Monday 30 June 2014

THE best chocolate truffles ever - and, guess what, they're good for you!

Well, I wasn’t going to write about food today but then I popped on Facebook and saw that Amy Levin had posted up the recipe for the absolutely beyond awesome truffles that she made on The Deep Pause and so I thought, right…let’s talk about food.

Now, you know me…I went from punishing myself with food (eating myself nearly to death) to punishing myself without food (nearly passing out doing 80mph on the outside lane of the M5 cos I’d been fasting for over a week – no, not that intermittent nonsense; full-off eating nada fasting) to just not really bothering about food at all. 

Nourishment.  That’s what I’d forgotten.  I’d been eating to live.  Cooking as a chore, eating as a bore.  And, yes, I was feeling dried up, desiccated, like coconut that’s been left in the jar and forgotten at the back of the cupboard for years; dried up like old raisins and sultanas turned chewy and mank. 

Amy’s food at The Deep Pause was juicy…it had a touch of decadence, of abundance, of generosity, of power.  Now, don’t get the wrong idea – it was also mega-healthy, the kind of food that makes your cells sing; the kind of food that is just so full of life and passion that it makes you want to do mad things like Crossfit (well, for about four seconds).  No gluten; no sugar; no meat – just total deliciousness. 

When I arrived the table was a cornucopia, piled with fruit, home-made biscuits and energy bars, two types of roasted almonds – one spicy and punchy; the other lazy and sweet (but with a tangy kick).  Oh. My. God.  Could I ever eat enough of those bastard almonds?  And bonbons, bloody bonbons.  And truffles.  But healthy bloody truffles and bonbons for bonbons’ sake!  They tasted like the thickest darkest pure chocolate but were made of …  
‘Go on,’ said Amy, ‘Guess!’  
We tried…thought of everything but… 
‘Nah, you won’t get it,’ she said in triumph.  ‘Black beans!’  Who’da thought?  And she poured out glasses of something that looked like a witch’s potion – dark berry-red and dangerous.  Hibiscus, rose and schizandra infusion, mixed with sparkling spring water and sweetened with a few nectarish drops of vanilla-flavoured stevia.  We sipped, then we slurped and kept passing the jug. 
‘It’s a heart opener,’ she said.  Did it work?  Yeah, it did. 

Amy is a kitchen superhero – part ninja, part alchemist.  Every tenth word is ‘fuck’ but the way she says it makes it sound just plain sweet.  And she sings as she cooks – James Taylor mainly, in the kind of voice that pierces through all bullshit and takes you to the heart/art of sound.  And I’ve always been a bit sniffy about James Taylor but, you know what, I’m mellowing.

Anyhow, enough already.  I ate.  I ate more and more as each day went by.  It was food made with love and mindfulness and every mouthful tasted like bliss.  And, no, I didn’t put on weight, not an ounce.  I just put on a dose of juiciness and came home determined to be a bit more nourishing to myself – on all levels.

If you live in or around London, check out her raw chocolate workshops and wotnot.

If you don’t, check out her website and blog which is jam-packed with recipes and insights and general Amy-ness. 

What?  You want the recipe?  Of course you do.  I'll share this one (thanks, Amy!) but you'll have to go over to the website to catch the rest.

Top Secret Chocolate Truffles


1 tin of black beans
50g xylitol or coconut sugar
1 dropper full sweetleaf stevia
1/2 cup or 50g coconut oil, melted or same amount of cacao butter, melted
50g-70g cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp extract


  • Open the black beans and pour the contents into a small pan and warm them through
  • Sieve the liquid from the beans and transfer the food processor or high speed blender
  • Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. If you have a low quality food processor, then you will have a slightly inconsistent texture, but it’ll still be epic
  • Taste the mix and see if you want to add more cacao powder (or cocoa powder) or sweetener… everyone is different so you may want them darker or sweeter than me
  • Transfer to a bowl and pop in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes or so
  • Once set, roll into balls in the palm of your hand (if the mix is rather firm, it’ll loosen when you begin to roll them)and then into a small bowl of cacao or cocoa powder to coat
  • Pop back in the fridge to set and that’s all!
Note:  Xylitol sounds like a chemical shitstorm but, truly, it isn't.  It's a natural sweetener that is actually a fine anti-fungal too (so ideal if you're trying to cut out sugar because of candida problems).  Stevia is also okay, providing you get the sweetleaf variety (think health food shops, rather than supermarkets).

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