If I were to attach labels to the dessert described below, these are just some that would apply:
- No added sugar
- No added salt
- Low fat
- Low cholesterol
- No hydrogenated fats
- No trans-fats
- Low sodium
- High fibre
- High raw content
- Does not contain eggs
- Does not contain nuts, though processed in an environment where nuts are handled
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Suitable for vegans
I could go on – in fact guilt-free would be another good one to add – and I haven’t even told you what it is yet! I’ve applied a ton of descriptive labels without actually describing the “what” of the food.
Certain types of food labelling are clearly very useful if you have any kind of food allergy or other personal reasons for wanting or needing to avoid certain ingredients. Other labels amount to just so much marketing hype and are often deployed as a diversionary tactic, drawing your attention away from the less appealling additions to certain food products. By extension, other foods that lack those marketing labels can seem somehow guilt-edged. If it’s not low fat, then it must be full fat and, therefore, somehow bad, and so on. It would be nice if we could be less driven by labels and more focused on the real “what” of the food (which is just one of the many points made by Michael Pollan in his excellent book In Defence Of Food).
So, what was it I was actually describing up there…?
…actually just cocoa powder, with some mashed banana and tahini. That’s it. This no-added-sugar dessert (there I go with the labels again) was just one of many developed by our friend Yvonne and which came up in a food-filled conversation when she and David visited recently. The basic formula was just too simple not to at least give it a whirl (and if any of you out there should decide likewise, I’d be interested to hear what you make of it!).
Meanwhile, without further ado, here, finally, at last, is the dessert…
Yvonne’s Cocoa Banana Dessert
Yvonne didn’t give any exact quantities, so I just experimented with those myself. If nothing else, it makes eating a banana that little bit more interesting. Plus it certainly counts as one of the most guilt-free experiences that I have had involving something chocolate-based in a long time. Maybe ever.
Per person, you’ll need:
- 1 large ripe banana
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 0.5-1 tsp tahini
- Whiz the ingredients in a blender or liquidiser or just mash well by hand. Taste and adjust, you may well want to experiment with the amounts of cocoa and tahini. The cocoa will cut some of the sweetness of the banana (which should be well ripe and sweet to begin with) and you want enough tahini so that you add a creaminess to the texture without the dish tasting overtly of tahini (the tastes here are the cocoa and banana).
- Chill well or freeze for a while (I just put it in the freezer compartment for an hour or so).
- That’s it (well, apart from the eating bit)
- This is a simple and pleasant little thing as is, but could also be the jumping off point for any number of variations, depending on where your tastebuds and humour take you.
- I did think that a swirl of whipped cream through this would be good, but then you’d lose the guilt-free credentials (plus a couple of other labels) right there…
- You could have a few spoons of this in its frozen form along with some other complementary fresh fruit and feel just terribly virtuous altogether!