Apple & Redcurrant Crumble

Apple & Redcurrant Crumble 1

Following on from the post about my mum going to the farmer’s market when she was in Suffolk, other than the summer squashes, she also bought me some lovely redcurrants. I have to say it’s not something I usually buy but they are so pretty and I had loads of apples (and was entertaining, as usual!) so I thought, why not make a crumble. It’s a real British dessert and redcurrants are typical of the ‘English country garden’ so it worked really well.

Just like the Natvia natural sugar substitute I use in this (and many other) recipe, redcurrants have a lower glycemic index value than many other fruits. They are also really good for the hair and skin and, just like its cousin the blueberry, the redcurrant is a great antioxidant. All in all I’d say this crumble is essential for your general wellbeing!

Ingredients

For the fruit layer:
A large handful of redcurrants, picked off the stalks
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of 2 oranges, reserve the zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Natvia
2 tbsp honey

For the crumble:
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup almonds, soaked for 6 hours
60ml coconut oil
40ml raw honey

Method

Firstly, remember to pre-soak the almonds. Drain, rinse & pat them dry.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

In a saucepan combine all the fruit layer ingredients. Simmer for around 10-15 minutes until tender. Once softened, pour into an oven-proof dish.

For the crumble, put the oats, ground flaxseed, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and almonds into a food processor. Process until a crumb-like texture forms. Add the coconut oil and honey and combine well. Spread over the rhubarb mixture.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the crumble is golden and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges. Best served warm, but also delicious served at room temperature for breakfast the next day, with some coconut yoghurt. This was Braxton’s breakfast for 2 days in a row!

Apple & Redcurrant Crumble 2

Love & health,
Lauren

Orange, Cardamom & Fig Cake

 

2.JPG

I have been making a gluten / dairy / refined sugar-free chocolate orange cake for years and it’s a favourite of my husband and his family. It’s the dessert they request from me most often. I’ve recently discovered my love for cardamom in cakes and I thought, what tastes go better together than orange and cardamom? So I amended my chocolate orange cake slightly to add cardamom and figs.

This cake is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar-free but it is not vegan as it uses eggs.

It may seem like it would be a difficult cake to make but it’s actually really easy to throw together, the only bits that need a little bit more attention are the figs that will be on the top of the cake, and grinding the cardamom seeds but to honest, neither of these things are difficult, just a little more time consuming.

I made it this weekend for dessert for a BBQ we were hosting and it went down a treat.

Orange Cardamom Fig Cake 2

 

Ingredients

2 large oranges
6 free-range eggs
250g ground almonds
200g coconut palm sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt
The seeds of 10 cardamom pods
5 or 6 fresh figs

To garnish:
A drizzle of honey or agave nectar
Flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Put the oranges in a saucepan big enough to be able to cover them with water. Boil for about an hour or until very soft and you can see the skin opening.

Cut into quarters and leave to cool on the chopping board for about 10 minutes. Remove seeds.

Put them in the food processor / blender and blitz until they become a pulp. Add the eggs while the food processor is still working (on a low speed until you put the lid back on) as this will aerate the eggs. Blend well and leave it to the side for the moment.

In a large bowl mix the ground almonds, palm sugar, baking powder and salt. Then open up all the cardamom pods, put them in a pestle and mortar or coffee / spice grinder and grind until they are no longer whole. Once ground, add to the flour mix.

Now spoon the orange mixture into the dry mix and mix really well. Make sure to get all the flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Set aside for a moment.

Cut a sheet of baking paper to fit a 23cm springform cake tin and place it at the bottom of the tin then grease generously with coconut oil on the paper and the sides of the tin.

Cut the figs into fine slices and layer them over the bottom of the tin. Once totally covered, add the cake mixture and put it into the oven for 40-45 minutes. Your fork should come out clean but wet – this cake has to be moist.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour – this is important. Once cool, slowly release the buckle of the cake tin and remove, then put a large plate on top of the cake and slowly turn it upside down to release the cake onto the plate. Remove the baking paper.

Sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds on top and drizzle with honey or agave and serve.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

Making ice cream has always been one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen. It also holds a special place in my memory – when I was 15 a family friend tasted my chocolate ice cream and was so impressed she suggested that I go to chef school! It hadn’t even occurred to me, so that experience was what inspired me to attend chef school.

When I started cutting out dairy and refined sugar I knew that ice cream would be first on my list of things to reinvent. This ice cream is a perfect replacement for traditional vanilla ice cream. It can be eaten on its own or served with something like my Raw Chocolate Tart. It can also be used as a base for other flavours. Omit the coconut flakes and try adding cacao nibs and a few drops of peppermint essential oil, fresh raspberries, or finely chopped dates and nuts. The options are endless – use your imagination!

Ingredients (makes about 600ml)

400ml coconut cream
45ml organic virgin coconut oil
a pinch of Oryx Desert Salt
a pinch of vanilla powder
1/4 tsp stevia leaf powder
45ml raw honey
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup organic coconut flakes

Method

Place the coconut cream, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, stevia, honey and egg into a high speed blender and blend for about 4 or 5 minutes, until the mixture has heated through, thereby cooking the egg.

If you don’t have a high speed blender, simply blend the mixture until smooth or even use a whisk to combine. Then transfer to a saucepan on a very gentle heat. Stir continuously to prevent the egg from scrambling. There should be steam coming off the custard but it must never boil. To check if the egg is cooked, dip the back of a spoon into the custard and then draw a line across the back of the spoon with your finger. Hold it horizontally and if the custard doesn’t drip it is cooked. With experience you can also taste when it is done. Traditionally ice cream was made with raw egg, so as long as you have good hygiene practices in the kitchen it’s not paramount that the egg be fully cooked. However, cooking the egg does thicken the custard thereby giving a creamier texture to the ice cream.

Place the coconut flakes in a frying pan and lightly toast them over a medium heat. Keep your eye on it and toss regularly as it can burn quite quickly. Turn out onto a chopping board and use a knife to chop into smaller pieces. Add to the custard.

If you have an ice cream machine, simply pour the custard into your prepared machine and churn until done, then transfer to a suitable container and store in a freezer.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour the custard into a sealable container and place in the freezer. Use a whisk to stir the mixture every 20 to 30 minutes. By breaking up the ice crystals regularly as it freezes you achieve a smoother texture. You should do this for at least 2 – 3 hours, until the mixture starts to freeze into a smooth ice cream. At this point you can just leave it in the freezer to freeze completely.

Remember to remove the ice cream from the freezer 5 – 10 minutes before serving, to allow it to soften.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Chocolate Mousse

chocolate mousse

This sugar- and dairy-free dessert is so simple and quick to make, and guaranteed to impress. By using raw chocolate and only a small amount of honey you get a mousse which is rich in flavour and not overly sweet, but even kids love it.
You could use organic store-bought almond or coconut milk, but I much prefer the flavour of homemade. You can make coconut milk by blending 160g fresh mature coconut flesh with 350ml hot water and then straining it through a nut milk bag or muslin cloth (this will make 420ml of milk.) Check out the link below to see how to make almond milk.

Ingredients (serves 6)

420ml coconut or almond milk
150g raw chocolate (I use Gayleen’s Decadence Baking Slab, available at The Organic Emporium)
30ml raw honey
45ml organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg

Method

If you’ve made the coconut milk yourself it should still be hot. If not, warm the milk in a saucepan until just below boiling point. Pour it into a high-speed blender, along with the chocolate, honey, coconut oil, salt and vanilla. Blend until the chocolate is melted and is well combined. With the blender running, pour the eggs into the blender through the hole in the lid. Continue to blend for another 2 minutes. At this point there should be steam coming off the mixture, thanks to having heated the milk, as well as the friction from the blender heating it further. Therefore the eggs will be cooked.

(If you’re not satisfied that the temperature is high enough to have cooked the eggs you can pour the mousse into a saucepan and cook it over very gentle heat, stirring continuously and never allowing it to boil. You need to be careful when using this method that you do not overcook the egg, thereby scrambling it. To check if it’s ready dip a spoon into the mixture and then wipe your figure down the back of the spoon. The mixture should not run down the line you have created when held horizontally.)

Pour the mousse into a pretty serving dish, or into individual bowls (I used champagne glasses.) Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until set, preferably overnight. If you’re in a hurry you could place it in the freezer for a couple of hours and then transfer to the fridge. To serve, place halved strawberries on top of the set mousse.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Raw Chocolate & Coconut Mousse

Chocolate Coconut Mousse

Pregnancy has got me craving something sweet after a meal (or all the time?!) and although I am totally happy with my 80%/20% lifestyle in which, during the 20% I allow myself to eat out, have the odd pizza or have a processed chocolate bar, I have to remember that my continued remission is not something to take for granted; it is a product of continuous maintenance on my part and that maintenance comes in the form of diet and homeopathy. If I get slack on either one I could see the arthritis coming back at any point and now, more than ever, with a baby on the way, I need to make sure that I stay strong and healthy, especially because carrying extra weight could also impact my joints if they are not kept healthy and supple enough. It is constant work, this keeping healthy business, but I can’t think of anything more worth it.

Sometimes people say to me, ‘we can’t afford to eat organic’ or ‘I don’t have time to make those meals’. In some cases this is very true, but a lot of people who say these things to me would happily go out on a Saturday night and spend £150 on a meal, or buy a new pair of shoes, or spend the evening in front of the TV. There is nothing more precious than our health and prevention is better than cure so ditch the dinner out and save yourself some money and put it towards buying organic, and spend an extra hour in the kitchen once or twice a week preparing fresh lunches and snacks like this one here. I have to sacrifice many things to be able to afford organic food, superfoods and my supplements, and it shouldn’t just be a case of ‘well that’s ok because you had a disease but I don’t’. Because if you ever get diagnosed with something, from arthritis to cancer or the millions of others that people suffer from, you will wish you did all you could to prevent it, for you and your children. There are ways around EVERY SINGLE HEALTH ISSUE, you just need to be willing to work hard enough and remember that a lifetime consuming the chemicals that are found in every single thing you eat or drink that isn’t organic, WILL lead to disease. Don’t do it to your bodies, not in this day and age when there are so many options. Enjoy an organic, superfood lifestyle! And if you need any help getting started, feel free to drop us a line so we can help.

Ingredients

Chocolate mousse layer:
Half cup pecans
1 frozen banana
Half an avocado
Half a cup of almond milk
1 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maple syrup
Half tsp vanilla extract

Coconut mousse layer:
2 frozen bananas
The cream from the top of a can of organic coconut milk (save the watery part for cooking)

Optional toppings:
Raw cacao covered goji berries
Desiccated coconut

Method

You will need a high speed blender to make the ‘ice cream’ from bananas. I use a Vitamix.

Put the pecans in the blender and blend well until they form a fine meal. Then add the banana and blend until smooth, followed by the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Add this to fill just over half a small glass.

Wash the blender out then add the 2 bananas for the coconut layer until smooth but not melting, then add the coconut cream and blend quickly so combined but not melting.

Add this to the top of the chocolate layer then top with your choice of toppings. I used cacao covered goji berries and desiccated coconut.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as my husband and I will enjoy it after our dinner tonight!

Love,
Lauren

P.s. I had some leftover from the coconut layer so I used this as a milk / yoghurt replacement with my homemade granola this morning. Was lush!

Coconut mousse granola

Raw Grasshopper Pie

Grasshopper Pie

Grasshopper Pie is an American favourite, using Oreo cookies for the crust with a mint cream filling. While I’ve never had the original version I’ve always liked the sound of it so I came up with this raw recipe.
Not only is it free of all the bad stuff like refined sugar and flour, it’s packed full of nutritious goodness in the form of avo, coconut and almonds. My son loves it and I love watching him eat something so healthy and yummy!

I’ve used agar (also called agar agar) to set the filling. It is made from a Japanese seaweed and is a very strong setting agent, so be sure to be precise with your measurements. Also be aware that agar powder and agar flakes require different measurements, so you would have to convert if using flakes (1tsp powder is equal to 1tbsp flakes.)

Ingredients

For the crust:

2 cups raw almonds, soaked for four hours, rinsed and layed out to dry (while this step is not necessary for the recipe to work, it’s always good to soak your almonds to release the digestion-inhibiting enzymes)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
150g fresh medjool dates (about 8 dates)
2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

For the filling:

400ml organic coconut milk
2ml agar powder
200g avo flesh (ie. weighed without skin or pip) this is about 1 1/2 Avon
40g organic virgin coconut oil
pinch of Oryx Desert Salt
120g raw honey
8 drops organic peppermint essential oil
1/2 tsp spirulina or wheatgrass powder (this is optional – it simply gives you a more intense green colour for your filling)
15g raw chocolate

Method:

Place the almonds, cacao powder, salt and 2 tbsp coconut oil in a food processor. Remove the pips from the dates and roughly chop them. Add to the food processor. Process until you have a fine crumb which sticks together when pressed. Turn the mixture into a loose-bottomed pie dish or a pretty glass serving dish and press to about 5mm thickness. Refrigerate.

Place the coconut milk in a saucepan and sprinkle the agar powder over the top. Whisk thoroughly. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes exactly. Agar needs to boiled to be activated, but its setting properties are destroyed if it is brought to too high a temperature, so use a timer! Allow to cool to room temperature.

Place all the ingredients for the filling, except the chocolate, into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste to see if you are happy with the sweetness and the mint flavour, which you can adjust if you like. Pour into the crust. Grate the chocolate over the top, and refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours.)

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Roasted Lemon Ice Cream

Roasted Lemon Ice Cream

My new favourite thing to do with lemons is to roast them. The natural sugar in the lemons caramelises, giving it a beautiful flavour somewhat similar to preserved lemons. This egg-based (but dairy-free) ice cream is packed full of an intense lemon flavour, the slight bitterness of which is off set by the honey. It pairs beautifully with my Raw Chocolate Tart, or just some shavings of raw chocolate.

Ingredients

380g whole lemons (about 3)
125ml raw honey
125ml organic virgin coconut oil
250ml almond or coconut milk
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
1/2 tsp organic vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of himalayan salt
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Cut the knobbly end off the lemons and slice into quarters lengthways. Cut off the pithy white membrane which runs through the middle of the lemon and remove all pips.

Lemon Ice Cream 2

Place the lemons in an ovenproof dish and roast for about 1 hour, until the lemons are soft and slightly caramelised. Double check that there are no pips as adding these to the blender could ruin the flavour.

Place all the ingredients in the blender, adding the eggs last so that they don’t start to cook when they come into contact with the hot lemons. Blend until completely smooth. Ice cream is traditionally made with raw eggs, but if you’re put off by the thought of raw egg, continue blending until the mixture heats up to 65 C. You can measure this with a thermometer if you’re really worried, but basically if there is steam coming off the mixture the egg is cooked. You can also taste the difference when the egg is cooked.

Place the mixture in the fridge until cooled, and then put it into an ice cream machine to churn until frozen. If you don’t have an ice cream machine you can simply put it in the freezer and mix with a whisk every 30 minutes to break up crystals, until almost frozen, at which point you can leave it to freeze till set.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine