Last night the “Luck of the Irish” was in full effect and it was celebration time for anyone with Irish connections. The Irish Soccer team beat Italy 1-0 in the Euro 16 Tournament to advance to the round of 16. Even people who never ever watch soccer were glued to the set. The pubs, clubs, houses, even the churches erupted in excitement when Robbie Brady scored a goal. Hilarious tweets started flying including my favs:
Even though Hubby and I have a television set, it isn’t connected. We just aren’t TV watchers to be honest, and rather than waste money we don’t have a Skybox. We watch DVDs or connect my laptop computer and watch Netflix. But how to watch the Irish game? With Hubby being under the weather, as I mentioned yesterday, we couldn’t go to our local pub (especially when we couldn’t even guarantee they’d have it broadcasted). But luckily Snapchat friends were kindly posting updates and fantastic revelry. I felt like I was there!
It is times like this that I really miss Ireland. I know our stay here in London is temporary and I am doing my best to soak up all I can of this great city. I get back to Ireland fairly often, still have the Irish plates on the car, and my Irish mobile phone is with me all the time. But my soul longs for a chance to sing “Come on you boys in green” at the top of my lungs with my fellow country men and women! So what is my way to deal? Get into the kitchen and get baking! Cooking is great therapy folks. I threw together a recipe ad hoc with what I had on hand in my pantry. But mainly I wanted to use my fav Irish Flahavan’s Porridge Oats and the best sweetener in the world, the Highbank Organic Orchard Syrup. I visited the Highbank Farm for a Foodie Fieldtrip not long ago and using their syrup brought back lovely memories of my time there. Here is the link if you’d like to relive the visit as well! I did a very quick tutorial today on Snapchat (my username is: blissbakery) if you’d like to watch me make this “home away from home” Irish treat.
Since Hubby isn’t the best about eating breakfast during the week I am always trying to make healthy treats he can take on the boat for his morning commute. So hopefully he will enjoy these Applejacks. That’s what I decided to call them. They are Flapjacks and there are three grated apples in them, so I am sticking with the name Applejacks. Of course, most Americans would think I was talking about THE Apple Jacks, the sugar laden breakfast cereal. But I’m here to say, there’s a new kid in town. He is vegan, gluten free and sugar free. And he goes by the name of Applejacks!
3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp Nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter)
3 Tbsp Highbank Organic Orchard syrup
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 handfuls of regular pitted dates (85g)
1 ripe banana
3 apples (I used organic Gala apples)
Generous pinch of sea salt flakes
225g regular rolled oats (I used Flahavan’s Organic)
100g pecans, roughly broken
Handful of mixed seeds (I used a combo of chia, pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame)
Handful of dried currants
(1) Preheat oven to 170 Celsius / 325 Fahrenheit / 150 fan-assisted. Line an 8×12 baking tray with parchment paper
(2) Using a saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil with the Highbank Orchard Syrup for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter, vanilla and cinnamon and stir until very creamy.
(3) Grate the apples. I did not peel them first, just washed them, cored them and put them through the food processor with the grating attachment blade. Remove the grated apples and place in a bowl.
(4) No need to wash the food processor, just make sure there are no grated apples left inside and then switch to the blade attachment. Blitz the dates followed closely with banana until you they are a chunky puree.
(5) Now in a large bowl combine the oats with the warmed coconut oil mixture, the grated apples and the date/banana mix and salt.. Fold in the pecans, seeds and currents.
(6) Mix well and pop into your pre-lined tin.Press down firmly with your fingers.
(7) Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden, Remove the tray from the oven. Cool completely on a rack in the tin. Then remove from the tin, but further cool in the fridge before cutting into bars.
They turned out delicious if I do say so myself. And guess what? While the house was smelling amazing during the baking, a lovely package arrived in the post. A little pressie from IRELAND!!! OMG! Sharon Leavy of Behind Green Eyes blog (and one of my Sunday Spotlight Snap Sistas) sent me a care package. So generous, and it made me feel totally connected. Especially with her handpicked treasures like the “Luck of the Irish” leprechaun magnet (see pic on top of the page)! Sure I still miss our lovely home in Dublin, and our family and friends there, but with my Applejacks and my care package I’m feeling the Emerald Isle LOVE!
Go raibh maith agat agus grá agat,