Friday 18 April 2014

The bonbons of weird

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:
  1. I went to the health food shop, where I dropped £30 on chia seeds and barley malt extract and Siberian ginseng.
  2. 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.

*Update - I'm very sorry to hear that Gwyneth Paltrow's marriage is over. I make lots of her recipes. I cry: "These are the recipes of a Film Star who is married to a Rock Star!!!" to my children, when they stare again in horror at anything with veg in. I like her. I shan't say sorry.


  1. I'm still wondering if it is you or eldest hiding in the wardrobe. And eyeing mine up to see if I'd fit. If I took a supply of bonbons (weird seed, or other) how long d'you reckon I could hide out for?

  2. Whisky.
    Am waiting for the whisky.

  3. ahhh, funny.
    I am smirking in happiness that someone else also falls prey to these dramatic fits of frantic life-changing epiphanies....

    Chia seeds.


  4. You made your own nosebag sweets. You did

  5. hee hee. Mr Coffee is very tactful in a very unusual style! and at least your family like them! my family are very unimpressed by the Very expensive green juice (result of my throw money at unhealthy family solution...) although they the children did like the pear juice until J let the slip the secret about the parsnip ingredient...........

  6. Download captain america 2 :

  7. Mmm, barley malt extract - used to love that as a child.

  8. Mm, like blackbird, I'm waiting too......was sure the whisky was going to show up in the bon bons.......

  9. We make 'porridgy stuff' from Nancy's recipe for Amish Oatmeal. I find it solves a lot of life's issues.

  10. fruit???? weird stuff indeed!

    the only reason my kids drunk beetroot juice was to see if their wee really turned bright red. (it does).

  11. Love Mr Coffee's extremely backhanded compliment! I sometimes put seeds in the breadmaker as a nod to healthy eating. That's about as far as I've managed to stretch seed-eating with my three. I don't fancy my chances with your bonbons.

  12. Ye-e-e-s.

    I love your embryonic quilt, though it looks very fiddly to me. But pretty.


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