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Saturday, March 9, 2013

pretty in pink pudding - chia, coconut and berries!

Holy crap, but it's hot in Melbourne! My poor little house is seriously melting from within, all it's inhabitants can do is loll about in front of the fan in our underwear, limbs akimbo, whinging wholeheartedly about the ridiculousness of 30degree + temperatures in AUTUMN.

Perhaps my biggest complaint? The inability to make full use of my sweltering kitchen. Cooking on the stovetop? Oh boy. Turning on the oven? Not a chance. The blessing in disguise is, of course, the abundance of use my Thermomix has been getting as well as all the raw goodies I've been partaking in - delicious smoothies, juices and other treats - when it's simply a matter of bunging a few things in the blender and whizzing for a minute? Yeah...I guess I can manage that (despite my heat related apathy!).

And this is precisely how my Pretty in Pink Pudding came about - to be honest, it was more of a mousse than a pudding, but I wont let facts stand in the way of an alliterative and catchy title! Like the majority of my recipes, this is a great mix and matcher - it allows for any number of substitutions in terms of the fruit used and flavours added, but so long as you keep in the chia seeds, nuts, coconut milk and protein powder, you're definitely treating yourself to a healthy and welll balanced breakfast/snack/dessert treat with a nice mix of protein, healthy fats/essential fatty acids and unrefined, wholefoods based carbohydrates - helping you fill up quicker and stay full for longer. Definitely a goodie to have chilled in the fridge for those 3pm snacky-slumpy moments that are all too common!

Pretty In Pink Pudding

One generous serving.

1/4 cup chia seeds
1 scoop protein powder (my favourite is vanilla Sunwarrior)
6 medium sized frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
3/4 cup of your favourite nut/oat/soy/rice milk (I used my homemade ABC milk - almonds, brazil nuts and cashews)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp maple syrup (coconut sugar would work marvellously too!)
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Putting it all together is as simple as chucking it in a blender and whizzing on high. The consistency at first will be much more like a thick smoothie than a pudding/mousse. You'll need to upend it into a receptacle (I used a glass mason jar) and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours at least.

If you like, you can top it with other goodies before serving - I whacked some hemp seeds and spirulina on mine and mixed it in (totally sabotaging the pretty pinkness of it, but, oh well), as well as some extra berries for texture.

I hope you like this one! I'll be experimenting with more autumnal varieties in the future, hoping to introduce some cooler, breezier days by channeling them from my kitchen.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

raw carrot cake with cashew "cream cheese" frosting

I had a buddy 'round the other day who is equally as food-crazed as I am, and we had quite a time playing with my Thermomix and inventing new, unexplored combinations of green smoothies; additionally, we delved into the sometimes risky world of raw desserts and (un)cooked up this winner!

The "cake" part of this concoction is spicy and intriguingly flavoured with a nice, dense crunch from tiny chunks of carrots that somehow managed to escape the powerful blades of Thermie. And all that carrot is doing you a world of good -  The frosting is smooth, rich and tangy, so creamy that it's difficult to believe how simple it truly is.

The recipe is one I found and adapted slightly on The Sweet Life blog  - a recent discovery that is jam packed with some pretty delicious, vegan and wholefoods based recipes.

Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake

4 medium sized carrots, washed
1 cup raw walnuts or pecans (or a mix!)
1 cup pitted dates, soaked
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom powder
3/4 tsp dried ginger or a thumbnail sized knob of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt

Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least two hours
1/4 cup liquid (I used almond, brazil nut and cashew milk but you could use water or coconut water/milk too)
4 tbsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
pinch of salt

Have a 8x8 pan (or similar size) at the ready.

To assemble the "cake" portion:

1. Depending on the power of your blender, either add the carrots in chunks directly to the blender or grate prior to blending.
2. Add the remaining "cake" ingredients.
3. Blend at high speed for 1-2 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides until you have achieved a uniform, sticky mixture. You shouldn't mind a few stray bits of carrot, as long as the rest of it is primarily mush.
4. Pat down the mixture evenly in your pan or tray.

To make the frosting:

1. Drain the cashews and rinse with water.
2. Put all the frosting ingredients in your blend.
3. Blend similar to the cake mixture - on a high speed with regular scraping downs of the blender. You'll want a very creamy, lump-free mixture and this may take some time and patience depending on your blender.
4. When you have reached your desired texture, upend the blender over the cake mix and smooth out evenly.
5. Top with some more cinnamon for fanciness.
6. Freeze for at least two hours, then leave to defrost for about half an hour before serving. This will slice up into about 12 generous portions.

An amazing dessert with a cup of tea and good conversation to enjoy it with!

Sidenote: Next time I make this (and oh yes, there will be a next time!) I will almost certainly double the frosting recipe, it was that good!