Black brownies

This recipe is such a favourite of mine because it’s full or iron and protein, yet it’s totally disguised as an indulgent dessert. The dark chocolate really makes it rich, but can be tempered with a side of ice cream (or frozen blended bananas – known as nicecream – if you want a healthy option) for those who prefer lighter flavours of chocolate to the darker ones.

It’s simple to make so children can get involved too. They will love to lick the melted chocolate from the bowl. The parent gets a helping hand in the kitchen, the children have some fun, everyone gets quality time together…followed by a dessert at the end. What’s not to like? It’s a win-win for all involved.

Ingredients

1 centilitre (10 mls) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 can of black beans *

1 centilitre (10 mls) blended desiccated coconut **

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1  centilitre (10mls) honey

50g dark chocolate (I use 70%)

1 handful chopped walnuts

3 tbsp coconut oil

Optional: 100g dark chocolate for topping

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius/356 degrees farenheit.

Method

Melt the dark chocolate in a water bath, or the microwave. If you do this in the microwave, heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, to prevent burning.

Add the coconut oil and the honey, and stir until they are dissolved and combined. Remove from the heat.

Blend all the other ingredients together, except for the walnuts. You can use a food processor for this, or you can get busy with a potato masher, a spoon and some brute muscle force. Your kitchen, your choice.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the other ingredients. Once they are well combined, fold in the chopped walnuts.

Line a square cake pan (21cm x 21cm) with wax proof baking paper. Pour the brownie batter into the cake pan and smooth it out to ensure an even surface. You can also use a round cake pan with a diameter of 22cm, in which case don’t use the wax proof baking paper, just grease and flour the cake pan instead.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven. 

Take the cake out and let it cool. When it is cool, you can melt some dark chocolate on top, maybe sprinkle with some nuts, or whatever you like. I used edible gold glitter and walnuts in the photos.

* you can buy a can of blackbeans and just use them as they are – just make sure to rinse them well first.

** You can take desiccated coconut and just blend it yourself. If you don’t like coconut you can substitute this with oats, and just blend as with the coconut.


Healthy Chocolate Mousse

This is a healthy dessert that your children will not even realise is healthy. They will feel like they have just indulged big time.

This is for those times you want something sweet and chocolatey but something that’s free from tonnes of additives and refined sugars.

Ingredients:

  • 10 dates (remove the pits if they are not already removed.)
  • 1 can of cold coconut milk from the fridge  (not low-fat or ‘light’)
  • a handful of almonds *
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder

* You can make this nut-free by substituting the same amount of almonds with blended sunflower seeds, and adding in 2 tbsp of chia seeds.

Method:

Put the can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before.

In fact, from now on you may want to keep a can of coconut milk in your refridgerator permanently in case the desire to make a decadent dessert suddenly strikes. Then you’re always ready.

This is the easiest dessert in the world. Just blend all the ingredients together. Then you can pop this back in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to enjoy it.

Top with some berries to make it extra special. I also like to sprinkle some dessicated coconut, chia seeds, or chopped toasted nuts on top. Just follow your heart and do whatever you think will taste good. I usually go for blueberries because of all their added health benefits, but I always look out for what’s cheap at the supermarket.


Anti-inflammatory Dhal

An important part of self-care as a parent is eating healthily and regularly. This is in part to stay healthy, and in part to maintain energy levels. When we reach for unhealthy junk food we get the energy highs, which might feel good at the time, but we also get the crash in energy that follows.

This mindset – focusing on healthy eating in order to maintain good energy levels – is the difference between surviving parenthood and thriving in parenthood. We can get by in the ‘survival’ mindset for a while, but this is not sustainable in the long run. And just getting by or surviving isn’t good enough – we want to thrive and enjoy our lives!

This anti inflammatory dhal doesn’t take too much work or time to make, and can even be made in big batches so it can be reheated for an easy dinner the next day or as a lunch.

The key is to cook when you have the time, and to think ahead. When we leave things like cooking to the last minute then if anything urgent presents itself at crunch time then things could get stressful, because either cooking gets pushed till afterwards (not always a good option if there are small hungry children involved) or we try to multitask and may not be fully present in either of the tasks we are managing. Sometimes life happens in unexpected ways and there’s nothing to be done, but mostly we can come out ahead of it by planning ahead where possible.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, (or other oil that is appropriate for moderately high temp heating)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 6 ounces of red lentils
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 desert spoon of tomato purée
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 ounce grated ginger
  • 1 litre vegetable stock

Method

Fry the onion for a few minutes in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for 25 minutes, until the mixture resembles chutney.

Add ginger, spices, lentils and vegetable stock. Cook over low heat until lentils are soft and fluffy.

Season to taste, and serve with your choice of rice or quinoa. Some fresh spinach fried quickly and lightly with some fresh pressed garlic pairs well with this meal. Sprinkle some black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa) for extra health benefits.