Rose Pistachio Chocolate Bark

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite out of a chunk of chocolate, and indeed nothing more satisfying at all than knowing that that chocolate is made of only pure, natural, healthy ingredients than not only are not detrimental to your health, but are in fact beneficial to your health.

I usually make my chocolate truffle hearts when I want good old plain chocolate instead of brownies or cakes or cookies, but this time I thought, You know what, just shove the entire mixture into a silicone baking tray and let it set like that instead of putting it into individual moulds.

I love the combination of rose and pistachio, I think it must be something to do with my Moroccanness! so I decided to put a touch of rose water, just enough to taste it faintly on the tongue, but not enough to take away from the exquisiteness of the chocolate, and the pistachios give it a bit of crunch and a touch of savoury to mix in with the sweetness.

As you take a bite out of it, you will honestly feel like that girl in the Magnum adverts, how she looks when she takes a sensuous bite out of the (rubbish-filled) ice cream; it’s heavenly! And so easy to make my son could probably do it…

So I invite you all to join in the raw chocolate revolution! 🙂

Ingredients

5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference of sweetness)
2 tbsp cashew butter

Optional fillings:
1/2 tsp rose water
Small handful pistachios, crushed roughly
Small handful coconut chips

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients (not the fillings) into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often. Add the rose water if desired.

Once it’s melted, pour it into a baking paper-lined silicone baking tray and sprinkle the fillings into it.

Put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then cut or break into chunks.

Devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Best Ever Vegan Lasagne

If there is one thing I miss, it’s lasagne! Just the juicy creaminess of it; it’s such a satisfying, comforting meal! I’ve had some vegetarian lasagnes but they use a lot of dairy so how happy was I when I discovered a vegan bechamel sauce on offer at Ocado! It’s from Conserve Della Nonna and available at Ocado and free of dairy, eggs and soy! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

What with that and the amazing new vegan cheese I’ve discovered from Follow Your Heart, I was able to make the (genuinely) yummiest lasagne that could possibly be.

I added lentils to this to ensure enough plant-based protein is going into my diet, something you must watch out for when not eating animal proteins. (Plant-based proteins are way more bio-available anyway.)

Make it, it’s the best!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 courgettes, sliced
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large aubergine, sliced
Fresh spinach
Half cup lentils
1 tsp bouillon
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch Himalayan salt

Marinara sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Himalayan salt and black pepper

Wholewheat or gluten free lasagne sheets
Vegan bechamel sauce
Vegan grated cheese

Method

Preheat the grill and oven, both to 180.

Boil the lentils as per the packet instructions and add the bouillon.

Place the sliced vegetables, except the spinach, on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with some salt and put under the grill. When they look slightly browned, turn them over and grill until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce by browning the onion and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, slowly, until transparent. Then add the rest of the marinara ingredients and keep on a low heat, stirring often.

Once everything is ready, layer the vegetables at the bottom of a baking dish and put some spinach over the top. Add a layer of lentils on top of this, then a layer of marinara sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets over the top and put the bechamel sauce and cheese on top of that. Repeat this whole step once more, sprinkling with as much cheese as you like on top.

Bake for 40 mins and serve with a green salad.

Love & health,
Lauren

Puffed Rice Rocky Road Brownies

I wanted to make some yummy treats for my friend who has just had a baby, because breastfeeding mamas need fuel (and chocolate!) and I decided to try and make a healthier version of Rocky Roads.

Daniel used to make the yummiest Rocky Roads whenever we had people over back in the days when we were young and child-free and still ate refined sugar. He’d melt together every chocolate bar you can imagine, with nuts and marshmallows and freeze it and it was amazing.

But this is more amazing. Really, I’m not just saying that. It’s more amazing because your body is going to thank you after eating them, not hate you. You can give them to your children and not feel bad, and the ingredients are all natural, plant-based and high in protein and nutrients.

Give them a go – you just make and freeze!

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
About 18 medjool dates
2 generous tbsp. cashew butter (or any nut butter but cashew is creamier)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
5 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Half cup puffed brown rice (I use Rude Health)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan gently over a low heat.

Put the oats and pecans into a food processor and blitz until they make a meal. Add the dates, nut butter, maple, cacao and melted cacao butter and add a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a sticky mix.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the puffed rice.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and smooth the mixture into in and smooth down with your hands or a spatula. Make sure it’s in tight.

Leave in the freezer for an hour then cut into cubes and store in the freezer or fridge in a container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Mung Daal (Moong Dahl)

I got tips for this recipe from a few Indian friends (everyone seems to make it slightly differently), then put my own stance on it, but only a little bit because why change something that works? So thanks to Deepa, Roshni and Abigail!

Mung beans have been part of traditional Ayurvedic diets for thousands of years and are used for their amazing nutritional values.

Not only are they absolutely packed full of nutrients (manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins), they are also very high in protein (a great option for a vegetarian diet) and fibre, and are a great anti-inflammatory food. When cooked with turmeric it is the perfect anti-inflammatory meal. They’re also great anti-oxidants.

One of the main reasons I made it this week is because more than anything, mung beans help digestion and after coming back from holiday and eating way too much, I needed something nutritious that aided digestion and was also filling and wholesome enough as a meal for Braxton.

It sounds like a lot of ingredients but just get all the spices out in front of you and add one by one. Just gives it the best flavour to have all the spices.

It’s such a delicious, wholesome, comforting meal and easy to make, which helps!

Ingredients – (NB: make sure to soak the beans at least overnight. You can soak them for days, changing the water each day.)

3/4 cup mung beans / moong beans
1 tsp turmeric
Choice of vegetables. I used: okra, baby corn, carrots, onion, courgette, sweet potato (could also add beetroot, pumpkin, peas, broccoli, green beans)
1 tbsp coconut oil (you can also use Ghee if not dairy free)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1 inch ginger, crushed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp cumin
Black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste
Handful fresh coriander

Optional spices – use what you fancy:
Cardamom, chilli, hing, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf

Method

Once the beans have soaked for long enough, cook them. If you have a pressure cooker use this, if not, cover with boiling water, turn down the heat and put on a lid, stirring often and adding more water if needed.

Add the turmeric to the beans as they cook.

Once 3/4 cooked, add all the vegetables and continue to cook.

Once nearly ready, get a small frying pan and heat the coconut oil (and add ghee if using). Turn down the heat and add the cumin seeds and stir continuously. Once cooked, turn off the heat and immediately add the garlic, ginger and the rest of the spices except for the salt and pepper and stir. If the heat disappears too much, turn it back on to a low heat then turn off again. You don’t want the spices to burn or the garlic to brown too much.

Once cooked, add this mix to the bean mix and stir, and add salt to taste, then stir in the coriander and serve with fresh coriander and brown rice..

Love & health,
Lauren

Blueberry Banana Bread

I had a heap of blueberries in my fridge and some ripe bananas so I thought I’d use my classic banana bread recipe and add blueberries. If you want a more chocolatey version, see here. This one is so light and fluffy and yummy and of course gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free ❤

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if they are small, use 4)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp flax seeds
3 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Handful blueberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix the flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set. (this is a flax ‘egg’ and used instead of eggs.)

Mash the bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Mix in the blueberries gently and spoon into the prepared cake tin.

Put it in the oven for around 25–30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. My oven tends to cook things much quicker than most so it’s been a bit of a learning curve, your oven may need more time.

Leave on a wire rack to cool then turn out of the loaf tin onto a plate.

Delicious served with peanut or almond butter!

Love and health,
Lauren

Bounty Bars – The Healthy Way

My mum always makes coconut pyramids for Passover which are yummy but of course they use sugar so I thought I’d whip these beauties up as an alternative Passover (and any other time) treat.

They are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free and vegan.

Ingredients

2 cups desiccated coconut
¼ cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut oil
The cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup maple
1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Chocolate coating:
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond or cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut oil

Method

Melt the coconut oil then mix all the coconut ingredients in a bowl.

Line a baking tray (I use a square silicone one) with cling film, leaving enough hanging over the edges, then press the mixture into it. Remember, they need to be cut into fairly substantial bar sizes once set so keep the thickness and don’t fill the whole tray if it’s too big. Put this in the freezer for half an hour.

Make the chocolate coating while it’s in the freezer by melting all the ingredients in a saucepan over a gentle heat.

Take the coconut mix out the freezer and cut into bars, then dip them into the chocolate and place on a plate and put in the fridge to set for 30-60 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Love & health,
Lauren

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

Braxton is leaving his childminder this week and starting nursery – eek!! I didn’t know what to get the lovely ladies at the childminder so decided to make them some nice things and package them nicely as a thank you. I made them these and some chocolate truffles – I hope they like them and hope you do too!

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
3 heaped tbsp natural peanut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
½ tsp vanilla powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
1/3 cup ground almonds
3-4 tablespoons coconut flour

Chocolate coating:
3 tbsp cacao powder
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp cashew butter
¼ cup coconut oil (add more if it is too thick)

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and grease with coconut oil.

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and add to a mixing bowl.

Now add the peanut butter, maple, almond milk, vanilla and salt to the bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. It should start thickening a little.

Now add the ground almonds and mix really well, then add the coconut flour and mix again. If it is too runny to make into cookies, add another tablespoon. It should thicken as you mix but add coconut flour one spoon at a time as needed.

Roll into small balls and push down on the prepared baking tray but not too thin as they should be quite bulky and will be soft on the inside if they are thicker which is nice, a bit like blondies.

Put in the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes, until they have only just started browning on the edges but not more than that as they will continue to harden when they are out the oven.

While they are in the oven make the chocolate by melting all the ingredients together in the saucepan you melted the coconut oil in.

Let the cookies cool on the trays for 5 minutes then let them cool fully on a wire rack.

Once cool, dip them in the chocolate and put them on a plate and put the plate in the fridge for an hour.

You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting and they should still be soft enough on the inside when they come out the fridge.

Love & health,
Lauren