Do you remember what you ate on your first date?

It all came back to me in a flash the other day. The first trigger was care of one of my new favourite podcasts ‘Burnt Toast‘ from the delightful women at Food52, as they unpacked the complexities of dating and dining. And the second was after I saw the recipe below.

I certainly do.  It was a sunny Sunday morning nearly twelve years ago now at Bondi Beach. I ordered banana bread and crumbled it into a little tower of crumbs with my thumbs and forefingers while I babbled on, dripping word after word, like a drain in a storm. I was terrified of the prospect of silence. It wasn’t until the large fellow on the opposite side of the table put his hand over mine and asked ‘are you going to eat that? Or just destroy it?’ that I realised what I was doing. He was perfectly comfortable with silence – and still remains that way. With that one gesture I also got a preview into two other important aspects of his personality; thrift and a remarkable ability to consume. It was admirable efficiency.

Meanwhile, his teeth were slowly being painted purple, as he inhaled his favourite breakfast.

He hadn’t got the memo about ordering things that were simple to eat. He just wanted what he wanted. And that morning he wanted a smooth blend of a Brazilian superberry, the colour of a cartoon dinosaur, made sweeter and thicker with frozen bananas, topped with berries and coconut.

Years later we laughed about my crumbs and his lurid teeth. And I’ve learned to appreciate the crazy purple stuff too.  It swiftly became my saviour while we were in Rio. During that trip I was nine weeks pregnant and at the inconveniently bilious stage. The smell of most things would make my stomach invert. Mainly meat and booze. Both of which were on high rotation in Brazil (if you want to know a special version of hell, take an early – pregnant woman as your date to a churrascaria). The only things that would placate it were cold, sweet and smooth. Bring on the Acai bowls.

Note the fake smile from me in this photo up at Sugarloaf in Rio. If memory serves, I was violently ill not long after. Morning sickness is such a treat.

 

Yet I’d largely forgotten them, until I saw them recreated on The Lazy Paleo. The Lazy Paleo is the very clever product of one of my oldest (and most stylish) friends. (Trust me when I say any laziness has much more to do with a busy life and her occasional weakness for cheese than any slovenliness). I’ve known her since we were three years old and went to kindergarten together. Even back then she produced things that were pristine. Her mother sent her to preschool photo day in beautiful smocked dresses. Mine sent me in a turquoise tracksuit with elasticated ankles. We then found each other again at high school and have followed each other’s adventures ever since. Emily was the one who introduced me to one of my favourite places in NSW; Bendooley Estate in Berrima, after I swooned over her wedding photos.  She now lives in New York with her ultra marathon running husband and has started documenting their healthy eating adventures on ‘The Lazy Paleo’.

So, this recipe is a gift from Emily. I recommend that you enjoy it with someone you’re equally as fond of.

Acai Smoothie Bowls with Berries

Acai smoothie bowl with fresh berries and passionfruit

First published on The Lazy Paleo

“It’s impossible for me to walk away from anything defined as an Amazonian Superfruit, so acai powder is now a permanent addition to my smoothie shopping list. This small purple berry has a hint of chocolately goodness to it, and it’s full of omega fatty acids, anti-oxidants, protein and fiber, which all help you stay full throughout the day. 

The acai bowl is not a mid-week breakfast for the perpetually late (*raises hand*), as they take a lot more effort than a regular smoothie. The base should be really nice and thick (much thicker than a regular smoothie) to ensure your toppings don’t sink to the bottom, and there’s no need to add honey or dates as the fruit on top delivers plenty of sweetness.

I’m a total sucker for coconut and nut flavors with fresh berries, and this was a real winner.

Ingredients:

Smoothie base

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons acai powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Up to 1/2 cup almond milk (and ice cubes if needed)

Toppings

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1 passion fruit
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut
  • Handful sunflower seeds
  • Handful pecans

Acai smoothie bowl with fresh berries and passionfruit

 

Instructions:

  1. Place the smoothie ingredients in a high speed blender, saving the almond milk for last.
  2. Add the almond milk in gradually so your smoothie is nice and thick. Add ice if needed and blend for at least 30 seconds (you may not need all the milk).
  3. Pour the smoothie out into a bowl.
  4. Arrange toppings as desired. Feel free to mix up your choices!
  5. Enjoy.