The Blog

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe. Dinner Party time, with tips!

photodune-6101731-abstract-chocolate-background-xs-1I’m off to a dinner party on Saturday night.

One of the best recommendations that I’ve had regarding how to manage being a Raw Vegan when at a dinner party with non Raw Vegans is to take one dish to share, in this instance, a dessert, and your own starter and main course.

The most important thing is to respect your hostess and not try and out do her by presenting something AMAZING that everyone wants to have instead! A dessert works as it gives people choice. It’s acceptable to try one or more dessert tasters, and, Raw Food desserts are so delicious that they are a great introduction to the art of producing delicious food without cooking!

This is a fabulous recipe, and works really well. It delights all who taste it!

Raw Vegan Chocolate ‘Cheese’cake Recipe
Makes one 8″ cake
Crust –
1 1/2 cups almonds
2/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla  essence
Zest of one organic orange , and juice, to bind.

Mix until it is ‘bindable’, and press into the base of a spring form tin to a thickness of about .75/1 cm. Use the back of a spoon to help. This is the base of the ‘cheesec’ake and should hold together when cut.
Filling
2 cups cashews
3 tbsps coconut sugar, or agave syrup to taste
2/3 – 3/4 cup water
2/3 cup cacao powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup melted coconut butter.

(NB. If you have a high speed blender with a heating facility, you can put in the unmelted coconut oil and butter and heat to under 40 degrees whilst blending)

Blend the cashews, maple, water, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender.
Add the coconut oil and butter. Blend to incorporate.
Add the cacao powder last and blend again.The mixture is thick.
Pour over the crust and set in the fridge for at least 12 hours or in the freezer for 6 hours and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.

Topping. Blend organic berries – blue berries/raspberries/strawberries, and add a tablespoon of chia seeds. The seeds act as a thickening agent. Leave for 30 minutes until spreadable, and add to cheesecake. This is good to do before serving as the berries can loose colour if left too long. Add fruit to garnish.

Sit back and enjoy watching your guests faces light up with amazement and delight!

November 22, 2013 0 Comments

Raw Food Recipe. Coleslaw with Pad Thai dressing. Winter raw food tips.

Ever a believer in using seasonal veg, what’s to hand, and, imagination, I had a white cabbage to use up on my last evening in the Czech Republic.

A friend had told me to look out for interesting chopping, slicing and other such Raw Food prep tools whilst in Eastern Europe as they have a lot of very useful gadgets that we don’t find in the UK. Needing no encouragement to browse kitchen wear, I spent many happy moments doing just that, and, came home with an electric mini chopper (which we do have in the UK, but they’ve never entered my consciousness before).

So, I hand grated the white cabbage into a bowl, added a couple of carrots, one large spring onion, and half a small white onion.

Into the bowl of the mini chopper I placed a generous handful of almonds and whizzed them to a fine powder, then added about a dessert spoon of olive oil. Then, I added about three tablespoonfuls of lemon juice, a tablespoon of soya sauce, a good piece of fresh ginger, about the size of half my thumb, a tablespoonful of honey, and, some hot chilli sauce! Not strictly raw, but, it was in the cupboard, and, it added a real zing to the finished dressing. A clove of garlic can be added too, if you like it.

I found that once I’d added the dressing, the contents of the bowl reduced by about 1/3. It really takes up the dressing well. Next time, I will use more veg and prepare it in a larger vessel. I will also experiment with using peanuts for a more authentic pad thai experience, and chop some up finely and add to the finished dish as a garnish.

This is a definite recipe to use frequently during the colder winter months, maybe with fresh chilli instead of chilli sauce, for a 100% raw experience which will keep you warm from the inside to the out.

Just as point of interest, some people ask me if I want something warm in my stomach in the cold winter months. I drink hot drinks (predominantly Chinese White Tea), can make soups in the high speed blender and warm them to 40 degrees, and, dehydrate flax crackers and other goodies in the oven. If I chew my food until it has virtually gone, it reaches body temperature very quickly! Chewing is so important, and, a practice in itself. I once went on a retreat where we counted how many times we had to chew our food for it to become liquid. 140 was to be aimed at! It’s a good game to play with children to encourage them to chew more thoroughly, and, for adults to be mindful of too!

 

November 20, 2013 0 Comments

Raw Falafels: Raw Food Recipe

Whilst perusing my nuts and seeds drawer this morning, and wondering what I fancied eating today, my eyes lit up on spotting a bag of organic sunflower seeds. Raw falafels, I thought. I fancy raw sunflower seed falafels. So, I set a cupful to soak (in filtered water, as always), and got on with my day.

Which was filled with lovely clients: one, who is doing brilliantly with incorporating more raw food into the diet and was delighted to observe that the scales were 9lbs lighter than the last weigh in. Well done! With another, the focus was on learning a pranayama (breathing) technique for lowering blood pressure, which is also very effective for stress management. Remedially, working with different people, giving them techniques to bring relief from pain, and balance into, the hips, and, the same for addressing acute shoulder/upper back pain. As well as teaching a physical practice for general well being.  I even got out for a walk by the river for a breath of fresh air, and to get the lymph moving!

By  the end of the day, I was ready to get creative with the sunflower seeds. And, the joys of raw food prep is that it takes such little time!

First, I rinsed the sunflower seeds thoroughly in filtered water (see previous post about phytic acid and soaking nuts and seeds), and left them to drain. I ground up some pepper corns and coriander seeds and placed them and the sunflower seeds in a food processor with some cumin and a bit of salt. (Intuitive recipe creation – adjust seasoning to personal taste!) And added juice of a whole lemon. I like lemon – you may not like such a strong lemony taste, so start with half, and add more later if required. Add about half a dessert spoon of tahini, and, a clove of garlic, if you like it. I used a small onion, (because there were some growing on my allotment when I took it over on Friday),  and, I don’t eat garlic! Then processed until well combined and beginning to bunch into a consistency which would hold together when formed into balls – the final step.

I made a dressing with juice of 1/4 of a lemon, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and the same quantity of olive oil as the lemon and vinegar. I then added a teaspoon of tahini and whizzed them all together with my favourite kitchen gadget, a hand blender. They are about £5 from supermarkets with electrical departments, so excellent value, and highly useful. There’s not many days when I don’t use it.

And made a salad with rocket, also harvested from the allotment, parsley, and sweet potato noodles, (created with the spiraliser mentioned in the kohlrabi post) – delish with the lemon tahini dressing and falafel balls…

So that’s me refuelled and relaxing after a a full and rewarding day. I thought about putting ‘raw warding’, but thought you might think I’d made a tpo 🙂

November 11, 2013 0 Comments
kohlrabi DSC_8925

What do you do if a nice young man offers you a Kohlrabi?! Raw vegan Recipe.

Yesterday, I met the nice young man who is working the allotment next to mine. We introduced ourselves and had a pleasant chat. At some point, he asked me if I liked Kohlrabi. Well, what to say? In theory, yes, but, I’d not eaten it since going raw, and wondered what on earth I would do with it if I wasn’t going to be cooking it. Realizing that this young man did not need to know the inner workings of my mind, but was simply waiting for a yes or a no, I told the truth and said ‘Yes, I like kohlrabi’, with mind racing as to what I was going to do with it when I took it  back to my kitchen. Ever convinced of the benefit of taking a risk, and batting outside of the box, I experimented with this interesting member of the cabbage family, and was quite stunned at the result! See below for the recipe.

kohlrabi

I decided to use my Spiraliser – here is a link to the type that I use – http://amzn.to/1de8jgR. I used the blade that shreds rather than creates spirals. A mandolin would be perfect too.

Oh, by the way. I washed the kohlrabi and took the stems off, and tried to slice it, but, the kohlrabi wasn’t having any of it.  Having battled with trying to shove it through the spiraliser with little success, I eventually  realized that it has a very woody skin, which was preventing it from going quietly in the manner that I had intended for it.

So, it had to be peeled, which was a shame, as I like to eat all of an organic vegetable if possible and practical.

So, once it was peeled, shredded and tamed, I added the most simplest of things. Lemon juice- of one whole lemon. Sprouted green lentils (umma umma – love these). Sprouted broccoli seeds (look like alfalfa sprouts, but taste more peppery). And, pear. It’s seasonal, and, I had some in the fruit bowl. I have a fabulous swede and pear recipe, so figured that adding pear could be a winner. And, then a little salt.

That simple, and, amazingly delicious!I mean, really, I was amazed at how tasty it was.

Wikipedia states that “It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal”. I’ll go with that. This recipe has to be tried to be believed. By the way, I do find that if people ask me what I am eating and I simply state the ingredients, it does not do justice to the amazing alchemy that happens when you use fresh, organic ingredients creatively. So, I find it best to decline to say, and just let people try. Unless it’s nuts: always good to check if people are allergic to anything before they try!

Anyway, if a nice young man offers you a kohlrabi, just say “yes’. I’ve already done the head work on this one. Take it, and, enjoy!

November 10, 2013 0 Comments

Raw vegan healthy sweet snack. Great winter warmer!

I approach recipe creation according to what is in season, what is in my store cupboards, and, almost most importantly, what my body is telling me it would like to eat. This can be a very different thing to what ‘I’ think I want – identifying the difference between want and need is a skill to be cultivated and cherished!

So this morning, I soaked some mixed nuts, to remove the phytic acid in them before use. The reason that this is important is: during the process of digestion, phytic acid binds to useful minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, chromium, calcium and manganese) which prevents the body breaking the nuts down and receiving the maximum benefit from them.

Nuts are an important part of a raw vegan diet as they are good sources of protein. Often, I will soak whichever nuts I feel like eating later, then invent recipes around the ingredients that I have.

So today,

I ground flax, chia and hemp seeds in a high speed blender

(Most of  my recipes are ‘intuitive’, i.e., I put in how much I fancy of each ingredient, so experiment to taste).

All ingredients are organic too.

In  a food processor I added the soaked nuts, with raisins and dried coconut and processed.

Then added the ground seeds. Processed some more.

Then got creative, and added : microplaned fresh ginger and orange peel – which made me think of the winter season, so got out the mixed spice and added some of that. Then, ground cardamom, vanilla essence, cacao powder, and, finally, orange juice, then pulsed it all together until it bound together enough that I could form it into balls.

This is a great healthy snack when you need energy. I’ve just packed some up to take with me to work on clearing my allotment so that I can enjoy fresh organic produce next year!

November 9, 2013 0 Comments