Saturday, 15 February 2014

How-to 20: Make Hasselback Potatoes

Crispy outside and soft inside...
Hasselback potatoes are named after the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, where they are said to have been invented. They are really a cross between roast potatoes and baked potatoes- more luxurious than baked but not quite as long to cook as roast. Their shape makes them perfect for soaking up sauces such as pesto, too. They are wonderful with cashew sour cream- see here. You can add pepper, herbs and sauce, but here are the basic instructions fro making Hasselbacks for 4-6 people:

We used:
8 medium-sized potatoes (or one large one per person)
50-75ml olive oil (traditionally a mixture of butter and oil is used)
1-1/2 tsps seasalt- we had fine, but coarse is also good

1: Measure out the oil and put into a roasting dish. Ricebran oil is also a stable oil to use.

2: Scrub the potatoes carefully, removing any surface blemishes. No need to peel.

3: Cut slits around the potatoes about 3-5mm wide. Go almost all the way round as if you were slicing them, but leave them attached.  (You can make the slices a bit thinner if you have the time and patience.)

4: Toss the potatoes with the oil in the dish and brush it into the slits. Sprinkle with seasalt.

5: Bake at 200C for about 45 minutes. They should look like this when nearly done.

6: When fully cooked, the skins will be crispy and the insides soft (test with the point of a knife)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Recipe Collection- Go Vegan on Valentine's Day

Being vegan is all about caring; for ourselves, other species and the planet; so what better way to celebrate the day we dedicate to all things love-related, than by choosing cruelty-free, plant based foods for ourselves and our loved ones? Even eating vegan for just one day will make a difference; one day of treading a little more lightly on the Earth and leaving a slightly smaller footprint; of attending to our health and caring about other beings as well as ourselves. Plus, vegan foods just happen to be exciting, nutritious and  delicious. So what are you waiting for? Spread the love and enjoy some vegan treats!

We hope you liked  the raw chocolate recipe we posted earlier this week, but in case you fancy something else with which to woo your beloved on Valentine's Day, here it is again, along with some goodies we made earlier...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Nakd Bar Challenge!- vegan, raw,sugar free

The bought version- thoroughly blended and satisfyingly chewy!
Our kids love Nakd bars- they are full of healthy ingredients, raw, vegan and taste great. They come in several flavours: Cocoa Delight, Cocoa Orange, Pecan Pie, Cocoa Mint, Ginger Bread, Cashew Cookie, Berry Delight, Caffe Mocha and Rhubarb and Custard. But Nakd bars are so simple we thought we'd replicate one kind at home then do a blindfold taste test  to see if our bar was good enough to pass as the real thing. We chose Cocoa Delight, as we had all the ingredients to hand. It was quick and easy to make, but as you will see, the test results were pretty interesting...

Thanks to this handy ingredients list with %s included, recreating the recipe for this bar was not difficult.
Once the recipe had been worked out, it only took a few minutes to make enough for about 2 bars:
50g dates
30g cashews
20g raisins
about 1 heaped tab cacao (raw cocoa)
(I didn't bother with the natural chocolate flavouring)
  • Chop the dates and raisins as finely as possible.
  • Grind the cashews to a powder.
  • Mix with the cacao.
  • Use a little bit of water to press the mixture together and shape into 2 bars/ roll into balls.
The bars didn't look that nice (see below), as I had not used a food processor and the fruit wasn't chopped as finely as it could have been. If I had dehydrated the bars I could havemaybe replicated the lovely chewy texture of the original.

The home made bar is less homogenous and not as chewy.
And the test results? Everyone could tell from the texture which was the Nakd bar and which was home made, but most people preferred the flavour of the home made bar, as it was fresher. (The Nakd bar had an almost sour aftertaste.) I quite liked the way that the home made bar gave you little tastes of raisin or date, but I also really like the homogenous, chewy texture of the Nakd bar. The verdict: we'll be making them again...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Inspired by...2: Raw Chocolate for Valentine's Day

Celebrate Valentine's Day with some delicious, healthy  raw treats!

Use small cookie cutters to create different shapes.

Today's post was inspired by the talented Emily Von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life: a blog that is as interesting to read as it is lovely to look at. Emily is writing her second book at the moment, having recently had her first one (on raw desserts) published. The recipes you will find at her space are creative, beautiful, healthy and raw vegan. Check the original recipe out at:
I made a couple of small adaptations: Emily put goji berries on top- I didn't have any to hand so I used chopped Brazil nuts, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, chopped dried apricots and raisins. I used agave rather than coconut sugar. I have also converted the measures in cups to ml. Maybe because of the agave, I found the chocolate needs refrigerating to keep it solid. Otherwise, it is sort of like a fudge icing (now there's an idea). But the flavour. Oh, the flavour! You will never want to eat normal chocolate bars again- this is proper chocolate, and way less bitter than you would imagine, too. I can see myself making this on a regular basis, and maybe adding cinnamon, peppermint oil or other flavours just for a change; the possibilities are infinite. It will be a sad day indeed when we finally run out of cacao powder. So thank you Emily, for a recipe that is quite probably going to be life-changing for our household, and a perfect Valentine's gift for loved ones.

125 ml agave nectar (if you want the chocolate to be completely raw, make sure yours is not heat treated)
50g cacao powder
90ml coconut oil, melted
a handful or two of your favourite dried fruit/ nuts/ seeds

  • Mix all the ingredients together except the fruit/ nuts/ seeds.
  • Spread them out about 1/2cm thick on baking paper (with a tray underneath for ease of handling)
  • Scatter the toppings on and lightly press into the chocolate.
  • Put in the fridge for at least an hour (I sped things up by covering the tray with clingfilm and using the freezer).
  • Break into chunks or shape with small cookie cutters- do this while it's still very cold as it will be harder to handle afterwards.
  • Store between layers of baking paper in an airtight container in the fridge.