Fiesta Friday #25! Happy Birthday to Me

I must apologise for missing the festivities last week.  This week disappeared with alarming speed, partly caused by the busyness caused by my birthday.  I was taken out for lunch twice, had cake at the office, and a surprise drop-in by my team.  This was particularly lovely, as we are a National team, and are scattered over 2000km apart, in two different States.  These are the gorgeous flowers they surprised me with – aren’t I spoilt?

10547467_10203891649352904_2864292114143502538_n

To keep with the theme, my contribution to this week’s Fiesta Friday is my birthday cake.  Even though it is a healthy cake, or ‘Fun Free’ as we call it, it still went down very well amongst my chocaholic workmates.  I hope you enjoy a little bit of indulgence, sans the guilt!

image

Angie from A Novice Gardener is the force behind the party, and this week’s event is co-hosted by Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board – thanks lovely ladies!  If you would like to join the party – click on any of the links in this paragraph to find more info.

”Fiesta

 

 

Banana Chocolate Mudcake with Gooey Chocolate Icing – from Quirky Cooking

A Thermomix recipe

Cake

Ingredients

  • 200g ripe bananas
  • 150g gluten free flour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 60g coconut sugar
  • 70g coconut oil
  • 140g coconut milk
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • ½ tsp natural vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 12-hole muffin tray with cases
  • Place all mudcake ingredients into mixing bowl and mix until smooth
  • Fill muffin cases approx. half full and bake 25-30mins or until skewer comes out clean
  • Allow to fully cool before icing

Icing

Ingredients

  • 100g raw cashews
  • 3 fresh pitted dates
  • 20g raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g pure maple syrup
  • 20g filtered water

Method

  • Grind cashews for 10 seconds, speed 9, until fine
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix at speed 6 for 30 seconds
  • Scrape down, add a little more water if needed, and mix another 30 seconds until smooth
  • Spread over cake and decorate with strawberries if desired

image

Notes

The recipe is originally for cupcakes, but can be made into a full size cake by doubling the recipe and cooking for 50 mins.  I found this to be a bit heavier and denser than the cupcakes, so would probably stick with the smaller size in future.

The strawberries were my addition – after all, who doesn’t like strawberries and chocolate together?

Fiesta Friday #20! Raw Chocolate Truffles

This is my first post for Fiesta Friday, which is a weekly celebration brought about by A Novice Gardener, and is this week’s #20 co-hosted by Fae’s Twist & Tango and A Pug in the Kitchen.  It’s all about sharing ideas, activities, recipes and mixing and mingling – sounds like fun!

”Fiesta

I have actually been on leave this week, and have been spending a substantial amount of time either sleeping, or fiddling in the kitchen.  I was fortunate enough to have one of my colleagues send me the Wellness Trilogy from 4 Ingredients, after finding out about our new dietary regime.  This is the first recipe I made from the Gluten & Lactose Free book, and it is so delightfully simple yet decadent, that I thought it is a perfect recipe to post for Friday Fiesta.  I hope you enjoy!

Original Recipe from 4 Ingredients: Cacao and Date Truffles

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and crushed

Method

  • Blend together the cacao, dates and coconut
  • Roll into small balls
  • Roll balls into the crushed nuts to coat
  • Chill before serving

Truffles

My Notes

As usual, I didn’t have all of the specified ingredients for the recipe, so substitution was in order, so almonds were used in place of pistachios

I did not roast the almonds, simply pulsed them in my Thermomix for a few seconds until they were broken into smallish chunks

Chocolatiering

imageI don’t think that’s even a word, but it’s what I’ve been doing.  Chocolate – the real, straight stuff – is actually on the ‘superfood’ list, but the bitter taste can be a bit hard to enjoy.

In comes raw chocolate.

I have several different recipes, which I will experiment with over time.  This first one was ridiculously easy, and doesn’t have that real bitterness.  However, it does have a rather odd undertone that I’m not sure about.  I assume that’s from the coconut nectar, which I haven’t used much as yet.

Sharny & Julius held a demonstration at my local organic food store a few weeks ago, and I managed to catch the tail end of it.  I also wound up purchasing their book, Healthy Junk.  Whilst that was before our current dietary upheaval, there will still be quite a few recipes that I can use in it.  This is the first one.

Ingredients

  • 70g cacao butter
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
  • Seeds from 2 vanilla seed pods
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Melt cacao butter in a bowl over simmering water
  • Whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth
  • Pour into molds and place in the fridge to set

 

My Notes

In order to incorporate another superfood, I spread raw almonds in the bottom of a lined tray, then poured the chocolate over the top.  Once set, I broke it into pieces.

I used vanilla extract rather than seeds

Next time I will try either reducing the amount of coconut nectar, or a different sweetener altogether

Superfood Review – Maca plus Chocolate Caramel Super Cheesecake

imageAnother thing I’ve noticed with the Raw Food Diet, is that there are a multitude of new ingredients and ‘superfoods’ that I’ve never heard of before.

So I thought I’d do a little series on some of these magic potions, and associated recipes, and give you my impressions. I always take claims of super powers with a large grain of salt, but am also willing to try new things.

Today’s topic is maca, generally purchased in powdered form. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a herbaceous biennial plant that is grown at 4,000m above sea level in the Andes of Peru, specifically around Lake Junin. The main portion of the plant eaten is the taproot, which is used as a root vegetable, a medicinal herb, and a supposed aphrodisiac.

It has been shown to affect the hormonal system, and has therefore been used in the treatment of menopause, sexual dysfunction, and other hormone-related maladies. On the flip side of that, breastfeeding women, and those with current hormonal imbalances are advised to always seek medical advice prior to introducing maca to their diet.

I found a cheesecake recipe that includes maca, and thought that there could be no more pleasant way to test it out.

 

Chocolate Caramel Super Cheesecake – Original Recipe from Shine On Raw

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 ½ cups desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup of melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup of ground cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of sweetener/syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons of super greens powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of acai powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
  • Pinch of salt

 

Topping

  • 1 ½ cups of cashews soaked for 2hrs
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of sweetener/syrup (or for desired sweetness)
  • 1 tablespoon of maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

 

Chocolate Swirls

  • Approx ½ cup of topping
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder

 

Method

  • Place all base ingredients in the food processor and process until the mixture is well combined
  • Press into the base of an 8 inch spring form cake tin
  • Refrigerate until the topping is ready
  • Place all of the topping ingredients other than the oil into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy
  • Add in the oil and blend until well combined
  • Pour into the base, reserving some for the chocolate swirls
  • Combine the remaining topping with the cacao powder and pour into a squeezy bottle
  • Decorate the cheesecake with the chocolate sauce
  • Place in the fridge for 6hrs or the freezer for 2hrs to set
  • Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before eating

 

My Notes

I didn’t use the optional ingredients in the base, as I wanted to focus solely on the maca

I found the base to set very hard in the freezer, and takes much longer than 15 minutes to thaw to an edible texture

My cheesecake is not very pretty – it’s one of the first ones I made, so I was still new to getting the creaminess from the cashews

I found the maca has a very strong, quite bitter taste, that overtakes the other flavours

Whilst this cheesecake is edible, I don’t think it will become a favourite any time soon

 

Healthy Indulgence – Chocolate Brownies

imageMmm… brownies!

Who would have thought you could still indulge in these little pieces of pure decadence on a raw diet?

Once again, sweet treats are not just legal, but actually kind of good for you. Not that you want to live on them, but at least you can still gain beneficial nutrients whilst satisfying your sweet tooth. You have to love that!

I actually have a few different recipes for brownies, from different sources. They all sound delectable in their own way, but the simplicity of this one is what grabbed my attention and made me choose it as my first raw brownie exercise.

 

Original recipe from Shine On Raw

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups walnuts
  • 8 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/3 cup of cacao or carob powder
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of water

 

Method

  • Place the walnuts in the food processor and process into small chunks
  • Remove ¼ cup of walnuts and put to the side
  • Add the salt to the chopped walnuts and process until finely ground
  • Add the dates and process until the mixture becomes sticky
  • Add the cacao or carob and vanilla and process
  • Add the water if needed
  • Add in the remaining walnuts and stir through the mixture
  • Mould into the desired shape and store in the fridge until required

 

My Notes

As per usual, I had to replace some of the ingredients. I didn’t have enough walnuts, so used pecans instead for the main body, and left the walnuts for the larger pieces stirred through at the end

The recipe actually advises that if you don’t have dates, you can use 1 cup of raisins instead. I only had 3 dates left, so elected to use the raisins

Once my mixture was finished, I simply poured it out onto a piece of cling wrap, wrapped it up, and squashed it into a flat square shape before putting it in the fridge.

This recipe is so super quick! Literally 10 minutes, tops.

Carnage in the Kitchen! Raw Beetroot Chocolate Mudcake

imageI’ve never been a fan of beetroot.  Then again, I’d only ever tried the usual canned stuff – yuck!  After tasting the real deal in one of the salads at the workshop on Saturday, I felt game enough to try making a beetroot mudcake.  While the idea still plays with your mind, I’m hoping the results will prove very tasty.

Having never cooked with it before, I had not realised what a mess beetroot makes.  It looked like an act of violence had occurred in my kitchen.  Chopping board, knife, benchtop and hands were all stained a suspicious red.  Thankfully hands and benchtop cleaned up easily.  The chopping board was a different kettle of fish.  Good old Google provided this handy tip which worked a treat.

For stains on your chopping board, put lemon juice on the stains, sprinkle with salt and leave to soak for 1/2 hour or so. This will draw the stains out.

So, now to the cake itself.  Pretty easy to make in the food processor.  The only ingredient I had some trouble finding was the cacao butter, but that was more because I couldn’t see it sitting on the shelf in front of me until I asked one of the girls in the store for help (I thought only guys did that??).

I found this recipe on Facebook at Wray Organic, where it had been adapted from http://drlibby.com/

Raw Beetroot Chocolate Mudcake

For the Cake
2 cups macadamia nuts
4 medjool dates
½ cup currants
¼ cup organic coconut flower nectar
3 medium beetroots, grated
2 cups desiccated coconut
½ cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp psyllium husks, ground
1/3 to ½ cup sweet cacao nibs

• process the macadamia nuts until they are crumbly
• add the dates, currants & coconut flower nectar & process until smooth
• add the grated beetroot & process for another minute
• add the coconut, cacao powder & psyllium husks
• blend until everything is well mixed & an even texture
• mix through the sweet cacao nibs.
• press into the bottom of a spring form cake tin
• place in the freezer for at least half an hour while you make the icing

For the Icing
100g cacao butter, melted
1 cup raw cashew nuts
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ cup coconut flower nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp tamari

• gently melt the cacao butter over a low heat in a small saucepan
• leave aside to cool
• combine & blend the cashews, cacao powder, coconut flower nectar or maple syrup, lemon juice & tamari in a food processor
• pour in the melted cacao butter & process into the mix is smooth
• pour the whole mix over the cake base & spread out evenly.
• refrigerate overnight & allow all the flavours to absorb into each other before serving.

My Photos

Note: my icing didn’t come out as smooth as I would like, probably as I didn’t grind the nuts on their own first.
I am currently impatiently waiting for it to set in the freezer.  I’ll comment on the outcome once I’ve tried it.

Taste test complete!  Very tasty, very rich. Not sure about having the cacao nibs in there whole. They do add some texture, but I think I’ll leave those out next time. Otherwise, gets the tick of approval!