When Seeg and I got together six and a half years ago, it opened up a whole new foodie world for me. For those of you who don't know, he's Dutch and we live in England, and so when we go to the Netherlands to visit his family, there's always lots of lovely new food available that you just can't get in the UK, from the world's best chocolate bar - Cote D'Or - to seasonal foods like, above all else, speculaas. His parents always send over a package of gifts and food around Christmas, and there are always speculaas biscuits inside.
Speculaas is similar to all spice, and it's making its way to the UK as 'speculoos', its Belgian sibling. These spices are found in speculaas biscuits - of course - and in delicious kruidnoten, pepernoten and all kinds of other things, and mostly around Christmas. Though, Christmas isn't as much of a thing in the Netherlands, instead they have Sinterklaas which falls on December 5th - which is why I'm posting this now.
In a bid to eat healthier this Christmas (to balance out the indulgence, not replace it), I've been trying to find ways of enjoying the typical tastes of Christmas in cleaner ways. This includes, of course, making my own mince pies and the like, but it also takes the form of simpler things like smoothies and fruit bars - like my super easy chestnut bites.
You can make your own speculaas spice mix, or buy it. In the UK, the only place I've found it is from the vanDotsch Speculaas Spice shop - and 25g of speculaas spice goes a very long way.
And before you wonder, no, this post is not sponsored! This is literally the only place I could find the spice so in a bid to make this recipe actually viable, I'm sharing that little detail.
Serves 1; 200 cals; 1 of your 5 a day
250ml almond milk (I used Blue Diamond)
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla essense)
2 tsp cacao powder (I used Aduna)
1/2 tsp speculaas spice mix (I used vanDotsch)
1 tsp agave syrup (or natural sweetener of your choice; I used Biona)
You could replace the almond milk with 150ml vanilla yogurt and 100ml milk, or replace the cacao and the almond milk with 1 scoop of chocolate natural protein powder like Muscle Candy mixed with 250ml water for a protein kick! I've used this post-workout, and it's amazing. You could also blend some speculaas biscuits straight into it. Who's judging?!