“An é seo folláin?”/”Is this wholesome?” My 5-year-old requires absolute honesty when we go shopping together. He won’t buy anything unless it’s “folláin” (the Irish word for wholesome). As I call out items from the list and he wanders around the supermarket; he’ll pick up items, and check the wholesome factor. It wasn’t always like this. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been able to walk the gauntlet that is the biscuit aisle, or the chocolate aisle, without picking up biscuits and treats. Now products that don’t pass his test get put back and he meanders on, scrutinising the shelves.
If I don’t buy the sweet treats then we don’t eat them. I confess that I find this exceptionally difficult at about 8pm when I make my last cup of tea of the day and crave something to dunk. I feel like I should reward myself for making it to the end of the day with the same number of children that I started out with. Every now and again the 2-year-old asks for some chocolate but he’s easily distracted with a square of bread and jam. You see it’s not that we don’t eat sugar, we just don’t eat as much as we used to.
The stand mixer has recently been relegated from the kitchen and I’ve stopped baking cakes every week.
On Saturdays the 5-year-old goes to visit my Nana, his great-grandmother, and she has a little box of treats just for small visitors. He gets a sweet or two and comes back pure wired and often unruly. It’s like he’s a different child, and I’ve an appreciation for teachers managing a class of children who have eaten sweet things.
This low-sugar life requires a lot of willpower and I do like sweet flavours. Recently I picked up a jar of Stevia and have been using it in these sugar-free flapjacks. Actually I far prefer this recipe to the conventional one because I don’t need to heat any ingredients in a saucepan. It’s very easy to make in the one bowl before lashing into the oven. They’re very filling and make for a decent mid-morning snack or breakfast on the run. If you don’t want to use Stevia (as it can be expensive), you can replace it with Honey or Golden Syrup but the sugar content is higher and consequently the calorific value. You could also try omitting the sweetener altogether but I’ve found that this quantity acts as a binder.
If you’re on a dairy-free or gluten-free diet, check the packaging of the fruit and oats for any hidden allergens before baking.
Sugar-free Flapjacks (Makes 9 portions at 100 calories per slice)
- 50ml Sunflower Oil
- 4 tablespoons Stevia
- 50g mixed dried fruit
- 100g Oats
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 banana
Preheat a (fan) oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Take a square non-stick baking tray, measuring 15cm x 15 cm and put it to one side ready for the mixture.
In a large bowl, combine the sunflower oil and stevia. Next add in the dried fruit, oats and ground cinnamon. Stir until coated with the oil mixture.
Peel and mash the banana and stir the mashed banana into the flapjack mixture. Once combined, fill the baking tray with the mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before scoring out 9 slices (3 x 3). Leave in the tray and let the flapjacks go completely cold. Gently lift out the flapjacks and put them onto a wire baking rack (I used the grill tray). At this stage you can eat them right now; they’re soft and cooked through. However I return the flapjacks to a 180 degree fan oven again for a further 10 mintues to allow them to crisp up a little. It means they keep their shape better in a lunchbox and the second bake makes them a little more crunchy.
PS: I’ve not forgotten about the cookery book clear out. I’ll be back in touch with everybody who requested one very soon!