There was a time in my life when I thought I was turning into Bridget Jones – with the pants, but without the alcoholic, workaholic, sexaholic emotional f*ckwit of a boyfriend. In hindsight, that actually would have been ace. Bridge is a wanton sex goddess, albeit with an alcoholic, workaholic, sexaholic emotional f*ckwit of a boyfriend (but only for a little bit). But then she bags a job on the telly (and an Etonian in the shape of a reindeer jumper I mean swoon or wot hardy har har).
In fact, I’m actually more like an unironic caricature of a character from Mean Girls. I’m partial to animal print (borderline creepy). I own not one but two skirts made of pink plastic. I’m naff.
And, also like Mean Girls’ Queen Bee Fugly Slut Regina George I’m hooked on energy bars. Which is totally hilarious as I also happen to be hooked on Wolf Hall and a number of other sedentary activities that need v little energy in order to happen. I fear, therefore, that it can’t be long before I begin to resemble a bottle bank and start wearing only tracksuits.
The bars I’m particularly partial to are called Wiggle, partly because they sound sassy and partly because the coconut one tastes like a freakin dream.
Look too closely and you will find it quite clearly states on the front that it’s a sports nutrition bar. Ah. There’s the rub. I’m not sporty. The closest I’m ever going to get to a marathon will involve Frodo Baggins and a whole lotta snacks. This is more jiggle than wiggle.
And so here is my homemade attempt at some kind of healthy, energy bar-cum-flapjack* that I can eat without feeling too remorseful about sitting on ma badonkadonk for most of the day. They’ve got no oil, no refined carbohydrates and no refined sugar in them – just dates, mashed banana and something called Bali Nutra coconut syrup, which is this dark, treacle-y, sticky nectar that tastes like holiday. It’s got quite a distinctive flavour, though, and is much sweeter than honey or even agave, so you only need a tiny bit. It’s packed with vitamins and iron, but (zzzzzzz…sorry) it’s also the most sustainable sweetener available. The tree is tapped for its syrup, which just replenishes itself. No deforestation, no burning.
* Apologies. ‘xxxx-cum-xxxx’ is probably the worst turn of phrase in the English language, especially when you’re talking about flapjacks. Gross
I can’t pretend these (a) are the kCal equivalent of a carrot (b) are going to make you sportier or (c) even look that nice. They’re also not flapjacks. Flapjacks = butter = manna. If I call them flapjacks and you taste them you’ll tell me to stick it where the sun don’t shine. These don’t taste like flapjacks, but they taste goooood. Wholesome and good. Mix, change, add, remove, eat eat eat
150g pitted dates
1 banana, mashed
300g mixed seeds (I used a mixture of pumpkin, golden linseed, sunflower and sesame)
3 large handfuls of raisins
2-3tbsp Bali Nutra coconut syrup (sub for 3-4 tbsp agave nectar or 4-5 tbsp honey)
4tbsp peanut butter
- Preheat fan oven to 160 C and line a deep baking tray with baking parchment
- Put the dates in a saucepan with the water and simmer until they’re soft (about 5-10 minutes). Take them off the heat and whizz them with a hand blender until liquid. Yes, it resembles slurry somewhat, but don’t be put off.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the oats, seeds and raisins with your hands until combined. Add the date mixture, the coconut syrup and the peanut butter and mix until you have a dense, sticky mixture.
- Put the mixure in the tray and press down until it’s about 2 inches thick. Bake for 50 minutes. If the top starts to brown too much, cover with foil to stop it burning.
- Leave to cool slightly before cutting into small squares. They’re very dense, so a mouthful is all you need. They’ll harden up as they cool.