The evidence was scattered, to say the least!
Strips of the sturdy outer coverings, aggressively ripped from the possessors innocent and fragile selves, were carelessly thrown in all directions. Bodies, somewhat dismembered, lay strewn across the floor. A sloppy execution coupled with a hasty cleanup attempt provided detectives with a perplexing enigma to solve. The first in a series of repeat crimes that would continue to torment and befuddle the inhabitants of our 1990’s family homestead for months to follow.
Looking on the back of most boxes flooding the breakfast isle at our local supermarket, it can, at times, be hard to believe that their contents can even be defined as cereal…let alone as a healthy start to our children’s day. Choosing to eschew the sugar/preservative/colour-laden varieties of morning-start meal choices, our family has always opted for the Gut-up-and-Go alternative: hot multigrain porridge topped with psyllium, Go Ho Ho Granola and homemade yoghurt. Deliciously and gut-microbiologically energising!
Recently, when pandemic-crazed panic buyers began stripping our local whole foods store of all its grain staples, the family was forced to buck(wheat) up our sprouting skills and get busy in the kitchen so as to provide a refreshing new take on our morning fare. Months later, and whilst things have resumed a somewhat normal state of porridge consuming affairs, we do still indulge in a little Hot Choc-Pops consumption on a Friday morning, as a mouth-watering, pre-weekend treat.
With a few changes to a certain sugar-quitting-celebrity’s recipe for Cocoapops, one can create a delectable, day-starting meal for the whole family to enjoy.
It’s time to get Hot Choc-Popping!!
Choc-Pops (Hot Choc-Pops and Choc-Pops Smoothie)
2 cups buckwheat
¼ c coconut oil
¼ c honey
¼ c cacao powder
Pour the buckwheat into a 2 L capacity jar. Fill the jar ¾ full with cold water and leave the grain soak for atleast 8 hours (or overnight). Strain the grain through a sieve. Rinse the grain and the jar with cold water. Return the grain to the jar and leave sit for 12 hours with a muslin cloth over the top (hold the cloth in place using an elastic band). Continue to rinse the grain and jar every 12 hours for 2-3 days or until the grain has sprouted a shoot that is approximately 3-5 mm long.
In a small, heavy based saucepan, melt the coconut oil and honey together until a pouring consistency is reached. Meanwhile, pour the sprouted grain into a mixing bowl. Pour over the oil and honey syrup and thoroughly stir into the grain. Stir in the cacao powder.
Divide the mixture evenly onto two trays. Spread out the grain. Toast the grain in the oven at 150oC for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until the grain is slightly crunchy. Leave to cool and then place into clean, dry jars or bottles.
To make Hot Choc-Pops (for four people), pour 2 cups of the choc-pops into a saucepan. Add four cups of liquid (this can be a mix of water, milk, cashew/almond milk in whatever proportion one desires) and bring the mixture to boiling point. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Serve with roast buerre-bosc pears, yoghurt and a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
To make Choc-Pops Smoothies (for four people), pour ½ c choc-pops into a large jug. Add 2 cups milk, 1 c ice cream/yoghurt (or a combination of both) and 2 very ripe bananas (chopped). Puree’ all ingredients together till smooth. Pour into 4 jars and serve sprinkled with a little cacao powder. Bottoms up!
I can’t remember now whether is was the clatter of pots and pans thwacking the kitchen floor or the deafening thunk of the pantry shelf collapsing from its elevated position in the cupboard, that alerted the household to the unusual, early morning activity. What I do remember, however, is the guilty and somewhat forlorn look on the faces of Jimmy and Thommy – my two younger brothers – as they desperately clutched the 1996 Olympic Games trading cards that had been pilfered from the bottom of the now discombobulated Vita-a-Brix box.
Caught wheat handed, our cereal offender mystery had been solved! In an act of restorative parental justice, Jimmy and Thommy were allowed to keep their coveted treasures (so as to maintain some level of card-swapping respect on the playground). In return for the generous act of clemency, however, they were also put on a week-long diet of wholesome kitchen duties so as to ward off any future hunger pangs for more box-ripping, card-collecting antics.