I’ve decided to start a weekly post dedicated entirely to my female foodie infatuations. And why not? No offense to the lads, but the food industry is dominated by them. It’s time the ladies get the spotlight. And though my little blog may only be a tiny flashlight sized spotlight, nevertheless, I will highlight one of my heroines each week. Plus, I will attempt to recreate one of their tantalizing treats!
And my first installment is none other than Sara Jane White. I love her wit, her quirkiness and of course her amazing food. While I toe the line in my own kitchen between the naughty and nice recipes, she is a straight up self described “Health Geek” and rightly so. No sugar, no dairy, no wheat etc. etc. She suffered for years with food related allergies and through sheer determination and steadfastness came out the other side.
She has just published her second cookery book called The Virtuous Tart. Whilst I don’t own either, I have purchased both for a friend for her birthday. In fact my friend’s birthday was just last week. It coincided with the timing of Susan Jane’s second book launch. Since last birthday I gave my friend her first book, Extra Virgin Kitchen, I thought this would make the perfect book end, getting the new book as this year’s gift. But since I live in London now, I couldn’t just pick it up at the Blackrock Organic Market in Dublin (where I got her book last year) and take it to her personally. I tried ordering it through Amazon but they said it would take well over a week!
So I sent Susan Jane an instagram message asking if she had any suggestions, and she replied almost immediately! Through her tips I was able to get my friend her birthday book! And Susan Jane endeared herself to me because now a days, so many people with blogs, books, twitter, snapchats, etc are either too busy or have no interest interacting with their followers. This is why, besides her inspiring journey to good health and her beautifully creative food, I chose her as my first Wednesday Woman Crush. Her accessibility and caring is so rare these days, but it is so very much appreciated.
I did a demo of her Healthy Breakfast Bars recipe on snapchat today (user name blissbakery). I even wore glasses, but didn’t look quite as cool! And I made a few tweaks to her recipe. But judging from her own video on Food Tube, it seemed like my kinda recipe because it is adaptable to a person’s own tastes. For example, she said you could add orange zest or ginger (which I didn’t, but I did add coconut chips since I am currently coconut crazy). She uses walnuts in her recipe, because not only do they look like a brain, they are good for your brain! But since I didn’t have any in the house, I used a mixed variety of nuts (pecans, cashews, and pistachios). And she uses sunflower seeds, whereas I used, again, a variety of seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flaxseed). The only other thing I did differently was I replaced a a variety of dried fruits to the “two handfuls of pitted dates” since I only had one and a half handfuls of dates! She kept a watchful eye on my process and ingredients! LOL!
I love the informative aspect of her videos, in fact she reminds me of a female version of Alton Brown. But way prettier and with an Irish accent! You don’t just learn how to cook something from her videos and books, but you get some kernels of nutritional wisdom too! And on her blog, her photos are so rich you feel like you could lick the computer screen. Oh and I know this sounds totally random, but I love her font!
Finally, she wrote the most hilarious description of why she loves Ireland, and as we know, my blood runs green like the Hill of Tara. So I had to check it out. But it was so not what I expected (which is the greatest thing about her, the total surprise element). It was so incredibly cheeky! Here’s the link to check it out for yourself. I didn’t mind the irreverence, in fact, since she has the most elegantly enormous dimples on her face, I think the more cheek the better!
I hope you take time to crush on her a little bit too! And if anything, she will teach you, as she has me, that healthy food can also be hilariously fun!
While she watches the bars chill before they can be cut, here is her cool recipe:
Megawatt Breakfast Bars
125 ml melted extra virgin coconut oil
125 ml good quality honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
2 handfuls of regular pitted dates (100g)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg, a pinch
Generous pinch of sea salt flakes
200g (7 oz) regular rolled oats and not jumbo oats (certified gluten-free for coeliacs)
100g (3.5 oz)walnuts, roughly broken
100g (3.5 oz) ground almonds
Handful of sunflower seeds
(1) Fire up your oven to 170 Celsius / 325 Fahrenheit / 150 fan-assisted. A regular 180 oven is too hot guys, and will result in crumblie bars. We use a tin no bigger than a magazine page (around 8×10 or an 8×12 at a stretch).
(2) Using a saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil with your honey for 2 minutes.
(3) Chop the dates and add them to the party, followed closely with the mashed banana.
(4) Add any spices you fancy using – orange rind and cinnamon? Lemon zest and ground ginger? We’re using nutmeg and sea salt flakes today. The Boss.
(5) Once these ingredients are thoroughly socialised and gorgeously glossy, add your remaining ingredients. Mix well, and scrape into your pre-lined tin.
(6) Press down firmly with your fingers. Admire your brilliance.
(7) Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden, but not darker in shade. Oats will turn bitter if you leave them to brown. Remove the tray from the oven. Resist cutting until they have cooled down. I like to let them firm up in the fridge for a few hours.
Ah, let’s just say that I’m drooling right now. They turned out divine! Thanks Susan Jane. I know my photo doesn’t do your recipe justice, but they are pretty darn delish! And I don’t miss the baddies…like you say, you take the hell out of healthy. You’ve taken an ordinary flapjacks recipe, which are laden with butter and golden syrup, and made them heavenly! Good for you and tasty too! That’s why you ARE my Woman Crush Wednesday! xo
Love Your Sweet Self Ms. SJW,
ps. My pretty Pit Stella wanted to get into the action too…