Beef, Black Bean and Apricot Stew & Coconutty Cacao Power Balls.

This recipe comes from Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Get the Glow’ cook book which I really love. This stew has become a firm favourite of mine. It’s so easy to make, tastes delicious and the fact I can just throw it all in the pan and leave it simmer makes it taste just that bit better! I have doubled Madeleines recipe here and added in black beans rather than extra beef. If you haven’t cooked with them before they are roughly the same size as haricot beans, yummy and nutrient dense. When my sister and I cook, we try and add them into a lot of our family meals as they are good for the digestive tract, benefitting not only the upper intestine, but lower too, so great for Kate who has Ulcerative Colitis. They are high in fibre and protein, a 340g serving provides 60% of our recommended protein intake and 30% of our fibre intake. Packed with folic acid, magnesium, potassium and iron they are also great if you are pregnant (Laura, Sarah!) The kids can be funny about anything new, so I was dubious if they were going to eat them. After we said that they were black baked beans, they seemed to accept them and ask no further questions. Result! Reuben, being the dustbin that he is, demolished the whole lot. This is great to have stashed in the freezer. I usually serve it with sweet potato mash and some sort of greens. You could serve it with cauli rice, normal potato mash or anything that takes your fancy really. I hope you love it as much as I do!



Beef, Apricot and Black Bean Stew.

*Enough for 8 adult portions. Suitable for freezing, will keep in the fridge for 3 days. Suitable for babies from 7 months. *

You will need:

500g stewing beef (best quality you can afford)

1 tin/carton black beans

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 red peppers, roughly chopped

2x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp paprika

4 tbsp coconut oil or butter

200g dried apricots (un-sulphured organic)

6tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper


All you need to do is:

  1. Melt the butter/oil in a heavy based pan. Throw in the onions, peppers, beans, beef, apricots and spices. Give it all a good stir.
  2. Add in the tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir well. Put the lid on and you can either place in the oven on 150°c (fan) and leave for 2-3 hours or leave to simmer on the hob for 2 hours on the lowest heat. If you have a slow cooker, pop it all in there and leave on low all day.


So far Reuben hasn’t tried any chocolate, biscuits, or cake with sugar in. I don’t really want him to become accustomed to the taste and then always crave sugary things. He doesn’t know what a treat is and he’s happy as Larry with a banana, so I’m happy with that! Some of you may think that’s a bit extreme, but each to our own! For as long as possible I want to keep the white stuff at bay because when he starts hitting birthday parties, it will be impossible. I do think eating cake, jelly and ice cream and party rings is a child’s rite of passage! I think when it comes to our children’s diet it’s all about being realistic.

I wanted to make a chocolatey treat for everyone, that would be delicious but healthy at the same time. I have seen lots of recipes for power balls, protein balls etc. so I decided to make my own. These are so easy to make, they were ready to eat within 15 mins and got a thumbs up from everyone (bar Kate). Dried apricots are full of iron, cacao powder is an antioxidant, high in fibre, protein and helps fight fatigue. Chia, as I spoke about in my previous post is such a powerhouse of a tiny seed and then nut butter or seed butter, again, is full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Here it is:


Coconutty Cacao Power Balls

*Makes 18 balls, will keep in an airtight container for 2 days*


You will need:

6 dried apricots (un-sulphured organic)

6 medjool dates (ensure seed removed)

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup desiccated coconut

½ cup melted coconut oil (roughly 2 heaped dessert spoons)

3 tbsp almond butter (if like me you can’t eat nuts, you can use sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or coconut butter. I used almond butter as it was in the cupboard and I was making a batch for my Auntie who needs high protein and loves nuts!) I used Meridian as there’s no added rubbish in their products.

1/3 cup cacao powder (you can use sugar free cocoa powder if you wanted, but raw cacao is much better for you and tastes the same)

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 small banana or half a large.


FYI if you don’t have cup measures. For dry ingredients: ½ cup = roughly 70g. 1/3 cup = roughly 46g


All you need to do is:

  1. Place all the measured ingredients into your food chopper and blitz until it has all bound together and looks like chocolate dough.
  2. Make the mixture into 18 balls and then roll in some desiccated coconut to finish them off.


I hope you’ve all had a fab weekend, back to the grind tomorrow 😦

Jules X


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