With work kicking off full steam this week, as well as the first meeting with my Masters group looming on Friday, I decided to whip up some energy bars to keep handy in the freezer or in the lunchbox. Sometimes when you get back from work all there is to do is grab the first item that crosses your dangerous path, and pre-preparing such emergency snackage is my way of combating bad eating habits (because a huge peanut butter sandwich is just as easy, but probably not so efficient in the long-run). Even after making these I still have tons of dried figs left (not complaining), but this was a way to use up my treasure chest of nuts and dried fruit effectively and yummily (which is absolutely a word).
There are so many wonderful and inspirational recipes out there for raw food, and I’m slowly working my way up to trying out “savoury” raw foods, but in the meanwhile there’s nothing wrong with the indulgence and punch of raw goods that happen to make your mouth sing with glee and wholesome gluttony. I was especially intrigued by Emily’s fig bars, and decided to make my own using the ingredients in the house, but with a little less nuts and in smaller bites.
There is something very wonderful about figs. It used to form the backbone of my surname back in the day, but even without emotional attachments only fools and fiends would denounce the deliciousness of this tasty natural treat. They also tend to be filling – after even one bar Man-thing commented with surprise that he was full, which I told him was kind of the point. :p Sometimes you get snacks that open your palate and demand you eat more, but this sorts one out as a mini-meal.
Ingredients (16 small bars or 8 big ones)
- 2 cups oat or nut flour (or buckwheat flour)
- 1 cup dried prunes, w. ithout pits
- 1/8 cup water, if needed
- 1.5 cups dried figs, soaked for a few hours with the stems chopped off (no-one wants to crunch on those)
- sprinkle of salt (optional)
- 1 TBSP cacao powder (for fun)
- 1 tsp maca, matcha or spirulina, depending on your tastes (I found maca, alas, despite good energy, does not do wonders for my skin)
- small handful of flaked almonds for sprinkling (do not blend!)
- 1/2 cup mango slices
- 1/4 lime, peeled
- 1 TBSP agave syrup
- 3 TBSP water
- Blend/process each layer individually, adjusting for taste. The fig layer is rather sweet, which is why the topping includes some lime to zest up the bar.
- When sprinkling the almond flakes press them down with the back of a spoon so they don’t fly everywhere.
- Blend the mango topping til it is somewhat fluid so that you can spoon it in streaks across the top, or else just blob it on where it pleases the eye.
- You can easily modify the bars by adding carob nibs into the base, pouring dark chocolate on top, or by sprinkling goji berries or something equally fun.
The best part of this bar is the colour, admittedly. The mango (which is in season it seems, if the stock in the supermarket is anything to go by) is a wonderous, mythical entity which I always associated with visiting South Africa when I was a young bugger posted overseas. I need to be more versatile with it while it’s still fresh – chutneys, salads, folded into savoury dishes…mmmm!
Anyway, we had a bit of a moral conundrum yesterday. Let me introduce the villain in this tale:
That’s right. Gatsby (who, by the way, is not happy with the reflector in his spot). Admittedly, his animal instincts are simply contrary to mine, so I can’t actually make him out to be some evil monster, but he does present difficult situations. As we were clacking away on the computers yesterday I heard the most awful screeching sound from downstairs – his majesty had caught a baby bird and was playing with it. I joined in on the screeching and wailed for Man-thing to come sort it out, because I’m used to cleaning up dead animals or Gatsby’s leftovers, but never live creatures. Either way, it was the fluffiest, cutest little puff and we put it in a shoebox for Man-thing to whisk away to the vet while I waited for my parents to arrive and inspect the garden. For some dodgy reason, there was no animal hospital open (out of three he drove to!), so Man-thing returned and we had a long, morally-wrought conversation about what to do. Two people suggested (or told tales of) feeding the bird back to Gatsby to finish the job, but there was no way we could do that.
We got a straw out and tried to give it water, but then it hopped out of our box (after playing near-dead for a while (you could see its heart beating rapidly though, poor thing!)) and we had to chase it around the house. Man-thing got an earth worm out of the garden (circle of life sort of thing) but it didn’t even know what to do with that, or rather it opened its mouth once or twice, but we weren’t fast enough to plonk it down its throat (though I wasn’t too happy about it anyway). Eventually we took it to a spot in the communal garden with rich soil and between rocks and trees so that it could go its own way, since we weren’t being very successful in out attempts to feed or water it. We hope that because it was being chirpy and bouncing around that it will survive, but so it goes. We also thought that maybe its parents could call out, because we didn’t know which tree or area Gastby had nabbed him from. Situations like this always make me sad because there’s only so much one can do unless you have a modicum of training, experience, or don’t have a phobia for touching animals that were nearly eaten alive. 😦 So, as much as I’d love to end my story on a note of triumph, it is rather one of uncertainty. I guess other people may have had a very different response or reaction, but sometimes it’s difficult to judge what an ethical response is when you’re on the bad side of clueless. Where possible I try not to get involved with wild animals because I don’t believe in making pets of creatures that can survive by themselves. On the other hand baby creatures are murky territory, but anything that can bounce with bravado should be able to make a plan. Fingers crossed!