My daughter Jenna made this chocolatey fruit and nut concoction a few weeks ago and I can't tell you how deliciously moreish it was!!
So I obviously had to make a batch myself!
We chocolate lovers can delight in the knowledge that good quality high cocoa solids chocolate is incredibly good for us! It contains antioxidants with heart protective qualities, phenylethylamine, an amphetamine like compound which acts as a natural mood enhancer along with magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and B vitamins.
All of that considered, dark chocolate just doesn't have the same creamy mouthfeel as milk chocolate, even though most of us are aware that milk chocolate doesn't have any of the benefits of dark chocolate and has lots of refined sugar!
So this recipe, adapted from The New Vegan by Aine Carlin, one of my favourite vegan authors actually manages to combine all the health benefits of dark chocolate with a lovely texture and creamy mouthfeel, due to one of my favourite ingredients....tahini!
Tahini is made from sesame seeds, its packed with calcium and magnesium and its alkaline so easy for the body to absorb. It's so versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
We literally use it every day!!
The other healthy ingredients in this delightful sweet are hazelnuts, goji berries and apricots, coconut oil and a good pinch of Himalyan sea salt.
With thoughts turning to Christmas, this could be made quite festive with the addition of cranberries and a teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon and maybe some orange zest! It really is good enough to give as a gift.
I will most definitely be making this again before Christmas.
It is perfect with an after dinner coffee or in fact any time you happen to pass the fridge!
It will keep happily for a fortnight in aforementioned fridge but not in our house! It's literally gone in a few days max!!
So here is the recipe.....
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE SLICE
100g bar of dark chocolate
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown rice syrup
large pinch of himalyan sea salt
30 g hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
30g apricots, raisins or cranberries
1 tablespoon goji berries(optional)
cocoa powder for dusting
It was Jenna's birthday this weekend and since she has been vegan for 10 years and has influenced our family food choices we enjoyed a fabulous vegan day out with her.
We started off at The Vegan Food Fair where we met the truly lovely Laurianne of Lauriannes Raw Vegan Cakes and were blown away by the wonderful selection of cakes and tarts she makes. We bought five and they were all delicious! Apricot tart, chocolate and salted caramel tart, raw chocolate sponge, vanilla & blueberry cheesecake and carrot cake!
All made without dairy or refined sugar, packed with nutritious ingredients and totally delicious!
She makes cakes to order from her cottage in Killearn and also supplies various outlets in Glasgow, she also runs workshops in and around Glasgow. I'll be booking myself on one soon!
You can find her on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. All details can be found here
Like most of us I really enjoy a delicious fruity creamy cheesecake but not the dairy variety which I find heavy and difficult to digest! Dairy and fruit are never a good combination and in ayurvedic terms, its a big no no!
So how do we acheive that creaminess without all the dairy and refined sugar?
With cashew nuts!!!
They are high in protein, fibre, minerals, good fats and health enhancing phytochemicals and they blend into the most delicious and healthy creamy base for cakes or sauces and are a godsend for those of us who would rather avoid dairy!
I buy nuts and dates which make up the base of this awesome cake from Lidl, whose prices are excellent! Nuts can be expensive and there are a lot of cashew nuts in this cake! I also bought delicious organic maple syrup for £2.99 which is an unbelievable price! Organic week at Lidl is officially over but you can still find organic bargains in lots of Lidl stores. It's well worth stocking up at these prices!
So what makes this cake so awesome...?
This is a really brilliant cake to impress your friends and family and can be made in advance and just thawed for 30 minutes before you serve it! Perfect for unexpected guests!
So the base of this cake is simply nuts and dates blitzed in a food processor and the delicious creamy topping is quite literally cashew nuts blended with maple syrup, berries, fresh or frozen, vanilla and lemon juice!
It doesn't get much easier than that!
All you need is a blender or a food processor and a freezer!
The cashew nuts need to be soaked preferably overnight but 6 hours would do if you are short of time. Any berries would work fresh or frozen. I used my own organic strawberries which are delicious and pesticide free! I have also used frozen blueberries and raspberries which works well too!
I used Aine Carlin's recipe here but have adapted it slightly.
Once the cake is frozen you can use your imagination for decoration but if you want to keep it frozen then don't decorate it with fresh fruit or edible flowers, neither of which freeze well!
I used sliced strawberries, borage flowers and lemon zest. Its actually nice to keep it simple and just pile some fruit in the middle!
So I give you the awesome No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake!
NO BAKE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE
Ingredients - Serves 8 to 10
For the crust
200g nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts all work well
100g pitted dates, medjool are best
For the strawberry layer
250g strawberries or other berries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup
125g cashew nuts, soaked in cold water preferably overnight, but 6 hrs min.
For the vanilla layer
300g cashew nuts, soaked as above and drained
100ml maple syrup or brown rice syrup
seeds from a vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 or 3 tablespoons water
1. Place the dates and nuts in a food processor or blender and blend until crumbly.
Put the mixture into a 20cm loose bottomed spring-form cake tin and press down firmly using the back of your fingers or a spoon. Put in the freezer while you get on with the toppings!
2. Wash and hull your strawberries, put in your blender or processor with the drained cashews, lemon juice and maple syrup. Blitz until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if you like. Maple syrup is quite runny so don't add too much more!
3. Remove the base from the freezer and pour the strawberry mixture over it. Smooth with a spatula and put it back in the freezer.
4. Wash your blender and then add all the ingredients for the vanilla layer. Blitz well, you don't want bits of nuts so just keep blending until it's completely smooth!
5. When the strawberry layer has set, carefully pour over the vanilla mixture. Smooth with a spatula and return to the freezer for a few hours.
6. Decorate just before you are going to serve your cake, sliced strawberries, edible flowers and grated lemon zest all work well but use your imagination!
I served mine with a strawberry coulis, just strawberries blitzed in my Vitamix with some lime juice and maple syrup!
You can also just do a single layer, which is slightly less faffy, in which case, just soak all the cashews together and blend the ingredients for both layers at the same time! Less washing up but your cake won't look quite as pretty!
....your health in your hands...
I hope everyone is out enjoying this lovely weather and topping up their vitamin D levels!
I've been rather busy trying out new recipes. I had my lovely juicing buddies over for dinner with a few dietary restrictions between them,! Gluten, nuts, fish, lentils and beans to name a few! Considering I don't eat meat or dairy that presented a bit of a challenge!
Anyway I put on a delicious tapas spread and for dessert I made these absolutely delicious, I'm talking SERIOUSLY OMG DELICIOUS totally raw caramel slice.without any nuts!
The original recipe was from the lovely folks over at Food Matters, which I adapted slightly!
They are extremely healthy and packed full of incredibly nutritious ingredients, including dates, tahini, maple syrup, raw cacao, coconut oil and buckwheat, my genius alternative to nuts!
Most of us are familiar with caramel shortcake, a rather sweet concoction full of sugar, saturated fat and dairy, not healthy on any level!!
So this is a similar but much healthier alternative and it tastes much better too.
Some of you may be unfamiliar with buckwheat which is a gluten free grain, containing all 8 essential amino acids.a great source of complete protein. Its contains fibre, magnesium and high levels of rutin and quercetin, which strengthen the blood vessels, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and enhance the action of Vitamin C.
So its an all round good guy and well worth including in your diet. Holland & Barret and Wholefoods stock it.
The other ingredients are all nutritional superstars, which I have mentioned in various other posts so a quick summary will suffice!
Dates are just fabulous and although deliciously sweet and fairly high in sugar they are also packed with fibre, protein, vitamins and antioxidants. Both fibre and protein slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the blood so has a much lower effect on your blood sugar levels, which is exactly what we are aiming for in the health stakes.
Tahini is a fantastic source of calcium and magnesium and its alkaline so great for strong bones, a much better source than dairy! It also has fibre, protein and good fats. Its made from sesame seeds, another of my favourite ingredients.
Raw Cacao is the best source of antioxidants on the planet and will boost your mood, provide you with magnesium, iron and a multitude of other nutritional goodies!
Coconut Oil is antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, immune boosting, metabolism boosting and supports every body system including your brain and digestion. Its a miracle in a jar, what more can I say!
You can use almonds instead of the buckwheat and just melt some dark chocolate with a tablespoon of coconut oil for the topping, if you don't have raw cacao. You can also use cocoa powder instead in the base but you lose all the associated health benefits and it won't be raw!
These keep really well in the freezer and are a fantastic treat when sugar cravings hit!
So without further ado here is the recipe.
RAW CARAMEL SLICE
3/4 cup buckwheat or almonds
3/4 cup medjool or deglet noor dates (pitted)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
Simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until well combined. When you pinch a piece it should stick together. If its not holding then add a teaspoon of warm water. Line a square baking tin with clingfilm, to make it easier to get out of the tin. Press the mixture evenly into the tin. A spoon dipped in hot water is a good way to smooth the base down.
Put it in the freezer.
1 cup of medjool dates
1/2 cup coconut oil melted
4 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
good pinch of Himalyan sea salt
Process in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour over the base layer and put it back into the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup raw cacao
Put all the ingredients into a glass bowl simmering over a pan of boiling water and stir until melted and well combined. Pour over the caramel and put back in the freezer until set.
Cut into small squares and keep in a covered container in the freezer.
Remove 5 minutes before serving.
......your health in your hands....
I love Easter, its a time of new beginnings, lighter nights, gardening, wee lambs, snowdrops, crocuses, and of course lots of yummy food!
What's not to love....?
Easter is a great time to get together with family and friends. Most folks have some time off work and students return from Uni for a wee rest and some decent food ( well most of them do! )
Personally I love any excuse to spend time with family and friends and as anyone who knows me, knows that good food is a big part of any gathering at our house!
I'm sharing the recipe for the most delicious, decadent, chocolatey, gooey, fudgey, chocolate cake and its vegan, so egg and dairy free!
We had this cake, along with countless other delicious sweet treats at the Vegan Retreat and I will get around to sharing more of the recipes, as I try them out!
I can't pretend its healthy but hey we all need a treat every now and then and this cake fits the bill brilliantly and it is a celebration cake after all!
A perfect way to impress your family and friends this Easter with a fabulous home made cake, which I'm sure if you try it, will become your go to recipe for a celebration cake!
This recipe makes a large cake and it's very rich, and will keep for around 5 days in a covered tin, though I seriously doubt anyone would have the willpower to resist a second slice of this so be warned, it's seriously moreish!!
I would have decorated my cake with edible flowers if I had any but sadly I only have one pansy at the moment! On second thoughts I will put it in the middle of the cake and put mini eggs around the edges, though feel free to decorate yours whatever way you want! Grated chocolate, chopped nuts, orange zest would all work well.
So to recap this cake is sooo good we could hardly wait for it to cool so we could devour it! That's why the mini eggs are a bit skew-wif, the icing was still a bit warm!
It's moist, chocolately, gooey, fudgey, intense, moreish, and did I say chocolately, yes very chocolatey.........
Yum, yum, yum.........! Please give this a go, its seriously the best chocolate cake I have ever tried, vegan or not.
Happy Easter everyone and big thanks to my twitter buddy Lee Watson over at TheBeachhousekitchen for this fantastic recipe! In my haste to make this cake, I read the directions wrong and added the chickpea flour to the dry ingredients, instead of the wet ingredients. Luckily it didn't seem to make any difference and the cake was absolutely delicious, so don't fret if you do the same.
Note to self, read the recipe before you start!!
Here it is.
DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE
Ingredients makes 1 large cake (10 to 12 slices)
225g white flour
2 tablespoons chickpea flour (gram flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
80g cocoa powder
300g dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
375ml hot water
75g non dairy spread or coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
150g dark chocolate
75g coconut oil
50g light brown sugar
60 ml cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
....your health in your hands....
I've had a lovely week, it was my birthday and I was spoilt rotten with flowers, chocolate and Prosecco, three of my favourite things!
I have to admit the after effects of too much chocolate and wine are not great but sometimes worth it!
So I thought I'd share one of my favourite healthy chocolate truffle recipes. These truffles are delicious, pretty much free of everything bad for you, incredibly quick and easy to make. In fact they are so delicious it's hard to believe they are packed full of healthy ingredients.
They are a perfect wee sweet treat to end a meal, and make a fabulous last minute Christmas gift for a health conscious friend.!
These truffles are vegan so dairy free, contain no saturated fat or added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the dates and coconut, both natural ingredients with health benefits.
I love dates, they are deliciously sweet and although they are fairly high in sugar, they more than make up for it with the dazzling array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, supporting health on so many levels.
The walnuts and sunflower seeds add protein, fibre, minerals and omega 3 fats so these truffles can definitely be enjoyed guilt free!
Medjool dates are the king of dates and are sweet, caramelly and moist and are always my first choice. Deglet Nour Dates are also delicious. Lidl are selling them for £1 a bag just now and they are also pitted which saves you precious time! It's well worth having a few bags on standby. Some of the dates are really quite dry and need to be soaked before you can use them and they are never sweet or sticky enough, don't buy them!
You really need a food processor to make these. The dates need to be blitzed to a paste, although I guess at a push you could use a hand blender. Dates are so sticky though you would have to do it in batches and blitz the nuts and seeds first. Always make sure there are no stones in your dates, that could wreck your processor. Another point to note, for those of you lucky enough to own a Vitamix, don't use it for dates! They are just too sticky and there was a horrible burning smell from mine when I tried it
You have been warned!
If you have any sweet superfood powders like lacuma or maca, you can add a spoonful to up the health benefits even more. Chia seeds are also a good addition!
These truffles are best kept in the fridge to firm them up. I'm not too sure how long they will keep, ours are always scoffed within a few days, but I guess they would be fine for a week or so!
Preparation: 30 minutes
Makes: 20 bite size truffles
. ......your health in your hands......
I had another OMG moment this week when I finally got around to trying out this 2 ingredient chocolate mousse!
Why is it magical, you may ask?
Well one of the ingredients is the liquid from a tin of butter beans!
Yes you read that right !! It's called aquafaba in foodie circles and literally translates as bean water!
A rather smart french chef noticed that bean water had a similar consistency to egg whites so he whipped it up and Voila, it formed perfect peaks exactly like egg whites!
Now this is very good news for vegans and folks with an egg allergy!
Meringues, macaroons and the most deliciously light chocolate mousse are now on the menu!
Now I was a bit sceptical and thought the bean water would impart a beany taste but it didn't at all!
I thought I'd start with the simplest recipe I could find and it doesn't get much simpler than this chocolate mousse and I have to admit, it is absolutely delicious, fluffy, chocolatey, light and airy!
You really have to try it out, it's truly magical!
I used a bar of dark chocolate with orange but you could use any good quality chocolate. I'm thinking that chocolate mint would be a great and I'll be trying that next!
So impress your friends and family with this most delicious and healthy dessert this Christmas!
Oh I forgot to say, you can use the butter beans in Broccoli, Spinach & Bean Soup so nothing is wasted. I detest food waste and this is a great way of using everything!!
So here is the recipe........enjoy!
MAGICAL CHOCOLATE MOUSSE Makes 6 small or 4 medium dishes
1 100g bar of chocolate, preferably 60 or 70% cocoa solids
1 or 2 tablespoons sweetener, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (optional)
liquid from a tin of butter beans or chickpeas
pinch of sea salt
1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a glass bowl. Put the bowl on top of a pot with some boiling water. Keep the water on a gentle simmer and stir the chocolate occasionally until it's fully melted.
At this stage you can add sweetener, if you prefer a sweeter mousse.
Put aside to cool
2.Put the liquid from the beans into a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt and whisk until peaks form. I used my mixer but a hand whisk or a hand blender would also work but will take a little longer. You need the mixture to form stiff peaks. A good test is to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture should stay put! If it slides then its not stiff enough!
3. When the chocolate has cooled a bit, gradually add spoonfuls of the whisked bean mixture and gently fold it into the chocolate. You want to keep as much air as possible to keep the mousse light and fluffy so don't be tempted to beat it too hard. Just be patient and take your time.
4. Pour into nice glasses or ramekin dishes and decorate with cacao nibs, grated chocolate, lemon or orange zest or chopped nuts!
Chill in the fridge for an hour or so.
5. Serve and enjoy!!
...........your health in your hands............
This quinoa brittle is just the bees knees and the cats whiskers and I love it.
You seriously need to make this!
Now quinoa isn't something that you would normally associate with a sweet dish but I'm discovering that it's extremely versatile as well as extremely nutritious!
It certainly earns the title of superfood Its an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, high in magnesium, B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E and fibre. It's also gluten free and thought to be the least allergenic of all the grains so plenty of good reasons to give it a go!
I came across this recipe on The Minamilist Baker Blog, which I love!
I've always been a big fan of those wee sesame snap bars and these reminded me of them, but are way more nutritious.
Admittedly they are not sugar free but more than make up for it with all the other ingredients, and this is a treat after all!
I was so intrigued by this recipe and I had all the ingredients so I made it at 11pm on Saturday night!
I have to admit, I wasn't disappointed, this is seriously addictive!!
It's crispy, crunchy, nutty, nutritious and naturally sweet!
What's not to love?
A few points to note, quinoa has a protective coating of saponins which taste bitter so you really need to rinse it well before using it. I rinsed and drained mine in a sieve, then blotted it on kitchen paper then dry toasted it to remove any moisture, before proceeding with the recipe.
I also replaced some of the nuts with sesame seeds, which I love. They are a great source of calcium and magnesium, which most of us are deficient in and are also alkaline and a good source of protein and fibre.
Chia seeds are also a favourite of mine, another superfood, and high in protein, fibre and minerals and so easy to add to so many dishes.
So without further ado, here is the slightly modified recipe! If you make it, and why wouldn't you?? please leave a comment!
......your health in your hands......
I've just come home from a fantastic wee pre Christmas break to New York with 3 of my lovely girls and we had a fabulous time! So now I'm in the mood for Christmas and will be posting lots of lovely, healthy, recipes to see you through the Festive Period and beyond......!
So I'm kicking off with this delicious Christmas Chocolate Crunch recipe.
This is a real family favourite at any time of year but is ideal to have in your freezer for any unexpected guests over Christmas! The cinnamon and mixed spice gives it a lovely festive flavour and its so easy to make.
This is a really useful recipe: make a batch, break it up and keep it in the freezer. It can be served straight from frozen! It may taste decadent, but the ingredients are all very nutritious!
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, oatcakes provide fibre, seeds and nuts provide protein, minerals and good fats. Goji berries boost the immune system and cinnamon is useful in controlling blood sugar. Coconut oil boosts metabolism and lowers the GI of any food it's cooked or eaten with so this is most definitely a treat you can eat guilt free!!
Here is the recipe, enjoy.....
200g (7oz) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into chunks
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
125g (41/2oz) rough oatcakes
50g (2oz) goji berries ( soaked for 10 mins to soften, then dried)
50 (2oz) Brazil nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts, roughly chopped
50g (2oz) pumpkin seeds
2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil, stirring occasionally, in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
2. Put the oatcakes into a mixing bowl and crumble into small pieces. Stir in the goji berries, nuts, seeds and spices.
3. Stir the nut butter into the melted chocolate and mix until fairly smooth. Stir the chocolate mixture into the remaining ingredients, making sure the ingredients are evenly coated.
4. Spread the mixture over a baking sheet and put in the fridge or freezer to chill and harden. Break into shards or cut into rough pieces when set, ready to serve.
I just had to share this recipe I came across this week. It has to be the easiest chocolate dessert ever and its delicious and healthy so it certainly gets my vote!
It only has 2 ingredients, its dairy and sugar free ( apart from the sugar in the chocolate!) I used 70% dark chocolate with orange pieces but really any good quality chocolate would work well. The other ingredient is a can of coconut milk, buy one with at least 75% coconut. Some of them can be as low as 50% so don't buy them! All the supermarkets stock coconut milk these days and its an ingredient well worth having in your cupboard, its so versatile and its packed full of good fats with many health benefits.
This dessert is good enough to serve at a dinner party and can be decorated with raw cacao nibs, grated chocolate, chopped nuts or finely grated orange zest! I am confident that if you try it, it will become a firm favourite!
So here is the very simple recipe!
1 can of coconut milk (preferably chilled in the fridge for a few hours)
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids.
Optional extras, a few drops of mint or orange extract.
1. Carefully open the can of chilled coconut milk and scoop the solid coconut cream into a glass bowl, you should get about a cup full. Be careful not to include any of the liquid. You can add it to your smoothie or soup!
2. Put some water in a pot and bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Place the glass bowl over the pot and stir until the coconut cream has melted.
3. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the bowl with the coconut cream and stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate melted.
4. Pour into small glass dishes or ramekins and chill in the fridge for an hour or so until firm.
Makes 4 small portions
Decorate with raw cacao nibs, grated chocolate, chopped nuts or finely grated orange zest and enjoy guilt free!
........your health in your hands.........
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.