Pour melted chocolate on the surface of the smoothie mix. It will solidify and makes the smoothie mix taste even more amazing.

black-forest-smoothie-bowl-cj

My fresh fruit and vegetables come from Big Fresh, frozen fruit from PJ Sutters, nuts, oats, agave and cashew milk from Good Earth, sugar-free chocolate by Valor and aronia concentrate from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Homemade energy bars and bliss balls

Photos: Marconia Schembri, Stefan Stafrace, Illumina Media, Felix Cesare

Photo George Aquilina during a live tv show

There are so many varieties of energy bars on the market today with whole sections in supermarkets filled with them. The different choices are overwhelming and some provide energy while others may be classed as low carb or high in protein. Most of them satisfy current food trends.

Dried fruit bars became fashionable when they were marketed to a sports audience in the 1960s and 1970s and they have evolved to become a quick meal replacement or possibly the most popular snack food today.

Making your own bars means that you can choose to use ingredients that you like. They require little or no cooking and you just need to make sure that your dried fruits are plump and the nuts you are using are fresh. If the dates, figs or prunes are on the small side, then you may need to add a few extra ones.

There is no magic formula like baking. Grind the ingredients very well so that they blend easily together and hold shape.

Energy bars can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge or a cool place for around three weeks. Most of them freeze very well.

 

Ingredients I use in these recipes:

Maca Powder: the extract of a Peruvian plant best known for improving energy levels and vitality
Aronia: also known as chokeberry and can be found locally as a dried fruit or in liquid and powder concentrate.  It contains high antioxidants and is known to have many beneficial properties
Hemp Seeds: hard brown seeds with a light inner kernel that provide a good source of amino acids, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Carrot date bars with Maca powder

1 large carrot
a pod of vanilla
¼ tsp Maca powder
2 cups oats
1/2 cup dates
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup mixed chopped almonds and pistachio nuts
a pinch of cinnamon
a grating of fresh nutmeg
grated zest of 1 tangerine
water

Photo Illumina Media during a  live tv show

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Wash and grate the carrot.

In a saucepan placed the dates and grated carrot. Add 1/4 cup of water, the cinnamon, nutmeg and grated citrus zest. Allow the dates to break down on low heat. Add more water, a few tbsps at a time, if necessary. Do not let the mixture dry up. When the dates are soft and mushy turn off the heat and allow to cool down. In a large bowl place the oats, add the vanilla and Maca powder, then add the date and carrot mixture. Mix until the consistency is even.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Press down the mixture and use a spoon dipped in water to press it down until it is compact. Top with chopped nuts and press down again using the wet spoon.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove from the loaf tin by pulling the baking paper out gently and cut into bars using a sharp knife.

Chewy granola bars with hemp seeds

2 cups oats
1 cup nuts of your choice
12 pitted dates
3 tbsp coconut oil
Vanilla
1 cup coconut
¼ cup raisins
1 tbsp hemp seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Photo Illumina Media during alive tv show

Place the oats in a food processor and add the chopped nuts, pitted dates and the rest of the ingredients. Pulse to process, until you have a consistent but textured paste. Line a 20cm cake or pie dish with baking paper.

Bring the mixture together with your hands and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Firmly press down the mixture into the cake or pie dish. Make sure that the surface is level and that all the dish is equally covered. Wet your fingers with water and tap the surface gently all over again. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and, after it cools down, leave in the fridge overnight. Lift it out by pulling the baking paper and place it on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut bars.

Sweet potato balls with ginger

Photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

2 large sweet potatoes
3 cups coconut
5 tbsp agave
1/2 packet apricots
1/2 vanilla pod
1 cup shredded carrots
some freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger powder
1 pinch of mixed spice
grated zest of an orange
To cover: 2 cups coconut or coarsely ground oats

These balls can turn out to be bright yellow or a creamy colour, depending on the variety of sweet potato you are using.

Cook the sweet potato with skin on in the microwave and allow to cool. Peel and mash very well with a fork until the mixture is consistent.

Mix all the ingredients together. Use a hand blender to make a smooth paste. Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Form balls and roll in coconut or ground oats. Leave in the fridge overnight before serving.

Fig and date Balls with aronia

Photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

2 cups pitted dates
2 cups coconut
1 cup figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated citrus zest. (I used local tangerines)
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 tbsp aronia, liquid
1/8 cup unsweetened fruit juice of your choice
For rolling balls: 2 cups sesame seeds and 2 cups coconut in separate containers

Roughly chop the dates and figs into small pieces.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the consistency is smooth. Add water if the mixture is too dry, a tablespoon at a time.

Line two flat dishes with a baking sheet and place the sesame seeds in one container and coconut in the other container.

Use a teaspoon to form equal-sized balls and roll with your hands.

Roll the balls in the sesame seeds and coconut and store and place on a dish lined with baking paper. Leave for a few hours to set and dry out and then store in an airtight container.

 

Maca Powder and Hemp Seeds are available via Good Earth.  Aronia is available via J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Fortifying food with Aronia

Fortifying food with Aronia.jpg

Prickly Pear and Aronia Smoothie in today’s Sunday Times.  Photos taken during a live tv show by George Aquilina

I always try to fortify the food I prepare with ingredients that are bursting with goodness. I like using aronia [Aronia Melanocarpa from the Rosaceae family], because it is so versatile and can easily be added to juices, smoothies, jams, dressings and desserts.  It can also be used to replace artificial food colouring, as it produces a lovely...

Source: Sunday Times Fortifying food with Aronia

I use Aronia by J Calleja Import & Export Ltd

Dukkah fortified with Aronia and flavours from Egypt

dukkah fortified with powdered Aronia concentrate 2

Dukkah fortified with Aronia powder.  This photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show

Most of us find the preparation of home-made food satisfying and, in Egypt, I observed that many families find enjoyment in spending time together preparing abundant meals. Egyptian cuisine is not as widespread as Lebanese, but offers great vegan and vegetarian dishes that are reliant on beans…

Source: Sunday Times Flavours from Egypt

 

I use Aronia concentrate in powder and liquid form from Aroniada Agro, spices and herbs by Schwartz, nuts, beans and grains by Good Earth, Maltese Bread and ice cream by Carrefour from GS Superstore, kitchenware by Tescoma

Blueberry Loaf fortified with Aronia [Chokeberries]

Blueberry and Aronia Cake goodfoodeveryday

Blueberry Loaf fortified with Aronia [Chokeberries]               Photo by George Aquilina during a live tv show

‘Blueberries are a crowd pleaser and to fortify the loaf, I use Aronia [chokeberry] in a variety of forms, as dried fruits and concentrate in juice and powder form’

You will need:

280g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g mascarpone
vanilla
a pinch of salt
100ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon organic apple vinegar
3 eggs
300g blueberries
150g dried aronia berries [chokeberry]
1 tablespoon concentrated Aronia in powder form [chokeberry]
1 tablespoon concentrated Aronia in liquid form [chokeberry]

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Prepare a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7 cm) with baking spray
In a bowl mix the mascarpone, 100g of the fresh blueberries, coconut milk, concentrated aronia liquid, organic apple vinegar, agave,eggs and vanilla and use a hand blender to mix to a smooth consistency.
Sift the self raising flour twice. Add the bicarbonate of soda, salt, dried aronia berries, 100g of the fresh blueberries and concentrated aronia powder.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a large metal spoon to fold in the mixture. Check for a dropping consistency and if necessary add some water, a spoonful at a time. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Top with the remainder of the fresh blueberries.
Bake for 40 minutes. Test with a skewer and allow to cool in the loaf tin before removing.

‘Tip: Aronia/Chokeberries are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.  The taste is not particularly sweet and if you like a more intense sweetness add 2 tablespoons of sugar or the equivalent of stevia to this recipe.’

My blueberries and fruits come from Big Fresh,  mascarpone by Zappala, vanilla by Schwartz, aronia dried berries by Noberasco, coconut milk by Alpro and agave at Good Earth, loaf tin and kitchenware by Tescoma, Aronia concentrate in liquid and powder form by Aroniada available from J Calleja Import & Export, self raising flour by St Georges Brand.