Budgie Bars

In a year when the Easter chocolate-fest seemed to arrive in no time at all after Christmas, it might be time to take it easy in the cakes and biscuits department.

These nutritious and fibre-rich little bars are just the thing. A delicious cross between a kind of squidgy super-flapjack and something a sophisticated budgie might appreciate; they’re perfect for picnics, lunches or a welcome pick-me-up with a cup of tea.

Packed with oats, nuts, fruit and seeds: date puree takes the place of added fat or sugar.

Make 10 bars (or cut into 20 teeny squares)

  • 250g soft-eating dried dates, chopped
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 100g porridge oats
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 50g soft-eating dried apricots, chopped
  • 50g dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 30g chopped walnuts
  • 15g pumpkin seeds
  • 15g sunflower seeds
  • 10g golden linseeds plus
  • 2 teaspoons for sprinkling (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice

Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) gas mark 3 or equivalent

You will need a small rectangular baking dish, approximately 20 x13cm, greased and lined with greaseproof paper

Heat the dates with the water in a pan until just bubbling. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 3 minutes, stirring frequently until you have a rough puree.

Add the oats, salt and cinnamon to the date puree and stir to combine. Add the apricots, cranberries or raisins, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and 10g of linseeds.

Stir thoroughly to combine. Slacken the mixture slightly with the apple juice.

Press into the prepared dish and firm the top evenly with the back of a metal spoon. Scatter with linseeds.

Cover with greaseproof paper and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and bake for another 10 minutes or until dry on top and the sides are contracting slightly from the sides of the dish.

When completely cold, turn out onto a board and cut into bars. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.