Aaron Brunet’s night-time sweets taste much naughtier than they are.
Last week I tackled the question of the afternoon hungries. This week I’d like to share a couple of really healthy after-dinner treats. Maybe in an ideal world I’d resist my sweet tooth, but on the other hand it feels much kinder and more idyllic if I can have a treat without treating myself badly. I guess my philosophy tends towards the "have your cake and eat it" variety.
More and more people I talk to make "banana ice cream" (frozen bananas whizzed up smooth in a food processor). My new favourite variation is to head in a mango lassi direction with it. Adding some frozen mango, a bit of natural yoghurt and cardamom seeds gives the banana a sweet, tangy and fragrant boost. I have often been known to dash off to the kitchen and come back barely 5 minutes later with a few bowls of this to share, it’s that quick and easy if you have the makings prepped in the freezer.
A bit nearer to bedtime is when Ani loves a sweet, soothing drink. I used to make really luscious and wicked concoctions for us both, but she prefers a lot less sugar and dairy now. As much as I’d like to claim all the credit for this "Bedtime Special" drink, it’s truer to say that she has taken my inspiration and given it a clever, modern makeover. The result is a sweet and rich milky treat with angelic ingredients, perfect for suppertime satisfaction. And a great example of teamwork. Sweet dreams!
Lassi ice cream
I like to keep a stash of frozen banana and mango waiting in the freezer so I can make this quickly and easily. An easy way to prep the mango is to slice the cheeks of, then just use a spoon to scoop the lesh into a container. You can use canned mango too, just drain the juice of before you freeze it (keep the juice for smoothies). One more tip: add a spoon of lime marmalade if you need a little more tangy sweetness. Yoghurt and fruit are all a little different and this is an easy way to adjust the taste to suit.
2 bananas, frozen in pieces
1 mango, frozen in pieces
½ cup natural low-fat yoghurt
¼ tsp cardamom seeds, finely ground
- Put all ingredients into a food processor,and ideally wait a couple of minutes for the banana to soften slightly. By the way, a blender won’t work for this dish, you need strong blades and the ability to handle drier ingredients in order to get the right result.
- Run the machine briefly to start chopping everything up.
- When the blades start to spin without having any effect, stop the motor, lift the lid and use a spatula to press the fruit back down. The trick here is to be patient and keep pressing the fruit back down until the blades can get it mixing on their own. Before too long you’ll have a mixture with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream and it’s ready to serve.
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What I love about this drink is the way the Caro adds depth and richness to the spicy chai flavours. Our favourite chai-style tea is called "Bengal Spice", by Celestial Seasonings. The other tip to make this drink your own is to try a mix of different nut milks — soy milk tends to be rich, almond is lighter and usually sweeter, oat milk is very light. Ani likes to combine them to suit her taste.
1 tea bag of spicy chai-style herb tea
¾ cup boiling water
3 tsp Caro cereal beverage (Ecco or Inka are alternatives)
1 tsp stevia-based sweetener
1½ cups soy milk (or milk of choice)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Sprinkle of fresh nutmeg
- Place tea bag and boiling water into a small saucepan. Allow to steep for at least 3 minutes to get the flavour out.
- Add Caro and stevia and stir to dissolve.
- Add soy milk and vanilla essence then heat (hot but not scalding).
- Pour into cups and sprinkle with nutmeg to serve.