Aaron Brunet answers those tricky afternoon questions.
When mid-afternoon rolls around and I find myself hungry, I perform a little bit of mental food gymnastics (possibly an odd concept I agree). What it comes down to is asking myself how far away dinner is and what snack will do the trick to get me through, weighing up factors like how yummy, what level of naughtiness/healthiness and how satisfying it’s likely to be. These two recipes are a couple of my favourite answers.
The coconut cashew coffee smoothie is perfectly delicious and remarkably healthy. Sneaking in a bit of finely ground coffee adds great flavour and just a hint of a caffeine fix. On a bread baking day this one really adds joy to my afternoon. High yum, low naughty, satisfying and light.
When something a little more substantial is needed my thoughts turn to protein for the satisfaction it gives. I always used to look at tinned fish in the pantry as a rather drab option but it responds well to a bit of zhushing*. This one scores highly all round on my snack checklist. Ani loves this when she has a yoga class to teach in the early evening and needs something to get her through to dinner afterwards.
*Perhaps the trickiest question today is, is there a better way to spell zhush? It’s a handy word that means to add glamour/make something striking, but what’s the best plan when we don’t have an English letter for the ‘z’ version of ‘sh’.
Zhushed red salmon snack
Canned fish is way more fun when you add a tingle of ginger, some tang from lemon and the rich aroma of sesame oil. A crispy rye cracker underneath gives some good crunch and the cucumber and tomato on top add cool freshness.
210g can of fish (red salmon, pink salmon or tuna in brine)
1cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 rye crackers (or very thin slices of toast)
3cm piece cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
- Mix the fish, ginger, lemon juice and sesame oil in a bowl then add pepper. Taste and feel free to add extra lemon, salt or pepper depending on the fish and your preference.
- Spread a generous amount of fish mixture on a rye cracker then top with sliced cucumber and tomato.
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Coconut cashew coffee smoothie
This dairy-free afternoon yumminess is surprisingly rich, creamy and satisfying. You’re effectively making your own nut milk to order then adding banana. I’d like to put in a hearty vote for frozen banana here, it makes the smoothie way more special when it’s icy cold. Adding chia seeds amps up the omega-3 content and gives a silky texture.
¼ cup raw cashews
¼ cup desiccated coconut
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup water
1 banana, pre-frozen in pieces (or just a banana)
1 tsp finely ground coffee beans (optional but yum)
- Place cashews, coconut, chia seeds and water into a blender and run for about 30 seconds. Giving this stage a bit of time allows the water to soak in to the nuts and seeds nicely, making for a creamier end result.
- Add banana and coffee then blend again until completely smooth.