Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

I’ve just eaten all the pies

Oh.My.Pies! I had an inkling that Alfredo would need an amazing sweet treat free from sugar, and OH was I right, and Oh, these pies are just so…..RIGHT.

I was unsure whether to post this, as I like to post things which people can try if they so wish, and these are done in a dehydrator (You will see why) and I know most people don’t have such an appliance. But post I must, if only to showcase how you can create different things free from white flour, sugar and butter that still taste A-MAZING. I generally never liked pies that much, like I said, it was mainly for my husband, but it turns out that I ate quite a few aswell……. I even had one for breakfast this morning with impunity.

For the precise recipe I will refer you to Russell James website, because it is his recipe, so, out of courtesy. And I will say, that at Westfalia website you can buy dehydrators for about £30 which are useful for many things (kale chips,  drying out your glut of garden produce for future use, drying out foraged edible mushrooms for future use and intensifying flavour, making your own dried mango/pineapple/any fruit, free from sulphates, beetroot chips (YUM!), fruit leathers for kids or hiking,  and so on and so on.)

The crust is made from a mixture of ground oats and ground cashew nuts, a little water, lemon juice, and a little honey or maple syrup. If you are wondering why it has cashew nuts in, it provides sweetness and the fat, without using butter. You simply blitz the “flours” with the liquid, and press the gooey mixture into seperate silicone cases using a floured finger to make a little case. Dehydrate, first in the silicone case, and once quite dry, flip them out upside down to dry the bottom for a short while longer.

The filling is made by blitzing dates and orange juice, with allspice, finely diced apple and raisins. Oh my word, it tasted so good, especially with freshly squeezed orange juice. Aaaaah the cloves, the cinnamon, and nutmeg!

It is topped with a cashew cream icing, made with unroasted cashews, lemon juice, liquid sweetener (honey or maple) a pinch of salt etc Below you will find Russell James photo (with permission) but actually, mine looked just as amazing. Seriously, they did. And oh my word! This was the best mince pie I have ever eaten, in my humble opinion.

Let there be pies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whoever said eating plants is all about salads? Deck the halls with boughs of holly, quite frankly.
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notquiteBettyCrocker: Avocado Chocolate Frosting

You have GOT to try this to believe it! It is sooo chocolatey-silky smooth and fatty, as a good chocolate frosting should be 🙂  It really does NOT taste of avocado. Of course these fats are health-nurturing fats, and as I mentioned in the avocado piece, you can do amazing things with a ripe avocado And here is one to add to the list.

To start with, you need  a food processor or a mini chopper. Take one large avocado, perfectly ripe and soft. Now it’s just the balancing act of unsweetened cocoa powder and sweetener, whichever one you get on with. I like it with unpasteurised honey, I know people that do it with maple syrup, agave nectar, and other forms of dry sugar. That is down to personal taste/dietary habits, though of course, not all of them are as good for you as others. But hey…. It’s avocado frosting!

My recipe uses the following:

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 20 grams cocoa (1/8 cup)
  • 70grams sweetener of choice

Insert into food processor. I am aware of how wierd this looks….

 

 

 

 

 

 

But look what happens once you have whizzed it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite 70grams sounding like quite a bit of sweetener, this tastes sweet in a dark kind of way, which is how I like it (we’ll see if the girls do! I may need to doctor it a tiny bit) If you prefer it sweeter, well, just sweeten it up a bit. I repeat, it DOES NOT TASTE OF AVOCADO. (Update. I sweetened mine up, after all)

The texture is, quite frankly , glorious. You could eat this as a chocolate mousse and I know plenty of people do. (With orange zest and a squeeze of juice in addition, I bet it is heavenly!)

Note: May look classier if not in an Ikea bowl. But check out that texture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, this is to be filed under Recipes that Sound Really Wierd, but Really Work (Honestly) , along with this one- dessert hummous. And of course, I cannot take the credit for either one.But wow, I am happy when people make these little discoveries!

This is going on top of a chocolate cake that I have tried previously, which is really delicious, and the children loved it too. It is wholewheat (when I bake it, anyway) not as high in sugar as most cakes, pretty low fat (it uses some vegetable oil) and it has no eggs in, and despite everything I have just said, it is really light and moist. The recipe is here.

I will post a photo of the whole cake tomorrow. It’s my birthday cake 🙂

Chocolate Macadamia Truffles (and a chat about fat)

Someone made a slightly disparaging comment to me recently about how it was obvious I could never relax for fear of gaining a gram. Years ago I felt a real fear of gaining weight; it’s not a nice place to be in, and I am sure many people know what I am talking about.

I haven’t felt like that for a long time, and when I say “no thank you” to a “treat” or pass by them in the shop, it’s certainly not because I am gritting my teeth thinking about the calories. Apart from anything else, “one treat” will not make you gain weight.

It’s either because I genuinely don’t want to eat it anymore, or on occasion, I may feel like it, but normally (almost always! 🙂 ) I choose not to, not for the sake of my hips, but for my cardiovascular system. I love it, it’s mine, and I want it to last for many, many, many years. I want it to work efficiently, not drag itself along puffing and panting.

 I really don’t shy away from fat per se. I eat it daily, and some days, in abundance. But I choose fats that I consider will not harm, and even benefit my heart and arteries, and the rest of the body. Fats like avocados, unroasted nuts and seeds, coconut and olive oil , to name some. Plus, I love the aforementioned foods, and they do far more for our organism than just provide us with healthy fats.

So I just had to express that, if only for myself. On that note, here are some truffles I made the other day which we all enjoyed here. These are so heavenly, and are free from fats which will harm your arteries: Bonus!  These are RICH, and though macadamia nuts have been shown to reduce levels of harmful cholesterol known as LDL cholesterol, eating one cup of them will almost definitely give you a stomachache. So share, share,share.

Note: Dried dates are a more concentrated sugar form than fresh dates. I used dried dates because it was all I had in, but generally fresh dates would be better. I am not sure if quantities would alter if you used fresh dates, but it’s just how sweet you like it, so just taste-test.

You need a mini chopper or small food processor, of course 🙂

  • 1 cup macadamia Nuts (100g)
  • 1 cup chopped dried dates (100g) Unsoaked or very slightly soaked.
  • 1/4t salt
  • 3/8 cup of unpasteurised honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsweeetened cocoa/cacao powder  (2T if you like your chocolate bitter)
  • Your choice of something to roll your finished truffles in. (I used a mixture of ground cashews and ground cacao nibs, a random little ingredient I once bought for £1.50 in an organic store.)

First process the nuts for a couple of minutes until they become a nut butter. Macadamias are the fattiest nut and this will happen very quickly. Add all other ingredients and process well until completely homogenised. You may need to scrape it down occasionally, and it will take a few minutes. Be patient. After a time you will behold a glorious chocolate-frosting-type mixture with a wonderful glistening sheen! That’s the fat 🙂  It’s alright. It is good healthy fat. Just don’t eat it all day 🙂

This will be quite soft now, so place in the fridge (or freezer, for quickness) until firm. In the fridge it should take 30-60 minutes. Roll into little balls and roll in chopped nuts, or dried coconut or whatever you want.

 I am not sure how many I made, maybe about 14?  I laid aside half the mixture and froze it in a block for another time; maybe I just couldn’t get over that sheen…. Albeit healthy fat, I thought it best to spread the cholesterol-lowering joys over a week or two. A remnant of my fat-o-phobic years? Possibly. Some things must run deep 🙂

Still. They were silky smooth in texture (it’s that fat again!) and really delicious. Approved by the grown-ups and 2/3 of the children in the household, and I wasn’t expecting Ellie to approve them anyway as she is not big on chocolate flavours most of the time.

If you try this, I hope you enjoy them.There is no photo, but hey, we have all seen little chocolate truffles before anyway.  I bet they are delicious with orange zest/essence, or mint. Unpasteurised honey is better for your health but maple syrup is probably nicer-tasting in this recipe 🙂

Be smart and get creative and you will be able to find treats that are made from beneficial fats and more natural sugars that still hit that craving. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about abundance 🙂 Wishing you a happy day, abundant in every sense of the word. x

Raw Banoffee Pie, or “Why healthy desserts can be full of fat and sugar”

So, once I read that they did this study on rats, and that under stress, they went for fattier foods. I guess we are all familiar with that scenario. For some people, comfort food is fatty; pizza, a kebab, a burger…sometimes though, it’s sugar. And for double-“comfort”, foods that contain both. (Chocolate being the favourite).I doubt there is one person in the prosperous Western world that has not comfort eaten.

But! I do believe in healthy comfort food. Desserts that are sweet, gooey, and unctious, but made of whole plant foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, protective phytochemicals, fibre, and fats that actually contribute to the wellbeing of my body!  

 Healthy does not necessarily mean low-fat-low-sugar, (think coconut, and dates, respectively) Conversely, low-fat-low-sugar does not necessarily mean healthy. (Choose a “diet bar”, any diet bar). 

 So by all means, investigate; it truly is possible to eat healthy, nurturing, comfort food on a Friday night, or whenever you want. They do not take long to make, and are not normally expensive.

Sadly, this recipe does not come with a photo today, because it was eaten too quickly. We were both in need of some rapid comfort,for different reasons, and this was, oh, so deeply comforting!

I did this in a 5 inch mini springform pan. Double up for a larger pan. or buy yourself a cutesie mini springform, it’s very useful for rich experimental desserts for 2 people.

 For both the crust and the caramel, if you have a very sweet tooth, you could always add 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup to each,to give it an extra edge.But try it without, first.

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 a cup of unroasted almonds (You could use organic oat flakes’ whizzed into flour for a slightly “lighter” crust)
  • 5 soft halawi dates (or 2-3 juicy Medjool dates)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1t Maple syrup (optional)

In your food processor or beloved Mini Chopper, whizz up the nuts (or oats) and salt until they resemble a fine crumb. Add the dates and process until they are well blended through. Test the crumb between finger and thumb to see if it is sticky. If not, add one more small date , or your liquid sweetener. Press into the bottom of your pan, and refridgerate, while you make the caramel.

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 a cup of cashew butter (made from 3/4cup of cashew nuts) Follow the link for How to Make Cashew Butter.
  • 4 Medjool dates or 8-9 Halawi dates
  • 1/4cup of almond/rice/soy milky-type beverage 🙂
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2-1t maple syrup (optional)

Blend in your mini chopper until silky smooth. Spread over your base, and when ready to eat, top with sliced bananas.  Insert spoon immediately!

I really, really, really hope somebody out there tries this!

PS.  The word “health” comes from a word meaning “whole”. Clearly, real, complete health is not only about a heathy body but also well-being in mind and soul. I think long-term comfort eating, without addressing the root causes of our stresses and pains is obviously not healthy, even if your “comfort food” is nutritious. But meanwhile, short-term…. there’s always Banoffee Pie.

Orange-Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

My best Christmas present was definitely the book “Raw For Dessert” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (Oh, and a beekeeping course. Very cool, thanks darling!) You can find out about it and see some sample recipes here. She bases all of her no-bake desserts around uncooked/unprocessed nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and some spices and condiments. They all look so good, and the ones I have tasted are fabulous. Yea, even fab.u.lous. And you feel so grateful while you eat them. What a wonderful abundance the earth brings forth and how good it feels to eat plants!!

Here is another pistachio creation, adapted from her recipe (she used lemon)

You need:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup of raw pistachios
  • pinch salt
  • 8 pitted medjool dates or 15 pitted Halawi dates (not dried)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Process 1/2 c of the almonds in your food procesor (S blade) until you have a fine crumb. As I was rich in pistachios I also threw in some extra pistachios to please the eye and gladden the heart, quite frankly.

Put the remaining 1/2 cup of almonds in, with the pistachios and salt and process till coursely chopped. Leave some texture. Add the dates and  zest, and process till the mixture begins to stick. Add the cranberries and pulse briefly till just mixed.

Using the 1/2T, scoop out the dough and roll into balls, roll in your almond crumb and chill for one hour before serving. Oh my goodness. Look how beautiful! They made me feel all festive just looking at them. So delicious. Can be kept in the fridge for 1 month, or 3 months in the freezer.

And a close-up……

Have a great day. Love yourselves, body and soul. 🙂

It’s pistachio week!….Pineapple Sorbet with Pistachio topping

Two lovely friends gave me a huge bag of unroasted, shelled pistachio nuts. (You know who you are) What a cool gift! Even though I love shelling the roasted, salty kind, this just looked so beautiful, and I was excited to have it.

Pistachios contain more lutein, — normally found in dark leafy vegetables — beta carotene , and gamma tocopherol  (the major form of vitamin E ) than other nuts. It also appears to help lower LDL cholesterol, and it’s oxidised LDL cholesterol that forms plaques on the inside of your arteries.

They also happen to be very beautiful, and delicious. I am going to post a few things we did with them over the next few days.

Pineapple Sorbet with pistachio topping

Oh, this was so good, and so simple, and the children loved it!

  • Take a very ripe pineapple. Peel, and chop.
  • Using a small amount of water (or fresh lemon juice) to help your blender get going, blend until  smooth. 50 mls-ish should be sufficient if you “pulse” the blender for the first few times.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker…
  • …OR spread quite thinly over the base of a pyrex dish. Freeze, and after an hour, with a fork smush it all up to break up ice crystals and freeze for another hour. It should be ready by then. If not, do another smush-freeze cycle of 30 minutes.
  • Top with chopped pistachios and maple syrup. YUM!

Fruit sorbets need no additional sugar if you use fruit that is very naturally sweet like ripe pineapples or ripe mangos. The maple syrup was a kind of decadent thing. Thought the glisten would set off the green nuts nicely, and so it did 🙂 

So healthy, and delicious! And it’s full of anti-oxidants for happy cells. It wasn’t sunny when we at it, but you can’t have everything on the same day 🙂

Raw Chocolate Orange Raisin Pie

 Creating delicious desserts made from raw plant foods=Total Satisfaction. This pie is utterly delicious,.It is high in fat and sugar; that’s what most people like in a dessert, isn’t it? 

But it is high in beneficial, healthy fats and natural sugars that come packaged with minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals that fight oxidative damage in your cells. (I use the word “raw” as opposed to “no-bake” because this is made almost entirely of whole-food plant ingredients in their uncooked form, as opposed to some n0-bake recipes made with butter, slabs of chocolate etc.) And yes, it tastes fantastic!

  • Fat:Walnuts (high in monounsaturated fatty acids, including the famous omega 3)                          
  • Sugars: Raisins (less anti-oxidant activity than fresh grapes, but they do have one family of phytochemicals called flavonols which has shown anti-oxidant activity when studied, and does not seem to be affected by the drying process. Dates …They are very rich in potassium; actually gram for gram, they are a richer source than bananas.And they are caramelly and fudgey and sweet. Thank you God. One of the many benefits of potassium is the special relationship it has with sodium. The richer our diet in potassium, the more sodium leaves our body through the urinary system. It is very beneficial then, for those with a high blood pressure. It plays a lot of other crucial roles in metabolism and muscular use.

On to the pie! 

  • You will need a food processor, and a nut/spice grinder
  • I did half-quantities in an itty-bitty 5inch springform. The quantities below should be adequate for an 8inch springform.
  • You can eat the base as it is. It is a raw, fridge dessert. But if you wanted a crunchier texture for the base, go ahead and bake it, 180degrees, 5-7 minutes, or until golden.
  • A note on a couple of the ingredients. Golden linseeds (flax seed) are a small golden seed, very rich in Omega-3 oils.They are also a great source of fibre, and taken ground with plenty of water, are great for regular evacuations if you catch my drift. When ground and mixed with water they turn into a kind of golden-brown…..gloop. It feels disrespectful to call something so nutritious a gloop, but there you have it. It’s gloopy. It works as a wonderful binder and can be used as an egg substitute if wished. In this case, a small amount is used to help stick the base together.  You can buy it in most large supermarkets and health-food stores. (Note: They cost a fortune in Tescos) Dates  This works better with fresh dates. You would need to pre-soak dried dates for this recipe and it would end up a little too wet. The King of all dates, and without a doubt my favourite for….well…everything is the medjool date. It is very big, very sweet, very moist and very succulent. If you are watching the pennies, you could go for Halawi dates. These are sold fresh where I shop locally and are much more affordable. They are quite a bit smaller, so adjust numbers accordingly, see recipe.

The Base:

  • 100 g oat flour (Simply grind oat groats, or porridge oats)
  • 4 teaspoons of golden linseed (flax) , ground. 
  • 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice, from a flavourful orange
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoons of ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, from your flavourful orange

In your mini chopper/food processor, briefly mix the oat flour,salt, zest, and ground flax seed. Then add your honey, and orange juice and process, stop and scrape down if needbe. It will look too gooey. Leave it for 3-4 minutes and you will find it has become a manageable pastry. It’s the flax seeds that have done that. Press it into your springform pan, and if needbe, use the back of a spoon to smooth it down well. If you need to wet the back of the spoon a little, do so in your orange juice.

The Topping (Give your processor a quick rinse out)

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of zest from your flavourful orange
  • 6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, or raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract (Buy in Homebaking section)
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 15 fresh halawi dates (or 6-7 medjool dates)
  • 4 teaspoons orange juice from your flavourful orange
  • 1/2 cup (generous) of raisins

Food process in the following order.

  1. Walnuts, salt, zest, orange oil, chocolate powder: Process well until you have a crumb-like mixture
  2. Dates, honey, orange juice: Pulse until the dates are fully combined and it becomes a big ball of “dough”. Check; you don’t want random date lumps!
  3. Finally, add the raisins. Pulse until they are incorporated. You want them slightly broken down but not pulverized.

Smooth over the base,  and decorate with zest if you wish.  Place into the fridge to firm up for a few hours, or overnight.

Not sure if there is too much crust. It was still delicious!

Just add one good friend, and two spoons. Delicious!

And it DOESN’T taste of walnuts! Nice as walnuts are…
And here again, with orange almond cream…. I love nights in with my husband!

I hate that the crust is broken...

P.S. Orange Almond Cream
3/4 cup flaked almonds
6T water
1 teaspoon zest or 2 teaspoons orange extract
1 1/2 T maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
Blend until smooth.
 
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