Maca-Chilli and Lemongrass-Wheatgrass Chocolates

Chilli & Lemongrass Chocs

The mayans believed that cacao was the drink of the gods, and with good reason! Raw cacao is high in magnesium and all the B vitamins; it promotes cardiovascular health and aids digestion; it is high in anti-oxidants, neutralising free radicals in the body and thereby preventing cancer. Cacao also promotes mental well-being due to containing phenyethylamine and theobromine, organic compounds which stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. No wonder we feel so good after eating chocolate!

Making your own raw chocolate is simpler than you would think, and means you get all the incredible health benefits of raw cacao without the added sugar, dairy or chemical additives. Make sure to buy organic and raw cacao products, rather than regular cocoa, which has been processed and stripped of nutrients.

Ingredients

For the flavoured caramel centres:

50g organic virgin coconut oil
70g raw almond butter
100g runny raw honey or 85ml organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp Oryx desert salt
1 tbsp maca
a pinch of cayenne
5 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
1 tsp wheatgrass powder

For the chocolate:

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 an additional 30ml honey or organic maple syrup)
pinch of Oryx desert salt

 

Method

To make the caramel, place the coconut oil, almond butter, honey or maple, vanilla and salt into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes. You want everything to melt together into a creamy consistency, and the mixture will change colour as you do this. It’s important to blend for long enough, as opposed to just mixing everything together, to get the right consistency. If it doesn’t look right yet just keep on blending!

Divide the mixture in two. To one half add the maca and cayenne, and to the other add the lemongrass oil and wheatgrass powder. Taste each mixture for flavour – you may want to add another pinch of cayenne or a drop of lemongrass, according to your preference. Place the flavoured caramels in the freezer to set while you make the chocolate.

Place the cacao paste, cacao butter, honey or maple, stevia and salt 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.

Fill your moulds with chocolate one third of the way, making sure to use only half of the chocolate.  If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to make a little ball of the set caramel and drop into the centre of the mould, trying to avoid the sides of the mould. Use the maca-chilli caramel for half of the moulds and the lemongrass-wheatgrass caramel for the other half. Fill the moulds with the remaining 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. 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!)

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

 

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

Buckwheat Waffles

GF Waffles

I have this problem at the moment: I want nothing more than to have a lie-in on the weekend but my belly wakes me up and tells me it needs food! So I left my husband in bed this morning and went to make us both some yummy, guilt-free waffles. This is a variation on the last batch of waffles I made (which you can see here), as these ones are not vegan. They are, however, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and simply delicious 🙂 fun to make with the kids too. (The cleaning of the waffle iron is not such fun though!)

Ingredients

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 and half tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 and half tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt (I used Himalayan)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup almond milk (can also use coconut milk, hemp milk or oat milk)
4 tbsp vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted but at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tbsp maple syrup

Toppings of choice: I used maple syrup and almond butter

Method

Preheat the waffle iron as you want it extra hot.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl: buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon.

In another bowl mix the wet ingredients and whisk together: milk, eggs, margarine and maple.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix really well, making sure all flour is incorporated from the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter onto the hot waffle iron and leave for around 10 minutes, or until you can see they are crunchy on the outside. This recipe makes 4 waffles, and my iron holds two at a time so I put the first two in the oven on a low heat to keep them warm while I made the next two.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

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