Tag Archives: raw

july-august: kerri’s raw caramel slice

I must admit, I found this challenge a bit difficult. Mainly because all the raw sweets I had tried, I didn’t really like all that much. I combed through the internet, reading up recipes and looking for something I thought might turn out somewhat yummy to me. On the bright side, though, I was looking forward to something that, if yummy, would be a healthy dessert and / or snack that I could enjoy every once in a while, an indulgence without any ‘should I have’s?’ later.

The end of the month was coming up quickly, and I had spent too long trying to find something to make. So I turned to a trusted source, and voila, found a recipe where I could find the ingredients easily, as well as being quick and easy to make. So thanks, Donna Hay!

IMG_8445

This recipe comes in 3 short steps, which made it perfect to do in between other things. A bit like a multi-tasker’s dream recipe. The first two steps use the food processor, and I didn’t even bother to clean the bowl in between. Just as I was finishing the 2nd step, my food processor decided to die. Thankfully, the mixture was processed enough!

DH recommends freezing the slice for 10 minutes before slicing, but that was not enough time for my top layer to set enough to cut without making a sticky mess. So I decided to just leave it in there and try the slice the next day.

And YES, it was good! It doesn’t taste like a traditional caramel slice, more like a sweet, nutty, chewy (as in caramel chewy) snack that’s great to serve with tea or coffee. I’m actually thinking it would be a great petit four, because {even} I find it a bit sweet to have more than a bite sized serve. But if your sweet tooth is sweeter than mine, go ahead, have a big slice :)

So I’ve decided to keep the whole pan in the freezer and nibble. I think it’s a great thing to have a stash in there for unexpected guests, or for those times you crave a sweet treat but haven’t got anything in the pantry. And the great thing about it – it’s a low GI, healthy, indulgent treat. Now that’s something to smile about!

You can find the recipe here.

JULY- AUGUST: GRACE’S “FERRERO ROCHER” BLISS BALLS

It was with some hesitation that I ventured into the world of raw desserts… sceptical about recipes raving about how beetroot and chocolate mud cakes were interchangeable, or the virtues of cashew cream pies (unbaked and grain free of course). My adventurous side was up for a challenge, but I wanted something that would actually get eaten by my even more doubtful family and friends, so I thought I’d tackle the well trodden path of the humble bliss ball- especially since they seem to be at every cafe about town these days. 

I contemplated quite a few of these recipeshowever in the end, the words “ferrero rocher” caught my eye… and with a simple 4 ingredient list, it was off to the shops I go. 

DSC_8701

What these recipes should warn you though, is that the recipe may call for only four ingredients, but the cost of said ingredients would end up being as much if not more, than the sum of their counterparts! Im happy to pay more for organic, and believe in good produce, but I can’t lie, part of me wanted to just go down and grab actual ferrero rochers and be done with it! 

Pressing on though, the recipe itself was simple- toast of nutty meal here, chops of dates there and a good old pulsing of the blender was pretty much all that was required. Initial smells and tastes were also incredibly promising – with a hazelnut chocolateness building in the air, my hopes rose, perhaps there was something to these bliss balls! 

DSC_8710

However I did find the mixture much crumblier and therefore, messier than anticipated when I attempted to roll the mixture into balls in my hand. I needed to add a bit of honey and about a spoonful of additional slightly melted coconut oil in order to coax the texture to combine together. Other recipes call for coconut cream instead of oil and I could see the virtue in that.

DSC_8713

So, the verdict? The initial bite was definitely a pleasant surprise and they do satisfy the desire for a nutty chocolate fix. I have even decided to try a few more of the bliss ball recipes I came across in my search. However, I think for me it will always be Ferrero Rocher over Ferrero RAWcher. 

DSC_8771

You can find the recipe here.

june: anna’s vanilla coconut chia pudding with cherries and almonds

photo (8)I consider real vanilla beans a luxury! Even though you can buy vanilla extract quite cheaply, real vanilla beans are pretty pricey. I was excited when I found some that were reasonably priced at Costco. If I don’t have whole beans, I usually use Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste, which is a great substitute. It’s a mixture of vanilla beans and extract, so you still get the little black flecks in your dessert!
Vanilla Bean Paste
With a theme like vanilla, this month’s dessert could have gone in almost any direction. The dish I made, chia seed pudding, is really simple. There are only a few ingredients and it’s also vegan / raw / gluten free / lactose free! The pudding is as simple as mixing all the ingredients together and letting the mixture sit in the fridge overnight. I found a recipe that paired the pudding with a cashew cream, which takes a little more effort than the pudding itself as there is blending involved!

Chia Seed Pudding
The base recipe is pretty versatile. Some recipes use a different liquid such as almond milk or soy milk, but I really like coconut milk and I think it’s a great flavor for a summer dessert! I lightened it a bit by using a combination of coconut milk and coconut water.
Coconut Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
In line with this month’s theme, vanilla is featured in both the pudding as well as the cashew cream. I served these in little individual glasses and topped with cherries and flaked almonds.

I wasn’t sure how well it would be received, since “raw” and “vegan” might not sound very appealing to everyone, but everyone loved it! The coconut, cherry and almond flavors paired so well together. This is definitely something I will make again.
Chia Seed Pudding Cherries Almonds
It also inspired me to try out some more raw cooking next weekend!

Find the recipe here

november: anna’s spiced raw granola bars

We hosted Thanksgiving lunch for 16 people last week. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment that is fairly big by NYC standards… but it’s still a NYC apartment! Our dining table only fits 8 people, so we had to rearrange the furniture and bring out the desk from our study / second bedroom and form a long table down the middle of our living room! Somehow, the two tables were almost exactly the same height and width!
We tried a new method of cooking the turkey – brined, sous vide and then deep fried (courtesy of a Michael Voltaggio recipe – any Top Chef fans out there?). It worked out perfectly! The breast was juicy and flavorful and wasn’t dry at all. The turkey drumsticks were also bit hit, not only because they were tasty, but also because they were huge and looked cool! This cooking technique also allowed us to free up the oven for cooking other dishes. We also had a whole leg of bone-in ham and sides including duck fat potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon and truffled mac and cheese, which are now traditional because we made them last year also! We ate and drank into the night, and there were plenty of leftovers for the rest of the weekend.
After all the eating and drinking, I wanted to make something that is actually good for you. I made a batch of granola bars earlier in the month, and they were delicious, but I found them to be a bit too sweet, and although they were called “raw” bars, they were baked at a high heat. So I did some Google research and discovered that raw bars can be made by dehydrating instead of baking! The maximum cooking temperature for raw food is 105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently not all ovens go that low, but luckily mine does. I made further adjustments to the recipe to cut down on some of the sweetness and reduce the calories, and then dehydrated the bars in the oven. It took about 12 hours to get to the texture that I wanted (a firm chew with some crunch). These bars can be made gluten free and organic, just make sure you buy gluten free rolled oats and organic ingredients. You can really use any combination of seeds, nuts and dried fruit that you like!
I was happy with the final product. These are great for breakfast on the go and they are very filling, despite only having around 220 calories per bar! Find the recipe here.