I’ve been agonising about what to post next for you guys. I’m so busy all the time, and despite some work woes that are bringing me down something ferocious I still am the kind of person to bounce out of bed each day, enthusiastic and excited for nothing more or less than the everyday. I’m so grateful for the turnaround in my outlook from years ago when I was sunk in the pit of a decade-long, and very private (and lonely) battle with depression. These days, life is exciting for it’s own sake and I love that.
One of the things I love the most about life, and look forward to every single day, is food. It’s fundamental to me that food is a source of endless diversion, fascination and anticipation. Experimenting with food, playing with flavours and freeing myself from the kinds of things that make food preparation and eating a chore mean that it’s always an adventure.
One of the first things I learnt when I was transitioning to vegan was that the world is very suddenly a snack food desert. I thrive on snacks and quickly came around to the idea that I’d best be getting used to baking my own and prepping some interesting savouries or else things were gonna get dire.
Don’t let their unassuming appearance fool you. These babies are tasty little powerhouses.
Enter the superball. Some people call them truffles but I can’t get used to the idea of a truffle innocent of a chocolate coating, and since chocolate coating just isn’t going to happen in my kitchen, they became superballs. Sometimes, superbars. I’m going to share how I go about making them, but be warned! I’m not one for exactitude in the kitchen. This is not a recipe.
Applying the lessons learnt. It’s the only way forward.
Start with some dried fruit. Doesn’t matter what, really. Use whatever floats your boat, whatever’s handy. I usually use goji berries and dates – dates because they’re cheap and a good source of concentrated sugars for when I’m running, and goji berries because I know they’re meant to be good for me but they taste so damn vile on their own that I need to hide them from myself.
I use about two handfuls of dates and half a handful of
devilberries I mean, goji berries. Toss them into a bowl, maybe even the bowl of your blender/food processor/magick-whizzerizer-thingy coz that’s where they’ll need to go next. Then pour over some fruit juice. Doesn’t matter what kind. Whatever floats your boat. Last night it was apple, cherry and grape because that’s all we had. I’d have used kombucha if the night wasn’t going to be so warm, but I didn’t want to come out to a whole new kombucha SCOBY frothing fiercely out of the Thermomix bowl so I’ll wait till the weather cools down before I try that.
Anyway. You want just enough to have most of the fruit touching liquid, but not so much that it’s fully submerged. If you want to use chia seeds in your superballs (and really, who doesn’t?) I’d recommend putting them in now and adding a little extra juice. Those babies absorb at least 3 times their own weight in water so you don’t want to go eating them without hydrating them first, as they can just slurp all the juices out of your abdominal cavity and make you real crook. Toss ‘em in now. I also threw in a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds here because I’m coming around to this whole soaked nut/seed thing. Leave that whole mess to sit overnight.
(There’s no photo of this step because who wants to see wrinkled little brown and pinkish things and what looks like frog eggs floating in lurid-coloured liquid?)
In the morning, check to see that the mix hasn’t dried out. If it’s crusty, add a little more moisture, but it probably won’t be. As long as everything looks glossy, it’s fine. If it’s fine, whizzerize now. How fine you blend it is entirely up to you. Sometimes I want a nice smooth texture; other times I like the chunks that come with all the different bits I toss in here.
(There’s no photo of this step because it’s a suspiciously slimy pinkish-brown paste and who wants to see that?)
Now you’ve got your base, you can add the other bits you want here. Go crazy. Whatever nuts, seeds, nuggety goodness you want, toss it in. I used almond meal and puffed amaranth in these ones, to get the paste as thick as I could make it without breaking the TM, and then flavoured with carob, matcha and turmeric. All those things are super good for you, especially if you’re doing some kind of sport or heavy physical work. They’ve got lots of mineral goodness to keep your electrolytes balanced, and the matcha and turmeric, in particular, are great antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. But don’t stop there – coconut oil (I almost always use this but I had run out so today’s don’t have any), cocoa butter, sesame seeds, all manner of nuts, dried blueberries, cacao nibs, acai berries and maca powder would all be great here. Bee pollen, if that’s your game, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, puffed rice or barley or wheat…mix it up, bulk it out.
Shape your portions. Mostly I make balls, as pictured, but sometimes I like to press the whole ball of dough out between two sheets of baking paper and cut the slab into little bars. Either way, it’s not like it matters. Make them itty-bitty or bigger. I tend towards itty-bitty because I can always have more than one, but once you’ve carried these around for a while the sugars might ferment so I wouldn’t recommend “saving” half of one.
I’ve made this lots of times, and sometimes I’ll get to the dough stage and run out of time and just shove the whole bowl into the fridge (usually with the spatula sticking out because I’m all class) and that might sit there for a few days – even a week. They haven’t killed me yet.
If you try these, please let me know how you like them! Also what magick you put in them – I’m always up for trying new, funky ingredients. I can’t wait to hear from you!