Being a chef is pretty awesome; not only do I basically wear pajamas to work, but I meet highly talented people who are as passionate as I am about health, raw food, desserts and chocolate. It's the best job ever and I am so glad this is my chosen field. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I met Chaya a few years back and soon realized how unbelievably talented she is; She was pastry chef at the world renowned " Cafe Gratitude" and she produces some of the most beautiful and artful desserts I have ever seen.Getting your work out there in these times of social media can be a little tricky if you don't know how to navigate or just don't have the time to do so.
Chaya is one of those chefs who, in my opinion, should
be well known for her work. So, if you don't know of Chaya already, then you are missing out, but you're in luck, cause here she is! This is only one of many generuous recipes she has posted on her site. Check her out and give her some well deserved love.
Maple, Coconut Curry Confection with Cinnamon Chocolate Drizzle: Makes one 8x11x1 inch tart pan
(The tart pan I used has a removable base. If you do not own this exact pan use whatever you do have that is of a similar size. If the base is not removable, grease your pan and line it with saran wrap leaving at least 2 inches of overhang. After setting the cream in the freezer carefully remove the tart from the base and place it on the cutting board for the following step.) Ingredients Apricot Almond Crust-
1 1/2 cup almonds – preferably soaked and dehydrated until crisp -
1/2 cup +3 Tbs. dried apricots (packed) – ideally soft (not soaked) and definitely sulfur free-
pinch high mineral sea salt-
5 drops vanilla flavor extract from Medicine Flower
– you can also use half of a vanilla bean seeded or half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. If you use the extract wait until the apricots and almonds are well broken down to add it as the liquid will cause everything to bind together.Method
: - Process ingredients until the almonds are finely ground and everything holds together with a slight squeeze. - Taste your mixture and if the flavor needs a bit more punch pulse in another dash of salt.
- Transfer the mixture to your greased tart pan or if using a pan with a non removable base follow the instructions at the top.
- Spread your mixture evenly over the base of your pan. Break up any clumps and and make sure you have a consistent thickness throughout the pan.
- Press firmly with a flat hand. If the mixture is sticking to you wash and dry your hands, and press again. Ideally you want a smooth and even surface.
- Set your base aside while you make your cream.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been on a new eating plan in the last 2 months or so and that includes the elimination of sweeteners and sweet dried fruits, such as dates. It has been an interesting journey, at first it was really difficult, but over time it became really nice to feel so clean and eating foods which are only nourishing to my body, not eating for entertainment.
I think if you are reading this blog, you are most likely already into nutrition and healthy eating/living, so you're probably well informed and have a wealth of knowledge where nutrition is concerned. Regardless of all the "brainy" stuff we know, we can still choose to eat in a way that doesn't support our bodies, funny that. I find that once you strip away all the "extras", the body doesn't need much in order to operate at the highest level possible and, in striping away all the excess, you start to hear your body more clearly and listen to what it needs, as opposed to listening to what your mind says it wants; sugars, fats, carbs, caffeine, etc... If you have ever done a cleanse, you know what I'm talking about; by day 5 you're asking yourself " why do i eat so much ? " And still, it's nice to have a little sweet treat every now and again, especially when you are having friends over and you want to stick to your "diet" ( i don't like the word diet, but hey-ho) hence this cookie recipe was born.
This recipe is really simple to make and, chances are, you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Gotta love that! The result is a super crunchy, light cookie, which I think is hard to come by in raw foods, no? If you're not interested in eliminating sugars from your diet, then add some coconut sugar or maple syrup for a sweeter and more indulgent cookie.
Enjoy and savour every bite
Coconut Chia Cookies
300g/ 3 c desiccated coconut
1/4 c lacuma / lucuma
1/4 c banana powder (could substitute coconut sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 c chia seeds, powdered in spice mill or vita
1/3 c yacon syrup (could substitute maple)
1 dropper vanilla creme stevia (optional)
- Soak the desiccated coconut in enough water to cover for 4 hours.
- Sieve the coconut, reserve soak water for smoothies
- Add all remaining ingredients and mix well with your hands to combine
- Spread the mix onto a teflex sheet to about 1/4 inch thickness and score into the sized cookies you'd like. Mine are really small and bite sized. You could also use a damp ring mould or cookie cutter to press the cookies into rounds.
- Dehydrate at 118 for 6 hours or until ready invert off the teflex and onto mesh.
- Dehydrate a further 10-12 hours or until brittle and crunchy.
- Allow to cool and then store in an air tight container.
- Use maple syurp in place of yacon
- Use coconut sugar in place of banana powder or lacuma
- Add Coffee and/ or Banana Medicine Flower extracts
- Substitute banana powder for carob or mesquite powder
- Add 1/4c of ground cacao nibs
- Kick it up a notch with a scoop or two of your favourite protein powder
Any of you who know me, or have followed my work over the years, will know that i don't tend to do simple; my recipes lean towards the more complex and multi stepped.
Well, today i decided that simple was what i wanted and needed, coupled with the fact that i have not had a sweet treat (aside from fruit) in about a week and want to keep refined sugars out of my daily diet as much as possible. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this recipe is 1) very, very basic 2) has been done many times before 3) ... there is no 3 but i just know it's simple and not original, it's still very scrummy, easy, and fast. It's December, 5 days until Xmas, do you want complex right now? I didn't think so, let's proceed. The ingredient that sets this recipe apart for me, and mainly why i am posting it, is the use of Raw Organic Whey powder. I used Vital Whey which i bought from Red 23
. I had not had any milk or whey products in over 10 years so, upon first taste, i didn't get the lovely creaminess of the product; i got sour cows milk taste. I wanted to try and get past that, so i added a little whey to smoothies, chai tea (lovely and makes an amazing foam ) and the like, i am now used to the flavour and get the full beauty of the creaminess without added fat = brilliant. If you do not wish to consume dairy products of any kind, that's wicked cool and i totally respect that. Replace the Whey for Fermented Rice Protein Powder, such as SunWarrior Vanilla Flavour. Best price i have found in the UK is from Red 23 I specify Vanilla flavour because the Natural Flavour isn't very nice. Yes, they both have stevia, but i SWEAR it's not horrible. It's really nice and you don't get the Stevia aftertaste. And now, without further yapping... here is the recipe. Enjoy !
150g Almonds, soaked over night and dehydrated (optional, but suggested)
50g Coconut Sugar
40g Cacao Powder + extra for dusting
1 tsp Vanilla Powder
1/2 tbsp Cinnamon
20g-30g Whey Powder or Rice Protein Powder
6 Soft and Squidgy Medjool Dates, stones removed
40ml Water, or as needed to bind
Handful Nibs, optional for texture
In a food processor, blix the first 6 ingredients until the almonds are broken down, but still have some texture to them (this is a matter of preference, you can process to a "flour" if you wish) With the machine running, add the dates through the feed hole at the top one at a time then add nibs and pulse to combine and slightly break down. Finally, add water as needed to bring the mix together into a loose ball, don't add too much water. Done. Simples, no?
Now transfer to a mixing bowl and form the dough into "2 bite balls" or whatever you desire and roll in cacao powder, just to dust them. You could also roll in cacao powder with spices, lacuma and coconut sugar, coconut, whatever! The main reason for the roll is that it makes them look pretty and keeps them from sticking together. For a real treat dehydrate them for 2 hours and enjoy warm. These can also be frozen (and will not stick because of the rolling ) and will not freeze solid, thanks to Mr. Medjool.
Enjoy with your family, tea or "milk", or tea with "milk", and have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Lucuma Custard Delight
This is a fantastic dessert, breakfast or mid afternoon spring/summertime snack. Its custard-vanilla tones will tickle your taste buds and delight your palate. And its good for you... Lucuma, a superfruit powder from Peru, provides complex slow burning carbohydrates, as well as Niacin which helps you to metabolise and produce energy. Bee pollen provides an excellent source of protein, and is an incredible immune system booster, rich in just about everything the body needs, and the fresh fruit gives a great Vitamin C hit...
A word about Iswari Bee Pollen: Our pollen comes from one of the most deserted areas of South Portugal, free from any roads factories or industrialisation. Although it is not certified Organic, this is because the local family farm that produce it have chosen not to go down that official route of certification. It is however naturally free from chemicals and pollutants.
Enjoy this on a summers day, and share it with your friends... this recipe makes 3 small or 2 big servings.
1/2 cup cashew soaked at least 20mins and drained
1 Mango, peeled and sliced
1 small banana (or ½ large)
100mls orange juice (fresh if possible)
2 Tbsp Iswari Lucuma
3/4 Tbsp Iswari Bee Pollen
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon Pollen to garnish
Put all ingredients into your blender, blitz until smooth. If you don’t have a high powered blender, you may want to soak the cashews for up to 4 hours to increase softness.
Serve in small dessert bowls and garnish with pollen and coconut sugar if desired.
Supercharged Sweet Potato & Spice Smoothie
This smoothie is thick, luxurious and has the taste and consistency of Egg Nog without all the nasty stuff; Not to mention all the health and fertility benefits - Almonds are a great source of essential fatty acids, zinc, folic acid and vitamin E. Sweet Potato is a wonderful source of safe vitamin A and is hormone regulating. Linseed oil is brilliant for your daily dose of Omega 3 essential fatty acid. Cinnamon will assist with regulating your blood sugar and helping you curb the sugar cravings. And if that wasn’t enough, Bananas contain B6 and tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you chill out and feel good. Who couldn’t use a bit of that?
600ml Nut Milk
150g Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
½ tsp Vanilla Powder
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Maca
1 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg or ⅛ tsp nutmeg powder
2 tsp Coconut Syrup
200g Banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
2 tsp Linseed/Flax Oil
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender for about 30-45 seconds or until it’s smooth and creamy. Serve at once.