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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

almond chia anytime parfait!

It's a common misconception that raw desserts take foooorreeeevvveeerrr and a day to create - all that overnight soaking, freezing, dehydrating and so on.

WRONG.

You can have this particular guy up and running within the hour if you so desire. Overnight soaking is optional, if that'll make it feel more legit.

This creation was dreamt up for snacky treat whilst picnic-ing with my dear friend Monique (my absolute favourite purveyor of vintage goods). We'd been bitterly disappointed earlier that day by the overly sweet 'juices' we'd accidentally purchased (kinda sorta failed to notice that soda was an ingredient within!) so these healthy parfaits, sweetened by nature's candy were much appreciated. The rather nice boost in omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein as well as the multitude of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants wasn't too shabby either.

These would also make a wonderful breakfast or dessert, and could probably stand to sit quietly in the fridge for a day or two until you are ready for them. Parfaits are also incredibly portable, simply make them up in a jar, screw on the lid and away you go to wherever your life takes you. Sure, it wont look so pretty at the other end of your journey, but they'll still taste divine.

Like most of my recipes, you can choose to include/exclude whatever you damn well please - cashews in place of almonds, strawberries instead of raspberries, peaches rather than mangos. Add some cacao to make it a chocolate pud, or some fresh ginger root to give it a kick. Go utterly wild.

Almond Chia Anytime Parfait



serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup almonds
4-5 dates
1 cup filtered water
1/4 cup coconut water
the flesh of one young coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1 cup raspberries (fresh or defrosted frozen)
1 large, ripe mango

How you do this:

Firstly, soak your chia seeds, almonds and dates in the cup of water. Leave for approximately 0.5-1 hour.

Chuck the mess into a decent blender and the coconut flesh, coconut water, vanilla extract and maple syrup/agave. Blend on high speed for approximately two minutes. This is your pudding!

Choose 2-3 fancy glasses or jars and begin to layer berries, pudding, mango, pudding, etc until you run out. If you have some on hand, you could also add muesli or chopped nuts or cacao nibs!

Eat immediately or refrigerate for later snacking!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Raw Chocolate Chilli Torte

So just in case you were all thinking I exist on a purely smoothie-fied diet, I'm about to prove you wrong. In fact, I exist on a diet of smoothies and cake!

If only.

I'm definitely of the belief that we should be allowed to indulge once in a while; whilst I'm a sucker for big, fresh salads and superfood-packed smoothies, I go weak at the knees at the very scent of hot chips, and I have extremely fond feelings for those cupcakes which have a favourable icing to cake ratio (50:50 is preferred). However, I'm also very aware that these 'foods' do nothing favourable for me, they are bereft of the nutrients I need and I *will* feel like crap after eating them, both physically and mentally. These are 'sometimes' foods, they are very occasional treats eaten and enjoyed in moderation.

Raw treats, on the other hand, give me a bit more room to indulge. Whilst I'd hesitate to label all raw vegan treats as healthy (I'm sure most of us have experienced more than one raw cashew cheesecake binge resulting in much moaning and clutching of tummies), they're certainly a step up from the usual processed, preservative/chemical laden crap out there. I absolutely condone a couple of squares (squares, not blocks!) of raw chocolate most days or a slice of raw cake once or twice a week as a way of treating ourselves and indulging any rampant sweet tooths.

Packed with organic wholefoods such as nuts, cacao, coconut butter and dates, I made this chocolate chilli torte for a friend's Mexi-themed dinner last night. One generous, fudgy slice was more than enough to sate everyone's dessert stomach (you know, the one next to the savoury stomach? And yes, I do have a science degree).

As with most raw treats, and the soaking and refrigeration that goes with their preparation, you'll need to get this started approximately 36 hours before you'll need it. Very little work is required of you except for some blending and licking of spatulas, so dont let the extensive prep time scare you off!

Chocolate Chilli Torte



Ingredients:

Base:

1 cup almond meal
5 soaked dates (overnight, soaked with the cashews is fine)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
3 tbsp agave (or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt

Filling:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (at least 8 hours) and rinsed.
2 very generous tbsp almond butter (or any other nut butter you have on hand - hazelnut would be lovely!)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
5 soaked dates
1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut water (from a young coconut)
The flesh of one young coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1tsp cayenne pepper (taste as you go)

How you go about it:

Base:

In a food processor or high powered blender (hello, Thermomix!) blend everything until sticky and crumbly, with no big chunks or lumps. Press the contents into a 9 inch spring-form pan evenly and put aside until you are ready to fill it.

Filling:

Once more, blend everything until smooth and creamy - this took approximately two minutes in my Thermomix. You may have to scrape down the sides now and then, but perservere until you get that wonderful, silky texture.

Place the filling into the pan and distribute evenly over the crust.

Place in the freezer for approximately 6-8 hours (or longer) and remove about 1-2 hours before serving. Decorate as you like - some coconut shavings, hazelnuts, strawberries or whatnot would look adorable!

Take somewhere public and wow everybody. Everybody.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

just like a chocolate milkshake only not gonna give you diabetes

Smoothie season has well and truly kicked in, apparently. I know this, because my first thoughts upon waking each morning are "Oh my god! Which greens shall I use? Which berries? Milky or not milky? How many superfoods can I cram in today?! Reckon I can finally get the dog and the boyfriend to partake in more than just a taste?!"

Forcing smoothies upon others aside, today I awoke with chocolate on my mind (may or may not have been associated with the two ridic divine squares of Pana Chocolate I had for dessert last night. Ridic. Divine). I have a tried and true combination when it comes to chocolate based smoothies and that is the marriage of chocolate and blueberries. These two guys go together like whoa.

Cacao-berr-hini Green Smoothie:



Ingredients:

1/2 of a frozen banana
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 heaping cup of greens - your choice (I used kale, silverbeet and bok choy)
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 scoop Sunwarrior sprouted brown rice protein
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tbsp organic unhulled tahini (I wont be mad if you use hulled, promise)
1-1.5 cups almond milk (go crazy with soy, oat, rice or whathaveyou)

Add ins:

2 tbsp hempseeds
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 tbps cacao nibs

How it's done:

Put the first nine ingredients into a good quality blender and proceed to blend the crap out of it.

Pour into your receptacle of choice (I dig former pickle jars) about halfway. Add the flaxseeds and hempseeds. Stir rapidly with a spoon or straw. Pour in the rest of the smoothie and top with the cacao nibs. Drink up!

The reason I have started to add my hempseeds and flaxseeds POST blending is because I do not want to miss out on a single seed if I dont have to! They are too expensive and too nutritionally amazing to be gathering on the sides of my blender and being washed down the drain. In fact, I should probably start doing this with my protein powder too, seeing as it is the protein powder equivalent of Patron tequila (inappropriate comparison? Yes, perhaps). I suggest you heed my advice and do the same.

Green smoothie body shots aside, this is one delicious and nutritious powerhouse! The raw cacao involved is about as far removed as Cadbury's style schlock that you can get. Rich in antioxidant flavanoids, cacao is also a decent source of essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium - it is heart healthy and may help combat free radical damage.

Enjoy!