When I was a student, way back in the eighties, I lived in Portsmouth and used to frequent a fab wholefood shop called "Time for Change".
They sold date slices and I loved them very, very much.
I was renting in a house just along the road and so did most of my shopping there.
It left me precious little drinking money but that didn't worry me at all as I can only manage a pint of beer or two glasses of wine before having to head home or risk falling asleep in a pub. Always been that way and suspect I always will!
As a student that meant I was heading home for a cuppa and cosy nights reading whilst others were out on the lash.
Then the next day I would go for a long walk on the beach with my friend Anne and have a date slice whilst attempting to read a German newspaper, all the time looking longingly at the NME and finally succumbing and reading all about The Smiths or The Fall or 10,000 Maniacs or Billy Bragg (oh, how I still love this guy!).
Ah, me, nostalgia indeed ...
Anyway, I AM leading somewhere with this and it's to the recipe for Date Slices.
It is from the first ever cookbook I bought (The Cranks Recipe Book) and I still use it more than any other. I always add less sugar then any recipe gives but have decided to include the original recipe here and let people make their own decisions about sugar. This is fairly low sugar anyway but obviously packs a spikey punch with all that dried fruit. Adding nuts to the base and topping would cushion that spike and I do that most times. Variations I have tried have included apricot and ginger using ground ginger in the crumble mix, date and walnut and fig and coarsely chopped almonds.
350g dates (or dried apricots or figs), chopped
grated rind of one lemon
225g wholemeal flour
100g porridge oats
75g raw brown sugar
150g butter, melted (coconut oil would work here too, I think. You need a fat that will set at room temp)
Makes 16 slices.
Put the dates, water and lemon rind in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is soft.
Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle half to a (27 x 18cm) shallow cake tin and press down WELL (very important this, or you will get a kind of granola effect, not a bar).
Cover with the date mixture and sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top. Press down firmly again.
bake in the oven at 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes.
Let cool in the tin and then cut into slices.
Turn on some indie music from the eighties (find an example here, here, here, oh, and here!) and apply a date slice to your face.
And, as a quick added moment of nostalgia, I had a boyfriend in my first year who would come to all the Indie Discos but would only dance to one song, and one song only, often alone if it happened to be played early. Then he'd go home!
Oh, my, I had forgotten that.