Our daughter’s school teacher sent along a pale blue little text book for her to draw and write in during our recent trip to Cape Town. Considering that Elsa’s previous writing experiences mostly consisted of scribbling random letters from the alphabet and signing her drawings (often reversed), we honestly didn’t expect this journal to be anything more than a sketch book. But to our surprise, she filled the pages with both drawings and sentences about her days. She is no Donna Tartt just yet. Her letters look a little wonky, she spells words exactly as they sound and writes without space between (so it all looks like a long hashtag): ”weesaasharkindeseetodey”. But regardless of how much or little that happened every day, she found something to write about, she tried her best to get the spelling right and she filled that book with memories.
The connection I am trying to make here is that this blog is Luise’s and my journal. And we have been bad at filling it lately – with memories and recipes. Ever since the children outnumbered us, it has been difficult to write. Not only due to lack of time and sleep, but we’ve also been looking for meaning, relevance and motivation. We have been doing this for more than seven years now and I have personally come to a point where I want everything to be so damn perfect every time that I often get stuck in this circle of “this is not good enough”. But seeing Elsa’s journal made me realise that we don’t always need the grandest of recipes or ideas. Sometimes a simple 5-minute snack or treat can be good enough.
Okay, I don’t really think one snack is good enough. So we are actually sharing three today!
These recipes are all great options when you need a late afternoon pick-me-up, a post workout treat or simple Tuesday dessert. Although different in their execution, they can all be made in a breeze and all of them also happen to include tahini. If you haven’t tried tahini with sweet flavours before, consider this your lucky day. It’s the bombest flavour combo!
First up, easy but epic stuffed dates.
I shared these stuffed dates on instagram a few weeks ago, calling them ugly delicious. Although a lot of people seemed to think that they weren’t ugly, I still argue that this isn’t a very glamorous dish. Frozen raspberries, grated ginger and tahini, mashed into soft dates is preferably something that is enjoyed under dim light in front of a tv series. Unhulled tahini is excellent for this dish because of it’s richer tones. And if you’ve got a dark chocolate bar (70-80%) lying around, you can break it up and cram small pieces of chocolate into the date along with the other ingredients. It’s probably the quickest and easiest sweet firework your mouth will ever experience.
Tahini & Berry Stuffed Dates
10 soft dates
1 tsp fresh ginger
3 tbsp tahini (preferably unhulled), almond butter or nut butter of choice
20 fresh or frozen raspberries
a handful desiccated coconut
dark chocolate (optional)
Open up all the dates, discard the stones and place the dates on a plate. Grate the ginger over the dates and then fill them with approx 1/2-1 tsp tahini per date and two slightly mashed raspberries (and a small piece of chocolate, if using). Top with a scattering of desiccated coconut. Indulge.
We obviously think smoothies are the ultimate quick treat, having written a whole book about them. They are easy to make, easy to improvise and easy to like. This recipe is not from the book but it combines many of our favorite smoothie ingredients mentioned in the book into one master smoothie which we often make in family size and portion out in mini bottles. Berries are always great in smoothies being low on sugar and high on freshness. Avocado and banana makes it exceptionally creamy. Dates add a caramel tone and cardamom, ginger and tahini blasts the flavours. Depending on the tartness of your berries, a squeeze of lime or lemon can also be good in this.
Berry & Tahini Smoothie
2 large glasses
2-3 soft dates
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp tahini
1 cup / 150 g frozen raspberries and blackberries
1 cup oat milk or other plant milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavour, add more ginger, tahini or cardamom if needed. Add more milk if it feels too thick. Pour into two large glasses or bottles and enjoy right away or store in the fridge with a lid on.
Cottage Cheese with Apple, Honey Ginger Syrup and Crunch
Serves 2 (hungry people) or 4 (as a snack)
1/4 cup / 50 g buckwheat groats
1/4 cup / 35 g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup / 250 g cottage cheese
1/2 cup / 125 ml plain thick yogurt (turkish or greek style yogurt)
1 large apple
1 1/2-2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp tahini
1/2–1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Dry toast buckwheat groats, hazelnuts and salt in a skillet or sauce pan on medium heat for approx 10 minutes, stir every now and then. While it’s toasting, divide the cottage cheese on two plates or four bowls. Discard the core from the apple and chop it in roughly 1/2 inch / 1 cm pieces. Scatter the apple pieces over the cottage cheese. When the buckwheat and nuts smell fragrant and look golden, turn off the heat and scatter it over the cottage cheese and apple. Without rinsing the skillet/saucepan, use the after-heat in the pan to stir together tahini, honey, ginger and cardamom – it only need a little heat to combine easily. Drizzle generously over the two plates and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Dive in!