Mental Health & a Chocolate Banoffee Tart

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I have had a very busy week. In fact, I’ve had a very busy 2 weeks, possibly more, but I can’t quite remember. Everything’s a blur. Is it June already? The tropical storm-like weather says otherwise but I think it is. How did that happen?  So yeah, sorry I’ve been AWOL. It’s happening on a regular basis and I fear I’m neglecting you all, but I’m not. I promise with all of my heart.

I’m not that great at writing personal posts. I read other blogs and I thoroughly enjoy reading about people’s lives, and their views and opinions but there’s something that makes me inwardly cringe about writing about my own life. I don’t know why, I don’t do much except go to work and then come home from work and do some more work for work. Sometimes I see my other half and we do lovely things and try and make the most of our time together (he lives in the middle of absolute no where) and sometimes I don’t do anything because my mental health tells me I’m not allowed (and then it makes me feel guilty about it). I’m not afraid to write about my well-being, or not so well-being, but I wonder if that’s what people want to read. I don’t want my readers to go away and feel sad, or even pity, but when I read about other people’s journey I feel a connection. I see those people as brave and strong, so why do I assume people see me as weak and fragile?

Why is it so hard to say that we’re struggling? Or, ‘no, I’m not okay’? Does it make us any less human or does it make us more so? I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time, 5 years ago I fell, slowly but surely, very ill. It started off mentally, and I told myself every day that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough to go and follow my dream, I wasn’t good enough to travel and see the world, I didn’t deserve the friends and family I’ve got, and I didn’t deserve to eat because eating felt good and it was something I loved doing. Thus, it gradually became physical. I rapidly started losing weight, but I hid it so fantastically that no one knew for a long, long time. My view of food turned so ridiculous, but to stop people from finding out I forced my attention onto other people that was struggling. I could offer all of this sound advice but refused to follow any of it myself. Food became an obsession, I couldn’t think about anything else but the torture of not being able to eat any of it was tearing me apart. I’d walk for miles and miles to burn off the half a can of soup and a bagel thin a day and then I’d stand up all day at work. I’d pace the floors and refuse to sit down because sitting down meant I was lazy. How stupid is that?

Fast forward a few years and here I am. Physically I am healthy, I am no longer clinically underweight and I can’t count my ribs or caress my hip bones. My thighs touch, my backside is half the size of the moon and my stomach is podgy. After a couple of years of hard, hard work I am better. I eat properly, mostly healthy and sometimes not, and I don’t have a breakdown after everything I consume. It’s not brilliant, I still cry if I eat something I don’t feel good about and sometimes I still can’t find the will to get out of bed in the morning but the main thing is that I do and I get on with it. I have so much to live for, and so much love to give and so giving up isn’t an option. That isn’t to say that slipping up is a bad thing because slipping up is inevitable and we are human. Not everything is perfect all of the time. The moral of this story is that it’s okay to not feel okay. it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, and it’s okay to have a rest and take time for yourself. These are all things we need to remember, including myself.

This is why I’ve been absent (along with going to work, coming home from work and then doing work for work)! But I am alright, I’m still fighting and my brain will not stop me from eating cake and delicious food. I’m totally loving making dairy free desserts and puddings at the moment, I like the challenge. I also like that it doesn’t make me feel like a whale afterwards. They’re so naughty but oh-so nice.

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This one is made with a spelt flour crust, filled with a date and peanut butter caramel, sticky banana, a thick layer of rich chocolate and then topped with MORE banana and crunchy , sugary pecans.

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Need I say more?

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ORIGINAL RECIPE FROM GOLUBKA KITCHEN

MAKES 1 9-INCH TART

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, chilled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • tablespoons ice cold water

FOR THE FILLING

  • cups pitted dates, pre-soaked
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • tablespoon maple syrup
  • tablespoon coconut oil, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • bananas
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

FOR THE TOPPING

  • cup vegan chocolate (I used Hotel Chocolat’s 70% house blend)
  • sliced banana
  • pecans, dusted in coconut sugar
  1. For the crust, blend the flour and salt together. Chop the coconut oil into little pieces and add this to the mix. Pulse until sandy. Pour in the 4 tablespoons of water and blend again until it comes together. Press the crust into an oiled 9 inch tart tin and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the tart case with parchment paper and baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes and then leave to cool.
  3. To make the filling, blend the soft dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, oil, and cinnamon until smooth.
  4. Caramelise the bananas in an slightly oiled pan with the coconut sugar and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup. Add this to the date mixture and blend until combined.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C
  6. Spoon this into the tart case and smooth over. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and leave to cool completely before adding the chocolate.
  7. Melt the chocolate over simmering water, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour over the cooled tart and then top with sliced banana coins and pecan nuts.
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17 thoughts on “Mental Health & a Chocolate Banoffee Tart

  1. You are incredibly strong woman. That is clear to see. Never feel bad for making time for yourself! Gorgeous recipe, sounds delicious and nutritious! Yum! Xx

  2. Well done Jenn for being brave and opening up to your readers. Your story is not one of sadness but of inspiration – sharing how all those other girls and women out there going through what you have can (like you) come out stronger ❤️

  3. Jenn you continue to stand strong and tall and I am so proud of you babe.
    Sometimes a personal note like this is so needed (to us your followers) to remind us that even the people we admire so much are going through shit too.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, you beautiful woman you ❤

    PS
    If your ass is as big as the moon, mine is as big as the sun and you know what that mean…… the next eclipse is going to be the shiiiiiiiiiit!!

  4. Good on you for sharing the ‘real’ you. Know that you have plenty of cheer-leaders supporting you. You’re right, none of us are perfect and we all slip up. Be strong, cry, eat what you want and don’t give up on yourself. Meanwhile, this tart looks all the amazing! Love banana desserts.

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