If you’re wondering why it’s been a while since my last post, this might explain it! I’m excited to say that my new book, How to Eat Better, has just launched and I’m delighted to be sharing some of my highlights, right here on the blog.
It’s all about decoding the science and myths surrounding healthy eating, a subject I’ve long been passionate about. To write it I’ve spent the last two years trawling through nearly 3,000 research studies, translating the academic geek speak into practical tips and tricks to help you send the nutrition in pretty much any plant-based ingredient soaring.
Since it’s Easter, I thought I’d start with chocolate. From healthy eater’s pariah to nutritional powerhouse, chocolate’s reputation has experienced quite a turnaround in just two short decades, at least when it comes to the dark stuff. Did you know that as well as possible benefits to heart health, cocoa may also have benefits for our skin, too? Or that gram for gram, cocoa powder has more essential minerals, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc (not to mention a host of antioxidant polyphenols) than kale?
Of course, with any chocolate recipe, the key is in maximising nutritional benefits, while minimising added sugar and fats. The stuff of childhood dreams, this healthier, homespun version of a chocolate-hazelnut spread is so packed with nutrient-rich dark cocoa powder and roasted hazelnuts, there’s no room left for added sugar or oil! It might have 70% less calories than the shop bought stuff, but you’d never know by its taste and texture.
Enjoy with a big bowl of fruit, instead of slathering on white bread, to dramatically reduce calories while simultaneously upping the nutrition of every serving!
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus cooling
Cook time: 15 minutes
100g chopped hazelnuts
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g cocoa powder (non-dutched*)
5 tbsp granulated stevia (baking blend)
1/8 tsp salt
POUR the milk and hazelnuts into a small saucepan and heat gently until the milk reaches simmering point. Remove from heat, cover and leave to cool.
TRANSFER the nut and milk mixture to a food processor and blitz until as smooth as possible. This will take a good minute or two.
PUT the nut purée in a small bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients – at first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquid, but it will get there.
STORE the mixture in a sterilised jar in a cool place (not the fridge) for up to 1 week. The spread will thicken on cooling.
*‘Dutched’ spells disaster
Look out for ‘potassium carbonate’ on your cocoa powder label − a food additive used to balance acidity in a technique called ‘dutching’ which can slash healthy antioxidants by up to 80%.