It seems to me that a large majority of my family and friends have eating intolerances/allergies/diets that frequently give way to them sucking their teeth followed by “Ooo…does it have wheat/dairy/eggs/cheese/nuts/carbs/meat/shellfish/fat/salt/sugar/calories in it?” when I offer them samples. Usually I reluctantly respond yes and then take it as a personal offense to my cooking. When I was in school and college, none of my friends vilified food groups this way- an allergy was when you broke out in hives and your tongue swelled so much that you couldn’t talk and an intolerance was when you spent the night in agony on the loo praying that the toilet wouldn’t overflow when you flushed it for the fifteenth time”. I’m sure that these more recently developed dietary predispositions are highly credible – (I can speak from first hand involvement of Don’s dairy drawbacks) but they do make cooking dinner a painstakingly, infuriating process. “What do you mean you don’t eat pork anymore?!”
On the positive side, however, a series of intolerant guests has caused the little elves in my brain to start cranking the the creative juices again. Trust me, you have the elves too, they just have a tendency to only come out when you’re in dire straights. These are desperate times. Don thinks that these same elves clean the house and hang up his bathroom towels, but I assure you, that’s all me. And so it is that I’ve been trying to put more thought into my recipes to avoid putting wheat/dairy/eggs/cheese/nuts/carbs/meat/shellfish/fat/salt/sugar/calories in without creating the sense that you’re biting into cardboard. Baking, is of course the biggest challenge of all- but I am pleased to report that I am making slow headway.
Nut & Seed Refrigerator Bars
These are very adaptable little treats and I encourage you to let loose your own creativity elves. I’ve kept these relatively savoury (for those trying to cut down on sugar) but if you like things sweet then just add more a tablespoon at a time. I tried these with chocolate chips (highly recommended) and you can replace the coconut oil with honey, vegetable oil or heaven forbid melted butter. Oh, and you can also roll them into cookies- but that seemed like too much effort for me.
Diet facts: Vegan, Gluten Free, Low GI, Dairy-free
250g/1 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
85g/ 1 cup oats (rolled or quick cook will work)
30g/ 1/3 cup coconut
50g/ 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
75g/ 1/2 cup chopped pecans, or other nut
1/ Line an 20cm/8 inch tin (or smaller) with parchment paper. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl and press into the lined tin. Keep chilled- this is not something that holds up well at room temperature.
Vegan chocolate chip cookies,