In the wake of Coronavirus, as people panic buy food stuffs, paper products and cleaning supplies, (while onlookers exchange bemused glances) access to things we have always taken for granted has suddenly disappeared.
In the face of this crazed demand, food retailers are starting to reduce the range of products they sell and asking manufacturers to focus on the products consumers want. As a consequence, the shocking reality is that the choice and the variety of foods we can buy is diminishing.
Ironically, my local supermarket which usually has non-existent supplies of what might be considered more niche products, can all of a sudden supply me with dried porcini mushrooms, samphire and olive tapenade. Momentarily joyous, I was quickly sobered by the long list of items that couldn't be delivered.
Keen to find an upside or antidote to the scarcity we face, I'm looking at these strange times as an opportunity to inject some creativity into the kitchen. To use what ingredients are available to create food that continues to deliver variety to our table.
Meanwhile, I have to admit that having two unsupervised pubescent kids at home during the week has left me contemplating what I can prepare in the way of healthy snacks. A fan of quinoa, I was delighted to find it had been shunned on a spartan set of supermarket shelves last night, so I resolved to see how it could be used in the snack department.
What started out in a bid to make cookies, resulted in these triple chocolate truffles, adapted from a recipe on the simply quinoa website. They are rich and decadent; just one will satisfy and satiate a sweet craving. More importantly, they are (mostly) full of good stuff.
In truth, these no bake truffles are probably too rich for the kids, but with social distancing a reality, it'll be a while before I can serve them as a delicious after dinner treat.
I made a few changes to the simply quinoa recipe, which I've detailed here.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup green and blacks organic cocoa, or any cocoa powder
2 tbsp whole earth chocolate and hazelnut butter, or any nut butter
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup linwoods flaxseed, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts & co-enzyme Q10, or just use flaxseeds with some nuts blitzed in the food processor
1/4 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips, dried cranberries or any alternative that takes your fancy)
Line a tray with baking parchment.
Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions (I use three times the volume of water to quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes)
Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil with the agave in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the cocoa and mix thoroughly. Then add in the nut butter and stir well.
Add the quinoa to the chocolate mixture along with the flaxseeds and cacao nibs and stir to combine thoroughly.
Plop little balls onto your baking tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.