Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Passionfruit & Raspberry Smoothie Bowl

 

I don’t know about you, but when life gets busy I find myself eating the same breakfast day in day out, without any thought to whether it’s something my body actually needs that day or not.

So this year I’ve been making an effort to get more creative with my breakfasts to ensure I have a good rotation of recipes on hand so that I don’t get bored or lazy!

My ideal breakfast is something made from whole foods, that’s nutrient dense and low in sugars, to give me the energy I need to go about my day.

I started the year eating my Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola alternated with avocado and/or almond butter on paleo seed toast.

As the days got colder I got creative with porridge recipes, and in the weekends we’d cook poached or scrambled eggs or blueberry coconut pancakes.

Now that the weather’s warmed up again, I’ve got back into cold breakfasts like chia puddings, bircher muesli, chia bircher, and smoothie bowls. Which brings me to today’s recipe for this raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl.

A smoothie bowl can be a much more filling breakfast option that a standard smoothie. By using frozen fruit you can create a thicker spoonable smoothie, and by adding nut butter, protein powders or seeds, you can increase the protein content and create a really satisfying, nourishing breakfast. The other bonus about a smoothie bowl is being able to add toppings and the possibilities really are endless.

This raspberry passionfruit smoothie bowl is one of my favourites, not just for it’s pretty pink colour! Hope you enjoy it and let me know your favourite breakfast in the comments below.

 

Raspberry Passion Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen passion fruit
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp cashew butter
1 Tbsp flaxseed or vanilla protein powder

Topping ideas

Dried coconut
Flaxseed
Sunflower seeds
Freeze dried raspberries
Activated muesli
Edible flowers

Place all the smoothie ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Take care not to over blend as you want the smoothie to remain lovely and thick and spoonable.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and sprinkle with your favourite toppings.
Eat immediately with a spoon!

Note: The nut butter, seed and protein powders listed above are just suggestions – feel free to get creative with different varieties to find your favourite combination!

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla - pana chocolate style recipe

 

If you’re a raw chocolate lover you’ll most likely have heard of Pana Chocolate. For anyone who hasn’t, Pana Chocolate is an Australian based chocolate maker that produces one of the best tasting, raw, organic chocolate’s available. If you’re luckily enough to live near one of their Australian outlets you might have also tried their amazing raw desserts. For anyone who wants to see what I’m talking about, check out their popular Instagram page here. I have yet to sample Pana Chocolate’s raw desserts, but I have tried their chocolate and it’s pretty damn good as far as raw, dairy-free chocolate goes!

My eating chocolate of choice used to be milk chocolate hands down. The creaminess and melt-in-the-mouth quality of a good milk chocolate was by far my preference over a rich, dark block any day. Dark chocolate obviously has a lot more cocoa solids in it, so tends to be a lot harder with much less of the melt-in-the-mouth quality. The higher the quality of dark chocolate, the less milk products and sugar it generally has too. These days there are a lot more quality dark chocolate varieties available, including some with less cocoa solids making them not quite so hard or rich, however, they still don’t possess the same melt-in-the-mouth quality.

So I was pretty excited when I discovered Pana Chocolate as not only does it contain no refined sugar, gluten, dairy or soy, it also has a rich fudgey texture and literally melts in your mouth! It’s also organic and completely raw which means all the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals present in the chocolate are fully intact and readily absorbed by your body. The only downside about this amazing chocolate is that it’s usually in high demand so you can’t always find it in store, and almost never find the flavour you’re after, plus it’s pretty expensive too.

Naturally this led me to try and replicate this chocolate, how hard could it be?! Obviously they’ve spent many years perfecting their recipe and method and they source specific raw cacao and cacao butter to create their unique flavour. But it’s not as hard as you may think to create a simple, fudgey, pana style chocolate that you can then add all sorts of flavourings to.

Because I love the qualities of milk chocolate I’ve created this recipe to reflect that with just 40% cacao, and combined it with sour cherries and vanilla. If you like a darker chocolate then by all means add more cacao and decrease the coconut oil quantity.

Have fun with this raw chocolate recipe, play around with the cacao percentage and try adding whatever flavourings or additions of your choosing. Nuts are great, swapping the cherries for freeze dried raspberries, or adding another flavouring such as orange all work really well. And even though the ingredients for this recipe can be a little pricey, you do end up with a lot more raw chocolate than if you were to buy a ready made bar! Enjoy x

 

Have you tried to make your own raw chocolate before? Any hints or tips or questions about this recipe – leave a comment in the section below!

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

1 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or rice syrup
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup (150g) dried sour cherries

Note: the steps below ensure that you measure the coconut oil and cacao butter quantities in their melted form. If you measure them in their dry form you will be short. The reason I haven’t given the measurements for their dry forms (even though this would be easier!) is because it’s much harder to accurately fit solid raw cacao into a cup.

Line a small tray approximately 20 x 20cm or smaller with a double layer of cling film.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then turn off the heat. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the pan and add 1 cup of coconut oil plus a bit extra, and stir until melted. Measure 1 cup of the melted coconut oil and pour this into a second bowl. Any extra just pour back into the coconut oil jar. Repeat this step for the cacao butter (about 3/4 – 1 cup dry cacao butter = 1/2 cup melted).

When you have the melted coconut oil and cacao butter together in the second bowl add the maple syrup and stir well using a whisk. Add the scraped vanilla seeds, salt, cinnamon and raw cacao powder and give it a good stir with the whisk until everything is well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve to break up any cacao powder lumps and remove any vanilla pod remnants. Add the sour cherries and stir to combine.

Pour the sour cherry chocolate into the prepared tray and spread evenly. Place the tray in the fridge or freeze to set (depending on how fast you want it!). When set, lift the chocolate out of the tray using the cling film edges. Peel back the cling film and cut into squares. Store the chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month or freeze for 3 months.

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

 

When I first discovered raw cheesecakes I was amazed at how similar they tasted to a traditional baked cheesecake. This amazement was quickly replaced by excitement as, being intolerant to dairy, this meant I could now eat one of my favourite desserts again!

The other advantage of a raw cheesecake is that all the nutrients are in their original form i.e. unaffected by heat, making it a much healthier dessert – when eaten in moderation of course.

That said, not all raw cheesecakes are created the same. I’ve tasted many amazing ones, Little Bird Organics in particular has the recipe perfected and create some awesome flavours, and I’ve tasted some that were not so good.

Needless to say I was pretty excited to try my hand at making one, especially when I got hold of the aforementioned ‘experts’ cookbook. My first attempt using their recipe turned out pretty damn well, however, it was very labour intensive.

Activating and drying the nuts for the base was pretty fiddly without a dehydrator (and I’m not even sure very successful) and cracking open a couple of young coconuts to scoop out the flesh was a task in itself – especially if you don’t have the special little coconut axe! I used a blunt knife as suggested and the tops didn’t really pop off as they were supposed to. So after hacking them off I then had to pick all the little bits of splintered shell out of the precious flesh inside.

I’m not even entirely sure I had the requisite young coconuts to start with as it turns out they can bleach older coconuts to make them look like young ones (seriously?!), which may have been why the inside flesh wasn’t easy to scoop out. One of the coconuts I eventually got open had odd pink coloured water and flesh which I’m pretty sure meant it was bad.

Needless to say, even though the cheesecake tasted amazing (we had it on Christmas day and it was a massive hit!), I haven’t attempted the recipe again as it’s just so much easier (and probably more cost effective!) to simply buy one from Little Bird themselves.

 

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

 

Recently however, I was on a cookbook shoot and one of the recipes was a raw cheesecake. This one was entirely cashew based with no young coconut flesh to be seen, which got me thinking. Surely there’s a way to make a raw cheesecake in a much simpler way AND still have it taste amazing (plus a little lighter on the wallet!).

So after some recipe tinkering, this is my version of a raw chocolate cheesecake or cheesecakes in this case. It still requires a high speed blender to make the filling, unfortunately I don’t think you can get around this unless you’re happy with lumpy cheesecakes. However, it’s a lot less time consuming and the ingredients don’t cost quite so much.

That said, a raw cheesecake is probably never going to be a budget friendly dessert unless cashews suddenly rain from the sky. But as raw cheesecakes are very rich due to their high protein and good fat content, you can only eat small amounts at a time so they do go a lot further. This is also why I’ve created this recipe as little mini cheesecakes as we found them the perfect serving size.

These raw chocolate cheesecakes contain no dairy, gluten or refined sugar. The ‘cheesecake’ filling is made from a base of cashew nuts which are soaked for 2-4 hours, then blended with raw cacao and pure maple syrup to create a lovely creamy filling. Lemon juice creates the traditional cheesecake tang and coconut oil and raw cacao butter add to the creaminess and ensure the whole thing sets! The traditional biscuit crumb base is replaced by a combination of nuts, dried coconut, dates and coconut oil, and the whole recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another half to set – but the end result is definitely worth it!

 

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Base

1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
5 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)

Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cling film. Place the desiccated coconut into a food processor and blend until it starts to break down. Add the almonds and blend until they are half ground and then add the cashews, cacao powder and salt. Blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each muffin hole and place the pan in the fridge to set.

Filling

2 cups raw cashew nuts, soaked 2-4 hours
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note above)
1/4 cup raw cacao butter, gently melted (see note above)

Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to soak for 2-4 hours. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Place cashews in a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, raw cacao powder and sea salt. Blend until smooth – start off on low using the stirring stick to keep things moving and build up speed to get it smooth. Make sure you don’t over heat (cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the coconut oil and cacao butter gradually. Again you will need to use the stick to keep everything moving. When the chocolate filling is smooth, spoon it into the muffin holes and smooth off the tops. Return to the fridge to chill.

Chocolate ganache topping

1/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see above)
1/3 cup raw cacao butter, gently melted (see above)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
generous pinch salt

To decorate:
freeze dried raspberries
edible flowers (optional)

Gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter together by placing in a bowl set over a steaming pot of water with the heat turned off. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, cacao powder and salt. Give it a good whisk to make sure there are no lumps. At this stage you probably want to leave it to cool as you are aiming for a spreadable ganache type consistency. If it’s too runny it will slide off the top of the cheesecakes. You can either leave it at room temperature or place it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. If it cools too much and starts to set or becomes lumpy, simply place it on top of the steaming water again and whisk well. Pop the cheesecakes out of the muffin tin and place on a lined tray. When the ganache is at spreadable consistency, spread a layer on top of each cheesecake. Decorate with a sprinkle of freeze dried raspberries and edible flowers if using. Keep the cheesecakes in the fridge until ready to serve, they will last up to 5 days in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer.

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you use. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it is easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of either filtered water or nut milk.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

 

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

 

This is indeed another soup post, but this soup is so delicious I had to share it!

Soup is definitely a go-to recipe when I want something delicious and warm in a short amount of time. I also love the idea of soup toppings which I first talked about here as they really lift a bowl of soup into something way more interesting and flavoursome, and the combinations really are endless!

In my last soup post I talked about the different coloured soups I’d been making and this is the green soup in that series. You may have noticed when making green vegetable soup that it starts off a vibrant green colour but by the end of cooking it turns murky olive green. A vibrant green soup is so much more appetising than the latter, so with that in mind I adjusted the way this green soup is cooked to try and keep it as fresh and green as possible.

By cooking the hard green vegetables, such as broccoli and celery, very lightly so they remain a little crisp, they’re more likely to retain their green colour. For softer green vegetables, such as spinach, add them at the very end so that they’re only lightly steamed, and any fresh herbs can be added straight to the blender. The result is a very vibrant green soup, which also happens to be better for you as the nutrients aren’t subjected to quite so much heat! The other bonus about the cooking method is it only takes 20 minutes to make, making it a realistic week day meal.

The topping I created for this green soup is a crunchy adzuki bean, sunflower seed and coriander combination, with a little middle eastern spin from sumac and ras el hanout. If you don’t have or like these spices, this topping recipe is definitely open to variations so feel free to use whatever spices you like. Likewise, the soup recipe is a basic starting point. Feel free use whatever green vegetables are in season and that you have on hand, using the basic cooking guidelines detailed below.

This green soup with adzuki bean topping makes a delicious lunch or dinner, and it keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days. Hope you give this one a try, and would love to hear from you in the comments section below. Enjoy!

 

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping
 

Green Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 6 bowls

1 head of broccoli
6-8 stalks of celery
4 cups filtered water
10cm piece of ginger
3 cloves garlic
4 bunches of spinach
1 large handful coriander
1 large handful Italian Parsley
1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Wash the broccoli, celery and spinach well. Cut the broccoli into florets and place in a large pan along with the water and roughly sliced celery. Roughly slice the ginger and garlic and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. The broccoli and celery should still look green and have a slight crunch. Add the spinach and place a lid on top. Don’t worry if it doesn’t totally fit. You are just aiming for the steam from the water below to wilt it a little. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the soup is cooling you can prepare the topping – see recipe below.

Once the topping is ready the soup should be cool enough to blend. You should be able to do this in two batches. Start by blending the first half of the soup until smooth, then add half the herbs and blend until you can see they are just mixed in. Repeat for the second batch. Combine the two blender batches again in the cooking pot you used, add a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is evenly mixed then divide the soup up into your serving bowls and add the topping to the centre.

 

Adzuki Bean Topping

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes

1 400g can adzuki beans
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp ras el hanout
freshly ground salt & pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 large handful coriander, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

Open the can of adzuki beans, place them in a sieve to give them a good wash and then let them drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and add the crushed garlic. Cook for about a minute and then add the sunflower seeds, sumac, ras el hanout, salt & pepper & coconut sugar. Cook stirring for a few minutes until you hear the sunflower seeds start to pop. Add the adzuki beans and stir a few more minutes until the beans are heated through. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and coriander. Give it a good stir and then add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve piled into the centre of a bowl of green soup.

 
Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

My all time favourite easter treat used to be the mini caramel filled eggs. I LOVED the combination of the milk chocolate and flowing, slightly salty, caramel. However, as they are made almost entirely from milk, refined sugar and additives, unfortunately they are not something I choose to eat anymore.

I was also given an article in the paper recently that equated various types of easter eggs to slices of bread. One mini caramel egg is equal to 1.1 slices of bread. That would mean a packet, which (lets face it) is pretty easy to demolish in one sitting, equals 11 slices of bread!! That’s pretty horrifying and even more incentive to try and find something a little healthier to indulge in over the easter holiday.

So with the mini caramel egg flavours in mind, this is my recipe for raw chocolate salted caramel cups. The raw chocolate in the recipe has an intense chocolate flavour and the salted caramel layer is pretty amazing considering it’s made entirely without refined sugar! They are also completely dairy and gluten free, and being raw means all the inherent nutrients in the ingredients are still intact meaning these salted caramel cups are rich in antioxidants (from the the cacao) minerals and fibre (from the dates).

They are pretty easy to make too. For the chocolate it’s just a case of gently melting the ingredients and stirring them together. The salted caramel layer is simply made by blending dates, almond butter and pure maple syrup. Then it’s just a case of spooning the layers into the paper cups and waiting for them to set.

I hope you give these little raw chocolate salted caramel cups a try. They are super delicious, especially the salted caramel layer, and definitely won’t send your blood sugar levels crazy like regular easter treats. Enjoy!

Did you like this post? Any questions or comments about the recipe? Leave me a comment in the section below – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups
(makes 12 mini cups)

1/2 cup (70g) raw cacao butter
1/4 cup (60g) cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
pinch himalayan pink rock salt
1/2 cup (85g) pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
1/2 cup (65g) raw cacao powder

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then take it off the heat. Place the cacao butter, coconut oil and salt in a heat proof bowl and place on top of the pan of steaming water, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Melting the ingredients using this method ensures the temperature of the ingredients doesn’t go above 47ºC thereby keeping the nutrients in them intact. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Salted Caramel Filling

8 fresh medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
pinch of himalayan pink salt

sea salt flakes to decorate (optional)

Ensure you have removed the pits from the dates, then place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth caramel. This makes quite a sticky caramel but if you prefer it more runny feel free to add another tablespoon of maple syrup or filtered water.

To assemble:

Line a mini muffin tin with paper cases (or use silicone moulds if you have them). Drop a spoonful of the raw chocolate into the bottom of each case and then place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. When firm to touch, remove from the freezer and drop a teaspoonful of salted caramel into each cup, smoothing down where needed. Lastly spoon or pour the remaining raw chocolate into each cup, ensuring the caramel is covered. Sprinkle a few sea salt flakes into the centre of each cup and return to the fridge to set.

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Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups