Dates have had a metamorphosis in recent years. Once an ingredient used in middle eastern and northern African cooking (absolutely amazing in lamb tagine) and something you put into scones, date loaf and sticky date pudding – dates are now widely celebrated as an alternative to sugar in healthy baking and raw movement. Their incredible sweetness and soft sticky texture makes them an easy replacement for processed sugar.
I saw these yesterday in a magazine and had to give them a go. I had an online presentation booked at 11.30am and finished making and taking photos of these just before it started. It took me less than five minutes to make four of them and less than five minutes to to scoff the lot! The salt adds a nice balance stopping them from being cloyingly sweet, giving them a salt caramel flavour.
Make these for when you feel like something sweet such as after a meal or to have with coffee – as an alternative to baking. Be aware dates are high in fructose so don’t eat too many if you’re being mindful of sugar intake.
Medjool or fresh dates
Sea salt or himalayan salt
Carefully slice down the middle of each date without cutting right through. Open to remove the stone. Take a small amount of almond butter on the edge of a teaspoon or knife and smear into the gap before pressing the two sides together. Sprinkle with a teensy bit of salt. Eat!
*Dates are a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
*One tablespoon of almond butter contains as much protein as you get from the same quantity of meat. It is also an excellent source of fiber, which helps digestion and nourishes tissues. Just one teaspoon of almond butter contains more than 25% of your daily requirement of Vitamin E.
We had this last night and it took precisely 10 minutes from lighting the gas hob to plating up. The rice was pre cooked – add another 20 minutes if you are starting with uncooked rice.
The main difference between Tamari and Soy Sauce is that Tamari contains little or no wheat – good news if you are GF – check the label before buying. Tamari and Soy Sauce are both made from fermented soy beans, Japanese Tamari tends to be thicker richer and more salty.
1C cooked black rice (can sub brown rice if you like)
2C roughly chopped mushrooms. I used field mushrooms you can use whatever is fresh
1C cherry tomatoes halved
1 large shallot, sliced finely
1.5C cauliflower cut into smallish florets
1Tbs oil for sautéeing (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
Tamari and fresh cracked black pepper for seasoning
Place a heavy based fry pan on to a medium heat and add oil. Sauté shallot and cauliflower for three minutes stirring gently so that the shallot doesn’t brown. Add mushrooms and rice and cook for a further two minutes stirring. Add garlic and tomatoes and stir to combine gently. When mushrooms are looking ready (slightly wilted but not mushy) remove from heat and season liberally with the Tamari: stir through and taste after adding 1 tbs Tamari and then add more if you like (we had about 1.5tbs in ours). Grind fresh cracked pepper over the top and serve immediately.
*This amount served myself as a main vegetarian meal and Paul as a side to his hunk of sirloin.
For the kids I sautéed the shallot, added the cauliflower and rice and then sliced up a rasher of bacon finely and stirred it all in until the bacon was cooked.