My younger sister Emily, has just been on the first of two hen dos, the first taking place in Bangkok as she lives in Hong Kong. The second is later in the year when she’s back in the UK in July, which I’ve had the pleasure of organising along with the other bridesmaids.
By coincidence it was this time 4 years ago that I was on my hen do in London. It was the bank holiday weekend and the weather was just fabulous, much like this weekend in fact.
We started with a slightly more reserved ‘Not afternoon Tea’ at the Oxo Tower with breathtaking views over the River Thames. The sun was shining, beautiful views, fantastic food and drink and more importantly all my most significant ladies around one table; it was a great start to a very fun weekend. The Prosecco was endlessly topped up, we devoured stunning desserts and everyone was in a great mood.
With everyone a little tipsy by the end, we headed onto our hired apartment in South Kensington to put our party dresses on ready for an evening of dancing and singing at The Piano Bar on High Street Kensington (London’s best kept secret). It was an epic evening and the piano man, Michael Moore, did us proud with all the classics and put up with endless song requests from our table. I think towards the end of the evening he might have regretted to agree to come sing at my wedding day!
Over the weekend there were dance lessons (an attempt was made to master Beyonce’s ‘single ladies’ dance) manicures and pedicures, lunches, dinners as well as a spot of dancing and I think a bottle or two of apple sours to toast our Loughborough University days might have been drunk too. It really was one of those weekends you can’t help look back on with a big smile on your face.
Now I can’t spill the beans on what I have planned for Emily, but I hope she’ll look back on her UK hen do with just as big a smile. There will of course be giggles, bubbles and I’m sure some sweet treats, although more than likely with a little more sugar in them than these addictive chocolate bites.
These are packed with oats, buckwheat groats and an array of nuts, topped with almond nut butter and covered with bitter dark chocolate and a final sprinkling of goji berries and pistachios. You only need a small bite to satisfy that sweet tooth but you’re getting all those good fats and protein that ought to keep you going until the next mealtime. In fact they work out as a good snack pre or post a gym workout.
There is no baking involved, just a food processor doing most the work and a bit of elbow grease squishing it all into a tin before placing it in the freezer – couldn’t be easier really. It’s definitely a good treat to keep in the freezer when you fancy a pick me up treat without the bad stuff. Seb gave it the thumbs up too with a chocolate moustache displaying his approval.
They look pretty to look at too with the gorgeous green pistachios and bright red goji berries bursting with vibrant colour against the dark chocolate topping. In fact I’d say they are just about cute enough that you could serve these up if you were hosting an afternoon tea or hen do at your house as an alternative to all the cake on offer. And I wouldn’t be surprised if people asked you for the recipe to.
Best get back to scheming the hen do now… any good ideas you have please send my way.
Nutty-oat chocolate bites topped with pistachios and goji berries
(Makes 20 small bites)
For the base:
2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup buckwheat groats
½ cup pecans, almonds, pistachios (or nuts of your choice)
10 medjool dates (de-stoned)
5 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbs of heaped almond butter (or nut butter of your choice – a smooth one though)
For the nut butter layer:
3-4 tbsp almond nut butter
For the topping:
200g dark chocolate (70% or high cocoa content)
large handful of goji berries
large handful or roughly chopped pistachios
Place the oats, nuts and buckwheat groats in a food processor and blend to make a rough consistency – you still want some bite and crunch rather than a flour so it won’t take long.
Add half the oil and half the dates and blend again. Repeat with the remaining dates and oil. Add your nut butter and blend.
Spoon out your base into a lined baking tin (line the sides as well as the bottom to make removal easier at the end) about 20cm by 24cm in size and push down using the back of a spoon to make a flat even layer in your tin.
Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up.
Once your base is cool and hard, spoon on a thin layer of nut butter over the base. Place back in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden up.
Melt your chocolate in the microwave in a bowl – 30 seconds at a time and then give a stir until you have a smooth chocolate. If you prefer you can melt your chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water – just make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you’ll burn the chocolate.
Pour your chocolate over your nut butter layer to make an even layer and quickly sprinkle your topping on before it hardens so that it sticks to the chocolate.
Place back in the freezer to harden for another 15-20 minutes before cutting into squares.
You can keep the chocolate bites in an airtight container in the fridge (for a week to 10 days) or freezer (for up to a month). If you’ve stored them in the freezer, make sure you take out a square about 30 minutes before you’d like to eat one so that they soften a little.