People who have been a source of inspiration to me on my food journey have always encouraged me to follow a ‘fit for life plan’.That is ,to adopt a healthy eating practice without having to fall prey to any one particular diet routine. By and large that thought process has allowed me to view an ingredient for what it truly is rather than follow extremes.
The one sustainable change that I have been able to achieve at home is to keep refined foods at bay for the most part. The only time I’m challenged by that is when one of the children in the family request cupcakes with frosting as I am yet to find a substitute for that icing sugar.
But yes, all other desserts have undergone a happy make-over with no alterations to the taste buds. Coconut blossom sugar , karupatti , forest honey, agave syrup are all natural sweeteners along with whole grain flours that keep my cake and cookie recipes going.
Recently I saw a vegan food post on instagram where this home cook blended bananas and avocado to make a chocolate mousse by adding natural cocoa. What impressed me the most was the texture of the mousse.It looked so creamy and spot on that I just had to give it a try.Another factor that motivated me was that I seem to somehow have fostered a breed of kids who will eat any fruit or vegetable except the banana.Go figure!
So with that in mind,’ operation vegan mousse’ was set in motion. The bananas needed a day to freeze before blending. An opportune trip to the mountains helped me get my supply of avocados. The whole time ,all I could think of was how I was going to outsmart these banana loathers. With no precise measurements to look at ,in went the frozen bananas and avocado into the blender.Within minutes I had a smooth puree’. After adding a few heaped spoonfuls of good ,dark cocoa,I was rewarded with a satiny smooth,chocolaty ,pudding like mixture. Fearful that the ingredients might get sniffed out, a dash of vanilla extract was added for aroma.
Having succeeded in my vegan dessert experiment,I thought why not take it one step further and make a base for this creamy chocolate filling. After quickly blitzing walnuts and oats into a crumb,it was mixed with a spoonful of virgin coconut oil, pressed to the bottom of a greased pie dish and baked for a few minutes until toasty and brown. Once it cooled,the cold cocoa blended mixture was dolloped in (with glee) and refrigerated for a few hours.
Soon it was taste time.The first slices were wolfed down and then suspicion set in after one look at my smug expression. “This isn’t your usual chocolate cheesecake is it ma? What’s in it then, BANANA ?” Thankfully they know me too well to push their luck and that proved a happy ending to my maiden vegan chocolate tart recipe foray.
The reason I felt this needed to be shared is that more often than not we think that healthy eating is about deprivation.It doesn’t have to be at all. Indian food for that matter is loaded with healthy ingredients that with a little effort can turn out to be something that’s special both in terms of flavour and presentation. Considering that we ‘eat with our eyes’ ,there’s no harm in indulging in pretty food every now and then.It’s undoubtedly one of the simplest ways to make people happy so why not ?!