Here is a Christmas desert to help you enjoy the festive season and stay healthy! This recipe was taken from Teresa Cutter, 'The Healthy Chef'.
225g fresh pitted dates – approx 10 – 15 dates depending on their size
zest from 1 orange
250g organic dried apricots, chopped
150 g (1 ½ cups) almond meal / ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
80 g dark chocolate, melted for decoration. You can also use a dollop of yogurt with berries on top
Combine dates, orange zest, apricots, vanilla, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor.
Process until mixture is combined and looks like fine crumbs.
Spoon mixture into a large bowl and add 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice then mix again. Your pudding mix should come together in the hands when lightly squeezed.
Divide puddings into 6 small puddings. The best way to do this is to line the base of your desired mould with glad wrap and press the pudding mixture into it firmly.
Invert the pudding and remove the glad wrap. Repeat until all the puddings are formed.
Melt white chocolate in a small bowl that is set over a simmering pot of water.
Spoon a little white chocolate over the tops of the puddings if using and garnish. You can use goji berries, fresh cherries or anything you fancy. Alternatively omit the topping if you wish.
Arrange onto a serving plate and set aside until needed.
Store in the fridge for upto 2 weeks.
Given all of the research that is coming out about the dangers of trans-fats (hydrogenated oils) and their link to chronic disease many people are reconsidering which oils they use in their cooking. Olive oil is one healthy option that many people are turning to. However what many people don't realise is that whilst olive oil is very healthy when you are not heating the food it can be damaged by heat. In fact, when heated olive oil produces chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer and heart disease.
So what is left?
Well as it turns out one of the healthiest oil to cook with is coconut oil. Coconut oil was previously assumed to be unhealthy due to the high levels of saturated fats however we now realise that saturated fat is not the evil it was made out to be and is certainly healthier than trans-fats. These saturated fats make coconut oil much less susceptible to damage when it is heated.