Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn Fritters

We love these tasty Thai or Indonesian bites. We have attempted to make these sweetcorn fritters numerous times, always without success. Aiming to keep things healthy, we have tried to avoid deep frying, and have used all sorts of different ingredients to make the fritters hold together.
The whole Indonesian Pop-Up dining event (Check out our Green and Vegan FB page) came about when we made some Indonesian friends. And they showed us how to make these sweetcorn fritters. We have managed to avoid ‘deep’ frying, but have had to accept a litle bit of shallow frying.

Ingredients:

2 C fresh corn kernels
½ C flour + a bit
¼ t baking powder
Salt – ¼ t + to taste
Pepper – couple of twists
Green of 2 spring onions – chopped
Dash water

What to do:

1. Put the corn kernels in a bowl.
2. Add the 1/2 cup of flour and fold in. Add in extra flour just to make sure the kernels have light coating of flour.
3. Fold in the baking powder, salt and pepper.
4. Add in the chopped spring onion.
5. Add in just enough water so that the mixture is sticky.
6. Heat a little oil in a non stick frying pan.
7. Using a teaspoon, take a blob of the mixture and place it in the hot oil, and gently flatten it.
8. Put about six of these in the pan, and fry gently till the lower edges just turn brown.
9. Turn them gently and fry other side.
10. When done take them out and place on a piece of kitchen paper towel to drain excess oil.
11. Repeat till all mixture used. You should get about 10 small fritters from this mixture.

Serve up with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Bon apetit.

Raw lemon, ginger and mango cheezecake

Raw lemon, ginger and mango cheezecake

Raw lemon, ginger and mango cheezecake

Raw lemon, ginger and mango cheezecake

Raw lemon, ginger and mango cheezecake

In case you hadn’t noticed, raw cheezecake desserts are among my favourite things to make.

Here is another raw vegan tart that was posted recently by Deborah Durrant from Deliciously Raw.

Check out Deborah’s website for more fabulous raw food ideas

As usual I have made a few amendments to the original recipe.

The main reason is, from a cost point of view, I have decreased the amount of
nuts in the base and replaced them with sunflower seeds which are much cheaper. Sunflower seeds do not have a particularly strong flavour so do not
affect the tasted adversely, and seeds are also healthy.

And again from a health point of view I try to cut down on the oils and sugars.

So here is my version –

Crust:

Ingredients

1 C dry raw almonds
1 C sunflower seeds
2 T ginger powder
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C soaked (pitted) dates

Method

1 Put the almonds, sunflower seeds, ginger and vanilla into a food processor and process until the nuts are well broken into small pieces.
2 Add in the dates and pulse until the mixture is a bit dough-like.
3 Press the mixture into a 23 cm spring form tin lined with baking parchment and put in fridge to firm.

Filling:

Ingredients

2 – 3 C fresh ripe mango, cubed
3 C raw cashews, soaked
1/2 C agave nectar
3/4 C lemon juice
1/3 C almond milk
2 T lemon zest
1 t vanilla
3/4 C coconut oil melted
2 T ginger powder
2 T soy lecithin

Method

1 – Scatter about 2/3 the mango cubes over the crust. Keep the other 1/3 aside.
2 – Rinse the soaked cashews well.
3 – Put all remaining ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
4 – Stir the remaining mango chunks into the mixture, and pour over the base.
5 – Put in fridge and chill till firm.
6 – You can decorate the top with thin mango slices if you wish.

Bon apetit

 

Crumbed mushrooms – raw and vegan

Crumbed mushrooms – raw and vegan

Crumbed mushrooms – raw and vegan

Crumbed mushrooms - raw and vegan

Crumbed mushrooms – raw and vegan

This is another delicious and oh so easy accompaniment to a main meal, inspired, naturally, by the TASTE raw food course with Deborah Durrant.

Her recipe is a slightly more spicy version.

I chose a sort of Mediterranean flavour.

Choice of spices is yours.

The bread-crumb mixture

The bread-crumb mixture

 

 

Ingredients:

6 to 8 Porto Bello mushrooms, wiped and halved
olive oil
lemon juice

1 C ground flax seeds (brown or golden)
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried rosemary
1 T dried sage
1/2 t ground black pepper
pinch salt

Method:

1 – Toss the mushroom halves in oil and lemon juice so they are well coated and leave to marinate for an hour.
2 – Mix the ground flax seeds with all the spices so it looks rather like breadcrumbs.
3 – Coat the mushrooms with the crumbs
4 – Dehydrate for 3 to 4 hours.

I found that these taste great while still warm and straight out the dehydrator.

Bon apetit.

Check out Deborah’s website at Deliciously Raw for more great raw food ideas and recipes.

Coco pine smoothie

Coco pine smoothie

Coco pine smoothie

Coco pine smoothie

It never occurred to me till the other day to put pineapple in a smoothie.

But I came up with this tropical sounding pina-colada style concoction. And it was delicious!

Coco Pine smoothie ingredients

Ingredients:

1 pineapple
2 bananas
1 C coconut flakes (soaked overnight)
6 to 8 pitted dates (soaked overnight)
1 + 1/2 C almond milk
1/2 C oats
1 heaped T protein powder (see note below)
1 heaped T baobab powder
1 heaped T lucuma powder
1/2 t vanilla extract
a few drops stevia liquid to taste

Peel pineapple and bananas.
Put all ingredients in the high speed blender and whizz till smooth.

Makes about 2 x 500 ml glasses as in the picture.

Enjoy!

Note on protein powder:

We use either hemp or pea protein powder.
There are vegan protein powders which are a mix of all sorts.
Just remember, whey protein is of course NOT vegan.

Lemon sponge, lemon creme dessert – Raw and vegan

Lemon sponge, lemon creme dessert – Raw and vegan

Lemon sponge, lemon creme dessert – Raw and vegan

Lemon sponge

I mentioned this absolutely amazing lemon sponge dessert we made while doing the Deborah Durrant TASTE raw food course.
See this post

Finally got to make it again at one of our dinner parties, and of course it was a hit!

So thanks to Deborah for all these stunning ideas and recipes!

Sponge base –

Ingredients:

3/4 C almond pulp
1/4 C almond flour
1/2 C coconut flour
2/3 C agave nectar
1/2 t lemon extract
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 T lemon zest
Pinch salt

Method

1 – Gently fold together the almond pulp, almond flour and coconut flour in a lrge bowl.
2 – Mix in the remaining ingredients.
3 – Divide the mixture into 6 individual 7 cm round moulds, and press down very firmly. I do this on a piece of baking parchment on a small chopping board.
4 – Put in fridge to firm.

Lemon Creme –

Ingredients:

1 + 1/2 C  raw cashews, soaked
3/4 C        coconut meat (We cant get that here so I use coconut flakes that have been soaked in warm water overnight)
1/2 C       lemon juice
1/4 C       agave nectar
1 T          lucuma powder
2 T          nutritional yeast
1 T          lemon zest
1/2 C       coconut oil
3/4 t       soy lecithin

Method:

1 – Blend all the ingredients together until smooth in a high speed blender, adding coconut oil and lecithin last.
2 – Pour over the chilled sponge bases and return to fridge to set.

Note – You might have to add a little extra lemon juice or liquid to get the blender going as it is quite a thick mixture.
Probably need quite a bit of blending to get the required smoothness. You definitely get a smoother result using coconut meat.

To serve:

1 – Gently ease them from the moulds onto plates.
2 – I had made a fresh raspberry coulis or sauce, which I poured over.
3 – Sprinkle a few nuts on top.

Thanks again to Deborah Durrant for all the inspiration.

If you are in the UK, I can heartily recommend Deborah’s FEAST and TASTE courses. Find out about them at her website Deliciously Raw.

Breakfast Mix – Raw, vegan  and healthy

Breakfast Mix – Raw, vegan and healthy

Breakfast Mix – Raw, vegan and healthy

Healthy breakfast mix

I must apologize for not posting for a few weeks now.

I have had other things on my plate – pardon the pun.

But I have been eating a hearty healthy breakfast every day!

Along with a green juice or a smoothie, I always have a scrumptious bowl of oats and a whole collection of superfoods.

Ingredients

It might differ every now and then depending on what we have on hand, but this is my mix at the moment.

Ingredients:

2 C organic rolled oats
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C coconut flakes
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C seedless raisins
1/2 C raw walnuts
1/4 C chia seeds
1/4 C pumpkin seeds
1/4 C sesame seeds
1/4 C ground flaxseed
1/4 C hemp seeds
1/4 C dried goji berries

The mixture

Mix the whole lot together and store in an airtight container.

Before you go to bed, put a couple of spoonfuls of the mix in a bowl, cover with soy milk, or almond milk or whatever you have, and
allow to soak overnight.

In the morning, you might have to add a bit more liquid, and then chop up a bit of fresh fruit on top –

And enjoy!

This will set you up for the day.

Of course, use organic produce and ingredients whenever possible.

Bon apetit.

Veganaise – or egg free mayo

Veganaise – or egg free mayo

Veganaise – or egg free mayo

Our veganaise on our burgers from previous week
This is something we have being trying to get right for some time.

Both Karen and I have had a good few flops.

The taste is generally good, but the texture and consistency has never been right.

Non dairy recipe book
The one recipe that Karen actually got to work came basically from the ‘Non-Dairy Formulary’ by Skye Michael Conroy, with a couple of minor differences.

Our version –

Ingredients:

1/2 C plain soymilk – chilled
1T plus tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar – chilled
2 tsp organic sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
pinch ground white pepper
pinch paprika
1 and 1/2 C mild canola or sunflower oil – chilled

Our veganaise

Method:

There seem to be loads of different opinions as to when to add the vinegars,

and as to what sort of blender to use.

The one thing everyone seems to agree is that you have to add the oil very very very slowly.

We used the small Twister Jar attachment on our Blendtec blender – at speed 1 to 2

Also we found it is important to have the liquid ingredients chilled.
So –

Put all ingredients EXCEPT the oil into the blender.
Start the blender and very, very slowly drizzle the oil in through the removeable cap.
It seemed to take for ages, but probably about 7 minutes.
If you get to the desired consistency before the full amount of oil is added, then that is also fine. You can just stop. The more oil – the thicker.

This time we achieved the ideal consistency.

The other thing – once you have the desired consistency, stop! Over blending seems to make it separate out again.

Good luck – if you get it right, the result is wonderful. Definitely much better than regular mayo.

Onion Tart – Vegan

Onion Tart – Vegan

Onion Tart – Vegan

Vegan onion tart

We have not done much vegan baking at all but Karen wanted to try this dish as a starter at our last dinner party.

The original idea also came from the Leafy Green Cafe recipe book by Antonia De Luca, but we also needed to make this one gluten free.

After much research on the internet, Karen came up with this gluten free version, and it worked pretty well.

Onion Tart

Pastry Crust

Ingredients:

1/3 C almond flour
1/3 C soy flour
2/3 C tapioca flour
3/4 t guar gum
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup cold vegan butter
1/1/2 t apple cider vinegar
3 – 5 T cold water

Method:

Whisk together all the flours, guar gum and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the apple cider vinegar and water and stir gently till the mixture comes together to form a dough.
Roll out the dough in the usual way and press into a pie dish with removeable base.

Ingredients for filling

10 onions chopped
1 1/4 C water
1 T corn flour
1 T caraway seeds
1/2 t marmite
salt and black pepper to taste
cherry tomatoes for the topping.

Cook the onions in 1 cup of the water till soft.
Stir in the salt, pepper, caraway seeds and marmite and cook a bit more.
Mix the cornflour in the remaining 1/4 water, stir in and let it bind.

Pour the mixture into the pastry crust.

Halve the cherry tomatoes and decorate the top as you like.

Bake in the oven at 220 deg C for about half an hour.

Quite different and delicious.

Bon apetit!

Vegan Burger patties again

Vegan Burger patties again

Vegan burger patties

I made these vegan burgers again –

( see this post) – with a few changes.

Firstly we had a guest who was gluten intolerant, so instead of the raw oats I used about 3/4 C of coconut flour.

Secondly, instead of fresh mushrooms I used dried shitake mushrooms which had been soaked in water overnight.

They are just so much more flavoursome.

And thirdly I processed the mixture a bit more so it was not so coarse.

I liked these ones better.

Bon apetit.

Raw Valentine’s Day cake

Raw Valentine’s Day cake

Raw Valentine’s Day cake

Raw vegan Raspberry Cheezecake

I haven’t made a raw cheezecake for ages.

Our latest favourite recipe books is ‘Leafy Green Cafe’ by Antonia De Luca.

She has some delicious raw desserts there.

I made my version of her Strawberry Cheesecake.

Apparently strawberries are among the worst crops for being heavily sprayed with pesticides, so I rather made it using raspberries, and a few other minor changes.

Slice of Raspberry Cheezecake

For the crust –

Ingredients:

1 C raw almonds
1 C raw cashews
1 t vanilla extract
3 T agave nectar
1 T coconut oil melted
pinch of salt

Method:

Put all ingredients into a food processor and process till smoothish.
You want to retain a bit of crunchiness.
Press into the bottom of a 23 cm springform tin.
Keep in fridge while making the filling.

Filling –

Ingredients:

3 C cashews, soaked for a while
1/2 C agave nectar
about 4 stevia tablets in 1/4 C water
1/2 C coconut oil melted
1 1/2 cups nut milk (or soy milk or rice milk)
3/4 C lemon juice
3 T lecithin powder (soy based)
pinch of salt

About a cup of fresh raspberries
A few more raspberries for decorating.

Method:

Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the raspberries into a high speed blender and whizz till really smooth.

Pour half this mixture onto the base in the tin, for the first layer.

Add the cup of raspberries to the remaining half in the blender and whizz up again till smooth.

Pour over the first layer.

Decorates the top with the remaining raspberries.

Keep in fridge to set.

Enjoy.

Berry smoothie – raw and vegan

Berry smoothie – raw and vegan

Berry smoothie – raw and vegan

Now for my berry smoothie.

You can of course use any berries you want, and whatever you use will of course create the colour of the smoothie.

This time I have used some soaked goji berries, among others, which give it the almost orange colour.

Ingredients:

My berry smoothie ingredients

1 banana
about 6 pitted dates, soaked
1 C raspberries
about 2 T each goji berries, white mulberries and cranberries, soaked in a little water overnight.
some stevia tablets or stevia liquid
1 T pea protein
1 T camu camu berry powder
1 T baobab powder
1 C water

Berry smoothie

And blend together in a high speed blender for about 40 seconds.

Pour and enjoy.

See Last chocolate smoothie post for general notes on smoothies.

One particular note for berry smoothies though, is I have found blueberries don,t work very well.
The taste is great but they cause the smoothie to separate, with one half becoming very liquid and the other very thick and almost gelatinous.

Bon apetit

Chocolate Smoothie – raw and vegan

Chocolate Smoothie – raw and vegan

Chocolate Smoothie – raw and vegan

Chocolate smoothie

Smoothies and juices are rather the staple diet of a raw foodie.

I have done posts on smoothies before, but we have improved, and I decided to share
our favourite smoothies and juice over the next few posts.

Also, we had Karen’s parents staying with us for three weeks over the festive season.
Whether they wanted it or not they got well smoothied and juiced up, and seemed to love it and thrive on them!

Chocolate smoothies

Our four favourite smoothies are – chocolate, berry, melon and a green one, while our favourite juice is a green juice.

This week – the chocolate smoothie, with some variation suggestions.

Of course you do need a good high speed blender.

Chocolate smoothie basic ingredients

Ingredients –

2 bananas
about 6 pitted dates, soaked overnight
1 1/2 C soy milk
some stevia tablets or stevia liquid
1 1/2 heaped T raw cacao powder
1 T mesquite powder
1 T maca
1 T cacao nibs
1/2 t cinnamon powder
a little extra water

Blend all ingredients together in the blender, pour and enjoy.

Some variations –

Use a different milk – eg almond or rice milk or any nut milk of your choice.
Use a different superfood instead of the maca – eg lucuma or baobab powder
My favourite is to add a spoonful of peanut butter
A dash of vanilla adds a little ‘something’
Increase the creaminess by adding a lump of cacao paste
If you do not need to be vegan, use honey as a sweetener instead of stevia.

Couple of other notes –

Keep a bowl of pitted dates soaking in the fridge.
You can freeze bananas – when they are ripe, peel and cut into about 5 pieces. Lay out on a chopping board and freeze. When frozen, take the pieces off the board and store in the freezer in a bag. (this way they don’t freeze as a great big lump).

Bon apetit.

A different smoothie next week.

Veggie rice paper wraps – vegan and raw

Veggie rice paper wraps – vegan and raw

Veggie rice paper wraps – vegan and raw

Rice paper wrap ingredients

One of Karen’s specialties is these rice paper wraps.

We have now served them up at dinner parties a few times, and they have always gone down well, particularly as a starter.

Soaking the wraps

The rice wraps should be available at most Chinese stores.

They need to be soaked in water to soften, but the trick is not to soak them too long so they break – usually just under a minute.

Ingredients on wrap

You can use anything you like for the filling, but here Karen used spinach, carrots, shredded cabbage, and peanuts for crunch.

Rolling the wrap

They do need a dipping sauce and again it’s up to you what flavour you make. We usually make a mild chilli sauce.

Almost done

But a TIP – Make them just before serving or the wrap can go a bit rubbery.

Enjoy.

Some completed wraps
More vegan tart ideas

More vegan tart ideas

More vegan tart ideas

Vegan tartlets

Here is a different version of last weeks tartlets.

The crusts are ones I still had left over.

They keep well in the fridge.

Vegan tartlet

We were in a bit of a rush for a quick lunch, and used a bought organic hummous, a bought organic vegan pesto and some baby tomatoes from our garden for a filling.

Looks very appetizing, also both tasty and satisfying.

See last last week’s post for the crust recipe.

Bon apetit.

Smoked mushroom and red pepper tartlets – raw and vegan

Smoked mushroom and red pepper tartlets – raw and vegan

Smoked mushroom and red pepper tartlets – raw and vegan

Smoked mushroom and red pepper tartlet

We made these tarts while on the  Taste course but they were rather a class effort as they are quite labour intensive.

I now wanted to make the whole dish myself.

We used predominantly walnuts for the base, which I thought was a rather too strong a flavour, so I used some macadamias instead.

Also, on the course, our bases were a touch too crumbly and thus I made a few changes changes to the original recipe.

My recipe – which made 8 tartlets.

Crust mixture pressed into cling film in tart tins

1 – Crust:-

Ingredients:

1 C walnuts
1 C macadamia nuts
1 C cashew nuts
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T coconut oil
7 T water
4 T ground flaxseed
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Method:

Pulse all the nuts in a food processor to form a flour.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add in all the other ingredients.
Mix well.
Line 8 12 cm tart tins with cling film and press the mixture in to form the crusts.
Dehydrate overnight at about 115 F
Then remove the crusts from the tart tins and dehydrate them for another 12 to 15 hours.

2 – Creamy cheese filling:-

Ingedients:

1/2 C coconut flakes – soaked
2/3 C cashews – soaked
1 T very finely chopped red peppers
2 T water
1/4 t salt
pinch of paprika
1 T nutritional yeast
1 T lemon juice

Method:

Blend very well till smooth.

Cold smoking

3 – Mushroom filling:-

1 cup of shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced, soaked in tamari and smoked using a Cold Smoking Gun

Tart served up with a salad

4 – Red pepper filling:-

1 red pepper, pith and seeds removed, thinly sliced, tossed in olive oil and salt, and dehydrated for an hour or so.

5 – Assemmble as in the pictures and serve with a mixed green salad.

To see more raw recipes, go to Deborah Durrant’s Deliciously Raw website.

Bon apetit!

Seed cracker biscuits

Seed cracker biscuits

Seed cracker biscuits

Seed crackers and nut cheeze

I am not at all a fan of these fad ‘diets’ that keeping popping up, rather preferring the overall healthy approach to eating.

The recipe book that is all the rage in South Africa at the moment is ‘The Real Meal Revolution’ by Prof Tim Noakes, Sally-Ann Creed, Jonno Proudfoot and David Grier.

This book is certainly not raw or vegan but it does rather fit the description of this overall healthy approach to eating … and there are a lot of plant-based food recipes.

Spread mixture onto silicone mats

To get away from 100% raw for a while, Karen made their Nutty Crackers which is basically a seed cracker.

You could get quite creative and add herbs or spices for different flavours.

Bake in oven

This is the basic recipe –

200 g   sunflower seeds
60 g    flax seeds
100 g   sesame seeds
2 T     psyllium husk
500 ml  water
1 t     salt

Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Allow to stand for about 10 mins till the mixture goes thick and pliable.
Spread the mixture as thinly as possible onto one or two silicone mats on baking trays.
Bake for about an hour, turning occasionally to avoid the hot spots.
Once done, remove from oven, allow to cool and then break into pieces.
Store in airtight container.

I would have scored the mixture before baking to make it easier to break into same size pieces.

These go well with any spreads.

We served them with our home made nut cheezes.

This book provides very interesting reading, and recipes, even though as I said it does not claim to be vegan or raw, and is available at most bookstores in SA.

Next week – the nut cheezes – raw and vegan!

Bon apetit.

Vegan ‘NOT smoked salmon scramble’

Vegan ‘NOT smoked salmon scramble’

Vegan ‘NOT smoked salmon scramble’

Among the new gadgets I discover at Deborah Durrant’s Taste course was the cold smoking gun.

A very simple device but effective.

At the course, we used the smoke gun to smoke some marinated veggies, namely moolie and carrots.

I was quite taken with how much the carrots now resembled smoked salmon!

Using the cold smoke gun

While in UK, I purchased a smoke gun, as they were not particularly expensive.

In my carnivore days, one of my favourite breakfasts was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast.

This inspired me to attempt a vegan look alike dish.

I thinly shredded some carrots, marinated them in oil, lemon juice, smoked salt and pepper for a while and then gave them the smoke gun treatment.

Some NOT smoked salmon

For the scramble, I used my own tofu scramble recipe –

Ingredients:

1 block plain tofu
2 t tamari
1 t turmeric
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
a little olive oil
black pepper and sea salt to taste

Method:

Squeeze out any excess water in the tofu
Crumble the tofu in a bowl
Add the turmeric and tamari and mix well
Saute the onion and garlic lightly in the oil for a short while.
Add in the tofu mix and heat through, stirring continually.

For the final dish, I toasted some rye bread, spread some tofu scramble on top and added a few slivers of the ‘NOT smoked salmon’

Delicious!

No, it wouldn’t fool a carnivore from a flavour or texture point of view, but certainly might make them take a second look.

Bon apetit.

Raw and vegan – more with the dehydrater – beetroot toast

Raw and vegan – more with the dehydrater – beetroot toast

Raw and vegan – more with the dehydrater – beetroot toast

Dehydrated vegetable powders

As promised in last week’s dehydrating post, the outcome of my dehydrating sessions –

My

1 bag spinach
3 beetroot
5 carrots and
3 large red peppers which I dehydrated in the next session,

Jars of vegetable powders

produced a small jar of each flavour powder.

Not as much as I had hoped for, but still plenty for decorating.

I was delighted with the vibrant colours, and the intense aromas from each.

Really great.

Beetroot Toast

I used quite a bit (4 Tablespoons)  of the beetroot powder to make a batch of beetroot toast which will be the base for a starter in one of the upcoming dinner parties.

Not sure what the rest of the menu will be yet.

Dehydrating the peppers and the beetroot toast

The recipe comes from Deb Durrant’s Taste programme, and it was one of the things we made on the course a while ago. See this post on Taste

I am thrilled with the outcome – these toasts are just as excellent as the ones we made on the course.

You will have to follow Deborah at Deliciously Raw to get the details of her recipes.

Next up – using the cold smoking gun!

Raw and vegan – Dehydrating in our new kitchen

Raw and vegan – Dehydrating in our new kitchen

Raw and vegan – Dehydrating in our new kitchen

Maca-roons – raw and vegan

At long last our new kitchen is in operation! Much more worktop space, place for all our gadgets, and a good spot for the dehydrator.

I was missing all the tasty raw sweet things, so to get back into the swing of things I made Maca-roons.

Very easy, plus a few hours dehydrating.

The original recipe came from Peter and Beryn Daniel’s book The Magic of Superfoods

I didn’t have brazil nuts handy, so used almonds instead.
I also used a mixture of agave nectar and stevia instead of maple syrup, which is very expensive in this country (S. Africa)
The result was still wonderful.

Their recipe –

2 C dessicated coconut
1/2 C brazil nuts
1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 C maca powder
1/4 C cacao powder
1/4 C cacao butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract
pinch salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process till dough-like.
Shape into round balls and dehydrate for 6 to 10 hours, depending on how you want them.
The longer you leave them the more crispy they go on the outside.

Dehydrating veggies

As you might remember, we have recently done Deborah Durrant’s two raw food courses – Feast and Taste.

You can find out more about these courses at Deliciously Raw

We are now ready to get going on all these recipes.

The thing about raw is that one needs to build up a supply of staples that sometimes need dehydrating.

So while the dehydrator is running, I am dehydrating beetroot, spinach and carrots.

Once these are dry I will grind them into powders which can be used in recipes, or for ‘dusting’ plates when decorating for fine dining.

I am keen to see what the yield is – I am dehydrating 1 bag of spinach, 3 beetroot and about 5 or 6 carrots which I happened to have.

I will keep you posted on this.

In the meantime – bon apetit!

Raw kitchen gadgets

Raw kitchen gadgets

Raw kitchen gadgets

Our new Raw Food ‘must haves’

So much for our new kitchen.

Three weeks and it still looks like a building site!

So no recipes this week..

Some time ago I did a post on the Raw Kitchen and gadgets.

Blendtec Blender and attachments

While on the Feast and Taste courses we discovered a few more things we just had to have –
so I bought them while still in the UK and brought them back with me.

The first is the Blendtec Blender.

The advantages of the Blendtec are, firstly it is the most powerful blender that I have come across, at 1560 Watt.

Cold smoking gun and surgical tweezers

Then it has three different size jars – 2 large square ones and a smaller Twister Jar.
This one is great for smaller quantities, and the 2 side bits that you ‘twist’ around make sure that everything gets blended properly.

Nut cheeses come out that much smoother.

The 2 large jars are actually slightly different, one having a small 5th side which is supposed to improve the circulation in the jar and is apparently good for making flours. Have not tried this yet.

Vegetarian Flavour Bible

Next is a cold smoker.

We only used one once on the course to smoke some carrot shavings.

Seemed to work well, but I want to try it for smoking tempeh, and hopefully get that ‘bacon’ effect.

Smoked carrot shavings looked remarkably like smoked fish – so there are some possibilities here.

Anyway it was not too expensive so thought I would get it anyway as they don’t seem to be available in South Africa yet.

And who would have thought of using surgical tweezers for delicate plate decorating and getting a piece of greenery just right!

Finally, we discovered the Flavour Bible. An amazing book listing just about any food item you can think of and listing others that it can be paired with.
The one on the course still had meat items listed, but Karen (my wife) found the new vegetarian version and bought it on-line.

It is by Karen Page, is really well researched and also has recipe suggestions by well known chefs.

This book is a must!

You can get it here

or in South Africa from Loot

Bon apetit.

More from Taste

More from Taste

More from Taste

Nut cheeze

One of the hardest things about going vegan and raw is getting over cheese.

Using the basic nut cheese we had made the previous day, we all came up with our own flavour variations.

I made a peppercorn goats cheeze, using Deborah’s recipe, and attempted to achieve a cheddar type of cheese.

Cheeze platter

My cheddar wasn’t bad at all, but does need a bit more work.

We used our cheezes along with our cracker breads, chutneys and pickles to make up sharing cheeze platters, which can be used in pop-up dining as starters, or to end off with.

Lemon sponge, lemon mascarpone and strawberries

The best dishes in raw foods are always the sweet ones!

Who would have thought one could make raw sponge cake.

Using Deborah’s recipes we produced a Lemon Sponge with Lemon Creme Mascarpone, strawberries and candied nuts.

Mouthwatering stuff.

Beetroot toast with horseradish cream

Other dishes we made on the course – starter of beetroot toast with horseradish cream…..

Red Pepper and Smoked Shitake tartlet

….and a main of Red pepper and Smoked Shitake tartlets with a seasonal greens salad.

For this the mushrooms were smoked using a new gadget called a cold smoking gun – naturally I had to buy one of these so will be trying it out soon.

Green Thai curry with broccoli rice

We ended the week by preparing and presenting a three course meal –

I took a Thai theme and made the Thai Coconut dumplings, Thai Green veg curry with broccoli rice and a dessert of layered mango and lime custards.

Mango and lime custard layers

Now to get back home in our new kitchen and start entertaining!

Bon Apetit!

Read more from Deborah Durrant at Deliciously Raw
Taste – Raw Food Course

Taste – Raw Food Course

Taste – Raw Food Course

Tom Kha Soup

Last week I attended Deborah Durrant’s Taste course – a 1 week intensive hands on course – it follows on from her Feast 2014 course, and is geared to fine dining, menu planning and plating techniques.

Shame that Karen had to be back in SA and was not able to do this one with me.

We built on several of the techniques learnt in Feast and learnt a few new ones.

Summer Rolls

The course was built around three types of menus – for small dinner parties of six people, larger parties of twelve and for larger so-called pop-up events.

We now have 2 sets of recipes for those menus, and during the course we made half of them.

Green salad

Plating skills and techniques are all important in fine dining – so we started off by learning to plate a leafy green salad.

Not my strongest point I am afraid – but I am improving.

It never occurred to me to use surgical tweezers to get that salad piled up so nicely!

At this point we made some fermented cheezes which needed to be dehydrated for use later, as well as making fermented pickles, chutney and pickled mustard.

Chocolate panna cotta

Then we made and plated a whole menu for six – Tom Kha Soup and Summer Rolls starter, coconut dumplings main course and a chocolate panna cotta dessert.

The chocolate panna cotta is divine!

Our kitchen at  home is being renovated at the moment. Once that is complete we will start working through all the recipes from Feast and Taste programmes.

Till next week – Bon Apetit.

Read more from Deborah Durrant at her Deliciously Raw website
Raw courgette pasta

Raw courgette pasta

Raw courgette pasta – with tomato sauce

At the moment I am killing time between the 2 raw food course, doing some maintenance on our boat in the Netherlands.

Compared to our kitchen at home, the equipment on the boat is pretty basic, but it’s surprising what you can do with raw food with limited kit.

I have also been dying to use our mini spiralizer which I talked about in this post

I bought a courgette and some tomatoes at the local supermarket, and using up stuff we had on board, whipped up a courgette pasta with tomato sauce in about 20 minutes.

The only pre-prepared stuff you need is to have soaked some dates and some sun-dried tomatoes overnight.

So –

Ingredients:

About 1/2 a courgette spiralized

For the sauce –

1 C fresh tomatoes
1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes (soaked overnight)
4 pitted dates (soaked overnight)
1 clove garlic
1 T olive oil
Rock salt to taste

Method:

To make the sauce –

Slice the tomatoes in half, and put them together with all the other ingredients into a high speed blender and blitz till smooth.

On board here I don’t have a high speed blender, only a stick blender.
To help it along I chopped up the tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, dates and garlic first.

To assemble –

Put the spiralized courgette in a bowl together with the sauce (as much as you feel is right) and mix gently so the courgette strips are coated.
Place a heap in the middle of a plate.

If you wish you could simply pour the sauce over the courgette.

That’s it – so easy to eat healthy and tasty.

Bon apetit.

Sweet Treats – last of Feast 2014 – Raw Food course

Sweet Treats – last of Feast 2014 – Raw Food course

Sweet Treats – last of Feast 2014 – Raw Food course

Lime custard tartlet – raw and vegan

Everybody seems to make smoothies these days.

They tend to be a bit hit and miss – very good or merely ok.

Here we learnt a whole lot about the basics of a smoothie and how to construct a good smoothie from taste, texture and health points of view.

Banana Berry Smoothie

Then we all took our new found knowledge and came up with a concept.

As usual. I stuck with a rather traditional banana berry one, buy it was pretty good.

Some interesting and strange concoctions came from one or two of the others on the class.

Spiced apple tart – raw and vegan

Then it was tarts and pastries.

Deborah demonstrated a lime custard (very similar to my home favourite lemon tart filling) which was used to fill an oat and nut flour tart crust.

We had prepared some spiced apples using the sous vide method mentioned in the last post, which was used to make an apple tart.

Mango custard tartlet

And another delicious preparation was a mango custard, again turned into a tart.

We ended off by making and rolling truffles – absolutely decadent!

So good they never got to be photographed.

In 2 weeks time I am going to do Deborah’s Taste course – naturally still raw foods, but geared

towards menu planning and fine dining.

In the meantime – bon apetit!

More on Feast 2014 – Raw Food Course

More on Feast 2014 – Raw Food Course

More on Feast 2014 – Raw Food Course

Karen’s Raw Foods Cheeze Platter

Wednesday, the middle day was probably the most exhausting.

It was the most intense day, but we had also been eating 100% raw for a couple of days now and were undergoing a mini detox – physically and emotionally.
Sounds odd – but true.

Each of us took our fermented cheezes and added our chosen flavourings.

Selection of raw and vegan cheezes

Some wonderful creations emerged.

I did the classic pear and walnut, while Karen made really good cheddar!

Using the cheezes and breads we had made, we did a bit of cheeze platter presentation skills.

Its always amazing the different take on things that other people have.

Karen is definitely the more creative one than me.

First attempts at fancy chopping

I have mentioned that Deborah was trained by Matthew Kenney whose background was originally French Cuisine.

French style of course includes loads of decoration and presentation, so chopping and knife skills need to be learned.

We did a bit of knife wielding and produced Baton, Julienne, Brunoise, Fine Brunoise, Supreme, Chiffonade, and con-casse forms of
carrots, and/or peppers and/or tomatoes or fruit or greens. Loads more practice needed here though.

Phad Thai – raw and vegan

The previous day Deborah had demonstrated a method called Sous Vide – which entails vacuum sealing ingredients, along with
appropriate herbs or spices, in a bag and immersing in warm water for a few hours.

This softens the food as well as allowing it
to absorb the flavours, without actually cooking.

Using mushroom prepared in this way,
Deborah demonstrated a raw Phad Thai, which we then all had for supper. Again really tasty.

Carrot and Butternut Gnocchi

From eastern we went a bit Italian and created both raw pasta and gnocchi. Who would have thought it possible?

 – Carrot and Butternut Gnocchi

And the last – next week….

Bon apetit.

Raw Food Course

Raw Food Course

Raw Food Course

Beetroot ravioli – raw and vegan

Last week was, I think, the first week that I haven’t put out a post.

Hopefully I will be forgiven, as Karen and I were frantically busy doing Deborah Durrant’s 5 day Raw Food course.

What a fantastic and fun week it was. We learnt such a lot, and met a whole lot of like-minded people.

The cooking school kitchen

As I mentioned in my previous post, Deborah Durrant trained under raw food fundi Matthew Kenney in America.

She now runs a number of raw food course here in the UK.

You can read more about them on her website –

www.deliciouslyraw.co.uk

Granola – just out the dehydrator

I can highly recommend her courses to anyone interested in raw cuisine.

We have been to quite a few talks, course or demos, but none have been ‘hands-on’.

Deborah’s courses are truly ”hands-on” and you really get to work with the equipment and the
ingredients.

The course was held in the Hartsbarn Cookery school in Gloucestershire.

Cranberry cookies

There were ten of us on the course, each with our own well equipped work station.

The school is used predominantly for conventional cooking, so does not have dehydrators.

Deborah supplies 5 or 6 which are set
up on the side

She also provides the amazing Blendtec Blenders.

Granola and coconut yoghurt parfait

We have already ordered our very own one on-line!

What did we actually learn and make?

Although we made quite a few things, the emphasis is on how to work with flavours, how to use the various basic ingredients,
how to make basic breads or nut milks or soups and then add our own particular ideas into the recipes.

We discovered a book called the Flavour Bible – another must have – It lists just about every ingredient you could think of, and gives a list of other ingredients that go well with it.

The first couple of days we made those things that needed dehydrating for any length of time – granola, breads, cookies and pizza bases.

Also fermented nut cheezes and yoghurts.

I got a bit stuck on cranberries and, using Deborah’s basic granola and cookie recipes, made cranberry granola and cranberry and orange cookies.

Both absolutely delicious I have to say.

With the granola and coconut yoghurt, we made the parfait.

And we made the raw vegan beetroot ravioli that Deborah demo-ed at the Vegfest.

More next week…..

London Vegfest 2014

London Vegfest 2014

Raw lime mousse with berries

A very exciting time at the moment for me, and hopefully this blog.

Yesterday we attended the 2014 London Vegfest at Kensington.

This event is in it’s second year.

Last year, the inaugural occasion, apparently about 9000 people attended over the 2 days.

This year it seemed just as crowded.

Stand at Vegfest 2014

It is so encouraging to see so many like minded people, and also to see the amount of plant-based foods being produced commercially.

There were some excellent informative talks, as well as food demonstrations.

Which brings me to the other exciting bit.

There was a raw food demo by Deborah Durrant, and next week we, (Karen and I) are
both doing her 5 day intensive hands-on raw food training course “Feast”.

Raw gazpacho

This takes place in a cooking school in Gloucester.

Deborah has trained under the world famous Matthew Kenney who has restaurants and raw academies in America.

This should bring our raw food preparations skills up a notch or three.

Raw sweet treats at Vegfest 2014

And if this is not enough, I am also going to attend her 5 day “Taste” course, which is geared to raw food fine dining and menu planning.

So – look forward to some really exciting recipes coming up soon.

I will keep you posted on what we learn at the courses as well.

Vegfest London 2014

Back to Vegfest – there was an amazing demo by Tony Bishop-Weston on tips for making non-dairy cheeses!

When I get back to our SA kitchen I will definitely be trying some of these, and sharing the results with you.

Make amazing plant based cheezes

At her demo, Deborah whipped up a raw lemon mousse, a raw gazpacho soup and a raw beetroot ravioli salad.

In the meantime – keep at it in the kitchen!

Vegan in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Vegan in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Vegan in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Vegan main course at De Klinker

Still on our boating travels in Netherlands, we were recently in Nijmegen.

This is a relatively small town near Arnhem which suffered heavily in the second world war.

Soup starter at De Klinker

Not really expecting much in the way of healthy food, I checked out Happy Cow.

There was only one vegan place mentioned – De Klinker.

Dessert

What a pleasant surprise!

The building was an old squat that had been cleaned up. Now operated by volunteers, it serves up vegan meals at ridiculously low prices.

A set 3-course meal – for 6 Euro !

The menu that evening:

Starter – Red lentil and tomato soup with a swirl of soy cream.

Main – Fresh green salad with coconut shavings, spicy grain stuffed peppers, rice mound with a tomato sauce and fried brinjals.

Dessert – sago type square covered with crispy noodles and syrup.

All absolutely delicious.

And wine was only 1.50 Euro a glass.

As you can see from the photos, the tables and decor are basic to say the least.

But at that price – I certainly can’t complain.

Bon apetit.

Pears poached in red wine – organic and vegan

Pears poached in red wine – organic and vegan

Pears poached in red wine – organic and vegan

Pears poached in red wine – organic!

As part of our drive to eat healthily, we go for organic wherever possible.

A few days ago, on our boating travels, Karen spotted a pear tree next to a lock. Of course she picked a few.

They were a still bit hard still, but ripened nicely.

We have also found a good supply of organic red wines here in Netherlands – Our next dessert was a no-brainer!

So – take about six or seven pears (not too ripe), cut into quarters and remove pips.

Cover with a mixture of red wine and water, add stevia liquid to taste and 2 cinnamon sticks.

Bring to the boil and turn off the heat and let them stand. That way the pears can soak up the flavour yet not go too soft or soggy.

We served with Alpro soy cream.

Such a delicious yet simple dessert.

Bon apetit.

Raw pasta and spiralizers

Raw pasta and spiralizers

Spiralized salads and pasta

As any regular reader will know, we are a bit into raw.

A while ago I did a post on the ”Raw Kitchen” in which there is a spiralizer.
(see this post)

A wonderful device, but a bit of a mission to get out and set up.

Mini Spiralizer

Recently we were at a raw vegan restaurant in Cape Town – Raw and Roxy (see this post) and the lady was using this amazing mini spiralizer!

No setting up – just pick up and use.

So no actual recipe today, but just showing the mini spiralizer used for making salads and a raw courgette pasta.

Spiralizing courgettes

For the pasta, we spiralized a large courgette.

Blanched this in boiling water for about five minutes and drained/squeezed out very well.

Blanche for about 5 mins

Stirred in a bought vegan pate and some vegan peperoni slices – and thats it!

So quick and easy.

And the salad was spiralized carrot, spiralized mooli (radish) and whatever you like. (in this case its lettuce and celery and onion)

Other ingredients stirred in

This mini spiralizer is our new ”best gadget”.

We bought 2 on line (from Yuppie Chef) – one for home and one for our boat.

Happy spiralizing.

Spiralizing carrot

Vegetarian and vegan in Cape Town

Vegetarian and vegan in Cape Town

Vegan apple pie at Thibetan Tea House

As much as I love trying new vegan, raw and veggie dishes and sharing the recipes, I also like finding new vegan/raw/veggie eateries.

The other day we took a drive over to the other side of the mountain, to Simonstown.

There we had what was meant to be a light snack at the Thibetan Tea House.

Date squares at Thibetan Tea House

We had chai tea, served in wooden cups, and vegan apple pie and cream or vegan date squares.

All delicious, but huge portions!

Buffet selection from Organic at Heart

Then we moved on to Organic at Heart in Plumstead for a late lunch.

They offer individual, predominantly vegan, but some raw and vegetarian dishes.

Or you can take a selection of them from the buffet table.

I had the raw pizza, vegan meat loaf”, quiche (vegetarian), and some salads and veggies.

Again all delicious. My favourite though, was the vegan meat loaf.

Both places well worth a visit for Capetonians.

Bon Apetit!

Goji chocolate balls

Goji chocolate balls

Goji chocolate balls

These delicious treats go under all sorts of various names – energy balls, truffles etc etc and are generally variations on a mixture of nuts, dates,
healthy berries and/or superfoods.

Whatever – they are delicious and can be served as a dessert or as a snack with tea or coffee.

This basic recipe came from Peter and Beryn’s book – the Magic of Superfoods.

We served them up with coffee after dinner.

Ingredients:

1 C goji berries, ground
3/4 C almonds, ground
1/2 C lucuma
2 t vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 C pitted dates, soaked in water overnight
1/2 C water
1/2 C raw cacao powder

Method:

1 – Grind the almonds to a powder in a food processor.

2 – Save a couple of tablespoons of this for coating later, and pour the rest out of the food processor.

3 – Grind the goji berries in the food processor. This takes time as they go a bit sticky. Add a little bit of the ground almond to give the food processor something to work with.

4 – Cnce the gojis are ground enough, add all the rest of the ingredients and process till the right sticky consistency. Only add the water as necessary.

5 – Roll the mixture into balls. (It helps to dip your fingers in water to stop them sticking to your hands).

6 – Roll the balls in either the almond flour, desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, or whatever takes your fancy.

I have done a similar post here.

Bon apetit.

Raw vegan chocolate mint mousse cake

Raw vegan chocolate mint mousse cake

Raw vegan chocolate mint mousse cake

Chocolate mint mousse cake – raw and vegan

I just love these raw vegan desserts.

They are always a hit at dinner parties, and I made this choc mint one again the other night for our guests.

I did make one change to the recipe.

Although agave nectar is a natural product, it still is sugar.
So in the quest to make things more healthy, I used only 1/2 a cup of agave nectar, and replaced the other half with about 8 stevia tablets dissolved in 1/2 a cup of water.

You might need to play around a bit with this to get the required sweetness.

See this post for my last version of recipe.

See also this post with my tips on making these raw vegan desserts.

Spicy vegan burger patty

Spicy vegan burger patty

Spicy vegan burger patty

Vegan burger patties

There is something comforting about burgers, and I really want to come up with a good satisfying vegan burger that one can serve up to the carnivore friends.

I have made a few in the past, and although not bad at all, I don’t think any were the ‘ultimate’. (see here )

So here is another go.

I used a vegan patty recipe from Leafy Greens Cafe by Antonia De Luca again as a starting point, but made some modifications of my own.

My ingredients:

1 C         onion, finely chopped
1/2 C      carrots, finely chopped
1/2 C      red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 C      mushrooms, finely chopped
4            cloves of garlic
4 C         cooked quinoa (preferably organic)
3 t           cumin powder
3 t           cayenne pepper
2 T          oil
1 tin         red kidney beans (410 grms), drained just to the extent the very runny liquid is removed.
1/2 C       raw organic oats
                salt to taste

Method:

1. Cook up the quinoa. You will need 2 C of dry quinoa and 4 cups water in the pot. It cooks quite quickly so keep an eye on it, stirring frequently, and add a touch more water if necessary. You do not want the cooked quinoa too wet.
Once cooked, set aside to cool.

2. Heat the oil in a pan saute the onion, garlic, carrots, peppers and mushrooms till soft.

3. Stir in the cumin, cayenne pepper and salt.

4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

5. Once all ingredients have cooled, put the veg mixture, quinoa, beans and oats into a food processor and pulse till it is well mixed but still a little bit chunky.

6. Form into burger patties. I got 12 medium sized patties from it (as in the picture)

7. To serve you can fry or bake – we chose to bake them, and serve up with salads etc.

Note – for step 5 – add the quinoa last. Only add 4 cups of the cooked product first. Depending on how the cooking of the quinoa went, you might have ended up with more than 4 cups of cooked grain. You can add the rest in if needed. You don’t want to end up with ‘quinoa burgers’.

The end result –

Our guests (all carnivores!) pronounced them very good. For me personally, they were a touch on the hot and spicy side, so you might want to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper to taste.

Of course, these are only the patties. We still need a burger. As we are trying to get away from refined carbohydrates, I don’t want to use bread rolls.
I want to try using baked aubergine slices as the ‘bun’. But that is still to come.

Bon apetit.

Spinach, pea and mint soup – vegan and almost raw

Spinach, pea and mint soup – vegan and almost raw

Spinach, pea and mint soup – vegan and almost raw

Spinach, pea and mint soup – vegan and almost raw

Although we are keen on raw soups, it is winter, and we wanted a warm, colourful starter at our last dinner party.

Karen came up with this spinach, green pea and mint one.

Ingredients:

1 ‘pillow’ of organic spinach
1 kg frozen peas
2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves
1 T veg stock powder
enough spring water to cover in a pot

Decoration:

Soy cream
mint leaves or sprigs of parsley

Method:

Put spinach leaves, peas, mint leaves and water in a large pot
Bring the water just to the verge of boiling and then turn off the heat and let it stand.

(We wanted to stay as close to the raw concepts as possible, and not boil the food to death. Thus it is a little more than blanched.)

Pour the soup into a high speed blender, and blend  on high till the soup is smooth.

(With this quantity, you will probably need to blend it in 2 lots and then re-combine back in the pot.)

Before serving, gently warm the soup through, stirring often being sure not to bring to the boil, or burn the bottom.

Garnish with a swirl of soy cream and a mint leaf or sprig of parsley.

And of course, this one is vegan.

All our guests pronounced it delicious!

Bon apetit.

Sweet and savoury raw cracker biscuits

Sweet and savoury raw cracker biscuits

Raw cracker biscuits – sweet and savoury

Sweet coconut crackers

Very happy to be back in our kitchen in Cape Town for a while.

We have a couple of dinner parties coming up over the next few days, and I like to have a selection of snacks and cracker biscuits for guests to nibble on before the meal.

I have reverted to my favourite Rawlicious recipe book and made batch of their flax-vegetable crackers.

Veg-flax crackers

We have also just acquired yet another recipe book – Leafy Greens Cafe by Antonio De Luca, and her sweet coconut crackers looked delicious.

For the flax veg crackers, I used the recipe exactly as given in the book, but doubled up on everything.

Also see a previous post on breads and crackers here

Mesh and solid Excalibur drying sheets

For the sweet coconut ones, I used unsweetened desiccated coconut instead of the fresh coconut meat.

As a result I needed to add extra sweetener and used a teaspoon of stevia liquid.

While processing and doing the taste test, I added some vanilla extract as I felt it needed that little something extra.

So my version of their recipe –

Ingredients:

3 1/2 C unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 C organic carrot juice
2 T flaxseeds, coarsely ground
2 t agave nectar
1 t stevia liquid
pinch or two of salt, to taste

Method:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
spread on to solid dehydrator sheets and dry for as long as it takes to get the crispiness you want. Probably about 12 hours.

Both of these recipes make use of the dehydrator. We have the Excalibur 9-tray machine, and till now have had to use baking paper on the mesh drying sheets.

But we have just bought the Excalibur Paraflexx solid sheets, and they are brilliant.

No more sticking when removing the crackers from the sheets to transfer to the mesh sheets to finish off the drying.

The coconut crackers are thicker than the flax crackers so take longer to dry.

Happy dehydrating!

Raw and Vegan in Cape Town

Raw and Vegan in Cape Town

Raw and Vegan in Cape Town

The small plate at Raw and Roxy

When I started this blog, my wife was a long time vegetarian while I did not eat a lot of meat.

Over the last couple of years we have moved to nearly 100% vegan and largely raw.

I love sharing recipes with you, but I also love telling you about new and exciting eateries that we find.

Raw and Roxy

Our latest find is right here in Cape Town – a tiny place called Raw and Roxy.

Opened in April this year, run by a Danish lady, it has a delicious raw, vegan and healthy selection on offer.

She does all the preparation and serving herself, so you might have to wait a while, but it is worth it.

Her vegan special is a small portion of each her main dishes, including raw lasagne, zucchini pasta, and various salads, some spicy.

Green juice and kale chips

We each had the small plate, and really struggled to eat it all. Raw food is really filling.

And at R50 for the plate – wow! (£ 2.80 or Euro 3.60 or USD 5).

We also each had a green zesty juice, and there is a bowl of kale chips on the table for you to nibble.

Bon apetit!

New veggie products

New veggie products

Great new veggie products

One of my most common moans is the lack of selection or availability of healthy items in shops and supermarkets.

But things are definitely improving.

I am passing through UK on the way home to Cape Town and found some great new products – all vegetarian, some vegan and/or organic.

New Asda item

Asda has added these Red pepper and Chickpea Brazilian grills to it’s in-house range.

Also in Asda I spotted the Great Food range and chose the Pumpkin and Sultana bites.

In a Health Shop I found this Everfresh range of organic rye breads.

I tried the Brazilian Grills and the rye bread with salad last night.

Both really good!

Bon apetit!

Butternut soup – vegan

Butternut soup – vegan

Vegan butternut soup

Butternut soup

Inspired by last week’s spicy sweet potato soup, and with her forte for using up what we have, Karen came up with this amazingly tasty butternut soup.

Ingredients:

1 butternut, seeds removed and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 C desiccated coconut
2 T mild curry powder
1 veg stock cube
1 Litre soy milk
salt to taste
water

Method:

Put all ingredients except the soy milk into a pot and just cover with water.
Bring to boil and then simmer till veggies are soft.
Add the soy milk bit by bit while blitzing with a hand blender till you have the thickness and consistency you want.
Warm through gently if needed, and serve.
Note – be careful not to let it boil once the soy milk is added otherwise it will split.

Bon Apetit

Vegan and organic in Rotterdam

Vegan and organic in Rotterdam

Vegan and Organic restaurant in Rotterdam

Sweet potato and ginger soup – Gare du Nord – Rotterdam

One of the unfortunate things about boating is not having regular internet access.

Which is the reason this post is late.

On the other hand, the thing about travelling is finding new and exciting vegan restaurants.

We were in Rotterdam a while ago and using our favourite site – Happy Cow, we found this amazing vegan and organic restaurant – Gare du Nord.

Gare du Nord – Rotterdam

It was located on the edge of the city, about 45 minutes walk from where our boat was moored.

But the walk was worth it.

The restaurant turned out to be a restored railway carriage, situated on a vacant piece of land in a slightly industrial area.

But they were utilizing the land to grow their own organic produce. Brilliant.

And the owner taught and trained youngsters in
the art of cooking vegetables.

Main course – Gare du Nord vegan restaurant

The meal was a set menu.

Starter was a sweet potato and ginger soup.

Main course comprised ‘no-meat’ balls on a bed of tomato puree, a selection of wilted greens on bulgar wheat and a vegetable stack of tomato, onion and aubergine with a green pea sauce.

Dessert was a citrus and blueberry tart.

All absolutely delicious, accompanied by some organic red wine.

The price was also reasonable – Euro 19.50 per head for the set menu – compared to most other restaurants in Rotterdam where set menu’s were about 22 to 25 Euro per head.

So – more things for me to try out when I am back in the kitchen.

Bon apetit.

Chocolate energy balls – vegan and raw

Chocolate energy balls – vegan and raw

Raw and Vegan – Chocolate energy balls

Chocolate balls

It’s not often we make up a recipe, but we are on the boat again, and wanted something to snack on that was healthy and would keep us going.

We had seen various recipes for this type of thing, so looked at what we had on board, and this is the result.

They would have been even better if we had had desicated coconut to roll them in. But hey – that’s life.

Ingredients:

250 grm pitted dates, soaked overnight
1 heaped tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 heaped tsp raw cacao powder
1 tspn cinnamon powder
1 tspn liquid stevia
1 heaped tbsp cacao nibs
1 heaped tbsp hemp seeds
4 heaped tbsp protein powder

Method:

Blitz the soaked dates in a bowl with a hand blender.
Start adding the ingredients, and use the blender for as long as possible.
Once the mixture becomes too firm, continue but using your hands like you are making dough.
You might want to vary the amount of protein powder to your taste.
Once all ingredients well mixed in, shape into balls and refrigerate.
As noted above, if you have desicated coconut, then roll the balls in some before refrigerating.

They were delicious!

Bon Apetit.

Pea and Potato Curry – vegan too.

Pea and Potato Curry – vegan too.

Pea and Potato Curry – vegan too

Pea and Potato Curry

Back in the kitchen at last. On my travels I bought a copy of the BBC Vegetarian Summer magazine.
There are loads of recipes in this issue I want to try out, and make them vegan if possible.

Here is my version of their pea and potato curry. They used yoghurt which I have replaced with soy cream.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely choppped
1 tsp mild chillie powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
750 grms new potatoes, halved
juice of one lemon
about 300 ml soy cream
about 250 ml vegetable stock
300 grms peas (fresh or frozen)

Method:

Heat the oil in a large pot, and cook the onions on low or medium for about 10 mins.
Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes until onions are soft.
Add in all the spices, stir in well and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and the lemon juice, coating well in the spice mix.
Add in the soy cream and veg stock and simmer slowly for about 35 mins until the potatoes are soft and the liquid has reduced down.
Stir in the peas and cook for another 5 mins or so.

And serve!  However you like.

It was delicious and would have been even better with some chopped fresh coriander stirred in immediately before serving.
Unfortunately I had not been able to get any.

Curries always improve with age, so I made this one in the afternoon, and we ate it the next day.

Thanks again to BBC Vegetarian Summer mag for the basic recipe.

Easy Vegetarian

Easy Vegetarian

Easy Vegetarian

Veggie sausages and vegetarian bacon

Still on the move. I passed briefly through London on my way back from working offshore, visiting my aged aunt.

I had to take her shopping, and also put together a quick lunch.

At  the supermarket I was reminded of the large amount of vegetarian brands and products that are available these days.

Very encouraging.

One of my favourites is the Linda McCartney range, and the Quorn range is good too.

I grabbed a packet of Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages and a pack of Quorn bacon, along with some fresh green, tomatoes ripe avocados and ready-made coleslaw. (My aunt loves this)

The sausages grill in about 10 minutes, and the bacon about a minute each side under the grill.

The bacon is surprisingly ‘bacony’!

Even the aged aunt who doesn’t really understand this vegetarian stuff loved it.

Bon apetit.

(This meal is not vegan though.)

Vegan wines and vegan sweeteners

Vegan wines and vegan sweeteners

Vegan wines and vegan sweeteners

Vegan wines from Painted Wolf Wines Company

I am delighted when someone actually makes a comment on this blog, even if it is to point out an error!

At least it shows that somebody is reading it, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Someone noted that one of my vegan recipes had honey listed in the ingredients!

Horror!

Our raw gurus in Cape Town, Peter and Beryn of Rawlicious, have fantastic raw recipes, but they don’t claim to be vegan and often use honey. I love their recipes, but have to adapt a bit to make them vegan, and usually use agave nectar instead.

There are other alternatives – xylitol nectar and stevia. Xylitol does much the same job as agave, but I have found it more expensive. Stevia works from a sweetener point of view, but you have to use much less of it, so can compromise the volume of the recipe.
Also, I think agave nectar is sweeter than honey, so you can use a little less, but then you must check the total volume of whatever you are making.

Anyway – on to vegan wines.

Vegan wine from Raka

I am still away from the kitchen and still reading other peoples ideas.
One of my favourite blogs is the Vegan SA blog –

http://blog.vegansa.com   .

Among their most recent posts, they have mentioned 2 vegan wine makers – The Painted Wolf Wines Company, and Raka.

It is wonderful to find more and more vegan and organic wines being produced!

I am really looking forward to finding and trying these when I finally get back home.

Thanks to vegan SA for the info and photos.

In the meantime – Cheers!

Raw and vegan Ice-kreem

Raw and vegan Ice-kreem

Delicious Ice-creems – raw and dairy free – and healthy

Banana cashew nut ice-creem

Another of my favourite concepts is the raw vegan ice-kreem, or whip.

These are so easy to make as they usually have only one or two (probably three at the most) ingredients.

For some of them, you might have to plan ahead and freeze some fruit beforehand, but the effort is well worth it.

A friend shared this dairy free pineapple whip (MMmm – I do occassionally go to Facebook!), and there is another variation of it here.

Thanks to Lina of Hip2Save, and Megan of the Detoxinista for these recipes.

Both these sound delicious, but I would use agave nectar or coconut blossom sugar as the sweetener, if its needed.

Some time back I made this banana-cashew nut ice-creem with chocolate sauce – decadently delicious!
(See the pic above. It was served up with a slice of raw vegan coconut tart)

I am so looking forward to getting back in the kitchen!

Bon apetit.

More raw vegan ideas

More raw vegan ideas:

At the moment I am working offshore again, so am without a kitchen! Awful.

Not only that, the internet out here is not very good and I cannot seem to upload photos.

I console myself with browsing the web looking for new raw food ideas and recipes to try, and thought I would share a couple with you.

One of my favourite raw meals are pizzas – see this post I did a while ago: Raw vegan pizza,
and I came across this really delicious looking and sounding pizza on This Rawsome Vegan Life.

Definitely on my list to try when I get back home.
This blog is written by Emily, and it’s well worth a look – some lovely recipes.

And see this one – Raw vegan pasta – something else I really need to make.

Hopefully it wont be too long before I can get back into the kitchen!

In the meantime – happy ‘uncooking’ and Bon Apetit.

Raw vegan tarts or desserts – tips and tricks

Raw vegan tarts or desserts – tips and tricks

Raw vegan tarts or desserts – tips and tricks

Mocca Tort – crust at bottom only

Since starting on making raw foods, my favourite and most successful have been the raw vegan tarts.
The recipes I have used have come from either Peter and Beryn’s Rawlicious,  or Natalie and Noel’s ‘easy living food’, but I have tweaked and modified them a little, and improved on them a bit.
Well I think so anyway
They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well, as I have mentioned, I started making these for a friend’s vegan restaurant in Cape town, and they were the third fastest selling item, so they can’t have been too bad.

Mango Tart – mousse texture

What prompted this particular post? As I am away for a while, I cannot make the tarts anymore. I passed my recipes over to them, and I was a bit surprised at how different their versions turned out. When discussing this with them, I realised there were quite a few aspects I had rather taken for granted.

Cheeze-cake and Coconut Tart

So, here are my ideas and tips to make these tarts turn out perfectly.

The crust;
1 – For all these tarts I use a 23 cm diameter springform tin.
2 – The first few I made, as per recipe, I made the crust fit the base as well as up the sides. I found this made the base a bit thin, and the sides always ended up too thick, and thus too much crust in a slice. I now only put crust at the bottom of the tart.
3 – Pretty well all crust mixtures have nuts in them. Most recipes say put all ingredients into the food processor and blend. I have found it better to put the nuts in first by themselves and process for a few seconds till they have broken up a bit. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend till you get the texture you want.
I usually prefer not to go too fine, but keep a slightly chunky texture.
4 – If using coconut oil, always melt it first. 2 reasons – it mixes in quicker and better, and it is easier to get the right amount in the measuring spoon.
5 – Press the mixture really firmly into the tin, as level as possible.
6 – Use a fork or point of a knife to make punctures all over the base. This helps the mixture grip or stick to the base.
7 – Put the base in the fridge to harden up a bit while making the filling.

Chocolate ganache

The filling:
1 – If using coconut oil, again, melt it first. In fact, when making one of these tarts the first thing I do is take the jar or tub of coconut oil and stand it in warm water, so it is melted by the time I need it. Again 2 reasons – firstly you can get the right amount, and in the case of the filling, you need as much liquid as possible to make it easier for the blender to work.
2 – Always put all the liquid ingredients into the blender first, and start blending bit by bit while adding the more solid ingredients. You will still have to use the tamper, but it helps.
3 – Whatever the flavour you are making, you want to get the filling really smooth, so you need to blend it very well. I always take a spatula and scrape down the sides a couple of times during the blending to make sure all the mixture is well blended.
4 – When using fruit in the mixture, I usually add this last. This is because fruits vary in size and moisture content, and the aim is to get the right final volume of mixture. For this size tin (23 cm) I aim for 1100 ml of blended mixture. I only use the recipe instruction of eg 4 cups of pineapple as a guideline. I add enough fruit to get the required volume.
5 – Fruits also differ in sweetness depending on their ripeness. So do the taste test and maybe add a little stevia liquid if it isn’t sweet enough. Stevia liquid works well for this as you don’t need a lot so it doesn’t affect the consistency too much.
6 – Use of coconut oil – It depends whether you are making a cheese cake type of tart or a mousse type which will be softer, and which will collapse if left out the fridge. So the more coconut oil you use, the firmer your filling will be.

Chocolate Mousse Tart – see how the end is already soft!

Just another note on coconut oil – this is one oil that you can melt and let solidify any number of times without changing it’s properties, which is why it is ok to do what I suggested in point 1.
When you are finished, take it out the water and when hard again, put it back in the larder.

The pictures show the various raw vegan tarts I have made – some with crusts up the side and some not. Some mousse texture and some cheezecake texture.
My recipes use stevia or agave nectar for sweeteners as I aim to be vegan, but you could use honey. Remember honey will solidify more than stevia or agave, so if you use honey, you might need to use less coconut oil.

My favourite – Lemon Tart

For any of these recipes, just search the blog!

Bon apetit. – Have fun in the kitchen!

Delicious and healthy Green Smoothie.

Delicious and healthy Green Smoothie.

Green Smoothie – raw, vegan and healthy

Healthy Green Smoothie

Things don’t always go according to plan, and I have not been able to do as much proper cooking on the boat as I had hoped.

But we still had to eat, so we did manage to
make really tasty and healthy smoothies for breakfast, which set us up for the day.

Our favourite was this green smoothie:

Smoothie ingredients

Ingredients –

1/2 a green melon (use the pips as well!)
1 banana
1/2 cup organic oats – soaked in water overnight
1 heaped T protein powder
2 heaped T assorted Green Powders
several drops stevia liquid
water as necessary

Method –

Basically blend all ingredients till smooth!

Some notes or tips:

The melon pips are full of good nutrients, and add a wonderful creaminess to the smoothie.
Melons are very watery, so start off with blending the melon, then add the other ingredients and only add as much water as you need.
Soaking the oats overnight makes them lovely and soft and easier to blend.
You can use any green powders – eg wheat grass powder or barley grass powder etc etc.
Blend on high for a while to get it really smooth and creamy. On the boat we only have a stick blender, so I had to whizz for quite a while.
This recipe is vegan. You could use honey as a sweetener instead of the stevia, if you only want to be vegetarian.

Bon apetit.

Vegan in York

Vegan in York

El Piano – vegan eatery in York

According to Happy Cow, there are quite a few vegetarian places, but only one vegan establishment – El Piano.

Very Spanish sounding, not surprisingly, as the other two branches are in Granada and Malaga in Spain.

A main course cost £ 9.95 and was made up of your choice of one hot dish, one choice of fritters and one cold salad.

El Piano recipe book

I had the Quiche (soy free quiche with veggies in a white bean crust), Tinas (Bolivian carrot and spring onion patties) and Tabuleh Lorca (tabuleh
with oranges, dates and spices).

Karen had the sweet and sour tofu (oven roasted tofu with veg and sweet & sour sauce), Pestolitos (spinach, basil, tomato and onion fritters) and the
Mexislaw (red cabbage, chillies, limes and coriander).

All were delicious. Very filling too – we would have loved to have tried a dessert, but it would have been too much.

We noticed they had a recipe book for sale – El Toque –  The Final Touch.
After paging through their sample copy, we just had to buy a copy – £ 10.00.

So you can expect some of these recipes coming up soon!

Check out their website at El Piano

We also had a very good vegan meal at The Goji Cafe. They do vegetarian and vegan food.
We shared a Brawn Cocktail, which is a vegan take on a Prawn cocktail, and both had the mushroom burger as a main. Again – delicious.
This is a small eatery, and it’s advisable to book.

Next week we should be back on the boat and have a kitchen, so will be cooking again.

In the meantime, bon apetit.

Vegan in Brighton

Vegan in Brighton

V-Bites vegan breakfast

Travelling again so not much time in the kitchen lately.

But travelling does give us the chance to try out vegan eateries.

We took a weekend break in Brighton on the South Coast and before going, checked out Happy Cow

V-Bites in Brighton

There are a surprisingly large number of vegetarian restaurants there, but only 4 vegan ones.

So we had a vegan fry up breakfast at V-Bites, a vegan restaurant started by Heather Mills.

Very tasty it was, complete with very ‘real looking’ bacon rashers.

Loving Hut – Vegan eatery in Brighton

Lunch was a curry and a stir-fry at ‘The Loving Hut’.

Again very good.

I am not sure what we expected here, but not this. It turned out to be a predominantly take away place, run by 2 Buddhists!

There were one or two small tables, where we chose to eat our meals.

Hisbe in Brighton

There was also a TV screen playing a DVD – ‘Forks over Knives’ which is based on the China Study.

Both are a must to see for passionate vegans.

We also found another very interesting shop – Hisbe – which stands for How It Should Be – and puts health and happiness before profit! Rather unheard of these days.

Unfortunately they are not even vegetarian, let alone vegan, but they aim to provide healthy and organic produce at reasonable prices.

Next week – Vegan eateries in York.

Veggie wraps

Veggie wraps

Veggie wraps – go organic

Veggie wrap

I have never been mad about standard type of wraps, as I try to stay away from those bready sort of carbohydrates

But a wonderful alternative is to use spinach leaves instead.

You hardly need a recipe as such.

Just try and use as much fresh organic produce as possible.

Organic ingredients and julienne peeler

Chop or julienne your chosen fillings.

(You can even buy a ‘julienne peeler’  – see one in the pic)

Spread a little humus on a spinach leaf and put in a selection of the veggies.

And roll!

Add some extra flavour by dipping them in tamari or soy sauce when you eat.

Making veggie wraps

Wonderful.

Bon apetit.

Trail Mix – great healthy snacking

Trail Mix – great healthy snacking

Healthy snack – make your own Trail Mix

Trail mix

One of my latest discoveries since going a bit raw is the trail mix.

You can buy it ready made, but I prefer to make up my own.

We recently did a 3 day hike and I took some of this along.

It is really tasty, and being full of healthy nutrient-dense goodies keeps you feeling full and strong.

This is the mix I made, but like any of these things, you can have fun and be creative and come up with your own favourite.

Some ingredients for trail mix

Ingredients:

1 C cashew nuts
1 C raw almonds
1/2 C organic pomegranate seeds
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C linseeds
1/4 C sesame seeds
1/2 C dried organic raw goji berries
1/2 C dried organic white mulberries
1/2 C raw organic cacao nibs
1/2 C raisins

Method:

You can just mix the whole lot together, but I like to put the nuts in the food processor first and pulse a few times just to break them up a bit.
Then mix.

The other thing about being raw and vegan is to make sure you do get enough protein in, and avoiding the carb rich snacks like bread and biscuits.
So I now keep a bowl of trail mix handy in the kitchen and snack away on this during the day. Works wonders.

A small bag of trail mix would be a brilliant option for kid’s lunch box!

Bon apetit

Choc mint mousse cake – healthy entertaining – raw and vegan

Choc mint mousse cake – healthy entertaining – raw and vegan

Choc Mint Mousse Cake – raw and vegan and healthy

Choc mint mousse cake – delicious – raw and vegan

Finally this week, here is the recipe for this wickedly delicious choc mint mousse cake.

This is the one we served at the last dinner party.

See raw vegan sweetcorn chowder

and smoked tofu steaks

for the other courses.

The original recipe came from ‘easy living food’ by Natalie Reid and Noel Marten, but I made a couple of changes as usual.

Firstly I used agave nectar instead of honey, to make it vegan. Secondly, as they tell you in the book, the mousse is very light and needs to be served from the fridge, so I added some coconut oil to the filling just to give it a touch more firmness.

Choc mint mousse cake

The recipe as I made it:

Crust:

1 C almonds
1 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C dates, pitted and soaked
1/4 C coconut oil
pinch of salt

Process the nuts and seeds a little in the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process till you have a doughy mixture. You may have to stop and push the mixture down the sides a couple of times.
Press the mixture into the bottom of a 23 cm springform baking tin, making sure it is evenly spread. Use a fork and make a whole lot of punctures into the crust. This helps the filling stick to the crust.
Put this in the fridge while making the filling.

Filling:

About 6 ripe avocados (the total volume of the filling once blended needs to be about 1100 ml)
1 1/4 C organic raw cacao powder
1 C agave nectar
1/4 C coconut oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil (do a taste test to see if you need 1 extra drop. Also best to put drops into a teaspoon to make sure you don’t use too much)

Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend well till silky smooth.
Pour into the base and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

There are loads of wonderful raw recipes in this book, and you can buy it online from the easylivingfood website

Bon apetit.

Healthy entertaining – smoked tofu steaks

Healthy entertaining – smoked tofu steaks

Smoked Tofu Steaks – vegan and healthy way to entertain

Tofu steaks with raw mango chutney

In last week’s post, I gave the recipe for the starter (raw sweetcorn chowder) at our last dinner party.

Now for the main course, which was smoked tofu steaks with a raw mango chutney, sweet potato chips and salads.

The one thing I love about this sort of meal, it is so easy to prepare. Not too much slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen, and more time to be with your guests, as most of the work is done well in advance.

Sweet potato chips – oven baked

We had 8 people at the meal, so I used three blocks of smoked tofu, each cut into 6 ‘steaks’.

These were simply baked in the oven for about half an hour, turned one or two times.

At the same time, I baked the sweet potato chips.

See this post for more on making these chips.

A sauce always goes well with steak, so Karen made the raw mango chutney –

Ingredients for this:

1 ripe mango
1 small white onion
1 fresh raw chilli
1 to 2 T lemon juice
Natural sweetener – we used stevia liquid

What to do:

Finely chop the onion.
Cover the chopped onion with the lemon juice.
Add a little of the sweetener.
Finely chop the chilli, and add it in.
Let this all stand for 1 to 2 hours.
Drain off the juice.
Finely chop the mango and add in.

The choc mint mousse cake

As for the green salads – well I am not going to detail exact recipes.

Have fun with what is fresh and in season, and go for colourful ingredients.

Nuts and seeds also add texture and protein to salads.

A note on the healthy side of things – where possible use organic produce, and use non GMO soy products.

Next week – the choc mint mousse cake.

Happy entertaining.

Entertaining healthily – raw and vegan – raw vegan sweetcorn chowder

238 Tofu steaks, mango chutney, sweet potato chips and salad
Tofu steaks, mango chutney, chips and salad

I think about 90 to 95% of our friends are hard core carnivores, and probably think Karen and I are a bit mad.

Nevertheless, we continue to invite people for dinner parties and serve up raw and/or vegan food.

The good thing is, mostly, our guests are pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoy their meal.

Which is wonderful and encouraging for us.

Raw sweetcorn chowder

This was the menu for our most recent dinner party:

Pre-dinner nibbles – onion bread with humous or vegan creem cheeze

Starter – Raw sweetcorn chowder

Main course – Smoked tofu steaks with a mango                         chutney
Oven baked sweet potato chips
2 green salads

Dessert     – Raw vegan choc mint mousse cake

For the onion bread, see this previous post.

 

The raw soup was absolutely divine, and oh so easy to make:

Ingredients:

3 C     sweetcorn (fresh or frozen – thaw the frozen first though)
2 1/4 C water
3/4 C   cashew nuts
1 t     rock salt
About an extra cup corn and a few sprigs of parsley for serving/garnish

Put all the ingredients (except the garnish bits) into a high speed blender, and blend really well till smooth and creamy.

I doubled up on the above, as we had eight people for dinner, and we had some left over.

This soup is better if ever so slightly warm. So you can make it at the very last minute and blend for a long time so that it is warm from the blender.

Or, as I did, make it well in advance and warm by standing the pot of soup in another bowl of hot water, like a bain-marie.
To serve, pour into bowls, stir in about a dessert spoon of corn kernels and add a sprig of parsley.

Raw vegan choc mint mousse cake

Next up – the main course, and the week after, the choc mint mousse:

In the meantime, bon apetit.

Sweet potato chips – oven baked

Sweet potato chips – oven baked

Oven baked sweet potato chips

I never thought I would ever blog about chips!

But while looking for the perfect vegan burger, we went to Wellness Warehouse restaurant in Cape Town, where they served up their vegan burger with these absolutely divine chips.

So of course I had to try and recreate them.

I haven’t managed to get mine exactly the same, but they are still rather good. And so easy!

Use sweet potatoes, peel them and cut into chips.

Lightly coat with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse rock salt.

Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 20 mins to half an hour, turning a couple of times.

You can vary this idea by using different herb and spice mixtures. Get creative!

And of course, a lot more healthy than the deep fried ordinary potato chips.

Bon apetit.

Green Pea Soup – raw and vegan

Green Pea Soup – raw and vegan

Raw vegan green pea soup

We are still busy with a round of entertaining.

Last night the menu was:

Green Pea soup

A selection of pizzas – raw pizza bases, with mostly raw toppings

Fresh fruit with a sweet nut kreem.

Here is the soup recipe I used.I did rather make it up after googling a whole lot of pea soup recipes.
However, it worked out rather well – a lovely bright green colour, and very refreshing. Just perfect for the hot summer weather we are having here.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups peas (I used frozen peas, but you could use fresh ones)
2 Avocados
3 1/2 cups plant based milk
2 spring onions – chopped
rock salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

More green pea soup!

Method:

Blend the whole lot in the high speed blender till smooth and creamy.

Serve garnished with a sprig of mint.

This made enough for 10 servings.

The pizzas were very similar to the ones in this post.

Goji Tomato soup

Goji Tomato soup

Goji tomato soup – raw and vegan

One of the great things about entertaining with raw food is that most of the preparation can be done well in advance, or even the day before.

This means less last minute problems – all you have to do is serve up.

At our last dinner party, where we had the Chocolate Ganache (see previous post), for the first course I made the goji tomato soup.

This recipe is also from ‘the Magic of Superfoods’ recipe book.

Although it was very good, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor I expected.
And, I don’t think the raw onions should be included in this recipe – they are too powerful a flavour.

Anyway, here is their recipe;

Ingredients:

3 C hot water
6 tomatoes
1/2 avo
1/3 C goji berries, soaked
1/4 red onion
1 1/2 T miso
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.

You can get Peter and Beryn’s book – the magic of Superfoods – from the Rawlicious website.

Bon apetit.

Raw vegan chocolate ganache with superfood crust

Raw vegan chocolate ganache with superfood crust

Raw vegan chocolate ganache

A few things happened that got me going on the raw vegan desserts again.

– Peter and Beryn’s new book, the Magic of Superfoods was launched, and naturally we bought a copy.

– We have started a round of entertaining again.

– And the other raw desserts that I made, particularly the Lemon Tart, have proved so successful that I am making them for our friend’s new vegan restaurant – Plant – here in Cape Town.

For our last dinner party, I wanted a suitably decadent dessert, and the Chocolate Ganache, from the Superfoods book was just what I needed.

All these raw desserts have a very similar recipe method. The original recipes use honey, but to make them vegan I use either agarve nectar or xylitol syrup.

Here is my version of this recipe:

Ingredients:

Superfood crust –

2 C pecans
1/4 C mesquite
1/4 C lucuma
1/4 C agarve nectar
3 T coconut oil
2 T maca

For the filling –

2 C macadamias
1/2 C agarve nectar
1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C cacao powder
125 g cacao paste
3/4 C water
1 t vanilla powder
pinch of salt

Method:

Put all the crust ingredients into the food processor and pulse until formed into a crumbley mixture.
Press into a springform baking tin.
Prick the base with a fork, or point of a knife several times, and put in the fridge while making the filling.
Put all filling ingredients into a high speed blender and blend till smooth.
Pour onto the base.
Put in the fridge to set.

And yes it was absolutely divine!

I can really recommend the book – The magic of Superfoods – by Peter and Beryn Daniel.
You can buy it online from their Rawlicious website.

A light word of caution here – these raw vegan desserts are absolutely delicious, are certainly ‘healthy’ but they DO contain calories!!

Bon apetit

Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlets

Vegan chickpea cutlets

Having had such success with our Vegan Ham at Xmas, we wanted to find a quick and easy vegan meal with that ‘meatiness’ which would appeal to our carnivore friends.

Karen came across this chickpea cutlet recipe which we tested.

They were indeed quick and easy, quite tasty, and definitely had that meaty texture we were
looking for.

The basic recipe came from an excellent book – Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
You can get that book from Amazon:

As usual, we did a few things differently, but here is the recipe as per their book –

Ingredients:

1 C cooked chickpeas
2 T olive oil
1/2 C wheat gluten
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1/4 C vegetable broth or water
2 T soy sauce
2 cloves garlic. pressed or grated
1/2 t lemon zest
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t dried sage
Olive oil for frying

Cutlets before cooking

Method:

In a bowl, mash the chickpeas and oil together, until no whole chickpeas remain.

Add the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead for about 3 minutes, or until strings of gluten have formed.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.

Form the cutlets by kneading each piece in your hand for  a few moments, and then stretch and flatten into approximately 6 inch x 4 inch cutlet
shapes.

Served up with soba noodles and a spicy relish

Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Cook the cutlets for about 6 or 7 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and firm.

What we did differently –

1 tin of chickpeas.
Wheatgerm instead of breadcrumbs.
Tamari instead of soy sauce.
Omitted the lemon zest.
For the herbs and spices – we used cayenne pepper, onion salt and garlic salt.
Coconut oil for the frying.

You can serve these up with veggies, or mash or salad or pretty well anything that you like.
We ate them with a serving of soba (buckwheat) noodles and courgettes, and a spicy relish.

I haven’t done any more on my quest for the perfect vegan burger yet.

Bon apetit.

Quest for the perfect vegan burger

Quest for the perfect vegan burger

Vegan burger patties and salad

Burgers are always a great meal, but vegan versions can be a bit bland.
The store bought ones always seem over processed.

My first shot at homemade vegan burger patties was last year while we we travelling on the boat in Netherlands. See this post.

As good as those were, I’m sure they could be improved in a number of ways.

So I am now on a sort of mini mission to come up with my ideal vegan burger patty.
First I did some ‘googling’ – amazing just how many recipes there are out there. And most of them sound delicious.
But then I realized that whatever the flavour or name of the burger, there is a common theme running in all of them:
They all contain some type of beans, chickpeas or lentils, some kind of vegetable or vegetables, selection of spices for the flavour, and something to glue it all together – flour, or oats or rice for example.
This last ingredient, the glue, is probably the most important. I’m sure we have all had the problem of patties or croquettes etc falling apart. Most annoying!

Among the googling, Karen found this post –  5 tips on making the perfect veggie burger – no falling apart! Absolutely brilliant. Thanks to One Green Planet for this.

Perfectly shaped vegan burger patties

Armed with all these ideas, I tried again.

We had aubergines (brinjals) already cooked up with onions and garlic – the veggies.
From the staples in the larder I found 2 tins of butter beans. Rinsed and drained them.
A selection of herbs and spices, and of course a pinch or so of rock salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
And the glue – rolled oats and oat flour, with a few linseeds.

From the 5 tips mentioned above, I think no 1 (controlling the moisture) and no 4 (using a mold) are the most important.
I didn’t do quite as good a job with the moisture problem, and my mixture was still a touch wet.
But I did use our burger maker, which turns out perfectly even patties.

I put all the ingredients in the food processor and pulsed for a few times, and formed the mix into 8 patties.
Baked them in the oven, at 180 degress C for about 30 minutes.
We served them up with a dollop of vegan mayonnaise and a salad.

This attempt was pretty tasty, but we are not there yet. Still more work to do on getting the moisture content right.
The other thing is to make them a little more chunky in content.
One recipe suggests using only about 3/4 of the beans or whatever in the food processing stage, and mixing in the remaining 1/4 whole by hand afterwards.

I would welcome any other tips or ideas to come up with the ideal vegan burger.

Will keep experimenting and keep you posted.
Bon apetit.

Raw vegan Nut Log

Raw vegan Nut Log

Raw vegan Nut Log

For Xmas, along with the Vegan Ham we made a cooked nut roast.

I wasn’t particularly thrilled with this dish, so did not blog it.

However, While browsing one of my favourite recipes books – easy living food, I found this version of a roast – a raw vegan Nut Log.

I made it last Sunday for a dinner party, and it was fantastic.

Here is their recipe:

Log ingredients –

1 C almonds, soaked
1 C red onion, roughly chopped
1 C fresh green herbs, parsley or origanum,for example
1/2 C celery, thinly sliced
1/2 C carrots, roughly chopped
1/4 C flax seeds, ground
1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
3 T Miso
1/2 t rock or sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Coating ingredients

2 T coriander seeds
1/4 C buckwheat, activated and dried

Method –

Put nuts in the food processor using the S-blade, and process till fine.
Add all other log ingredients, and process till well combined, but the individual ingredients are still discernible.
The mixture should be damp enough to hold together when squeezed. If not add a little water and mix some more.
Lightly crush the coriander seeds and buckwheat in a pestle and mortar.
Spread  this crushed mix onto a board, and place the nut log mixture on top.
Roll the loaf gently into it to coat it, and form into a log shape.
Dehydrate for about 4 to 5 hours to warm through.
Served sliced and garnished with fresh parsley.

Fresh mango and coriander salsa

Notes:

We had quite a few people, so I doubled up the ingredients, and then ended up with 2 logs. (One large log was just too large and unmanageable)

As it is summer here in Cape Town, we served this cold with a fresh mango and coriander salsa.

This time, I followed the recipes exactly, and have 2 comments:
1 – We thought the coriander flavour in the coating was a touch too strong, so next time will go easy on that ingredient.
2 – I did the whole activating and drying story for the buckwheat, but I don’t think it’s essential at all.

Although we have a dehydrator, you could dry the log in an oven, on low temperature, with the door ajar. See my last post on The Raw Kitchen.

Bon apetit!

The Raw Kitchen

The Raw Kitchen

Raw kitchen appliances

This blog started off as vegetarian and healthy, went through a low-carb phase, and now concentrates pretty much on vegan and raw, which is about as healthy as you can get, or so we think anyway.

We are thoroughly enjoying making raw food, but it is quite a mindset change, and does utilize a very definite set of kitchen appliances.

I thought I would run through these gadgets for anyone thinking of going more raw.

I must also say, I don’t think very many people are 100% raw. We are probably about 60% to 70% raw.

So these are the appliances we use most:

High speed blender

OmniBlend high speed blender

You might already have a mini blender of a sort already, but to get that creamy texture in smoothies, raw soups and other mixtures, the high speed blender is a must.

The 2 most popular makes are Vitamix and Omniblend.
We have the Omniblend 5.

Probably the most used piece of equipment we have.

Stick blender, spice grinder and spiralizer

Stick Blender

We had one of these a long time ago, and to a large extent it has been superseded by the high speed blender.

But for small quantities, we still resort to this machine. You don’t get the same creamy texture from it, but it does a very good job.

You do need one with reasonable power. We
have the Braun 300 Watt model.

Spice or coffee grinder

This little gem has proved invaluable, not only for grinding spices, but for also making oat or almond flour, as well as flax powder.
Both low-carb and raw recipes often use almond or oat flours, and flax powder is used extensively in raw food preparation.
One can buy these already ground, but they do lose something over time, so it is better if you can grind your own as you need it.

Spiralizer

Perfect for making interesting salads and turning vegetables such as butternut, courgettes or sweet potatoes into raw pastas.
You can of course do this manually by chopping or slicing very finely, or using a julienne peeler, but the spiralizer produces a much better effect.

Oscar juicer

Juicer

Juicing is possibly the best way to get a good daily dose of nutrients into your body. (you should use organic fresh produce wherever possible)

There are two types of juicer, the centrifugal, or the masticating one, each with their own advantages, or disadvantages.

The centrifugal type is quicker, but quite a mission to clean, The masticating type takes longer, probably gets more juice out, and is easier to clean. We have the Oscar masticating machine, which also has a ‘processing adaptor’ which is brilliant for making ‘ice-kreem’ from frozen fruits, or making pasta.

Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator, with door open

Dehydrator

One of the basic concepts of ‘raw’ is that food loses most of it’s nutrients once heated above certain temperatures. In fact it becomes carcinogenic once starting to blacken or burn.

Dehydrating is drying at low temperatures over for a number of hours, depending on what you are making.

There are two main types or makes of dehydrator – the Easi-dry and the Excalibur.

Dehydrator with door closed

The Easi dry comprises stackable circular drying racks. The advantage is you can stack as many as you like, but then you cant get at the bottom racks
easily.
This type has square drying racks, but is limited to either 5 or 9 depending on the model, but you can access any tray easily.
We have the Excailbur 9 tray model.

If you are only experimenting with raw, you can get the same effect by using your oven on the lowest possible temperature (probably 70 degrees C) and keep the door slightly open. This is not really an energy efficient way, but is probably okay occassionally.

Magi Mix

Food processor

Up to now, I have never owned a food processor of any kind. We decided to treat ourselves to the Magi Mix 4200 XL.
Makes chopping veggies a dream, and indispensable for making those delicious raw desserts.

You can read more about all of these appliances and gadgets in most raw recipe books.

These, or similar appliances are available from Amazon

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Kale chips

Since we started getting into this raw stuff, we have discovered kale, and kale chips.

Organically grown kale, which we use frequently in our green juices, is available at the weekly Hope Street Market in Cape Town.

One CAN buy kale chips, but even though they are delicious, they are hellishly expensive.

However, I found a recipe for these delicious snacks in Natalie and Noel’s ‘easy living food’

Kale chips ready for dehydrating

You need:

1 Kg of kale – reduces to about 500 grms when trimmed
2 C cashew or macadamia nuts
3/4 C water
1/4 C hemp seeds
2 T hemp powder
2 lemons, peeled
2 t salt
1 T mixed Italian herbs

Method:

Remove all the woody stems and pieces from the kale, and wash the leaves to remove any soil.
Tear the kale leaves into palm sized bits.
Blend the lemon, hemp powder, nuts, water and salt in a high speed blender until it is a smooth cheezy paste (you will need to use the tamper quite a lot to push the mixture into the blades).
Put the kale and the cheeze into a bowl and massage till the kale is well coated.
Lay out onto dehydrator trays (do not overlap too much as this will increase the drying time).
Sprinkle on the hemp seeds and herbs.
Dry until crisp.

Notes:

This is a basic recipe. You can vary the herbs or ingredients to change the flavours. I add nutritional yeast to make it more ‘cheezey’.
The recipe says dry for 24 to 36 hours. I have always found I need less drying time.
You can dry these in an oven, at a low temperature – about 70 degrees C.

Next week –

I have been doing a lot of raw recipes lately, and frequently mention dehydrators, high speed blenders or juicers.
Next week I will show the various gadgets that are the ‘must-haves’ in a truly raw kitchen, as well as a little about ‘going raw’.
Till then – Bon Apetit!

Vegan ‘fry-up’

Vegan ‘fry-up’

Vegan ‘fry up’

People often ask why vegans or vegetarians try to make carnivore look alike meals.

I am not really sure why we do this, but at the moment we have Karen’s parents staying with us, and they are not even vegetarian, let alone vegan.

I think we do this to make them feel at home, and that our food is not too strange.

The other morning we did a breakfast along the lines of an ‘eggs benedict’ dish.

We fried up onions and mushrooms in a pan, and then added a little dried soy mince, tomato paste and a dash of tamari.

Some organic fresh spinach was lightly steamed/wilted.

Using a block of plain tofu, we made scrambled tofu – see scrambled tofu recipe

All served up on toast with some organic cherry tomatoes.

Not exactly a fry up in the true sense, but a colourful, tasty and healthy start to the day.

(Oh – the toast in the picture is rye bread. Not vegan. The folks didn’t enjoy our vegan bread, which I have to admit takes a bit of getting used to!)

Raw Vegan Mango Tart

Raw Vegan Mango Tart

Raw vegan mango tart

One of our dreams is to run a small ‘underground restaurant’ from our home, maybe twice a month, serving raw vegan food.

Which is why I keep practicing these raw vegan desserts.

I tried this raw mango tart a while ago. It had a really lovely fresh fruity flavour.

So good I made another yesterday.

Again, the recipe comes from Peter and Beryn’s Rawlicious book, which is available from their website – Rawlicious

Here is their recipe.

It is one of the easiest recipes to make – the hardest part is getting all the flesh from the mangoes – decidedly messy.

For the crust:

1 1/2 C cashew nuts, or almonds (this time I used half/half)
3 C dessicated coconut
1 T lemon juice
Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod (I used 1 tspn vanilla powder)
1/2 C honey (to make this vegan, I used 1/4 C agave nectar and 1/4 C Xylitol syrup)
1 T coconut oil

First grind the nuts to a powder in the food processor.
Add all other ingredients and pulse till well mixed.
Use a quiche tin with removeable base, or a springform cake tin.
Press the mixture into the base and up the sides.
Puncture holes in the base using a fork, and put in fridge while you make the filling.

For the mango mousse filling:

5 ripe mangoes (I only used 4 as they were quite large ones, and I had I tiny bit of the mixture left)
1 C coconut oil
Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod (again I used about a tspn of vanilla powder)
1/2 tspn Himalayan rock salt

Blend all the ingredients in a power blender till smooth.
Take the base out of the fridge and pour the filling into the crust.
Return to fridge to set. will take 1 to 2 hours.

Mango tart and coconut tart

Other favourite raw vegan desserts that we have tried –

Coconut tart

Mocha tort

Classic cheezcake

Lemon tart

Bon apetit, and a Happy New Year!

Vegan Ham for Xmas

Vegan Ham for Xmas

Vegan ham

We have been wanting to do more with seitan, but simply have not got around to it.

Karen’s parents, who are hard core carnivores, are here for Xmas, so we needed to produce something ‘meatlike’ for Xmas lunch yesterday.

Karen did a brilliant job and came up with this vegan ham, or gammon. It looked just like a piece of roasted meat, had an incredibly meatlike texture, and was very tasty as well.

She made it the day before, and we served it cold.

Here is the recipe she finally used:

‘Ham’ ready for cooking

Ingredients:

Dry mix –

1 C gluten powder
1 C soy flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper

Wet mix –

1 C water
1 400grm brick of Smoked Tofu
1 1/2 T tamari
1 1/2 T tomato paste

Cooking broth –

2 C hot vegetarian broth
2 1 heaped T brown sugar
1 T mild flavoured oil

Method:

Wet mix – blend all ingredients till smooth. (use either a high speed blender, or a stick blender)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. (this needs to be well mixed, with absolutely no lumps of gluten flour)

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and knead well until it is well mixed. You may need to add a little water to ensure all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

Let the dough rest, and make the cooking broth in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

Shape the dough into a flat oval shape.

Put the ‘ham’ into an oven proof container, and pour over the cooking broth.

Cook for about 2 hours, turning and basting it a few times. You might need to add a touch more water.

Once cooked, let it cool.

Slice it thinly and serve cold, garnished with pineapple slices.

Bon apetit and happy Xmas.

Raw Nut Cheezes

Raw Nut Cheezes

Selection raw nut cheeze rolls

One of the hardest things about going vegan is getting over the desire for cheese.

Since we discovered raw nut cheezes, it has been much easier.

These soft nut cheeze rolls are great for snacking, especially with raw onion bread or raw flax cracker biscuits.

The basic cheeze recipe –

2 C macadamia nuts
1/3 C water
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt

Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender, and blend till smooth. You will need to use the tamper a lot, or keep pushing the mixture down into the blades.

It helps if there is more mixture, so I usually make a double batch.

Put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

For the coating, you can have fun and come up with all sorts of ideas.

Prepare your coatings before taking the mixture out the fridge.

Divide up the mixture and shape into rolls. (2 rolls for a single batch or 4 rolls for a double batch)

Roll into whatever coating you are using.

Here are the ideas in the four rolls in the picture:

1 Freshly ground black pepper.
2 Garlic and herbs (dried basil, origanum and rosemary) – I took the dried herbs and gave them a short whizz in the spice grinder first.
3 A spicy one – cayenne pepper and turmeric mix.
4 A sweet one – ground up goji berries.

One other thing – you can freeze these cheezes. The flavour is unaffected, by they do go slightly darker.

Bon apetit!

Rustic coconut tart

Rustic coconut tart

Rustic coconut tart

Another heavenly and healthy raw dessert from Natalie and Noel’s ‘easy living food’.

We served this at our last raw pizza dinner party – see previous posts.

Their recipe called for mature coconuts. I used dessicated coconut.

This tended to soak up the liquid so to up the liquid a bit, i added some coconut cream.

Rustic coconut tart slices

Bearing that in mind, here is their recipe:

Crust:

1 C pumpkin seeds
1 C buckwheat, activated and dried
1 C dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 C coconut oil
1/4 C hemp powder
1/2 t salt

Put all ingredients into food processor and process till mixed but chunky.
Press into base of springform tin.

Filling:

2 C mature brown coconuts, chopped
1 C coconut water or water
1 C coconut oil
1 C cashew nuts
1 t vanilla powder
1/4 C honey

Put all ingredients into the high speed blender and blend till smooth, using the tamper as necessary.
Pour the filling into the crust and swirl with a wooden spoon.
Refrigerate for about 6 hours before serving.

Notes:
They also have a comment about having possibly to improvise a little with the amounts due to the different yield of coconuts.
As we are trying to be vegan, I did not use honey. Instead used a mixture of agave nectar and xylitol syrup.

Again, this was absolutely delicious.

You can get Natalie and Noel’s book from their website ‘easylivingfood’

Bon apetit.

Raw Mini carrot cakes with orange

Raw Mini carrot cakes with orange

Raw mini carrot cakes

Here is another delicious raw dessert from my recipe book of the moment – ‘easy living food’ – by Natalie Reid and Noel Marten.

Cake:

4 C carrots, finely grated
2 C almonds, or other nuts
1 C date jam
1 C dessicated coconut
1 C orange juice
1/2 C raisins
1 T ginger, juiced or minced
2 t mixed spices
1 t orange zest
1 t nutmeg
1 t salt

Crush the almonds in the food processor, or use a heavy rolling pin.
Mix all cake ingredients in a bowl.
Measure out in to approx 1/3 C size portions, shape into little cakes about 1 cm thick, and place on solid dehydrator sheet.
Dry for about 6 hours, remove from solid sheets and dry for another 2 hours.

Icing:

1 1/2 C cashews
1/2 C   water
3 T     coconut oil
2 T     agave syrup, or honey
1/2 t   vanilla powder
1/4 t   salt

Blend all icing ingredients in a blender, and spread onto cakes.

Garnish with zested carrot strips and grated nutmeg.

Some notes:
I didn’t have any raisins, so left this out.
This is vegan, provided you use the agave option and not the honey.

One thing I love about this recipe book is that the recipes actually work. The only thing I would say is that we use less drying time than they say.
I can still heartily recommend this book, which you can get from their website ‘easylivingfood’

Bon apetit!

Fun with Raw Pizza

Fun with Raw Pizza

Pizza 1 – Red pepper, sweet onion, spinach, fennel & walnuts

We first tasted these raw pizzas a while ago.

They were delicious and filling, and I have been wanting to make them myself for some time.

Finally got around to it.

I did a test run before letting them loose on our guests.

I made the first small batch of bases when I made the carrot flax cracker biscuits. See here.

198 Pizza 2 chiken strips, broccoli and pepperdews

Pizza 2 – Fry’s chicken strips, broccoli & pepperdews

For the bases, the tomato paste and the nut cheese, I used the recipe from Natalie and Noel’s recipe book – ‘easy living food’ which you can get from their website ‘easy living food’.
199 Pizza 3 Olives, tomato, yellow peppers and basil

Pizza 3 – tomato, olives, yellow peppers & basil

As for the toppings – well that is the fun bit and entirely up to you!
For our dinner party, there were 8 people including Karen and I, and we made 5 different pizzas, cut into 8 slices each. There was more than enough to go around.
We made the following toppings – (in addition to the tomato paste and the nut cheese)
200 Pizza 4 Curried tofu, sweet onions and spinach
Pizza 4 – Curried tofu, sweet onion and spinach
1 – Sort of tropical flavour – Red peppers, spinach, sweet onions, fennel and walnuts.
2 – Something to make the carnivores feel at home – Fry’s ‘chicken’ strips, broccoli and pepperdews.
3 – Bit of a Greek feel – Olives, yellow peppers, tomato and basil.
4 – A spicy one – Curried tofu pieces, sweet onion and spinach (with optional sliced banana, which we put in a bowl on the table).
201 Pizza 5 Polony, cauliflower, sundried tomatoes, spring onion and rocket
Pizza 5 – Fry’s polony, cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, spring onion & rocket
5 – Another nod to the carnivores – Fry’s polony strips, cauliflower, sundried tomatoes, spring onion and rocket.
Karen’s sweet onions
Just a note – the sweet onion – Karen finely sliced red onions and marinated them in red wine vinegar and a little agarve syrup for a few hours.
Oh yes – the pedantic among you will have noted that a couple of these were not strictly ‘raw’ because of the Fry’s products, but they are all vegan!
So have fun and get creative with these – your guest will love them, hardened meat eaters as well!
Bon apetit.
Here are the basic recipes as per the book:
Pizza base:
1 C buckwheat – they say activated, but I just soak it for about 2 hours
1 C red or white onions, thinly sliced
1 C water
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
1 apple, peeled and cored
2 T olive oil
1 T tamari
1/2 t salt
Blend the buckwheat, apple, tamari and water into a paste on high for about 30 seconds.
Pour into a bowl with all the other ingredients, and massage into a dough.
Spread onto solid dehydater sheet and dehydrate for about 12 hours.
Remove from sheet and place on racks and dry until ready.
Tomato sauce;
1/2 C dates, soaked
1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes
1 T tamari
1/2 clove garlic
Blend on high for about 30 seconds.
Nut cheez:
1 C nuts – cashews or macadamias
1/2 C water
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 lemon
1 t mustard powder
1/2 t salt
Blend all ingredients together.
Raw Carrot flax cracker biscuits

Raw Carrot flax cracker biscuits

Carrot flax cracker biscuits

I am beginning to sound like a stuck record, but this raw food concept is just amazing! (I usually hate that word!)

The food is not only so tasty, but extremely satisfying without leaving you feeling full or bloated.

Another of my pet hates is wasting food. The other day I made some raw mini carrot cakes (coming up in a  post shortly), for which I needed carrot juice.

The mixture spread on the tray ready for dehydrating

After juicing the carrots, I was left with a pile of carrot pulp.
I kept this in a plastic bag in the deep freeze until my next dehydrating session, in which I  planned to try making raw pizza bases (also coming up soon).

I used the Flax-vegetable Crackers recipe from Peter and Beryn Daniel’s Rawlicious book as a base.
I upped the quantities a bit as I had quite a large amount of carrot pulp, and as I didn’t have dried mixed herbs, used liberal sprinklings of basil, origanum and rosemary.

The result was wonderful!

Here is the recipe as per their book:

Ingredients –

2 Cups golden flax seeds, ground
5 – 6 courgettes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 T mixed herbs
1/8 Cup olive oil
1/8 Cup tamari
1 t rock salt

Method –

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend till smooth.
Spread mixture out onto solid dehydrator sheet.
Score mixture into squares or rectangles or wedges.
Dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours.
Turn onto mesh sheets and dehydrate for a further 1 to 2 hours, or until dry and crispy.

Notes

I found I need a little less drying time.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could try using your oven on a low temperature, with the door slightly open.
I haven’t tried this, so not sure how long drying time you would need.

You can get this recipe book from Peter and Beryn’s website – Rawlicious

Coming up in the next weeks: Raw pizza base and mini carrot cakes.

Bon apetit.

Raw Pecan cookies – vegan too!

Raw Pecan cookies – vegan too!

Raw vegan pecan cookies

We are just loving all these raw foods, and particularly the sweet or dessert ones.

These raw pecan cookies were so easy, and of course delicious.

The original recipe came from Anya Ladra’s book – ‘Raw Food detox’
Her recipe called for maple syrup, but that is ridiculously expensive, so I substituted a mixture of agave nectar and xylitol syrup.

I used the following:

1 1/2 cups pecan nuts
6 soft pitted dates
2 Tbsp – half agave nectar and half xylitol syrup
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn rock salt

Soak the pecans for about an hour in cold water.
Thoroughly drain the pecans.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor.
Pulse until well combined but still a bit chunky.
Divide the mixture into 8 to 10 pieces and shape into cookies about 1.5 cm thick.
Place on a non-stick dehydrator sheet.
Dehydrate at about 115 degrees till dry but still soft inside.

Some notes;

1 – dates are used so often as a sweetener and thickener in raw food preparation. We buy a kilo bag and keep the dates in a bowl soaking in the fridge.
2 – The recipes don’t always mention melting coconut oil, but I find it much better to do this.
3 – The recipe as per book says dehydrate for 15 to 20 hours. We have generally found less dehydrating time is needed than recipes call for. For this one, I think we dried for about 10 hours only. (We have the Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator)
4 – You can buy plastic dehydrator sheets, but we use baking parchment.

Bon apetit.

You can get Anya Ladra’s book – Raw Food detox  from Amazon:

Raw vegan parmesan cheez

Raw vegan parmesan cheez

Raw vegan parmesan cheez

In a couple of recent posts, raw courgette pasta and raw pastas pestos and sauces I talked about raw pastas and sauces.

And of course pasta wouldn’t be pasta without parmesan cheese.

At our last dinner party, we served a raw sweet potato pasta and tangy tomato sauce, with a vegan parmesan cheez.

Vegan parmesan cheez – just like the real thing!

I found a recipe for parmesan in Judita Wignall’s “Raw and Simple” book. So thanks to her for this great one.

It really is simple, and looks and feels just like parmesan.

The recipe as per her book –

1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder.

I was a bit concerned that using fresh garlic would make the cheez too wet and sticky, so I replaced the garlic with onion powder.
(Next time I will try using the dried garlic flakes)

I also thought there would not be enough, so I doubled up the recipe – and now have lots left over!

This book has loads more raw recipes that we are just longing to try.

You can get the book from Amazon here:

Vegan Quiche

Vegan Quiche

Vegan spelt crust quiche

Karen has wanted to try vegan baking for a while now.

When I was at the London Vegfest a while ago, there were loads of recipe books on special, and I bought her the “Whole Grain VEGAN BAKING” by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes.

This spelt-crusted quiche was the first dish we tried, although as usual we did a few things differently.

They made individual ones while we made one larger one.

Here is our version:

For the crust –

1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 tsp veggie stock powder
60 ml lukewarm water (add more cold if needed)

For the filling –

1 tsp veggie stock powder
340 grms silken firm tofu
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tspn turmeric
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup spinach leaves shredded
about 10 sun dried tomatoes

To make the crust:

Mix the veggie stock powder, flour and salt together in a bowl.
Place water in a small dish and stir the tahini into the water. Mix well.

Add water and tahini mixture to dry ingredients little by little until dough holds together but is still dry.

Line a glass baking dish (approx 22 cm diameter) with baking parchment, and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides about 2 cm.

To make the filling:

Combine all the ingredient except the baking powder, corn starch, spinach and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor and blend till smooth.
Mix the cornstarch and baking powder into the water and stir. Add to filling mixture.

Stir in shredded spinach leaves making sure the pieces are evenly spread through the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the crust. Place pieces of sun dried tomato all over the top.
Bake at 190 deg C for about 25 mins, or until filling is set and top slightly browned.

Thanks to Celine and Tamasin for this. You can get their book from Amazon:

Raw pastas, pestos and sauces

Raw pastas, pestos and sauces

Karen’s coriander pesto

In an earlier post here I showed Karen’s raw courgette pasta with a basil pesto.

Butternut or sweet potato also work very well as the ‘pasta’, though these vegetables need to be dropped into hot water and left for about 10 minutes to soften.

You could use the same basil pesto as the sauce, or you could use one of these variations:

Coriander pesto ingredients

1 – Coriander Pesto

1 C pressed down and full of fresh coriander
1 small clove garlic peeled
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C pine nuts
juice 1 lemon
a few pieces of soaked wakame for saltiness or
Himalayan rock salt to taste

Blitz together in a food processor or with a hand blender.

2 – Tangy tomato sauce

We were at a Raw food preparation demonstration and course a couple of days ago, and this is the sauce they made.
So thanks to Rob and Rolene Sher of Rawlean for this one.

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
10 sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup raw almonds (pre-soaked for 2 – 4 hours and dried)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
dash red pepper flakes (optional)

Put the sundried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water to soften.
Put almonds in a blender and whizz till flower like consistency.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings.
Whizz until mixed, adding a splash of water if necessary.
Chop the sundried tomatoes and add to the sauxce along with the Roma tomatoes
Whizz until blended.
Pour over the veg pasta of your choice.

This dish of Sweet Potato Pasta with tomato sauce is next on my to make list.

Enjoy.

Mocha Tort

Mocha Tort

Raw (and healthy) Moch Tort

We are really getting into this raw concept, and just loving it.

Karen recently bought “Raw Food detox” by Anya Ladra, and having friends for dinner the other evening was just the excuse to try out her Mocha Tort with cacao almond pastry.

It was absolutely delicious, and all our guests raved about it.

Here is the recipe as per the book:

For the crust:

300 grms almonds
4 soft, pitted dates
2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 – 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt

For the filling:

300 grms cashew nuts
140 grms coconut oil
200 ml fresh espresso coffee
75 grms raw cacao powder (plus a bit extra to dust)
125 ml pure maple syrup
1 tspn pure vanilla extract

Use a deep, 23 cm tart pan

Method:

Soak the almonds in cold water for 6 hours or overnight.
Drain the almonds, and put in food processor with the rest of the crust ingredients.
Blitz to a smooth and thick paste.
Transfer to the tart pan and push the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides to make a neat shell.
Refrigerate for 30 mimutes.

Put all the filling ingredients into a food processor.
Blitz until smooth then pour into the shell.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Dust with the extra cacao powder.

Notes and comments:

1. My spring form baking tin was a bit larger (25cm) so I used 1 and 1/2 times the above amounts. Even so I still did not have enough of the crust to go up the sides of the tin. So I would suggest using a slightly smaller tin.
2. The crust or shell mixture is thick and gooey and hard to blend. The next time I will run the almonds through our blender first to coarsely chop them.
3. I used vanilla essence.
4. I also melted the coconut oil before making the filling.
5. For a slight variation, next time I will leave the cacao powder out from the crust, and use some dessiccated coconut instead.
6. As noted in her recipe, espresso coffee is not strictly raw.

This recipe book has loads of other lovely recipes I am longing to try.

You can get Anya Ladra’s book – Raw Food detox  from Amazon:

A must for vegans – the London Vegfest

A must for vegans – the London Vegfest

At Kensington Olympia – London

I’ve left our boat in the Netherlands now, and on the way home to South Africa via London.

I’d seen in the latest Vegetarian Living mag, that the London Vegfest would be on at the Kensington Olympia exhibition centre while I was there.

I couldn’t miss that opportunity!

Gosh I wish we had such a big veg event in Cape Town.

The VIVA stand

Although it is growing in South Africa, the whole vegetarian, vegan and raw movement is still tiny compared to the UK.

I was amazed at the range of products being exhibited, and the amount of talks and demonstrations going on.

In fact there was almost too much – about 7 different places for these demos or talks or whatever, with something different every hour on the hour. I managed to see three cooking demos – Caribbean Food, Karen Knowler on Raw Food made simple and Deborah Durant on Raw entertaining.

One way to make a smoothie I suppose!

The were loads of other speakers/topics I would have loved to have listened to.

When I saw the title of the event – VegfestUK – I assumed it was a vegetarian event, but it is actually a full on vegan festival, with  one section dedicated to raw food as well.

Much too much for me to tell you about in detail – have a look at  their website – and if you missed
that one ( and you live in the UK of course)

Raw entertaining by Deborah Durant

the North East Vegan Festival is coming up on the 16th and 17th of November – see here

The last 2 pictures are at the Raw Entertaining demo: Deborah making a seaweed noodle and courgette pasta, and her raw shortbread.

I did get to taste loads of great tasting free samples, and bought a recipe book on vegan baking, something Karen and I have been wanting to try for a while.

Raw shortbread

Next week I will be back home in our kitchen, with another vegan or raw recipe for you.

Till then – Bon apetit.

Eating aboard – vegan or raw

Eating aboard – vegan or raw

Broccoli Cheez meal aboard

I can’t decide which is easier – going vegan, or going raw.
We manage a bit of both while on the boat. Here is a quick and delicious light meal we had one evening:

Soy schnitzels, broccoli cheez and green peas. Not entirely raw but 100% vegan.
The soy products were no doubt cooked in the manufacture, but we ate them cold.
The green peas were frozen, so we steamed then lightly.

For the broccoli cheez, I used the recipe from this previous post, with one exception.
The one ingredient we have not been able to find here in the Netherlands is nutritional yeast, so I used a heaped dessert spoon of Marmite instead, and the result was perfect.

Here are the original ingredients and recipe for broccoli cheez:

2 or 3 cups of broccoli florets
Boiling water for blanching
1 C cashew nuts
3/4 C warm water
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tspn rock salt

What to do:

Place the broccoli in a serving bowl. Pour some boiling water over and let stand for 10 or so minutes.
Put all other ingredients in a high speed blender and whizz on high till the sauce is smooth and warmed.
Drain the water from the brocolli.
Pour the sauce over the brocolli and mix well.
Serve right away.

We have eaten very well while travelling aboard, and have been fairly good as far as being raw or vegan. But I am looking forward to getting back home to our kitchen complete with dehydrater, high speed blender and juicer. Really missing our Green Juices!

Till then – Bon Apetit.

Eating aboard – Cajun tofu steaks

Eating aboard – Cajun tofu steaks

Getting ready to cook Cajun Spiced Tofu Steaks

One thing we have not found often in the Netherlands is tofu.

Not surprising I suppose, seeing the number of cattle farms around!

But amazingly we found plain tofu in a supermarket in Sneek in Friesland.

Of course we bought some.

We made Cajun Spiced Tofu steaks.

We don’t have all our recipes with us, but fortunately we had internet one evening, so I Googled a Cajun Spice recipe –

It consists of the following ground in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar –

Cayenne pepper
Oregano
Paprika
Rock salt
Ground black pepper

I ‘m afraid I couldn’t resist adding ground coriander, and ground cumin seeds.

Here’s how we made the Cajun Tofu Steaks:

Cut the tofu block into about 8 steaks.
Dredge them in the spice mixture and let stand for a while.
Lightly fry the steaks in oil.

We now use coconut oil on the rare occasion we fry something. Coconut oil has become our new best thing!

Serve up with whatever takes your fancy.

Bon apetit.

Eating aboard – Salads

Eating aboard – Salads

Karen’s raw veg salad

When eating out, vegetarians or vegans are very often offered a boring old salad as their only option.

But salads don’t have to be boring, They can be fun, colourful, tasty and healthy as well.

Karen loves making salads and comes up with the most amazing ones.

Here are 2 salads she knocked up while we were aboard the boat:

Raw veggie salad:

Red cabbage shredded
Green cabbage shredded
Carrots grated
Onions thinly sliced
Cauliflower florets broken into small pieces
Oranges sliced
Hemp seeds
Brazil nuts
Tomatoes sliced and halved
Basil leaves for garnish

Naartjie and nut

Naartjie and nut salad:

Rocket leaves
Red onion rings – thinly sliced and marinated in vinegar or lemon juice for an hour or so
Naartjie segments
Pistachio nuts

Notes

I will leave the quantities to you – depends how much you want to make.
The concept of marinating the onion rings in vinegar or lemon juice is to reduce the sharpness of the taste of raw onions.
The nuts and hemp seeds are to provide some protein in the meal.

So, get creative!

I would love to hear from you if you have a great salad idea.

Eating aboard – Healthy green smoothie

Eating aboard – Healthy green smoothie

Healthy green smoothie for breakfast

Eating raw, vegan and healthy aboard is a challenge in a number of ways, but the one thing that actually makes it easier is we do not have an oven.

We have an electric hob, but to operate that we need to run a generator. So we gravitate to raw meals.

We have also managed to find a number of health shops wherever we are, that stock most of the ingredients we need, and there is nearly always a fresh food market in the town.

And as I mentioned in the previous post, the one electrical gadget we do have is a stick blender.

So, here is one of our favourite healthy breakfast smoothies:

1 apple
2 kiwi fruit
1 banana
2 or 3 dates, pitted
heaped spoon of barley or wheat grass powder
heaped spoon of a green super blend
water

Coarsely chop the fruit.
Add the powders.
Add sufficient water to bring it to about a litre.

Whizz with a stick blender or power blender.

Of course you can use any fruit you like – for this green smoothie, we sometimes use green melon.
We do always try to use organic fruit if possible.

Bon apetit

Eating aboard – Raw courgette pasta

Eating aboard – Raw courgette pasta

Raw courgette pasta

Apologies for being somewhat late with this post. The boating keeps us busy, and then we don’t always have internet access.

Raw pasta is something we have been trying to get right for a while, and not too successfully.

But here in the Netherlands, while on the boat, we found these lovely large courgettes at a market. I don’t think we get them like this back home in South Africa.

Fortunately Karen just loves chopping and slicing.
She first cut the courgettes into thin slices, and then the slices into thin strips.
Back home we could have used the spiralizer, but here on the boat we have far less kitchen equipment.

The courgette strips were tossed in a fresh basil pesto, made on board using the recipe from the Rawlicious book.
The only slight difference, Karen used pine nuts instead of macadamia nuts.

The recipe as per the book –

3 cups fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 tspn rock salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Blend in a food processor till well chopped and combined.

Notes:

On the boat we don’t have a food processor, but we have a stick blender.
This gadget has been the best buy of all the kitchen items we have bought for our boat. We use it a lot. The other electrical item we are missing here is a power blender.

We have found courgette works best for raw pasta. We have used butternut, or sweet potatoes, but you do need to lightly steam, or at least blanch these in hot water first.

Next up – eating aboard – green smoothie for breakfast – using our trusty stick blender.

Boating and eating healthy – vegan burger patties

Boating and eating healthy – vegan burger patties

Our vegan burger patties on the boat

Karen and I are fortunate enough to be on our own boat, cruising the waterways of Holland.
At the same time, we’re determined to eat not only healthily, but to continue to strive to be vegan and raw as much as possible.

To this end Karen avidly reads both our raw recipe books and collection of Cook Vegetarian mags which we now keep on the boat.

We have found quite a few health shops in Holland which have pretty good stocks of raw ingredients we have gotten used to.

Karen had some left-over steamed rice – just what was needed to try out the vegan burger patty recipe from Cook Vegetarian July issue.

Here’s their recipe:

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 fresh chilli, chopped
coarse salt
350 grams kidney beans, cooked and drained
160 grams basmati rice, cooked
60 grams carrot, shredded
35 grams brocolli florets, finely chopped,
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp canola oil

12 wholewheat rolls
lettuce, mango, coriander and onion to serve

Method

1 Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and salt. Cook until the onion is soft. About 5 minutes.
2 Pulse the beans in a food processor to a coarse mash. Pulse in the rice.
3 Stir together in a bowl the bean mixture, the onion mixture and the carrot, brocolli and ginger. Mix well.
4 Form into 12 1 cm patties.
5 Heat the canola oil in a griddle pan, and cook the patties until golden and crisp – about 3 minutes per side.
6 Serve up in the rolls with whatever salad or garnish you prefer.

As usual, I did a few things slightly differently –

1 Replaced the fresh chilli with chilli powder.
2 Did not use brocolli but doubled up on the carrot (trying to use up what we had).
3 We don’t have a food processor on the boat, so used our stick blender instead.
4 Cooked the burger patties in coconut oil (which is our new favourite).
5 Used larger rolls and formed larger patties.

We served up with lettuce, tomato and fresh coriander. Delicious.

Not strictly ‘raw’ – the rice was steamed, and the burger patties were lightly warmed through in the coconut oil. They look dark mainly due to the red kidney beans.
Although the patties are vegan, the rolls were bought, so may have contained eggs and milk.

Bon apetit!

Raw vegan chocolates

Raw vegan chocolates

Raw vegan chocolates

Karen and I are in Holland at the moment, on a boat. We are trying as far as possible to continue eating healthy, vegan and raw.

In the next few posts, I will tell you about some of the meals we have prepared aboard.

But in the meantime, here is Karen’s recipe for raw vegan chocolates. She made these recently back in South Africa, and the overall response was overwhelmingly positive.

Ingredients:

200g cacao butter
200g cacao paste
1/2 C coconut oil
1/2 C agave
Chocolate moulds

1. Melt the cacao paste and butter in a large bowl or pot, over boiling water.
2. Add the coconut oil and agave syrup. (You can reduce the agave a little and replace with stevia to lighten the sugar.
3. Mix well
4. Pour into your moulds, and let cool to room temperature.
5. Once cooled, refrigerate for a while to harden slightly, and then pop them out of the moulds.

This is a basic chocolate mix.

There are any amount of things you can do to vary them:

Add dried nuts and seeds to give crunch, or
Add a drop or two of essential oils such as sweet orange or peppermint for flavour.
To make your chocolate a bit more milky add lucuma or mesquite powders.

Guilt free chocolates – healthy too!

Bon apetit

Offshore and more raw vegan London

Offshore and more raw vegan London

Trying to be healthy offshore

I have been offshore again recently, working, and we are now travelling in Holland, so I haven,t been in the kitchen much.

Karen was helping me with recipes for the blog, but now she is also with  me in Europe.

Being vegetarian and eating healthily when working offshore is difficult enough, let alone trying to be vegan or go raw!

However I managed to avoid cheese and eggs almost altogether, and took with me some soy milk, green powder and cereal coffee. There was a good supply of fruit on board, as well as peanut butter, so I had frequent snacks of fruit and peanut butter on cracker biscuits.

42 Degrees Raw in London

Earlier in the year I discovered the London eatery 42 Deg Raw.

Karen was not with me then, so this time I took her there for lunch, while en route to Holland.

I had the cauliflower curry rice.

It was made with cauliflower, spices, nuts, seeds and raisins, and served on a bed of greens.

Really delicious.

Our meal at 42 Deg Raw

Karen had the courgette pasta in a basil pesto.
She was a little disappointed in this, as it was a touch on the watery and bland side.

I had a chocolate smoothie, and Karen a green one, to go with our meal.

The were great though.

It is most encouraging to find more restaurants going the healthy, vegan or raw route.

Raw cheezecake at 42 Raw

Later in the day we chanced on a pub in Soho called the Coach and Horses, which had a new summer menu that was completely vegetarian, with some vegan or raw dishes on offer.

We shall try it out next time we are in London.

Wherever you are travelling, have a look at Happy Cow to find vegan or vegetarian restaurants and shops.

Bon apetit.

Ginger biscuits – raw, vegan and healthy

Ginger biscuits – raw, vegan and healthy

Ginger biscuits – dehydrated

If you have a sweet tooth, but want to avoid the refined sugars, going raw is a good option.

Here is a recipe for tangy ginger biscuits:

Ingredients:

1 C almonds
1 T coconut oil (melted)
2 T honey
about 4 soaked dates
2 t finely grated ginger
1 t clove powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup soaked cranberries (optional – just happened to have these left over in the fridge)

Method:
Blend almonds to a fine powder. Set aside.
Mix oil and dates together.
Add honey and the rest of the ingredients.
Mix into almond flour.
Spread out onto and solid dehydrator sheet.
Score into squares with a sharp knife and dehydrate for 6 – 18 hours depending how crisp you want your biscuits.
Savoury dehydrating ideas  – tomatoes, mushrooms and onions

Savoury dehydrating ideas – tomatoes, mushrooms and onions

Cherry tomatoes dehydrated

Last week I showed you the dehydrated fruit snack ideas.

Here are some savoury snack ideas you can do in the dehydrator:
Cherry tomatoes, onions and button mushrooms.

Onion rings dehydrated

Make up a basic batch of marinade using about 2/3 apple cider vinegar and 1/3 olive oil.

Soak the cherry tomatoes in some of this marinade, with a bit of Himalayan rock salt, for a few hours.

Button mushrooms dehydrated

For the mushrooms, add some tamari, and soak for a while.

For the onion rings, add some honey to the basic marinade before soaking.

Then dehaydrate overnight for about 8 hours.

You can decide just how dried you want them, and leave them longer if necessary.

Bon apetit.

Dehydrated fruit snacks

Dehydrated fruit snacks

Dried banana

The last few recipes have made use of our new dehydrator.

The thing with a dehydrator is you have to generally dehydrate things for anywhere between 8 to 30 hours, or even longer.

Our one (Excalibur) has 9 shelves. So if you are going to be running it for that length of time, you might as well fill it up.

This is a good chance to use up fruit that might be just about to over-ripen. If you dehydrate them, you can turn them into snacks.

Dried apple rings

Here are 2 simple examples:

Dried apple rings and dried banana.

Core the apples and slice into rings.
Slice the peeled bananas.
The trick is to make sure all the slices are the same thickness. Aim for about 3 mm.
Toss in lemon juice to stop them going brown.
Spread out on the spare solid dehydrator sheets.
Or use baking parchment.
Dehydrate along with the other food.
The dehydrating time for fruit will be somewhat less than the breads or brownies.
Check after 6 or 8 hours, and remove them when they are sufficiently dry.

Of course you can experiment with other fruits, think mango, papaya, pineapple, peaches and even berries.

Just have fun, and happy, healthy snacking!

Chocolate Brownies – Raw, vegan and healthy as well

Chocolate Brownies – Raw, vegan and healthy as well

Chocolate Brownies

I am back offshore again, but Karen is still, home trying out more dehydrator recipes.

Over the last few years, having realized how bad refined sugar is, I have managed to lose my taste for sweet things.

However, I have now found all these delicious and healthy raw food sweet things.
This is one of  my favourites – chocolate brownies:

Ingredients:

2 C Brazil nuts
2 C cacao powder
1 C coconut flakes
1 C honey
3/4 C water
1 T vanilla powder
1/4 t salt

Method:

Blend coconut to a fine powder. Set aside.
Blend nuts and water to a smooth paste.
Now combine all ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix well.
Spread onto solid dehydrator sheet.
Score into squares with a sharp knife and dehydrate for 6 – 18 hours depending how gooey you like your brownies.

Onion Bread – Raw, vegan and low carb

Onion Bread – Raw, vegan and low carb

Karen`s Onion Bread

I have mentioned this onion bread a couple of times already in previous posts.

Were we served some at the Raw Food Seminar, and we have made it twice at home already.

But I never actually gave you the recipe – so here it is:

My attempt at onion bread

Ingredients:

5 C red or white onion – thinly sliced and chopped
3 C activated buckwheat
3 C ground flaxseeds
2 C water
1 C tamari
1 C oilve oil

Note – I did not do the full activation process for the buckwheat – just soaked it for a few hours.

Method:

1 – Blend buckwheat, tamari and water into a paste for 30 seconds.
2 – Add to a bowl with all the other ingredients.
3 – Mix well.
4 – Spread the mixture onto solid dehydrating sheets. How many sheets you use will naturally depend on how thin you spread it. I aim for a thickness of about 3 mm.
5 – Dehydrate for 12 hours.
6 – Remove from dryer and cut into shapes.
7 – Dry for a further 6 hours or longer if you prefer them crisp.
8 – You can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes:

1 – If you are still new to raw food concepts and haven`t yet splashed out on a dehydrater, you CAN still use your oven, at the lowest possible temperature, which is probably 70 degrees C. Technically this is too high to be called raw, but at least you can get an idea how it would come out.
Of course, as the temperature is higher, the time in the oven will need to be less.

The recipe for this bread comes from `easy living food`, by Natalie Reid and Noel Marten, which you can get from Rawlicious.

My other favourite recipe book at the moment is the Rawlicious one available from Amazon:

If you want to do the whole raw food thing, then you can get a dehydrator from Amazon as well:

Raw vegan lemon tart

Raw vegan lemon tart

Lunch – salad with raw vegan lemon tart

My very first attempt at a raw vegan dessert was actually a lemon tart, from the Rawlicious recipe book, available from Amazon here.

It uses avocado as the bulk for the filling. The trick here is to make sure you have enough lemon flavouring in it to mask the avo taste.

So, if in doubt, add in both juice
and zest of an extra lemon.
A friend of ours who loves genuine lemon meringue tart was really impressed with this healthy raw vegan version.

Pie crust

1 + 1/2 C cashew nuts or almonds
3 C desiccated coconut
1 T lemon juice
seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1/2 C agave nectar (original recipe used raw honey)
1 T coconut oil

Grind nuts to a fine crumb mixture.
Add coconut and other ingredients.
Pulse well.
Press mixture into a springform cake tin.
Puncture holes using a fork.
Refrigerate while you make filling

Tart filling

5 ripe avocados
3/4 C lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
3/4 C agave nectar (original recipe used raw honey)
1 C coconut oil melted
seeds of 1 vanilla pod, or vanilla extract
1/2 t Himalayan rock salt

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
Pour into pie crust.
Refrigerate overnight.

The only problem was that it was so tasty, the whole finished product was not photographed!
I just managed to get a shot of the last slice that I served up for lunch the next day, along with a salad and a chocolate smoothie.

Raw vegan ice-creem and chocolate sauce

Raw vegan ice-creem and chocolate sauce

Raw vegan ice-creem and chocolate sauce

The dessert for our second raw dinner party was raw vegan ice-creem and chocolate sauce. Served up with a small slice of classic cheezecake from the first evening.

When we attended the Raw Food Seminar (see this post), we received a set of DVDs in which Peter and Beryn demonstrate many of their recipes. When I watched the one showing this ice-creem, I was amazed. It was so simple, so wonderfully tasty and looked oh so like ice-cream.

The ice-creem

Ingredients:

Frozen bananas (one per person)
Handful of Brazil nuts (or whatever nuts you fancy or happen to have in the cupboard).

You do need a good juicer, fitted with the processing adaptor.

Method:

Break or cut  the bananas into about 4 pieces each, to fit into the juicer.
Pop a piece of banana followed by a nut or 2 into the juicer. Continue feeding alternating banana and nuts into the machine, and this amazing ice-comes out the other end.

You can vary this recipe by adding in cacao nibs to make choc chip ice-cream, or whatever you fancy.

The chocolate sauce

Ingredients:

1/3 C melted coconut oil
1/4 C agave syrup
1/4 cacao powder

Method:

Whizz together on low speed and pour over ice cream.

The ice-creem is so quick to make (as long as you have the bananas already frozen in the deep freeze).
I had great fun making the ice-creem right there and then in front of our guests.

The chocolate sauce, I made a bit earlier. Pour it into a small jug in warm water to keep warm and runny.

A really great dessert to impress your guests!

Bon apetit.

Red pepper and tomato soup

Red pepper and tomato soup

Raw red pepper and tomato soup

Thrilled with our first successful raw dinner party, we held another the next evening.
Red pepper and tomato soup, with the rest of the onion bread for starters.
Main course was sushi and veggie wraps with 2 salads – a red salad and a green papaya salad.
Dessert was raw vegan banana nut ice-creem with hot chocolate sauce.

I cannot tell a lie – the main course was mostly prepared by a friend of ours who is chef by profession. I learned a huge amount about presentation.

Raw sushi, veggie wraps and salads

The soup recipe-

Red pepper & Tomato Soup

5 tomatoes
2 red peppers
1/4 red onion
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1 handful cashew nuts
2 T olive oil
Himalayn rock salt to taste
1 small handful goji berries
1/2 C warm water
cayenne pepper (optional)

Blend all ingredients together.
Add more water if necessary to achieve desired thickness.
Pour into bowls and serve.

Again it went down pretty well with our friends, though I personally preferred the raw butternut, carrot and ginger soup we served the previous evening. See this post.

More raw recipes and ideas in the next few weeks.

Bon apetit

Raw classic cheezecake

Raw classic cheezecake

My raw classic cheezecake

As promised, here is the recipe for the raw classic cheezecake.

This is the same dessert that was served up at the Raw Food seminar a while back, and I am pleased to say, I think my one turned out just as well as the pro’s one.

The pro version – raw classic cheezecake

The base –

Ingredients:

2 C almonds activated & dried
2/3 C coconut blosson sugar
1/4 C coconut oil
pinch salt

Method:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well mixed but slightly chunky.
Press mixture into a springform cake tin.

Filling –

Ingredients:

4 C diced fresh pineapple
1 + 1/2 C coconut oil melted
1 C cashew nuts
2 T lemon juice
2 T agave nectar
1 T vanilla powder
pinch salt

Method:

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
Pour into crust.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

A couple of differences with my version-

1 – The almonds in the base were only soaked for a hour or so, and not fully activated and dried.

2 – To make the base, I used a hand blender rather than the food processor, mainly because the quantity hardly covers the blades of the processor.

The recipe came from ‘easy living food’ recipe book, available from Rawlicious

Bon apetit!

Entertaining Raw – butternut, carrot and ginger soup

Entertaining Raw – butternut, carrot and ginger soup

Raw butternut, carrot and ginger soup

As I mentioned last week, our first go at entertaining with raw food went off really well, with even our carnivore friends being suitable impressed.

The menu comprised raw butternut, carrot and ginger soup, raw vegan pizza and classic cheezecake for dessert.

I have to confess the pizzas were bought in this time, as we weren’t that confident yet.

The soup recipe –

Ingredients:

1 C carrot juice
2 C diced butternut
1/2 avocado
1 T olive oil
Himalayn rock salt to taste
1/2 C apple juice
1/2 C warm water
1 clove garlic
1/4 C cashew nuts
1 cm piece ginger
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper (optional)

These are as per the Rawlicious recipe book. I doubled the quantities, and did not add the cayenne pepper.

Method:

Blend all ingredients together.
Add more water if necessary to achieve desired thickness.
Pour into bowls and serve.
We garnished with fresh coriander.

The other difference – I warmed the soup slightly. This is quite acceptable within the raw concept, as long as you dont go higher than 47 deg C. I also think warming releases the aroma of the soup.

The raw pizzas we ordered in from Vivo Pizza here in Cape Town

You can get the Rawlicious book from Amazon:
here

Next week – the classic cheezecake recipe.

Breads and Cracker Biscuits

Breads and Cracker Biscuits

Onion bread

A little bit late this week with my post!

Good excuse this time – We have been having a wonderful time in our new kitchen, trying out our new gadgets and even entertaining.

One of our views on healthy eating has always been to avoid refined carbohydrates.

The dehydrator is perfect for making healthy raw breads and cracker biscuits.

Cracker biscuits

Our first attempt was not great. We did not spread our mixtures to the right thickness, and probably did not dehydrate for long enough.

Our second go was much more successful.

To maximize the use of all 9 shelves in the dehydrator, we made two types of cracker biscuits, an onion bread, chocolate brownies and cheeze drops.

We tested these on our guests last night!

Despite our friends thinking we are a bit mad, going heavily into vegan and raw food, they all went down a treat.

9 shelf dehydrator

Cracker biscuits with dips and the cheeze drops were pre-dinner snacks, the onion bread was served with the soup and the chocolate brownies
accompanied the after dinner coffee.

All these recipes came from the Rawlicious recipe book or from ‘easy living food’.

Next week – the recipes for  last night’s dinner menu which was butternut, carrot and ginger soup, raw pizza and classic cheezecake.

In the meantime – bon apetit.

Raw Food Seminar

Raw Food Seminar

Green juice

So – the Raw Food Seminar presented by Peter Daniels of Rawlicious here in South Africa.
A fascinating day – loads of information on nutrition, healthy eating and raw food concepts, along with a couple of demonstrations on juicing and smoothies, as well as lots of really tasty food to sample.

Its opened up a whole new way for us of looking at healthy eating, and the stuff we are being sold as food in the shops.

Raw chocolate biscuits

The basic concept is around the fact that as soon as food is cooked, or heated above about 47 deg C, any nutritional benefits are starting to be destroyed, and once the food reaches over 100 deg C, pretty well all the benefits are lost.

The other main concept is that we have to get away from any forms of refined foods and go with organic, natural and nutrient dense ingredients.

Peter covered all this and more in the seminar.

One of the best ways of getting all this goodness into us is by juicing, particularly greens. We started the day off with a delicious green juice.

Main course – raw foods

During the morning we also sampled a warm chocolate drink as well as some chocolate biscuits. Raw cacao is considered one of the superfoods, so both of these were not only tasty, but healthy as well.

Lunch comprised a Thai red curry, cauliflower and nut rice, a green salad and a kelp noodles and green veg salad, with a classic cheezecake for dessert.

All raw of course.

Raw cheezecake

This meal again was tasty, healthy and also filling.

But what was more interesting, was that no-one there felt tired after lunch! Unlike the usual
situation at a seminar where everybody nods off after the meal.

These recipes, along with loads of information about raw food and its benefits can be found in Peter Daniel’s Rawlicious book or the easy living food recipe book by Natalie Reid and Noel Marten.

Both well worth having a look at. They are available – Rawlicious
and easy living food
Happy eating!

Raw brocolli cheeze and other raw delights

Raw brocolli cheeze and other raw delights

Brocolli cheeze

Last week I promised you brocolli cheeze. So here it is.
The original recipe came from “easy living food” by Natalie Reid and Noel Marten and they used cauliflower.
The book is available on line from the Rawlicious website.
Ingredients:

2 or 3 cups of brocolli florets
Boiling water for blanching
1 C cashew nuts
3/4 C warm water
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tspn rock salt

What to do:

Place the brocolli in a serving bowl. Pour some boiling water over and let stand for 10 or so minutes.
Put all other ingredients in a high speed blender and whizz on high till the sauce is smooth and warmed.
Drain the water from the brocolli.
Pour the sauce over the brocolli and mix well.
Serve right away.

Brocolli cheeze with a veg curry

Quick, easy and very tasty. An excellent introduction into preparing, and eating raw foods.

Serve as a main, or as an accompaniment.

I must point out not all raw foodies are necessarily vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter.
Dehydrators can be used to make various dried meats and honey is used in many of the dessert recipes.
We attended one Raw Food seminar and the most important aspect for raw foodies seems to be using the freshest, healthiest and most nutrient-dense ingredients, organic whenever possible.

So we have been experimenting furiously with recipes, and this was my lunch yesterday:

Really healthy lunch!

A warm chocolate drink – made from superfoods and sugar free.
Smoked tofu steak with a cheeze sauce – sauce was same recipe as above, but thinned with soy milk.
Fresh mixed raw vegetable salad, organic tomatoes, drizzled with veganaise – a dairy free mayonaise.
Slice of raw lemon tart – the crust included nuts, coconut and honey, while the bulk of the filling is avocado with organic lemon juice and zest, all
sugar free.

This dessert was absolutely delicious, and healthy as well.

The recipe for the lemon tart comes from the Rawlicious recipe book by Peter and Beryn Daniel which is available from  Amazon or from the Rawlicious website.

The seminar we attended here in Cape Town was presented by Peter Daniel. We thoroughly enjoyed it and were completely inspired to move towards a more raw and healthy diet.

More about the seminar next week.

Bon apetit

More and more raw food

More and more raw food

Raw hummus on bread with side salad

Back in Cape Town and in our new house.
I still have to find out where everything is in the kitchen, but Karen in the meantime has been really getting into this raw food concept. And delicious it is too!

The first raw recipe she tried was a raw hummus, made with chickpea sprouts as opposed to the cooked chickpeas.
Served up on a rye bread and a mixed green salad. Amazing.

Here are the ingredients for the hummus –

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 1/2  lemon
30 ml tahini paste
150 grm chickpea sprouts
Rock salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Water as necessary for the consistency

Olive oil for drizzling
Paprika for sprinkling
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Put all the hummus ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Add a little water as needed to get the right consistency.

Serve up as we did, on bread, drizzled with a little oil and a green salad of your choice on the side.
Or serve as a dip with a selection of vegetable crudites.

You can sprinkle with the sesame seed and paprika for extra zing and effect.

Raw Food Pizza

We recently ordered in Raw Pizzas, just to try them out. They were really tasty and very filling.
Most recent addition to our kitchen is a dehydrator. We have not used it yet, but are off to a full day Raw Food course tomorrow, so watch this space for our next raw food offerings.

Next week though – raw brocolli cheez, which we made the other night. Really quick and easy and oh so tasty.

Happy cooking!

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