Time for a treat?

Who says eating healthily means never being able to enjoy the occasional treat?

Certainly not Alison Harris, last Sunday’s guest on Girls Around Town – and June is with her all the way on that too…

Everybody needs a bit of a treat once in a while and if it’s a guilt-free one, then so much the better.

Next time you’re tempted to reach for a chocolate bar or a cake, give Alison’s protein balls a try – quick and easy to make, you can even pop them in the freezer which means they’re always to hand when you want to spoil yourself a little!

Alison's Protein Balls

  • Servings: Makes 18
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 100gms ground almonds
  • Approx 75gms raisins
  • 2 tbsps peanut buttter
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • Handful of berries, grapes or orange segments

Directions

  1. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor, making sure the mixture is wet enough to stick together – you can add a little extra peanut or coconut oil if you wish.
  2. Shape into bite-sized balls and roll in dessicated coconut.
  3. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze them if you want to.

A love affair with chocolate

chocolate squares

If you were listening to the show earlier today, you’ll have heard guest Gilly Walker and the Girls Around Town sharing a Chocolate Moment with a difference…

In case you missed it – or if you’d like to enjoy it again – here’s Gilly’s sonnet; for a reminder of the story behind it, visit Gilly’s website here

Chocolate – a love story

We’ve had a life-long love affair, we two.

Though times I’ve tried to leave you and be free

It never lasts and I return to you –

I can never have enough of you, you see.

You’ve been my solace in a hostile world,

You’ve been my sweetness, oh, and my delight.

You’re there for me, your wrapper comes unfurled

At any time of day, or even night.

But I must give you up, I know I must,

Though it leaves a space that I can never fill.

I think of you and I am filled with lust

And seeing your rich brown body’s quite a thrill.

But here’s the thing: I’m getting rather fat, and clothing-wise things are a little tight.

I’ll give you up, I swear I will, I must.  But even so, not without a fight.

Something wicked this way comes

chocolate squares

If you were listening to the show this morning, you’ll already know that June’s been channelling her inner Mary Berry again – and that Sue was only too happy to step up to the plate and judge the results…

Next time you fancy having a Chocolate Moment of your own, why not try this recipe from the Queen of Baking herself (that’s Mary, of course, not June)?

Crunchy on the top and squidgy in the middle, even without the ganache sauce these little Chocolate Squares are definitely wicked. But be warned – they’re decidedly more-ish, stopping at just one is simply not an option!

Mary Berry's Wicked Chocolate Squares With Ganache Sauce

  • Servings: Makes 30 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the squares

  • 300g butter, cubed
  • 300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour

For the ganache sauce

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200ml pouring double cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas mark 5. Grease and line a traybake tin or small roasting tin about 30cm x 23cm with foil or parchment paper.
  2. To make the squares, measure measure the butter and chocolate into a bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and melt together gently until smooth then set aside.
  3. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until blended. Pour in the melted butter and chocolate mixture and stir till smooth. Sieve in the flour and mix well.
  4. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a light crust has formed on the top and the middle is set.
  5. Meanwhile, make the ganache sauce – measure the chocolate and cream into a bowl, place it over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted.
  6. Cut the cake into squares and pour the sauce over to serve.

The squares can be made a day ahead and the sauce up to two days ahead. Both freeze well cooked for up to three months.