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 – Acai

imageNext in line is the Acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee).  The berry is the fruit of the acai palm, yet another plant native to Central and South America.  The palm grows mainly in swamps and floodplains, and can be found in countries such as Belize, Brazil and Peru.  The fruit is a small, purple berry, similar to a grape, though with less flesh.

Acai has become common over the last decade or so as a supplement or superfood, with claims of anti-aging and weight loss properties.  Whilst some studies have shown that acai is richer in antioxidants than other traditional sources such as cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries, there are limited studies supporting the claimed effects.  Therefore the scientific community is still unconvinced of the benefits of consuming acai.

The nutritional breakdown of the berries show that they have a low sugar content, and contain calcium, vitamin A, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and amino acid, though it does have negligible levels of vitamin C.  Acai can be purchased in freeze-dried powdered form, as well as capsules, or frozen pulp.

I purchased powdered acai, and have been adding it to smoothies.  It doesn’t dissolve, so leaves a slightly gritty texture to the smoothie, similar to if you add seeds prior to blending.  I haven’t found the flavour to be overpowering, though it does give a slight tartness.

 

Superfood Review – Lucuma plus Lucuma Custard Recipe

imageThe next superfood I’m going to look at is lucuma, even though it’s the most recent that I’ve discovered.

As with a number of the superfoods, lucuma is  a native of South America, originating in the Andean valleys of Peru.  However, it is now widely grown in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Laos and Vietnam.

The suptropical fruit is sometimes called eggfruit in English, due to its flesh, which is similar in texture to a hard-boiled egg, though is said to taste of maple and sweet potato.  As for nutritional value, lucuma is high in carotene, iron, vitamin B3 and other B vitamins, and is also low GI.

Lucuma is generally purchased in powdered form in western countries, and this is how I also found it.  As opposed to the maca, I found the flavour of lucuma to be very mild, with a vaguely caramel undertone.  The below custard recipe was really lovely, and I know it will become a regular dessert or treat, sure to become a real favourite.

 

Original recipe from The Raw Food Family:

Lucuma Custard

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup lucuma powder
  • 1 vanilla pod/vanilla powder to taste

Method

  • Blend together until super-creamy and enjoy!

 

My Notes

This recipe is so ridiculously easy, that it would be great for a quick and simple dessert, breakfast, snack…

I actually followed this recipe to the letter, with no changes, and no problems!

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