Things often get a little, shall we say, fraught in the Coffee House. Take a combination of much to do and too little time; a cantankerous teenager; and the increasingly complex honeycomb of frustration that is special needs parenting; and you have the perfect recipe for lost tempers and recriminations and screaming and hiding in the wardrobe.
What we need, I decided, in a fit of hopeless simplicity, is better-balanced blood sugar and some Omega 3s. Because all these problems can be solved by not buying Bounty Bars, right?! So I hung around the library until I found the most insane cookbook I could find. It turned out to be The Extra Virgin Cookbook, by Susan Jane White. And then I did two things, in the manner of throwing money at a problem:
- I went to the health food shop, where I dropped £30 on chia seeds and barley malt extract and Siberian ginseng.
- I drove to Aldi and bought a bottle of whisky.
Chia seeds are, it seems, priced in the manner of a semi precious jewel. Here they are, presented to you by my delightful Hand Model Number 2.
In order to make chia seed bonbons, you're going to need to mix together a quarter of a cup of tahini and nearly a quarter of a cup of maple syrup. On close inspection, my regular maple syrup turned out not to be really maple syrup at all, so I substituted agave nectar. (Agave nectar used to be a fancy health food, but now that you can buy it in Tesco it seems to have been excommunicated and is now not healthy at all. Apparently.)
Then you add half a cup of milled chia seeds (ours were not milled. We will not live to a grand old age), a quarter of a cup of ground almonds, and two tablespoons of cocoa powder. You then roll them into very tiny little balls, because they are so expensive, and you feel a need to eek them out.
Then roll them in dessicated coconut, as demonstrated by my delightful Hand Model Number 2.
They're nice. Let's just get that out there right now, because I can hear Emma sniggering already. The other day, when I outlined my desperation and its seedy solution, she just laughed at me. She did. She said 'chia seed buns?' over and over again, and did some comedy swearing. How vindicated am I, now that I have a fridge full of sweets that cost a squillion pounds each to make?
I also made some prune muffins, again from Susan Jane White, which went down very well. These had ingredients including carrots and linseeds and barley malt extract. (You know that advice that you're only supposed to eat food that you can describe, in order to avoid chemicals and E numbers and strange ingredients of fear? I cannot describe barley malt extract. We're coming full circle over here.)
Mr Coffee actually said: "Of all the muffins I've had that aren't chocolate, and have some weird things that you've put in like fruit (here he kind of flinched a little), these are the best."
I think you'll agree, that is the highest praise.