Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

With the Covid-19 crisis affecting our shopping habits and availability of ingredients, I found that the various nut bars I often relied on for breakfast or a quick mid-afternoon snack were not always available in the shops.

I therefore decided to have a go at making my own. I have made these a few times now and they’re a big hit with the whole family, including hubby who doesn’t usually like eating nut bars.

Please note you can use whichever nuts you like – I love cashew nuts and started making them with just those, but they are very expensive (I had a look at the price of bulk bags of pistachios and they were even worse, so I’ll stear clear of those…shame, as I love pistachios!), so now I mix cashews and peanuts and the bars are equally delicious.

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars (makes approx. 14-16 bars)

  • 600g unsalted, unroasted nuts (I use blanched peanuts and raw cashew nuts, which I buy in bulk 1kg bags, but you can use whichever nuts take your fancy!)
  • 50g raisins
  • 70g chia seeds
  • 150g white chocolate (I use Callebaut white chocolate callets as they melt really well in the microwave, but any good quality chocolate that withstands melting and chilling well will work. I buy these in bulk… my latest purchase was a 2.5kg bag, which is dangerous in a house full of chocoholics!)
  • A generous sprinkling of fine sea salt

How to make nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Line a deep baking tray / cake pan with greaseproof paper (mine is 32cm long, 21cm wide and 5cm high, but use whatever you have available as long as it allows for a suitable depth for nut bars). I find it helps to grease the pan with butter or margarine to allow the paper to stick to it and stay flat and in place.

Heat up a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat, then add the cashew nuts and peanuts (or other nuts of your choice). As they start warming up, stir them frequently and as an oily sheen starts to appear, sprinkle them liberally with fine sea salt. Continue to stir frequently as they start to roast. I like the uneven roasting of doing this in a pan, where some are blackened in some parts and lightly golden in others, but it is a matter of personal preference / taste. For a more even roasting, you may wish to do this part in the oven.

While the nuts are roasting, melt the chocolate in the microwave (with the Callebaut chocolate I use, it takes about 2 minutes on high, stirring halfway through – different chocolate may behave differently though and to be on the safe side, you may want to do this more gently in a bain marie, with a bowl over a pan of hot water, letting the steam do the job).

Transfer nuts, raisins and chia seeds into a large mixing bowl and add the melted chocolate, stirring to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed, then transfer into your lined baking tray while still warm. Spread the mix out as evenly as possible and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Once the giant nut bar is well chilled and solid, take it out of the tray, remove the greaseproof paper and place it on a large chopping board. Using a large knife or cleaver, cut it into 14-16 nut bars. Some small pieces will simply break off, but that’s ok – don’t waste them. Stick them in a bowl and eat them as a snack 🙂

  • Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

creamy high protein banana milkshake

Thick and creamy high-protein banana milkshake

This is a milkshake I am enjoying for my breakfasts on the post-gastric-sleeve liquid diet.  It is important for me to add protein to what little I can ingest during this time, which means that the ingredients I use make this milkshake particularly rich, thick and creamy-tasting.  This could be a great milkshake for anyone looking for a high-protein shake to fill themselves up more or to supplement their exercise regime. 

thick and creamy high-protein banana milkshake

Ingredients (makes two small glasses)

  • half a small ripe banana
  • approx. 150ml fortified milk (To make the fortified milk, use powdered milk and follow the instructions on the pack, but instead of water, mix the powder with semi-skimmed milk;  I use lactose-free milk powder as, although not lactose-intolerant, I am a bit sensitive to high amounts of it)
  • one scoop or heaped tablespoon of powdered flavourless whey protein

Method

Place all the ingredients in a fine blender (I use my Nutribullet), blend thoroughly so all ingredients combine and there are no banana pieces left. 

Pour and serve immediately. 

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medical professional.  These are simply ideas based on meals I have created to suit my own dietary needs and, as I’ve enjoyed them, I wanted to share them. If you are unsure about the suitability of any ingredients or recipes on my blog for your own requirements, please check with a health professional first. 

Smoked Mackerel, Black Pudding, Poached Egg and Caviar Brunch

Quick & simple Brunch

Smoked Mackerel, Black Pudding, Poached Egg &  (Lumpfish) Caviar

After 2 long days of meetings, professional speaking engagements and travelling, I longed for a hearty brunch when I got home this morning, so I would feel ready to tackle the day ahead.

Smoked Mackerel Black Pudding Caviar Brunch

Everything in this was shop-bought so it was really quick & easy to make.

  • Dry-fry 2 slices of black pudding
  • Remove the skin from half a fillet of honey smoked mackerel, then cut into large chunks
  • Poach 2 eggs
  • Warm up a ready-made hollandaise sauce
  • Meanwhile toast 1 muffin, cut in half, and lather with butter
  • Open a tin/jar of lumpfish ‘caviar’

Assemble:

Place the 2 muffin halves on a plate, top each with a slice of black pudding, then place the smoked mackerel on top.  Top with the poached eggs (1 per muffin half), pour on the hollandaise sauce, sprinkle on some ‘caviar’.  Done!

Yummilicious!!