Fig, Berry and Coconut Cake

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I love fresh figs, and they’re even better roasted with a bit of honey. This cake is very simple and quick to make, as well as being wheat-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. Perfect for afternoon tea 🙂

Ingredients

60ml raw honey, plus a little extra
60ml organic coconut blossom sugar
125ml organic virgin coconut oil
2 free-range eggs
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
2 tbsp acaì powder
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 cup organic or homemade coconut flour
1 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
2 large fresh figs

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Cream the honey, sugar and coconut oil with an electric beater. Add the eggs one at a time while beating. Add the vanilla, salt, acaì powder and tapioca starch and beat well. Add the coconut flour and baking powder, and lastly stir in the berries.

Spread the batter into a 20cm cake tin lined with baking paper or a silicon liner. Cut the figs into quarters lengthways and push them into the batter in a neat circle, with the inside of the fig facing upwards. Drizzle a little honey over the figs.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden, the figs caramelised and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out.

Health and happiness!

Love,
Raine

Chocolate Acai Cups

acai cups

Chocolate, and pink! What more could a girl want?! The contrast in the textures of the chocolate and the frozen acai smoothie is a bit strange, but the tastes go so well together. The raw cacao gives you heaps of plant-based protein and the acai, of course, is full of beautiful pink energy-boosting, anti-oxidant wonderfulness.

Ingredients

1 x chocolate sauce recipe
1 x acai berry smoothie bowl recipe

Method

Firstly, I would suggest making these on a day when you’ve made the smoothie bowl to have for breakfast and just keep half a cup of the smoothie back for these cakes as a whole smoothie bowl is way too much.

Simply make the chocolate sauce, then add about a spoonful of it to the bottom of each muffin case (which should be placed in a cupcake baking tray) and freeze for 30 minutes.

Once frozen, add a spoonful of the smoothie as the next layer, and freeze for a further 30 minutes.

Once this layer is frozen, add one more layer of chocolate to the top and freeze again.

Once ready remove from the muffin cases and place in a container. I would advise keeping them in the freezer instead of the fridge as the smoothie layer will melt otherwise.

Enjoy the yummy flavours!

Love,
Lauren

Raw Chocolate Hearts with Maca Caramel Centre

Maca Caramel Chocolates

With Valentine’s Day just a week away I’m sure chocolate is on everyone’s mind. So I thought I’d show you that it doesn’t have to be unhealthy or “fattening.” Chocoholics round the world rejoiced when the experts started saying “chocolate is good for you.” But some of you may have been confused by this statement… after all, chocolate is full of sugar, right? So how do you get all those amazing benefits of raw cacao without the toxins of refined sugar, dairy and other additives such as emulsifiers and thickeners? Raw chocolate!

This was one of my favourite discoveries when I started this lifestyle… and it really is simple to make. By omitting all the bad stuff, and keeping the raw cacao at low temperatures so that you don’t destroy the nutrients, you’re giving your body one of nature’s most nutrient dense foods. Raw cacao is rich in anti-oxidants, is good for cardiovascular health and fights cancer. It also contains phenylethylamine, which is a mood enhancer. That explains the “feel good” effect of chocolate! 🙂

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa? Cocoa is what you probably grew up with… it is made from cacao beans but has gone through processing which means a loss of nutrients. To get the full benefits of the cacao bean, and a high-quality chocolate, make sure you only buy organic raw cacao products.

My chocolate recipe uses raw cacao paste as well as cacao butter. If these are not available to you, or you first want to see what this is all about before spending money on those products, you can make raw chocolate using coconut oil and raw cacao powder.

Maca is a root grown in Peru, which comes from the radish family. It has been revered for over 2000 years for its ability to provide stamina, mental clarity and aid fertility. It is believed to be an excellent aphrodisiac, particularly when paired with raw cacao. It has a bit of an odd taste (I must admit at first I didn’t like it!) but adding it to my raw caramel is a good way to start… the result is heavenly!

Ingredients

1 x Raw Caramel recipe
2 tbsp maca powder

Chocolate recipe #1:

75g raw cacao paste
25g raw cacao butter
30ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (alternatively, use 60ml honey or maple)
pinch of himalayan salt

Chocolate recipe #2:

90ml coconut oil
90ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
125ml raw cacao powder

Method:

Add the maca powder to the caramel ingredients when blending. Set aside.

For chocolate recipe #1, place all the ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. The trick with chocolate is to only ever use gentle heat, and to heat all the ingredients together. If you try to melt the cacao over direct heat, or add cold honey to it once it’s been melted, it will seize. Use a whisk to stir the chocolate until everything is melted, well combined and glossy.

For chocolate recipe #2, place the coconut oil and honey or maple in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. Gently melt the oil and honey, using a whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and add the cacao powder, using the whisk to combine well.

Fill your heart mould with chocolate one third of the way. If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to drop some caramel onto the set chocolate, trying to avoid the sides of the mould.

Maca Caramel Chocolates 2

Place in the freezer again for a few minutes to harden, so that pouring more chocolate over the caramel doesn’t melt it. If your chocolate is no longer pouring consistency, heat it gently again over the simmering water. Fill the moulds with chocolate so that it pours around the caramel, and covers it. Place in the freezer again until set. These chocolates do need to be kept in the fridge as they can melt at room temperature, especially if you’ve made the coconut oil version. I keep mine in a glass jar, and they can last up to a month (at least, that’s the longest mine have ever lasted before being eaten!)

I hope these will put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day!

Health & happiness.

Love,
Raine

Immune Boosting Berry & Superfood Smoothie

Immune Boosting Smoothie

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather the last few days and the last thing I want to do is to take some nasty, over-the-counter chemical meds that will suppress the toxins. My aim is to release the toxins and let my body heal the natural way. And there are plenty of ways to do this.

I added maca – for extra strength, acai berries – hugely powerful anti-oxidants (both from Organic Burst), chia seeds – a great source of plant-based protein and added to that blueberries – more anti-oxidants (organic of course, otherwise it kind of negates their powers), strawberries and banana, because I need lots of plant-based natural sugars to keep strong.

Ingredients

250ml almond milk
1 banana (frozen or fresh, depends how creamy you like it)
5 strawberries
Handful blueberries
1 tsp maca powder
2 acai berry capsules, opened and sprinkled in
1 tsp chia seeds
4 ice cubes
2 figs, cut up in small pieces (optional)

Method

Simply put all the ingredients into your  blender (except for the figs) and blend. Pour into a cup and add the figs which are yummy to eat in chunks as you’re drinking the smoothie.

I love breakfast!
Love,
Lauren

Tri-colour Roasted Pepper Salad

roast pepper salad

My mom used to make something similar to this when I was growing up and it was one of my favourite salads. Roasting the peppers and then removing the skin gives them a lovely silky texture. This makes a great accompaniment to a big family Sunday lunch, or is filling enough as a meal on its own.

Ingredients (enough for a table salad, or serves 2 as a meal)

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 tin organic chickpeas, rinsed well
about 20 olives (I used Blue Sky Organics chilli-stuffed olives for an extra kick, available at Organic Emporium)
2 tbsp of the liquid from the olives
2 tbsp capers
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
a small handful of fresh basil, torn
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the grill in your oven and then place the peppers about 10 – 15cm under the grill. Allow the skin to bubble and blacken (takes about 10 minutes) and then turn them to do the next side. Continue until the all the peppers have been blackened on all sides. If the skin has not at least bubbled and browned you will not be able to remove it. It needs to look like this:

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Place the cooked peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Leave them to sweat (which separates the skin from the flesh) and cool down enough for you to work with them. Once cooled, peel all the skin off. You just want to remove the very thin outer layer, not any of the flesh.

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Remove the seeds and stem and cut the peppers into strips about 5 cm wide. Cut the olives in half. Combine all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. You can either eat immediately, or leave to marinate for a few hours. Best served at room temperature, not cold from the fridge, so I would suggest taking it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I ate this as an easy dinner with some gluten-free flat bread. I’m still working on the recipe but will share it as soon as I’m happy with it 😉

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Chocolate Kale Chips

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Technically I cannot take credit for these delicious little miracles… it was my son’s idea! The last time I made a batch of Kale Chips I added a bit of cayenne. He was not very impressed and asked why I put fire in them 🙂 So I asked him what flavour he would like next time and he said chocolate! At first I laughed, and then I started thinking it might actually work. The end result surprised even me… they are so moreish, and you just happen to be eating greens!

Ingredients

150 – 200g kale, weighed after removing the tough centre stem (I’ve used curly kale but you can use any variety)
90g natural peanut butter (I like Jozi’s Nut Butters which you can buy at The Organic Emporium)
2 tbsp organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (or double up on the maple syrup)
60ml raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
60ml water

Method

After removing the tough centre stem, tear the kale into pieces about 5cm square.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the kale. Use your hands and “massage” the chocolate sauce into the kale, making sure to cover each piece with that chocolatey goodness.

Spread the leaves out on dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate at 45 C overnight.
Alternatively, spread out on a large baking tray (you might need 2) lined with baking paper. Set your oven to 100 C and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. This allows moisture to escape so that you’re drying the kale, rather than just baking it. They’re ready when they are completely dry with a light, crispy texture. Done in the oven these won’t be raw, but still healthy and delicious!

Store in an airtight container and consume within 2 weeks. If you have high humidity you should use them faster, before they go limp. These are so good though, I’m willing to bet that they won’t last very long! 😉

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Baobab & Melon Nice Cream (African Superfoods Part 1)

Baobab & Melon Ice Cream

There’s a lot of hype about Central and South American superfoods, but here in Africa we have some amazing plants too! I think it’s important to both be proud of your country & heritage, as well as to support locally grown and manufactured products. Over the next few weeks I want to do a series of posts on various African superfoods. For those of you in other parts of the world, I hope it will be interesting and informative (most of them are becoming more well known and popular in health circles so you should be able to get hold of them.) For fellow South Africans, I hope this will encourage you to make use of our beautiful continent’s bounty 🙂

baobab tree copy

According to African legend, long, long ago the first baobab tree sprouted beside a lake. As it grew, it surveyed the other trees and admired their colourful flowers, their tall, straight trunks and their beautiful green foliage. One day the little tree was tall enough to see its own reflection in the lake. It was dismayed at the sight! Its trunk was short and fat, its leaves were sparse and dull and its bark looked like the wrinkled hide of an elephant. The tree implored the Creator to change its appearance, but its request was ignored. Day after day, it watched the beautiful trees, compared them to its own reflection, and cried to the heavens. One day the Creator had had enough, reached down and unearthed the tree. Turning it upside down, the Creator replanted the tree with its branches in the earth, and its roots in the sky. From that day on the baobab tree was silenced, and as penance has served animals and humans with good deeds ever since.
Source: http://www.ecoproducts.co.za

These beautiful trees are grown in 32 African countries, and are revered by many tribes, even worshipped by some. The fruit is a highly nutritious food source, the seeds provide oil (I used baobab oil during and after my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks) and the fibre in the bark is used to make fishnets, cord and clothing. The trunks are a good source of timber and are often hollowed out and used for shelter, grain storage or as water reservoirs.

Baobab powder has recently become a very popular superfood, and for good reason. The powdered fruit contains 3 times more calcium than milk, 4 times more vitamin C then oranges, 6 times more potassium then bananas, 5 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries, a whopping 16 times more fibre than pears, and 5 times more magnesium than avocados. Its sweet-tart flavour makes the perfect addition to this quick and easy vegan “nice cream.”

Ingredients

350g melon, weighed without skin or seeds
2 bananas
3 tbsp baobab powder (I use EcoProducts)
1 – 2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup almond milk

Method

This requires some forethought, in that you have to freeze the melon and banana overnight (or you could freeze when you have it and use whenever!) I used canary melon, but you could also use spanspek (aka cantaloupe) or honeydew (aka musk melon.)

Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy, using your tamper to mix as you blend. The amount of honey required depends on the sweetness of the melon. I had a melon that was not very sweet, which is why I decided to freeze it and turn it into ice cream. You may have a melon so sweet that you won’t need any honey at all, so sweeten to taste.

This will serve 2 people as breakfast or 4 people as dessert. If you have any left over you can freeze it again. It won’t be quite as smooth and creamy, more like a sorbet, but still delicious.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Cauliflower & Tahini Soup

Cauliflower & Tahina Soup

I love cauliflower, especially as a purée, because of the beautiful smooth texture it blends into. This soup makes use of that, and the addition of tahini makes it even creamier!

Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. Researchers believe that eliminating cancer stem cells may be the answer to fighting cancer. It is also packed full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients, is good for your heart and your brain, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sesame seeds (the main ingredient of tahini) are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Need any more reasons to make this soup tonight? It’s simple to make and takes no time at all!

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
6 big cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole star anise
a head of cauliflower (about 500g) cut into florets
one potato (about 200g) peeled and cut up
1 litre water
1 tbsp organic vegetable stock paste or powder
3 bay leaves
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup organic tahini
pomegranate concentrate (optional)

Method

Fry the onion in the olive oil until it caramelizes. The more colour you get on the onions, the more flavour you’ll be putting into the soup. You want them to look something like this:

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The trick is to keep it on a medium heat and stir every now and then. If you feel that they may start to burn, add a few drops of water and continue. You could brown them even more than I’ve done here, I was just in a rush to make supper!

Add the garlic, cumin and star anise. Fry for a few more minutes. Add the cauliflower, potato, water, stock and bay leaves. Simmer until the cauliflower and potato are tender. The smaller (and more evenly-sized) your pieces of cauliflower and potato, the faster they will cook.

Remove the bay leaves and star anise, then pour everything into your blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until completely, 100% smooth. The measurements I’ve given for lemon, salt and pepper are just a guideline – use your taste!

I’ve served it with a drizzle of pomegranate concentrate – the sweet tartness balances the soup beautifully.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Raw Vegan Super Berry ‘Cheesecake’

Raw Cheesecake 1

Need we say more?? We both have a real sweet tooth so come 3/4 in the afternoon, we are wanting something with our herbal tea and this is a perfect afternoon treat… We had made a massive batch of cashew yoghurt and had loads leftover so we thought, what can we use it for? And we came up with this. It’s easy to make, but takes some time because you have to do each layer separately.

We love using acai berries for their anti-oxidant powers so we wanted to make a super-berry topping, next time we’ll do chocolate!

Ingredients

Base:
1 cup almonds
Quarter cup pecans
6 dates
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Middle layer – Cashew cream:
1 cup cashews
1 and quarter cups purified water
2 dates
2 tsp organic natural maple
1 tsp vanilla essence

Top layer:
1 frozen banana
Quarter cup of freshly frozen blueberries (blueberries bought pre-frozen have too much water)
The cream from the top of a can of coconut milk
4 acai berry capsules (we used Organic Burst)
1 tsp organic natural maple syrup

Method

Before you start any of this, you must soak your nuts. Soak almonds and pecans for the base in one bowl, and the cashews for the middle in two separate bowls and leave to soak in purified water for AT LEAST 4 hours. Soak overnight if you can. Do not omit this step.

Once the nuts are ready, drain and rinse the almonds and pecans and put them in the blender with the dates, coconut oil and salt. Once combined, flatten this base layer into the base of a smallish springform cake tin and put it in the freezer while you make the middle layer.

For the middle layer, rinse your cashews then put them in the blender with the water and blend for around 7-10 minutes. You need it to go super smooth and creamy. If you have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, the mixture will heat up like a soup, don’t worry. After around 4 minutes of blending, add the rest of the ingredients and proceed to blend until completely smooth like a yoghurt. Leave it by the window until it cools then pour it over the base layer and put back in freezer. Leave it in the freezer for an hour

Now make your top layer by simply blending all the ingredients. Once the middle layer is firm enough, pour top layer on top and put back in freezer for the last time for around 45 minutes or until firm.

When you take it out, you may need to wait 15 minutes until it is ready to push out of the cake tin and you could use a sharp, thin knife to cut around the edges to help you.

Leave it to melt a little bit and serve straight away or put in fridge and serve from fridge once it’s a little softer.

Raw Cheesecake 2

We hope you love it as much as we do!

Love,
Lauren & Raine

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

Butternut Ginger Soup

Another warming soup for another cold London day. You can probably tell by all my recipes how much I love butternut squash! Butternut squash have a lower glycemic index than potatoes and are high in fibre so great for the metabolism. They’re packed with Vitamin A and potassium, are low in calories (low GI) and high in Vitamin B Complex which I need lots of for my nerve problems caused by long-term arthritis. They are also high in polyphenols (like acai berries and blueberries) which are great anti-oxidants. An all round brilliant vegetable! I added ginger, firstly because I like to take advantage of the detox affects of ginger but also because it gives it a great kick. The two flavours really go nicely together – my mum taught me that! I of course added turmeric, as I do to everything that is yellow, for some anti-inflammatory action.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 onion
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp freshly shaved ginger
1 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
Half tsp coconut oil
Handful of pine nuts (optional)

Method

Peel and chop your vegetables. When that’s done, heat the oil in a large saucepan and when hot, add the onion and cook for one minute. Then add the butternut and sweet potato and coat in the oil, 30 seconds should be enough.

Add the stock and almond milk, along with the rest of the ingredients and keep at a high temperature until it starts bubbling then turn down to low, put on the lid and let it simmer for an hour.

Once all veggies are soft, use a handheld blender to blend (or put it in a food processor if you don’t have a handheld) and blend until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Decorate with pine nuts, a great accompaniment for this soup!

Enjoy!
Love,
Lauren