It hurts to write this. No, literally, it *really* hurts to write this, mostly because in a feat of macho stupidity, I walked more than 23 kilometers yesterday, and now even sitting at my computer hurts. My whole body is complaining about *everything* just now…
I’ve mentioned before that my workplace is doing the Global Corporate Walking Challenge, in which teams of seven wear pedometers for four months, obsessively record every step or other bit of activity, and log this into a website which informs us just how far we’ve walked (we spent all of last week in virtual Yellowstone National Park. The park itself is probably gorgeous and fascinating, but trust me, the virtual version is not an exciting place to spend a week).
This week, we have been challenged to walk 100,000 steps each over seven days, so we decided to give ourselves a head start yesterday by walking from Cheltenham station to the coast, and then along the coast all the way back to St Kilda. There’s a Coastal Art Trail that runs from Beaumaris Bay around to Eltham, with plaques and illustrated information boards showing the points at which local artists painted famous landscapes along the coast. We figured that Eltham was all very well, but St Kilda has cake *and* trams to take us home again, and it’s only a few more kilometers…
Of course, any long walk deserves suitable energy snacks (which take priority in my packing over a spare pair of shoes – possibly not my best ever decision). I decided to make not one but three kinds – a sort of rice bubble, sour cherry and almond butter slice of my own invention (OK, but nothing stunning), Amber Shea Crawley‘s lemon and coconut curd, formed into little balls of lemony evil (delicious, but they would *not* set), as well as her raw chocolate truffles, given a jaffa-ish tang with the addition of freeze-dried mandarins and tangerine oil.
But none of these were really enough, in my rather bizarre worldview in which five people seriously need four kinds of energy snacks for one day-long trek, so I had to make something else. Something that wasn’t chocolatey or citrussy. Then my eye fell on Amber Shea Crawley’s raw baklava slice recipe, and I was inspired! Amber’s baklava slice is a very classic set of baklava flavours, and I love the idea of brushing it with agave nectar to simulate the honey syrup, but I wanted something that would roll into a ball and wouldn’t be unduly sticky. Also, I’m a Sydney Road girl, and I have Opinions about baklava. My favourite kind is, I suspect, from the Turkish or Iranian end of the world, rather than the Greek, being full of cardamom and cinnamon, studded with cloves and drenched in a syrup infused with lemon juice, rosewater and honey.
Could this work in a raw truffle, without making it all too wet to stick together? As it happens, it really can, and I’m extremely pleased with the way these little baklava balls turned out – they really do taste like the baklava I make, minus the filo pastry. Healthy baklava! And I’m finding I don’t even miss the pastry that much.
(Oh God, I shouldn’t have written that down, because now I am possessed by a craving for the baklava they make down at Zaatar… which I DO NOT need, since my house is still full of truffle balls of various flavours…)
Your shopping list1 cup pistachios 1 cup almonds 1/2 cup walnuts 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp cardamom pinch of cloves juice from 1 lemon (around 60 ml) 2 tsp rosewater 30 ml honey (use agave nectar if you can’t eat honey – it has a very honey-like flavour) 9 – 14 mejdool dates, but you may want a couple more or fewer, depending on your mixture
Now what will you do with it?
Put the nuts and spices into a food processor, and process until everything is well crumbled – you want it finely chopped, but not turned into nut meal.
Add the lemon juice, rosewater, honey, and 8 of the dates, and process until things start clumping together. Add more dates, one or two at a time and processing between, until your mixture starts gathering into one or two big clumps and trying to climb out of the food processor (don’t worry, it can’t get you – that’s why you keep the lid on).
Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into small balls. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat them. Yum.
These are vegan and gluten-free and pretty low-GI, but not low fructose and definitely not nut-free, nor can they be made so – if you take out either the nuts or the dates you have either date paste or soggy nut meal. So don’t.
There are so many dozens of flavour variations you can try here that I don’t even know where to start. Check out my Sweetmeats page, Hannah’s Raw Treats page, Kari’s No Bake Treats, or Amber’s desserts either on her website or in book form for further inspiration.
Our Amazing Journey!
And here, because I feel like showing off, are some of the photos I took on our walk yesterday. It was really a fun day – five people from my walking group were able to come, and at lunchtime we were joined with a team-mate from last year, who is currently on maternity leave – she walked the last ten kilometers with us (pram and all), which was great.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One year ago: Recipe: Chocolate Crackles for Grownups Two years ago: Proof of concept?