Saturday, 26 April 2014

Inspired by.... 5: Raw Vegan Mint Choc Squares

Yes, these are actually good for you! (You'll see why when you read the ingredients)
I couldn't let the Easter holidays go by without posting something chocolatey, and here it is...
 This post owes a lot to Emily Von Euw's wonderful blog "This Rawsome Vegan Life"; in fact it's based on her raw vegan peppermint patties- see her original recipe, itself adapted from another blog, "Rawified",  here. Thanks for brightening up our vegan lives and helping them get even more awesome, Emily. In fact I'm now feeling so inspired excited by the whole raw concept that I've started psyching myself up for a Spring/ Summer transition to raw. I don't know how long it will last- I tend to be warm weather raw- but I do know that every time I've had a raw phase I have felt amazing- and I really like feeling amazing.

And so without further ado, here's the recipe so you can eat these and feel amazing too :) The main difference between my version and Emily's is that I didn't use coconut in the filling, just cashews, and I added more peppermint to the chocolate layers rather than cinnamon and cayenne. We got 8 little treats out of it, plus a bit more of the chocolate. If you want to make more, you could double the filling quantities.

Chocolate layers: 
100ml melted coconut oil
50g raw cacao powder (3/4 cup, where 1 cup = 250ml))
125ml agave
1- 11/2 tsps natural peppermint essence (or maybe 2; try it and see how you like it)
Beat all the ingredients together and spread half the mixture evenly on waxed paper on a baking tray. Put in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to harden up.
1/2 cup cashews, ground finely
2 tabs agave
2 tabs melted coconut oil
a few drops of natural green food colouring
a few drops of natural peppermint essence
  • Mix everything together. It won't  seem very firm yet, but that's only because the coconut oil needs to cool and set.
  • To assemble, spread the cashew mint layer on top of the first chocolate layer once it's set. Put it back in the fridge or freezer.
  • Finally, spread the last layer of chocolate on top and return to the fridge/ freezer to solidify.

..Yep, going raw is going to be fun!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mint Green Avocado Kale Smoothie

I wish I could have this smoothie for breakfast every day... no, wait: I can! Yay! (Well, as long as we get avocados, anyway; we grow our own kale and spinach pretty much all year round. ) I was bored with eating my greens, so I decided to drink them raw instead. Just to ensure a garden-fresh taste, I threw in some spearmint and lemon balm leaves from the pots on our patio. This smoothie is unusual but delicious, and full of alkalising and nutrient-dense greens. Don't let the fact you don't own a high speed blender put you off green smoothies; I made this one using a Magimix food processor- it just takes a little more time, that's all. This recipe makes one large green smoothie; I shared mine but could quite easily have polished off the lot.

Half a small, ripe Hass avocado
30g approx. (a large handful) fresh kale and/ or spinach
2 medium kiwis
4 dried dates, chopped
a small handful of fresh spearmint and lemon balm leaves
1 tab lemon juice
200ml water
  • If you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtech, just throw everything in and you're done.
  • If, like us, you own a slower blender or a food processor, put in everything but the lemon juice and water and blend until you get a paste.
  • Add the lemon juice and water and keep it running until all those little dark green flecks get smaller and smaller and almost disappear. This might take a few minutes, but then you're done.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Flax Flatbreads- vegan, yeast free

 What do you get if you take our soda bread recipe, add some ground flax seeds, then cook it like chapattis?- Why, flax flatbreads of course! It's quick, easy and really satisfying to be able to make your own flatbreads; they are great to go with soups, stews, dips and spreads whether you're at home or out and about, and home made breads are always tastier than anything you can buy. These particular flatbreads make a filling substitute for yeasted pittas, plus they have the added bonus of omega 3 oils and protein from the flax seeds. We usually get 6 or 7 flatbreads from this recipe:

2 cups organic wholemeal bread flour (1 cup=250ml)
1 cup plain white flour
4 tsps baking powder
50ml olive oil
2 tabs ground flax seeds
water to mix

  • Rub the oil into the dry ingredients
  • Add enough water to make a pliable, but not sticky, dough.
  • Knead lightly until easy to handle (just a minute or two).
  • Divide into balls of about twice the size you would make for chapattis and roll out into circles a little thicker than chapattis. (But not too thick or they will be cooked on the outside but raw inside!).
  • Cook on a tawa or large non-stick frying pan for a few minutes, flipping them frequently to prevent scorching. They will bubble up, but not puff like chapattis.
  • Serve warm or cold.
What's your favourite home made bread when you're in a hurry?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Broccoli and Potato Bake- vegan- and some Spring sunshine!

This no-frills, kid-friendly bake combines calabrese broccoli with potatoes in a creamy white sauce- a tasty mix that's perfect for lunch or supper, and the topping adds just that little bit of crunch. Contrast it with a crisp, fresh salad with herbs from the garden and a tangy dressing, and your meal is complete. The recipe makes 6-8 servings.

60g calabrese broccoli (about 3 small heads) cut into florets
850g potatoes, thinly sliced (no thicker than 5mm)
2 tabs four-seed sprinkle (equal quantities of ground whole hemp, flax pumpkin seeds and chia seeds)
2 tabs organic porridge oats
4 tabs olive oil
1 litre plant milk (we used soya)
3 rounded tabs plain white flour
3 rounded tabs yeast flakes (aka nutritional yeast)
1 tab soy sauce
1/3 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 tsp seasalt
  • Pre-cook the potatoes by steaming them, (but take care not to get them so soft that they start to disintegrate).
  • In another pan, steam the broccoli until tender.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce according to the roux method: heat the oil and stir the flour into it before using a balloon whisk to gradually blend in the other ingredients over a medium-low heat. It should thicken into  smooth, glossy sauce.
  • Arrange the veggies in an ovenproof dish.
  • Pour the sauce on top.
  • Scatter with the ground seeds and porridge oats.
  • Bake at 180C, uncovered, for about 25minutes. The top layer of potato should be golden-brown and all the veggies should be tender. 

We've been enjoying some Spring sunshine in the garden this week:
Bright new leaves on the currant bush

Beautiful yellow-blossomed kerria shrub (aka "Bachelor's buttons")

star magnolia

...and finally, pink polyanthus
Wishing you all a very happy Easter!