WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

GOOD FOR GUESTS

GRAPE, ORANGE, ALMOND AND WALNUT CRUMBLE

Essentials, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

I recently discovered that I love red grapes. I don’t eat much fruit, which, before I ate healthily would have been a shameful confession, but which now is more a way of life I am neither proud nor ashamed of, and which is a natural progression of a low sugar diet. 
Although grapes are available all year round thanks to global farming and other agricultural plus's, I feel like at the moment they everywhere. Maybe I’m just noticing them more since I ate almost an entire bag of them on a road trip to upstate New York. Since then, grapes went from being something I never particularly fancied in my lunch box at school, to something I had great plans for.

Before now, grapes were just something I was told to eat by my mother as they were good for me, and as one of few things that fell into this category that I actually enjoyed eating, I obeyed. However, I’ve never found them very exciting, and since making my own grocery store decisions, would always choose berries or other fruits over grapes. As a child, freezing grapes was about as experimental as it got (seriously tho, try it). We never cooked them or added them to meals, rarely added them to baked goods or made desserts with them, and definitely never thought about making them into refreshments. Grapes were grapes. Easy, instant, ready to eat. No hassle. But I’ve completely complicated things since rekindling my love for them. Let me introduce you to, roasted grapes. I’ve been roasting bunches and bunches of em since I returned from New York, and I want the world to know that until you roast a grape, you haven’t given it a proper chance in life. 

And until you make a crumble out of roasted grapes, you haven’t given yourself a proper chance in life.

INGREDIENTS

Topping
½  Cup Buckwheat Flour, Oats or Buckwheat Flakes
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1/4 Cup Desiccated Coconut
½ Cup Walnuts
4-5 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar / Pure Maple Syrup / Dates or natural sweetener of choice
Generous Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom (not essential if you don't have it)
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil - soft / room temp
½ Cup Flaked Almonds or Chopped Nuts of Choice
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds / Milled Chia Seeds / Milled Flaxseeds

Fruit Layer
4 Cups Red Grapes
1-2 Oranges
¼ Cup Water
½ Cup Chopped Dates / Apricots - optional
Juice of ½ a Lemon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract / Paste / Powder / Seeds

Optional
1 Teaspoon Acai Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Beetroot Powder
4 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Cacao Powder or Cacao Nibs to top

METHOD

Start by cooking the fruit. Preheat the oven to 200c. Arrange the grapes, oranges and dried fruit, if using, in an oven proof dish and drizzle with the lemon juice. Pierce and roughly mash the grapes using a fork and then place in the oven for 45 minutes. Stir a couple of times to evenly cook the grapes, and after 30 minutes, drain the juices. Save in a jug as the juice makes an instant and delicious sauce to serve with the crumble (and other desserts).
Whilst the fruits cook and begin to soften, make the topping. Blend the walnuts and desiccated coconut together in a food processor, on the highest speed, until they form a rough flour. Transfer into a medium mixing bowl and add the buckwheat flour (or oats or buckwheat flakes, if using), ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and flaked almonds or chopped nuts. (Ground cardamom is sometimes quite hard to find, but this recipe will work perfectly well without the spices - they are just there to add flavour). Stir to combine, then add the coconut oil, breaking it up into small pieces and rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your hands. Massage gently until everything is combined and the mixture resembles dough-like breadcrumbs. Remove the fruit from the oven once it has softened and reduced a little. This is the time to stir in the chia seeds, along with any other superfood powders, coconut milk or almond butter, if using. Then arrange the crumble layer, evenly spreading out spoonfuls of the mixture to cover the fruit completely. Press down gently with the back of a spoon or a spatula to make the crumble compact, as this will encourage it to bind and crisp up nicely. Return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the topping is brown and becoming crispy, and the fruit layer is bubbling and jam-like.

Top with extra walnuts, flaked almonds or other nuts and serve with probiotic yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew cream, cashew custard, the preserved juices from the grapes, almond butter, tahini, cacao powder, fresh basil, mint or thyme, grated raw chocolate or grated orange zest. Get creative.

SIMPLE AVOCADO, ALMOND AND COCONUT GELATO

Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipe, Paleo, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Beautydanielle coppermanComment

Eating Ice cream, for me, is usually a spoon in tub kind of activity, which is why you wont find an ice cream scoop in my kitchen. Pointless waste of space or what? A spoons a spoon and if scooping is all that needs doing, I think my current collection has all angles covered. Well actually, today I swayed more towards the ‘or what’ part of that sentence. It would have been nicer, neater and easier for me to get across the beauty of this simple, no-churn, no-ice-cream-maker ice cream with the help of an ice cream scoop. But, by default, I’ve accidentally proven that this ice cream - as well as being achievable without an ice cream maker (who actually owns one), and without dairy or refined sugar - is also achievable without an ice cream scoop. This is probably not very exciting for you because, I realise, for most people, the presence of an ice cream scoop in the cutlery drawer is not a big deal. But I’m basically making an excuse for my shoddy food styling, so just go with it, yh. It's Christmas after all. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Ripe Avocados
¼ Cup Almond or Coconut Milk (or alternative plant based milk)
6 Heaped Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk
Generous Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste / Extract / Powder / Seeds
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey / Coconut Palm Sugar / Agave / 2 Medjool Dates
2 Tablespoons Flaked Almonds
2 Tablespoons Hulled Hemp Seeds

Optional
2 Tablespoons Strong Coffee or 1 Teaspoon Coffee Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Chicory Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Medicinal Mushroom Powder (Reishi / Shilajit / Chaga)
Handful Fresh Mint Leaves
Handful Fresh Mint Leaves and Cacao Nibs or Chunks of Raw Chocolate

METHOD

Simply blend all the ingredients except for the flaked almonds and hemp seeds in a high speed blender or food processor. If you are adding the optional flavourings, add them now too - apart from the cacao nibs or raw chocolate, which should be stirred gently through the main mixture before freezing. Blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes until the blender runs consistently and smoothly on its highest speed. Taste, and add a little more sweetener, salt or flavourings to suit your tastes. Transfer to a deep container, bowl or a bread tin. Stir in the cacao nibs or chocolate, if using, or your choice of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, nut butter, berries or compotes (to create a raspberry ripple kind of taste sensation). You can enjoy instantly as it is, as a pudding / mousse / yoghurt kind of dessert, or freeze for around 4 hours (depending on the depth of your tin) or overnight to turn it into a rich, creamy ice cream. 
This recipe doesn’t require an ice cream maker as previously stated, which means the texture can be a little tricky to work with, and serving the ice cream requires organisation and a little patience. Remove from the freezer 1 hour before you wish to serve. Let it thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes, and then leave to thaw gradually in the fridge for 40 minutes. When ready to serve, simply scoop single portions into bowls and top with the flaked almonds and hemp seeds, to add protein and healthy fats, as well as texture and sprinkle-like excitement.

CHERRY JAM AND CASHEW CUSTARD TARTLETS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment
IMG_6778.jpg

I've been enjoying (term used loosely) a month of 'firsts' this June. The first time I've broken my left arm and, thus, the first time I've been in a cast for 6 weeks. The first time I've lived alone (peaceful but boring). The first time I've lived in West London. And I think (somehow!?), the first time I've ever used cherries in a recipe on here. It's all been wild, but it got even better with the impulsive bake that I got on last weekend. The results of which are detailed below.

It's hard for me to write this recipe. I feel I am selling it short, and that just one filling recipe for these DELICIOUS GLUTEN FREE TARTLETS isn't enough and just do them justice. Instead, I'll call it a suggestion. The rest is up to you.

As you think about all the ways in which you can fill your tartlets (of which there are many), you may also be interested in all the good that they're about to do you. Without any white flour, gluten, wheat, dairy or refined sugar, they are total do-gooders in the world of food/health/wellbeing/loving your bod, but also - above all else and the reason you're really here - flavour. They also embrace the seasonal showstoppers that are cherries. High in antioxidants, juicy but not-too-sweet sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals - it's obvious as to why the expression is 'cherry on top' and as opposed to any other fruit. 

My filling choice was dictated by two things. Seasonal produce, and all I accumulated in a minesweep of my parents kitchen (since waiting over a month to move in to our new apartment which is totally worth the wait, I am now completely the last leg of this couch surfing summer back home in Bath). The pastry was easy and honestly, if you only make part of this recipe, make sure it's the base. You can make it into biscuits for a quick snack, or into empty tartlet cases to enjoy with something as quick and simple as fresh berries. The cashew custard layer is even easier and contains just two simple steps - filling the blender, and operating the blender. And the cherry jam/coulis can be done simultaneously, whilst you work on the other parts of the recipe. 

.  OTHER FILLING SUGGESTIONS  .
Avocado Cacao Ganache
Chia Berry Jam
Salted Caramel
Coconut Cream
Honey & Tamari cover nuts and seeds

INGREDIENTS
(makes 10-12)
50g Coconut Oil
80g Buckwheat Flour
80g Ground Almonds
25g Coconut Palm Sugar
8g Arrowroot
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
35g Cold Water

METHOD
Preheat oven to 160c and lightly grease a muffin tray.
Start by whisking the dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, coconut palm sugar, arrowroot and salt) together in a medium mixing bowl. Next add the melted coconut oil, stirring in with a wooden spoon. Once combined, gradually add the water. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface or some baking paper, at about 2cm thick. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

When you remove it from the fridge, roll it out onto a freshly floured surface, to become no thicker than 3mm. Cut, using a knife or your own cutters (i used basic round cutters). Place each circle into each hole of your muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 more minutes, checking halfway through. If one side is browning quicker, turn the tray around. 

Leave to cool before filling.

FOR THE CASHEW CUSTARD
(fills 12 - with some leftover to serve on the side)
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/3 cup cold water (or nut milk)
1 teaspoon honey or agave
vanilla
optional – ginger, rose, lemon, orange, mango, lime

METHOD
Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add a little more water if it is having difficulty blending, depending on the strength of your blender. Make sure it is as smooth as possible before filling your tartlet bases.

FOR THE CHERRY JAM
(fills 12 tartlets)
250g Fresh Cherries
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

METHOD
De-seed the cherries and chop or tear with your hands. Place in a saucepan with the lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a medium heat. As they begin to soften, add the chia seeds and stir to combine. If the chia seeds absorb the water too quickly, add a few extra tablespoons of water. Simmer until entirely soft.

.  TO ASSEMBLE  .
Take your cooked tartlet bases and fill them with the cashew cream. It doesn't matter which order you fill them in, you can start with the jam if you prefer. Repeat for each tartlet. Place in the fridge to keep cool (this will also make the custard thicken and set a little - making it richer), or serve immediately.

LEMON, ACAI, BEETROOT AND BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman3 Comments
PHOTO CREDIT: RITA PLATTS / LOUIE WALLER

PHOTO CREDIT: RITA PLATTS / LOUIE WALLER

Here's one for the weekend. There is no day more fitting than a Sunday, to upload a recipe dedicated to cheesecake. A healthy, raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, grain free, and dangerously nourishing cheesecake, to be exact. 

This cheesecake is too good for words, and when I try to describe it to someone it comes out more in some kind of expressive facial dance combined with approving noises. There's really no way for me to put it into words. You won't understand until you've tried it yourself.

I recently met Rita and Louie through Rita's agent, who was interested in setting us up as three innocent girls with an unconditional love of good food, styling food and photographing food. Needless to say, we got on extremely well and spent an entire day positioning crumbs strategically, and eating enough cheesecake/eton mess/savoury muffins (recipes to follow) to feed an entire picnic party. It was a good day.

Since it's Sunday, you might be planning to spend the evening preparing food for the week ahead. You might be soaking some quinoa, making chia seed pudding to store in the fridge, or batch cooking stews or curries to chill or freeze, to have on hand as an instant meal for when you're short of time. I think this weekend, though, you should ignore your structured schedule, soak some cashews, de-flesh a coconut and concentrate on preparing to make this tomorrow. (It requires about 2 minutes to whack open a coconut and pour some water over a few handfuls of cashews, so if you are really serious about your week ahead, you could easily do this as well as prepping your usual meals). 

This recipe doesn't require any cooking, so once the prep is prepped, its a pretty easy and instant process from there. The food processor and blender will do the hard work for you (i remember making cheesecakes when i was younger, bashing away with a rolling pin for what seemed like hours, to crush a packet of digestive biscuits into a suitable base). The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the cheesecake to set, but if you pre-occupy yourself with licking the blender clean, you'll hardly notice the time pass.

The base is made from nuts, coconut and dates, and is naturally sweet. As it sets in the freezer it develops into a crunchy, biscuity texture, which is hard to believe when it is in its blended phase. The fillings' main components are soaked cashews and coconut flesh. The two ingredients combine perfectly together to create a rich, creamy, mousse-life consistency. The coconut flesh adds some kind of airy bounce to the texture, whilst the cashews make it creamy and thick. Free from dairy, rich in protein, healthy fats and antioxidants and bursting with fresh, natural, vibrant colours and flavours, there is really nothing to stop you from making this.

+ If you have a nut allergy, try making the base with buckwheat groats, sunflower and hemp seeds, and the filling with coconut flesh, pine nuts (actually a seed, safe for most people with nut allergies) and solid coconut milk or the flesh from 1 avocado.

RAW BISCUIT BASE

INGREDIENTS
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over, use it to top the cheesecake, or to make a few miniature ones)

1 Cup Raw Almonds
60g Desiccated Coconut
50g Raw Cashews
200g Medjool Dates
1 Large Handful Walnuts
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon - optional
1/2 Cup Toasted or Activated Buckwheat Groats - optional (adds an amazing extra crunch to the base)

METHOD

Place the desiccated coconut, buckwheat groats (if using), almonds, cashews and walnuts into a food processor, and pulse on a high speed for 1 minute, until they break down into a flour consistency with some small chunks. Add the dates, vanilla, salt, coconut and zest, if using, and pulse for a further 1-2 minutes.

+ With the coconut oil, melted or room temperature will both work. If you are using room temperature, though, concentrate on scraping thin layers of it into the food processor, rather than adding great big chunks, as this will encourage the mixture to blend more smoothly and easily.

Once the mixture has become almost dough like, but still a little crumbly looking, transfer it into a dish (can be round or rectangular, or you can even use individual miniature moulds). Spread the mixture around evenly, then use the back of a spoon or your bare hands to press the mixture firmly into the base of the tin. Make sure the mixture reaches the sides, and make it as compact as possible to ensure the finished cheesecake won't crumble and break. As you flatten it, it will begin to look more like a conventional cheesecake base.

Place in the freezer whilst you prepare the fillings.

ACAI, BEETROOT AND BLUEBERRY LAYER

INGREDIENTS
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over, use it to top the cheesecake, or to make a few miniature ones)

1 Cup Coconut Flesh (If you can't get hold of this, you can work without it, but it creates the perfect texture)
2 Cups Cashew Nuts, soaked for at least 2-4 hours, preferably all day or overnight
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
2-4 Tablespoons Agave, or natural sweetener of choice (to taste)
120g Fresh Blueberries - not frozen
2 Tablespoons Acai Powder
2 Tablespoons Beetroot Powder (can also use grated beetroot if you don't have the powder - or omit the beetroot altogether)

+ You can also experiment with flavours here, using unsulphured apricots, fresh mango, lime juice, avocado or goji berries instead of blueberries. 

METHOD
(Allow about 45 minutes setting time, or leave in the freezer until ready to serve and transfer to the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving).

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Use a tamper if you have one, to help the mixture to blend. Add a little more coconut oil or nut milk if the mixture is too thick and lumpy. Scrape down the sides after 3 minutes, and blend for a further 1-2 minutes on the highest speed of your blender, until the mixture is entirely smooth. It should resemble the consistency of custard or creme fraiche. 

Once smooth, pour the mixture over your prepared base. You can mix in some chopped fresh berries or goji berries, or simply lay some chopped berries/fruit along the base before covering with the mixture. Make sure you leave enough room for the top layer.

If you want to make a 3 layered cheesecake, return to the freezer and proceed with the top layer. If you want the make a marbled affect cheesecake, don't place this layer in the freezer. Set aside whilst you prepare the top layer.

LEMON CREAM LAYER

1 Cup Coconut Flesh (If you can't get hold of this, you can work without it, or try using 1 cup solid coconut milk instead)
2 Cups Cashew Nuts, soaked for at least 2-4 hours, preferably all day or overnight
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract/Bean Paste/Fresh Seeds
2-4 Tablespoons Agave, or natural sweetener of choice (to taste)
Juice of 3 Fresh Lemons

METHOD
(Allow about 45 minutes setting time, or leave in the freezer until ready to serve and transfer to the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving).

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Use a tamper if you have one, to help the mixture to blend. Add a little more coconut oil or nut milk if the mixture is too thick and lumpy. Scrape down the sides after 3 minutes, and blend for a further 1-2 minutes on the highest speed of your blender, until the mixture is entirely smooth. It should resemble the consistency of custard or creme fraiche. 

If you are making a 3 layered cheesecake, remove the cheesecake from the freezer and pour this top layer over the berry layer. Return to the freezer and allow to set for at least 45 minutes. 

If you are making a marbled affect cheesecake, pour this mixture on top of the berry layer, ensuring you cover the berry layer entirely, and reach the edges of the tin/dish. Then, use a teaspoon to gently swirl and spread the mixtures into each other. Be careful not to smudge or spread or stir too much, or you will just end up with a pale purple cheesecake, which will still taste delicious but won't look as fun. Make small, gentle movements and don't over do it.

Return to the freezer and set for at least 45 minutes. You can store the cheesecake in the freezer until you are ready to eat it, and transfer it to the fridge 30 minutes before serving, to allow it to soften slightly.

+ Store in the freezer for months, before or after serving. You can make it in advance and store it before a big event, or simply keep any leftovers in the freezer, so as not to waste any.

HEALTHY COCONUT AND CASHEW CUSTARD DREAMS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman2 Comments

Healthy snacks are hard to come by. They are hard to find in cafes, even harder to find in supermarkets or convenience stores and seemingly hard to make yourself. It is for this reason the title of this post - healthy custard cream biscuits - probably seems like some kind of un-amusing joke. You've probably never felt less enthused or more hopeless about something in your life. However, having mastered several other gluten, dairy and refined sugar free shortbread recipes, you should feel comfortable in my hands. I've only made these biscuits three times. Once as an experiment, once again to share around my agency (IMG Models) during London Fashion Week, and then a final time on demand, requested by Laney Crowell, who flew all the way to London from New York just for one bite (and kind of to oversee a shoot; but mainly in pursuit of the custard cream close ups I'd teased her with on instagram a few weeks beforehand). She just needed them. And I may not know you well, but I do know you need them too.

The biscuits are one of my favourite things I've ever made. I almost wish they would develop some kind of flaw, as, when I make them, I can't stop eating them, and when they're gone, I can't stop thinking about them. The biscuit is completely gluten free, made with buckwheat flour and ground almonds (although you can leave the almonds out if you want to make a nut-free version). The filling is incredibly easy too, and made with cashew and coconut is full of healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids), protein, fibre and antioxidants. If you make one thing for guests or one thing for someone who refuses to believe healthy food can be delicious, make it a batch of coconut and cashew custard creams.

INGREDIENTS
Makes Roughly 45 Biscuits (20-25 finished biscuits using 2 either side of the filling)

180g Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Tahini
50-60g Coconut Palm Sugar
4 Tablespoons Agave
Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, Bean Paste or Fresh Vanilla Seeds from a Pod
200g Buckwheat Flour
4 Tablespoons Ground Almonds

FILLING
Makes enough for 45 Biscuits

1 Bar Creamed Coconut, melted
30g Raw Cashew Nuts (you can replace theses with another bar creamed coconut for a nut-free alternative)
3 Tablespoons Solid/Soft Coconut Oil 
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Seeds from a Fresh Pod
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk - optional
1 Teaspoon Coconut Sugar, Nectar, Agave, Date Paste or Raw Honey

METHOD

Lets start with the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 160c. Use a chunk of solid coconut oil to grease 2 flat baking trays.

I'll warn you now that the biscuit dough seems to hold together differently every time i make these. I think it depends on the heat of my hands, the moisture, the texture of the coconut oil and just generally how the dough is feeling. If it isn't cooperating, it can be quite frustrating. That said - every single time i have made these, they have worked impeccably.

Start by using an electric whisk to beat together the coconut oil and the coconut palm sugar. Make sure the coconut oil is soft not melted, and not rock hard. To soften it if it is too cold, place it in a plastic sandwich bag and wrap the bag in a flannel or towel soaked in hot water. Squeeze and massage the oil until it becomes slightly softer.

Once the oil and coconut sugar have come together into a light, fluffy mixture (it will be darker than the usual cake batter you are used to, due to the coconut palm sugar) add the salt, agave, tahini and vanilla before gradually adding the buckwheat flour and the ground almonds.

Continue to whisk and when the mixture becomes too doughy to whisk, use a wooden spoon or you hands to combine everything. Once all of the ingredients are coming together, use you hands to knead the dough slightly, and form into a large ball. Squeeze and massage the dough until it holds together nicely. If it is too dry or too crumbly, add a little more agave. If it is really too dry, add a tiny bit of extra coconut oil. If it is too oily, wet or sticky, add more buckwheat flour. For me, I notice that the biscuits cook best with more flour, however dry the mixture may seem. So try to keep the mixture quite dry, working it with your hands as much as possible to encourage it to bind. It may take a few minutes of kneading to get it to where it needs to be.

Leave aside for 10-20 minutes in a tightly squeezed ball. Don't place it in the fridge as the coconut oil will cause it to stiffen rapidly.

Lightly flour a dry surface and roll out half or a quarter of you dough at a time. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out, using a lot of pressure to encourage the dough to stick together, until it is no more than 4mm in depth. Use your cutter of choice (I use the lid from a jar of coffee which is more or less the perfect rectangular shape. You can also use a knife to cut out shapes, although this is rather laborious and time consuming).
+ Use a thin, sharp knife or a metal spatula to peel each biscuit off of the surface if it become stuck.

Place each raw biscuit onto your prepared baking tray. Place in the over for 10-15 minutes. This will depend on your dough (i.e: if you felt inclined to add more flour or more agave). Check the biscuits after 10 minutes, and then again after 12, as if they don't seem ready after 10 minutes, they can cook incredibly quickly. Although they taste perfectly fine a little over cooked, this isn't ideal.

Whilst the biscuits are cooking, make the cream filling. Keep an eye on the biscuits though, as, like i said, they can become overdone quite quickly. Place the bar of creamed coconut in a bowl or jug of boiling water. Make sure the plastic that it comes in isn't pierced or broken. Leave for 3-5 minutes to melt completely, and as the water cools enough to touch, massage the packet to help disperse the chunkier bits. 

Place the melted creamed coconut, raw cashew nuts, salt, vanilla, coconut milk, if using, and the coconut oil into a high speed blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, starting on a low speed, and going to the highest. A tamper is really useful for getting the mixture going, if you have one. If it is not blending smoothly enough, add a little more coconut oil and/or coconut milk. Don't add melted coconut oil or water though as the mixture will separate.
+ Add a teaspoon of agave or coconut sugar to taste, if you have a sweeter tooth.

Scrape the cream into a bowl and set aside until the biscuits have cooked and cooled. Don't place it in the fridge as it will solidify and will be impossible to work with. Keep stirring the mixture whilst the biscuits cool.

Remove the biscuits from the oven when they begin to turn a golden brown. They will probably become darker than you imagined but this is normal. If they are still soft to touch, don't worry - they will become incredibly crunchy as they cool, so don't be tempted to put them back into the oven unless they are still really soft and pale.

Leave to cool before sandwiching the cashew coconut cream between them. Simply take a small teaspoonful of the cream and spread it gently onto the centre of one biscuit. Then place another biscuit on top, press the two together gently and place in the freezer to set.

Repeat until all of the biscuits have been used up, and place them all in the freezer to allow the centre to solidify slightly. You can enjoy them at room temperature too. 

+Store in the freezer or fridge in an airtight container.

+ Add ground or fresh grated ginger to the biscuit mixture for a Ginger Crunch Cream variation.
+ Add cacao to the biscuit dough for a Bourbon Biscuit or Oreo Variation
+ Add cacao and 1 tablespoons Agave to the cashew cream for a Bourbon Biscuit variation or just for a more chocolately treat in general.


COCONUT, MISO AND CARDAMOM BUCKWHEAT 'RICE' PUDDING

Sugar Free, Gluten free, Breakfastdanielle copperman11 Comments

From time to time there is a fine line between breakfast and dessert. This recipe represents one of those times. You could eat this for dessert at a gourmet restaurant, or you could eat this with your kids around the breakfast table on a sunday, in your pyjamas. It's up to you, but I know what I'd rather. I love all things breakfast, and although I don't always get time to make a good one during the week, my weekends are almost entirely centred around it. If I have a relatively calm weekend with not much going on, i'll take my sweet time getting out of bed, deciding what to make for breakfast, perhaps visiting the local grocery shop in clothes that certainly aren't socially acceptable, and then preparing, serving and enjoying a nutritious kind of feel-good feast. That's what weekends are for! The more people around the kitchen table and the more mouths to feed, the better.

This take on porridge is considerably creamier and has, in my opinion, a much more pleasant texture than oat porridge. Growing up, I hated porridge as I always got tough oats stuck in my teeth, and also, I hadn't been introduced to any of the ingredients I love now, so I was terribly unaware of how toppings could transform a sloppy, bland bowl of soggy oats into something I wanted to eat all day, all night and then again in my dreams. As well as being incredibly softer, plumper and creamier, buckwheat (a fibrous seed) is far more nutritious than oats - higher in (easily digestible) proteins, high in magnesium and, despite it's name, gluten and wheat free. It also helps control and reduce water retention in the body, and aids digestion.

To keep this breakfast/snack/dessert everything-free like the rest of ModelMangeTout, I use coconut or almond milk in this recipe instead of cows milk. Instead of sugar, you can incorporate coconut palm sugar/nectar, agave, stevia or raw honey (you may not need any sweetener at all - but I would recommend it for a dessert option). And, as with all porridge, you can get creative and play around with what you put in it, and on it, to make it more than just a bowl of stodge. In this recipe, I used miso and cardamom as they go really well with the coconut flavour from the milk, but you can use any herbs or spices and can add nuts, seeds, dried or fresh fruit and superfood powders of your choice.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2 for breakfast, 4 for dessert portions

1 1/2 Cups Raw Buckwheat Groats, soaked overnight
5-6 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Golden Linseeds/Flaxseeds - optional
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Almond Milk (or water)
1 Tablespoon Agave/Coconut Nectar/Honey
2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar/Stevia (to taste) (can also use more agave/syrup if that's all you have)
1/2 Teaspoon Miso Paste (I like Clearspring)
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder or Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Tablespoon Maca Powder

TOPPINGS PICTURED

Chopped Mango
Julienned/Peeled/Grated/Spiralised Kohlrabi
Solid Coconut Milk
Crushed Dried Hibiscus Petals
Coconut Blossom Nectar

METHOD

Make sure you have soaked your raw buckwheat groats overnight or for at least 8 hours. Rinse it thoroughly through a sieve then place it in a medium saucepan along with the the coconut milk and almond milk or water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes (i should have warned you, this is certainly not the ideal breakfast for time-poor people, but if you make it one morning or over the weekend when you have more time, make enough to store in the fridge in jars or containers to grab-and-go on other mornings throughout the week). After 10 minutes, add the agave, coconut palm sugar, miso paste, chia seeds, linseeds (if using), cardamom, coconut oil, vanilla and ginger. Continue to simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add more miso or natural sweetener to taste, along with any other spices or super foods you fancy. I like adding dried goji berries or fresh blueberries whilst it is cooking, as they become soft and juicy, adding a refreshing flavour to the bowl.

Once the milks have more or less reduced and been completely absorbed by the buckwheat and the other seeds, remove from the heat and serve immediately, or leave to cool and store in airtight containers in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy. Reheat, or stir with hot nut milk or water before serving, or enjoy chilled. 

Top with more coconut milk or coconut cream, more berries or fresh fruit, and another teaspoon of coconut oil which will melt into it porridge wonderfully.

+ For dessert options, serve with cacao sauce, cacao avocado cream or almond caramel.

TWO TONE ALMOND BUTTER CHOCOLATES

Sugar Freedanielle copperman1 Comment

These chocolates are quite special. Not only is raw chocolate much easier and less technical to make than normal chocolate (which involves vital precision and a lot more science than most people can fathom), it is a hundred times healthier, too. Cacao is the purest and most nutritious form of chocolate, and having undergone little to no processing at all, has a multitude of health benefits still in tact, which are usually stripped from the cacao bean somewhere along its journey from bean to bar. 

Cacao is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, and promotes healthy cellular activity, ensuring your body is functioning to the best of its ability. Cacao is also high in fibre and can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which helps support healthy digestion. Many people also believe it may aid weight loss or maintenance, as it can act as an appetite suppressant. Cacao also contains serotonin, which, put simply, is the ‘happy hormone’. By elevating your levels of serotonin, cacao helps to improve your mood, positivity and has even been proven to reduce depression and anxiety.

I’ve played around with dark and white chocolate in this recipe. The white chocolate layer is made predominantly from cacao butter, which is the solidified pure oil of the cacao bean. It has an intensely creamy and ridiculously rich flavour, and also smells divine. Mixed with a few delicate natural flavourings like vanilla and unrefined, organic sweeteners, the raw white chocolate layer adds a unique creaminess to the rest of the chocolate. Combined with a generous dollop of nut butter, if these chocolates aren’t in your mouth, fridge or tuppaware box, they’ll be on your mind forever more.

INGREDIENTS

8 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
120g Raw Cacao Butter
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Blossom Nectar, Honey or Sweetener of Choice
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Seeds or Extract
Maca, optional
4 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
1 Jar Almond or Cashew Butter
Qnola, Puffed Quinoa, Granola, Buckwheat or Chopped Nuts and Seeds - optional
A Few Pinches of Salt

METHOD

Start by making the bottom layer of chocolate. I'll start with the white chocolate but it is up to you how you structure yours. In a medium saucepan, melt 60g cacao butter, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1-2 tablespoons coconut blossom nectar (or sweetener of choice), maca and the salt. Stir with a whisk or a wooden spoon on the lowest heat to gently melt the cacao butter and the oil without damaging it with too high a temperature. Once dissolved and everything is combined, remove from the heat and pour into chocolate moulds. You can use anything from ice cube trays to cake tins, depending on the size you'd like the chocolates. I prefer small moulds about 2 centimetres deep and no bigger than 2 inches wide. Once you have evenly distributed the white chocolate mixture into your moulds, place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set.

Whilst the white chocolate sets, make the dark chocolate layer. Rinse the saucepan (save any leftover white chocolate by pouring it into a small bowl or ramekin and setting it in the freezer). Melt the remaining 60g cacao butter, 1 tablespoon sweetener, salt, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk if you want the chocolate a little less rich, and creamier (you can leave the coconut milk out if you prefer a darker chocolate). Whisk together on a low heat until everything is combined nicely, then remove from the heat and set aside until the white chocolate layer has set. 

Prepare the nut butter filling. I like using pure nut butter, but for some people it may be a little bland and a bit too thick. You can either use nut butter straight from the jar, or make a lighter cream out of it. 

For the nut butter cream, whisk together your nut butter of choice, 2 tablespoons coconut milk, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoons coconut blossom nectar or honey (or your preferred sweetener) in a small bowl. When combined, remove the white chocolate base from the freezer and spoon a small amount of the almond cream into the centre of each one. Flatten the nut butter with the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it evenly onto each white chocolate, but don't spread it too near to the edges or you will be able to see it when the chocolates have set. This isn't a major problem but it will look a little messy.

Once you have arranged the nut butter mixture onto each white chocolate base, pour over the dark chocolate so that it covers the nut butter entirely. Fill the moulds and then return to the freezer to set for another 20-30 minutes. 

Pop each chocolate out of its mould and leave at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Store in the freezer or fridge. The filling will stay softer in the fridge.


 

 

OTHER FILLING OPTIONS

Fresh Mint Cream
Goji Cream
Apricot Cream

FRESH MINT COCONUT CREAM CHOCOLATES

Snacks, Sugar Freedanielle coppermanComment

These are one of those things that are born from your leftovers. You could use any fresh herbs but the mint adds a delicious sweetness to these chocolates, and is refreshing against the richness of the raw chocolate. And for those of you who are partial to an after eight from time to time, these are your new after dinner treat. Made without dairy, refined sugar and artificial flavours and additives, these chocolates should make it onto every dinner table and should be considered just as important as the main course. Cacao butter builds the foundations of the these chocolates, making them exceptionally high in antioxidants and healthy fats. Cacao butter is the pure oil that comes from raw cacao beans, and although it hasn't much flavour eaten in its solid form, it adds a rich, smoky, chocolate flavour when combined with cacao powder and a little sweetener. No need for flavourings or E-numbers, these nutritious mouthfuls are 100% natural, and the cacao and fresh mint help to aid digestion - so they really are the perfect way to end a meal.

INGREDIENTS

CHOCOLATE

6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Coconut Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
1 Tablespoon Coconut Milk, solid (for a slightly milder, creamier chocolate)

FILLING

1 Large Handful Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Bar Creamed Coconut
3 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid
1 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

METHOD

Melt the chocolate ingredients in a medium saucepan on the lowest heat. On a medium heat, wait for the cacao butter or coconut to melt. Then, whisk in your chosen sweetener, along with the cacao powder, salt and finally the coconut milk. Whisk until everything is combined and everything has dissolved nicely. Pour into a jug and distribute a small amount into your chosen chocolate moulds. Fill the moulds just under half way up with the chocolate mixture, and set the remaining chocolate aside for later. Place the filled moulds in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Start by melting the creamed coconut. Fill a large mug, jug or bowl with boiling water and sit the bar of coconut inside, so it is fully covered with water. Do not cut open the outer plastic packet, as this will let the water in an dilute the creamed coconut. Massage the bar once the water is cool enough to touch, until it has become entirely soft and runny. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan or in the oven. Once melted, pour both the oil and the creamed coconut into your blender or food processor, adding the fresh mint leaves and coconut milk. Blend on a low speed for 1 minute, then as the ingredients begin to combine, turn the speed up and blend for a further 30 seconds. Once everything is smooth and runny and the mint leaves are no more than a few green specs, use a small spatula (i can't live without this one), to get every last bit out of your machine. Remove the chocolate from the freezer and, leaving them in the moulds, spoon a small amount of the mint cream into the centre of each one. Flatten it as much as you can, but be careful not to spread the cream to far towards the edge of the chocolate. You want it as central as possible in order for the top layer of chocolate to cover it completely. 

Take the remaining chocolate from earlier and, if it has solidified, briefly melt it again. Pour over the mint cream until you can no longer see it. Return to the freezer to set for a further 15 minutes. Remove 10 minutes before serving/enjoying. Store in the fridge

MARINATED KALE, BRUSSELS AND CABBAGE CHIPS

Snacks, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

This recipe is great for any crisp lovers, or kale chip lover for that matter. Using seasonal vegetables and a festive favourite, these brussels sprouts become the perfect consistency to satisfy any ‘crunch cravings’. Some people just need something to munch on, and often a salty snack does the trick. Depending on how long you cook or dehydrate the brussels for, they will become extremely crunchy and, if stored correctly, will last up to a week, maybe even more. Play around with your own flavours. I like Tamari and Balsamic Vinegar or Nutritional Yeast, Lime and Tahini. 

INGREDIENTS
150g Large Brussels Sprouts, chopped Cabbage or Chopped Kale
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Generous Sprinkling of Himalayan Pink Salt

FLAVOUR COMBINATIONS

Tamari and Oil
2 Tablespoons Tamari and 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. You can also add black or white sesame seeds to add to the crunch.

Tamari and Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Tamari, 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar, 3 Tablespoons Olive or Coconut Oil, 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice and an optional 1/2 Teaspoon Agave or natural sweetener of choice. 

Nutritional Yeast, Lime and Tahini
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast, 1 Tablespoon Smooth Tahini, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 1/2 Teaspoon Lime Juice, Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

Garlic, Chili and Paprika
1 Tablespoons Garlic Granules, 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Flakes, 1 Teaspoon Paprika, 1 Teaspoon Tumeric, 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

METHOD
Choose one of two methods. The i-need-a-snack-now method, which takes about 25 minutes, or the lets-dehydrate-these-brussels-properly method, which can take up to 6 hours.

METHOD ONE
Preheat the oven to 150c.
Wash your brussels sprouts and chop the bottoms off, allowing the outer leaves to separate. These will be your chips. Peel each brussels carefully so as not to tear any leaves, and place the largest leaves into a medium mixing bowl. Take as many leaves off as you can without too much effort, then chop the bottoms again to release a few smaller leaves. Once all of the brussels have been peeled, store the small inside balls for use in salads or to enjoy with another dish, and add your chosen flavours to the bowl of leaves. Toss the leaves in your chosen flavours and massage with your hands to ensure each is evenly coated. Spread evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12-25 minutes. The timings will depend on your choice of flavours. Be sure to stir the leaves after about 10 minutes to ensure they don’t stick and to make sure they cook evenly. 

METHOD TWO
Preheat the oven to 60-80c.
Wash your brussels sprouts and chop the bottoms off, allowing the outer leaves to separate. These are your chips. Peel each brussels carefully so as not to tear any leaves, and place the largest leaves into a medium mixing bowl. Take as many leaves off as you can without too much effort, then chop the bottoms again to release a few smaller leaves. Once all of the brussels have been peeled, store the small inside balls for use in salads or to enjoy with another dish, and add your chosen flavours to the bowl of leaves. Toss the leaves in your chosen flavours and massage with your hands to ensure each is evenly coated. Spread evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 2-8 hours. The longer the leave them, the longer they will stay crispy. I baked mine for only 1 hour and they were delicious enjoyed straight away, but they won’t keep for long.

Store in an airtight container, in a dry place (not in the fridge).

CHESTNUT, QUINOA AND BRUSSELS NUT ROAST

Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

I am no vegetarian, but this nut roast… it’s quite something. Something - perhaps not something to replace the turkey and ham that’ll sit atop my table this christmas - but something never the less. I have never made or even eaten nut roast, so this was quite a blind baking session for me. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to taste like, or even look like, and it certainly isn’t the most beautiful thing you will ever make, but it is delicious. At least, this version is, even if i do say so myself. 

Nut roast doesn’t look or sound particularly appealing, and although it is a traditional vegetarian option when it comes to roast/christmas dinner, it is very underrated in my opinion. It is just as delicious and flavoursome as stuffing is, and isn’t dissimilar in taste or texture, but the beauty of this nut roast is that it is crammed full of vitamins, nutrients and plant-based protein. Most nut roasts (and stuffings for that matter) are bulked out with breadcrumbs and flour, which can be strenuous on your digestive system, especially if you suffer from a wheat or gluten intolerance. These ingredients make the nut roast extremely bland and stodgy, so I wanted to rework this vegetarian crowd pleaser into something that would actually please a vegetarian, and a non-vegetarian for that matter. My recipe uses cooked quinoa and ground almonds instead to bind the vegetables, nuts and seeds, which are not only easier to digest but also exceptionally higher in protein, fibre and valuable nutrients. As the name suggests, nut roasts involve a lot of nuts. However, although nuts are incredibly nutritious and a great source of protein (particularly for vegetarians who can sometimes find it hard to get enough protein from their food), too many can also cause complications within the gut. For that reason, I have reduced the amount of nuts in this recipe, and increased the amount of vegetables.

+ You can experiment with your own combination of vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs in this recipe, and the great thing is that the more you add the better it tastes. I’d recommend prioritising the sweet potato, chestnuts, ground almonds and as many herbs as possible, as these are the foundations that make it all come together, but other than that, add what you like!

Serve this as a vegetarian main, a vegetarian stuffing alternative or as a side to accompany meat dishes if you are feeding meat-eaters. It also makes the perfect starter as it isn’t dissimilar to seed & nut bread, so is brilliant with chutneys, soups, cheeses or as part of a canapé spread. I baked mine in mini loaf tins, serving one per person alongside the mains.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Large Sweet Potato, baked
20g Apricots or Dates, chopped
60g Brazil Nuts, chopped
30g Pine Nuts or Pistachios (any nuts will work), chopped
1 1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon Tahini 
1 Red Onion
40g Chickpeas, optional
1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Egg
250g Chestnuts, chopped
A Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
A Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
1 Cup Brussels Sprouts, shredded
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
3 Tablespoons Linseeds
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon or All Spice
1 Teaspoon Sumac
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage, chopped

Oil of choice, for frying/greasing

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170c. 

Start by blending the sunflower seeds, half of the pumpkin seeds, the herbs and the chickpeas in a blender or food processor until they resemble a bread crumb consistency. Transfer them into a large bowl and set aside.

In a frying pan, sautee the onion, garlic, brussels and chestnuts in ghee, olive oil or coconut oil. Add the tamari and lemon juice and sear until the vegetables are completely soft. Place in a bowl then add the ground almonds chopped nuts eggs etc all flavours. mash and knead into a ball. press into a tin and bake. 

Meanwhile, measure all of the other ingredients, apart from the egg, into the bowl with the ground seeds and herbs. When the vegetables are soft, add them to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon, mashing the ingredients with the back of the spoon to combine them. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then stir it into the mixture thoroughly.

When all of the ingredients are combined, press into a greased loaf tin, mini loaf tins or a muffin tray, to make individual single serving portions. Alternatively, to make canapés or to make vegetarian stuffing, form into 2 inch balls.

Bake for 45-65 minutes, depending on whether you are baking a large loaf, or smaller individual ones - which will take less time to cook.

RECOMMENDED CONDIMENTS

PARSNIP APRICOT GINGER CHUTNEY

1 Large Parsnip
1/2 Large Cooking Apple
1 Inch Chopped Ginger
1 Cup Water
Juice of Half an Orange
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Chopped Apricots
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Agave or Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Baobab or Maca, optional

METHOD
Place all of the ingredients apart from the chia seeds into a large saucepan, and simmer on a medium heat. Once the chopping and dicing is out of the way, chutney is easy work. Leave it to simmer and soften, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough water in the pan. Keep topping it up with cold water if the fruit begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 20-25 minutes, check the fruit to see if it is soft enough. Add a little more water, then remove from the heat, transfer to a blender and blend for 5 seconds. If you prefer your chutney chunkier, don’t blend it. Pour into a bowl, jar or airtight container and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, and when the chia seeds have swelled slightly, seal the container and store in the fridge. 

Serve with the nut roast, or spread an even layer over the top and sprinkle with herbs or crushed chestnuts to garnish.

TRUFFLE TAHINI DRIZZLE

INGREDIENTS

1-2 Tablespoons Truffle Oil
6 Tablespoons Olive or Avocado Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Tamari
2 Tablespoons Tahini
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
Water, to thin (optional)

METHOD
Simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl, or use a blender for a smoother result. Serve as a dip, or thin with a little water and serve as an optional dressing to drizzle over the nut roast.

+ This dressing is wonderful on salads too, and instantly transforms tasteless salad leaves and vegetables, making them creamy and delicious.

Serve with Celeriac Brazil Nut Slaw.

    RAW CARAMEL SHORTBREADS

    Snacks, Sugar Free, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

    A while ago I made healthy caramel shortbreads. I don’t know how it came about, but it did. One of my favourite snacks miraculously made into a concentrated form of promising nutrients(!?). For me, that recipe was a little long winded and the caramel had to reach just the right temperature in order to set perfectly. The beauty of raw desserts is that the preparation takes hardly any time at all, and instead of having to monitor the cooking process carefully, it requires only a blender and a freezer, and very little devotion of time or effort. This recipe is much simpler, much quicker and, in my opinion, maybe even tastier. Free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugar, I guarantee you can feed this to anyone and they’d be easily convinced that it was bad for you and incredibly naughty.

    With a layer of protein rich nuts high in healthy fats, a filling of dried fruit and nutritious coconut oil, and a topping of cacao - one of the purest super foods high in natural, sustainable energy - these are perfect snacks any time of the day. Totally acceptable for breakfast, a perfect yet gentle pick me up for the afternoon, and a brilliant treat in the evening to satisfy any sudden, post-dinner sweet cravings.


    INGREDIENTS

    150g Cashews
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Seeds
    Generous Pinch of Salt
    2-3 Tablespoons Tahini
    5 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
    3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
    1/4 cup Coconut Oil
    2-3 tablespoons Agave


    RAW DATE CARAMEL

    2 Cups Dates (preferably medjool)
    1 Tablespoon Solid Coconut Milk
    2-3 Tablespoons Liquid Coconut, Almond Milk or Water
    4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
    1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
    Pinch of Salt
    1 Teaspoon Agave
    2 Tablespoons Almond or Cashew Butter, or Tahini

    + Try alternative raw caramels like Apricot Caramel and Quick Almond Caramel.


    TOP LAYER

    1 Cup Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter or a mixture of both
    10 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
    Pinch of Salt
    2 Tablespoons Solid Coconut milk or Almond Milk (this is optional, but it adds a creaminess to the chocolate and makes the flavour a little less bitter)
    1 Teaspoon/Tablespoon Agave or Coconut Blossom Nectar (again, optional if you like things sweeter).

     

    METHOD

    Grease a dish with coconut oil then set aside. Although you’re not cooking the biscuit, raw desserts still have a tendency to stick sometimes. Alternatively, you can line your dish with baking paper.

    + I chose to do mine in a rectangle baking tray, and then cut them into individual bars. You could also use small ramekins for this recipe if you have guests for dinner. Or you could use a muffin tray, to make perfectly formed individual ones.

    Start with the shortbread layer. Add the cashews, coconut oil, tahini, vanilla, salt and agave to a blender. Blend for 2 minutes and then add the desiccated coconut and ground almonds. Scrape down the sides and then blend for another minute or so. Adjust the speed to help get things moving. Stir again, and blend for a final time, until the mixture if becoming really smooth. It should resemble a very thin cookie dough. It won’t hold its shape in a ball like normal cookie mixture, but it should be a thick paste, and shouldn’t be runny. 

    + You could experiment with a cooked base for this recipe too. You could either use a mixture of toasted nuts, although it wouldn’t be as smooth, or you can use the biscuit base from this recipe.

    Scrape into your dish and spread the mixture along the base. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, make sure you press the mixture down as firmly as possible, making it compact. If it isn’t compact, it won’t set properly and may crumble. Once the entire base of the dish is covered evenly, place in the freezer to set. It should take about 1-2 hours to become really crunchy like a normal biscuit, but you can carry on adding the other layers even if it isn’t completely firm.

    For the caramel, start by blending the dates and water. When the dates are completely broken down and a liquidy paste is forming, add the remaining ingredients. Blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes to ensure you get the smoothest caramel possible. Pour the caramel onto the shortbread layer then return to the freezer.

    You can let the date layer set for a couple of hours until it becomes tougher and chewier, or you can add the chocolate straight away. Just be careful not to spread the chocolate together with the caramel or you won’t get all three layers properly.

    For the chocolate, simply heat the coconut oil in a pan until it is melted, whisk in the salt, coconut milk (if using) and agave, or sweetener of choice, and pour over the caramel layer. You can either leave it like this, or you can create a marble effect like mine. Simply melt together the Milk Chocolate ingredients, pour gently over the raw chocolate layer whilst it is still wet, and use the end of a fork or spoon to gently intwine the two shades of chocolate.

    Set in the freezer for 2-3 hours at least. I prefer these really crunchy, so i leave them for about 6 hours. When they are ready, gently cut into rectangles and enjoy.

    + Store in the freezer, as the base may soften if you leave them in the fridge.

    CACAO AND CUMIN RAGU WITH BUCKWHEAT BURRITOS

    Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment
    IMG_2147.JPG

    This recipe is inspired by my aunty claire, who just a few days ago made the best ragu i’d ever tasted. Slight lie, as, of course, only your own mothers homemade ragu or lasagne is the best, but, my aunty's came closely behind. When we asked her her secret, she said ‘cumin’. When we nodded and continued eating she added ‘and high percentage dark chocolate’. That stopped us in our tracks, forks just inches away from our mouths. We pondered it for a moment and then decided, yes, wow, how genius is that, it really works. We loved it all the more once we knew it had chocolate in it, and i immediately wanted to get home and master a recipe for cacao mince - my own dairy-free, superfood take on a traditional dish (not sure what the italians would have to say about that though).

    Ragu is the ultimate comfort food. I remember when i first moved away from home i would make myself vegetarian ragu at least once a week. It was easy, quick and is so warming in winter months. The flavour the cacao adds to this recipe is a deeply comforting one. It adds a unique richness to the meat, and although you wouldn’t expect it to work with a sauce of tomatoes and red peppers, it really does. It somehow disappears amongst the other ingredients, bringing all of the flavours together to make a dark, creamy sauce, filling it with unique flavours. Cacao has the ability to bring out the true flavours of foods that it is combined with, which is what makes this dish different to just about any other dish you have ever tried.

    This recipe is fairly straight forward, however I would advise you take quite a bit of time over it, giving it your full concentration in order for it to become as delicious as it can. It will only take you about forty minutes to perfect the meat, but the longer you leave it to cook and simmer, the more the meat will absorb all of the important ingredients. And if, like me, you are going to go all out and make an entire Burrito Spread, allow another hour or so to prep the sides, and really excel in the buckwheat burrito department.

    INGREDIENTS
    Serves 4-5

    3 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
    1 Tablespoon Cumin
    10 Medium Tomatoes
    2 Pointed Red Peppers (Bell Peppers will work well too)
    2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
    4 Tablespoons Water, as and when
    2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    1 Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
    1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
    1 Teaspoon Tamari
    1 Tablespoon Onion Seeds or 1 Onion, diced (I don’t like onions but there’s no reason why you can’t chuck some in to increase the flavour)
    1 Teaspoon Sumac
    3-4 Sage or Bay Leaves
    1/2 Cup Shaved Broccoli
    2 Large Handfuls Spinach Leaves
    3 Cloves Garlic
    400g Good Quality Organic Minced Beef or Turkey Meat

    Optional
    1 Teaspoon Oregano
    1 Small Glass Red Wine
    1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock (I personally think the nutritional yeast does the job of a stock cube, so this isn’t essential).

    METHOD

    Pour the olive oil into a large pan and add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, broccoli, salt, tamari, nutritional yeast, onion seeds, lemon juice, spinach and chopped peppers, and simmer for 20 mins on a medium heat. Remove from the heat, let cool momentarily and then transfer into a blender. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes, until more or less smooth, then return to the pan. Add the mince, cumin, cacao powder and all of the other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes on a medium to low heat. After about 20 minutes, place a lid covering the pan 2/3 of the way and continue to simmer until the meat has absorbed most of the liquid.

    + You can make this more quickly if you are in a rush, and can merely simmer the sauce with the mince until the meat if cooked through. However, the longer you leave it, the more flavoursome the meat will become, and the less runny the sauce will be.

    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

    Buckwheat Burritos (Below)

    Olive Oil and Lime Guacamole (Below)

    Fennel, Spinach and Kale Salad (Below)

    Solid Coconut Milk (Instead of creme fraiche)

    Cauliflower Rice (Below)

    Courgetti, Black Bean Spaghetti or Gluten Free Pasta

    Plain Quinoa or Buckwheat

    + Save any leftovers in the fridge to take for lunch, adding to a salad or enjoying with quinoa and avocado.

    Burritos are an incredible invention. They make it acceptable to have a million forms of carbs in one meal, as well as, for that matter, a million types of food in one meal. You can literally add anything to a burrito, the same way you can with fajitas. The wonderful thing about a tortilla wrap is that you can pile on as much of absolutely anything you like and tailor it to your needs. Burritos also bring out a sense of certainty in a person. No matter how much you manage to fit into your wrap and no matter how creative you get, you will, with great determination, be able to eat it. Whether it is in a dignified manner, well, that’s another story.

    My version of a burrito is much lighter than one you might find at a street food vendor, and doesn’t leave you feeling positively comatose or full of regret upon completion. I have replaced the refined ingredients with, of course, natural ones which promise to love and nourish your insides, and consequently your outsides. You won’t feel bloated, and you won’t be prone to developing greasy, spot-studded skin after just the first bite. I have replaced white rice with cauliflower rice, and refried beans with tahini puy lentils or black beans. I have included one of my favourite guacamole recipes and a simple salad full of flavour and texture - but not too much to take the attention away from the meat. You can add whatever you like to yours, and you can experiment with your own fillings, but the essentials are of course the meat, the rice, the guacamole and the refried beans. Oh, and the sour cream, but we’ll use Coyo for that…

    BUCKWHEAT BURRITOS

    250g Buckwheat Four
    1 Large Egg
    1 Tablespoon Psyllium Husk Powder (not essential - if you don't have this the recipe will work without)
    Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    700ml Water
    Coconut Oil, for frying

    METHOD
    whisk all together then ladle into a frying pan lightly greased with coconut oil. i experimented with about 3mm thick and even thinner, but the thinner ones were more crispy which meant they didn’t fold well (just what you need for a burrito). the thinner ones i broke into pieces and they made really good tortilla chips for guacamole and salsa.
    Keep about 3mm thick, heat on medium heat for 5 minutes each side. It will feel spongy inside, so keep cooking if it feels a little raw.

    + To make TORTILLA CHIPS simply pour about half the amount of mixture into the saucepan and spread it around so that it coats the entire base of the pan, but is extremely thin. Cook in the same way as above, but for a little less time. Keep flipping, and when each side it toasted nicely and beginning to brown, set aside on a plate to cool. As it cools, it will become even crunchier, and after about 5 minutes you can break it into rough pieces or chop into triangles to recreate Dorito like Tortilla Chips. You can sprinkle coconut oil, desiccated coconut, nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin or any other spices you desire on top to add flavour.

    + You can even use the above recipe to make naan breads. Simply keep the mixture to nearer 1 - 1.5 cm thick, and cook as directed above. I would add crushed garlic, ground almonds and desiccated coconut to the top wet layer and either fold the mixture over itself or add a little extra mixture to cover these additional flavours.

    OLIVE OIL GUACAMOLE

    2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
    2 Ripe Avocados

    METHOD
    I don’t like onions which is why I don’t put them in guacamole. I don’t stick to any general rules when it comes to guacamole at all, no chopped tomatoes either. I prefer it smooth and all the more creamy, but you can add chopped tomatoes, raw or spring onions and garlic if you wish. A refreshing variation is to add diced fennel before or after the blending process, which I strongly approve of.

    Simply add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. If you like a few chunks, blend only for about 2 minutes.

    FENNEL, SPINACH AND KALE SIDE SALAD

    1 Bulb of Fennel
    3 Large Handfuls Fresh Spinach Leaves
    1 Handful Fresh Kale Leaves

    METHOD
    You can add absolutely anything to this salad. The spinach and kale are a great base and the fennel adds a refreshing flavour and a juicy, crunchy texture. Drizzle with lemon, lime or fresh orange juice as well as the zest, if you want to. Enjoy in or beside your burritos.

    WARM TAHINI PUY LENTILS

    3 Tablespoons Tahini
    150g Puy Lentils, Cooked
    Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
    2-3 Tablespoons Water or Almond Milk
    1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
    2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk - optional

    METHOD
    Place the lentils and salt into a small pan on a low heat. Add the water or nut milk and stir to combine. Simmer and stir this way until the lentils become soft and begin to form more of a paste. Remove from the heat and stir through the tahini, coconut oil and coconut milk - if using. Pour into a bowl and serve as an alternative to refried beans.

    CAULIFLOWER RICE

    1/2 Large Cauliflower
    Leftover Fennel - optional

    METHOD
    I love this recipe as it is so simple. Everyone is always amazed when i serve it and they always agree it is much more flavoursome and of course far less stodgy than conventional rice. Simply chop the cauliflower and place it in a food processor or blender. Blend on a medium to high speed for as little as 30 seconds, depending on the sizes of the chunks of cauliflower - it may need longer. When it has become a rice/cous cous consistency, either warm gently in a saucepan, frying pan or microwave, or transfer to a bowl and serve raw.

    COYO COCONUT YOGHURT OR SOLID COCONUT MILK

    CHOCOLATE CREAMS - EIGHT WAYS AND COUNTING

    Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

    FOR THE CHOCOLATE

    10 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
    8 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
    Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    1-2 Teaspoons Coconut Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
    1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid (for a slightly milder, creamier chocolate)

    METHOD

    Melt the chocolate ingredients in a medium saucepan on a low heat. Use a whisk to combine everything and when all of the ingredients have dissolved and come together, remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Take a chocolate mould and pour a little chocolate mixture into each one, filling it half way only. Place in the freezer to allow to set for 15-20 minutes. Leave the remaining chocolate mixture in the pan, and if it sets you can always re-heat it quickly for the top layer. Meanwhile, choose and make your filling from the suggestions below.


    F I L L I N G S


    APRICOT COCONUT CREAM

    100g Dried Apricots
    2 Tablespoons Water
    1 Bar of Creamed Coconut
    Pinch of Salt
    3 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, Solid
    1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

    METHOD

    Place the apricots and water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the salt, coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick, pale orange paste forms. 

    Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    GOJI COCONUT CREAM

    1/2 Cup Goji Berries
    1 Bar Creamed Coconut
    1 Tablespoon Filtered Water
    1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, solid
    1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted

    METHOD

    In a small bowl, soak the goji berries in boiling water (enough to cover the berries) for 5 minutes, to soften them. Drain, and then place the goji berries and filtered water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick paste forms. It should become a beautiful peachy, orange colour.

    Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    DRIED BLUEBERRY CREAM

    1/2 Cup Dried Blueberries
    1 Teaspoon Acai Powder or Ginseng (optional)

    1 Bar Creamed Coconut
    1 Tablespoon Filtered Water
    1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, solid
    1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted

    METHOD

    In a small bowl, soak the goji berries in boiling water (enough to cover the berries) for 5 minutes, to soften them. Drain, and then place the berries and filtered water into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. When a paste is beginning to form, prepare the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add it to your blender or food processor, along with the acai or ginseng powder, coconut milk and coconut oil. Blend for a further 1-2 minutes, until a thick paste forms. 

    Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    WHITE CHOCOLATE AVOCADO TRUFFLE GANACHE

    INGREDIENTS
    1/4 Cup Raw Cacao butter
    1/2 Ripe Avocado
    2-3 Tablespoons Coconut oil, melted
    1 Tablespoon Coconut Blossom Nectar, Date Syrup or preferred sweetener
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    1/4 Cup Cashews, soaked for 4 hours
    1/2 Creamed Coconut Bar, melted
    Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    2 Tablespoons Plant Based Milk (almond or coconut work well)

    METHOD
    Start by preparing the creamed coconut by leaving it sealed in its plastic pouch and sitting it in a small bowl, a mug or a jug of boiling water. As the water cools, massage the bar firmly to help the middle to melt. Once it has melted, add all of the truffle ingredients to your blender or food processor and blend on a medium speed until a smooth paste begins to form. (Use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to begin with, and if the mixture seems to thick to blend properly, add the remaining tablespoon to help it along). You don't want the mixture to be too wet, so if it is having difficulty blending, use a spatula to scrape down the sides and help clear the blade area slightly. Continue to blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Scrape the mixture from the blender and arrange a small amount into the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down firmly before pouring over the remaining melted chocolate from earlier. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    TAHINI CHESTNUT CREAM

    INGREDIENTS
    1 Cup Chestnuts
    1/4 Cup Water
    2 Tablespoons Tahini
    1 Tablespoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar, Raw Honey or Date Syrup
    Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

    METHOD
    Simply add all the ingredients to your blender and blend for 2-3 minutes.
    Take your prepared chocolate bases from the freezer and arrange a small amount of the cream mixture in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the cream filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    TAHINI CARAMEL

    INGREDIENTS
    4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil 
    4 Tablespoons Tahini
    2 Tablespoons Solid Coconut Milk
    2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar, Coconut Blossom Nectar or Agave
    A Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or a Teaspoon of Tamari
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Ground Vanilla
    2 Tablespoons Almond or Cashew Butter
    1 Teaspoon Maca or Lucuma, optional

    METHOD
    Simply place all ingredients into a small saucepan and stir continuously until everything has dissolved, whisking to break up any lumps. Bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes, and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, cautious not to let it burn. Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes before spooning onto your prepared chocolate bases. Then arrange a small amount of the caramel in the centre of each chocolate. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Pour it over the caramel filling, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    APRICOT / DATE / GOJI CARAMEL

    INGREDIENTS
    2 Cups Unsulphured Apricots or Dates
    3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
    2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Seeds
    A Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
    1 Teaspoon Maca
    4 Tablespoons Almond Butter or Cashew Butter

    METHOD
    Simply place all of the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides to collect any escaping ingredients, and add water or nut milk if the mixture needs a little help to get moving. Blend for another 2-3 minutes until a thick paste begins to form. It must be as smooth as possible as you don’t want lumpy caramel. Scrape the caramel from the blender and spread evenly over the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the caramel layer, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.


    QUICK RAW CARAMEL

    INGREDIENTS
    2 Tablespoons Almond Butter, smooth
    Generous Pinch of Salt
    1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar (or a syrup)
    1/3 Cup Coconut Oil, melted on a low heat
    1-2 Tablespoons Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (or warm water)

    METHOD
    Simply blend all of the ingredients together in a high speed blender for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Add more water if you'd like the caramel thinner. This caramel won't be gooey like the heated version, but if left to set in the fridge, it hardens and becomes melt-in-the-mouth amazing. Scrape the caramel from the blender and spread evenly over the centre of your prepared chocolate bases. Press down slightly to make it easier to cover with the top layer of chocolate. Now take the remaining chocolate from earlier and re-heat it if it has set slightly. Then, pour it over the caramel layer, covering it completely. Return to the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.

    + Store in the freezer until 5 minutes before you are ready to eat/serve them.

    LEMON, AMARANTH AND HONEY CAKE WITH AVOCADO FROSTING

    Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment

    Last weekend in Bath I took my delightful mother to a new coffee shop which apparently had been the talk of the little town for months. Bath is full of independent shops, cafes and eateries, and thankfully, to this day there is still only one Pret a Manger to its name. Don’t get me wrong, with its green juices, boiled eggs, kale chips and raw nuts, Pret is quickly becoming my favourite fast food coffee chain, but, there is nothing quite like a family-run cafe with irreplicable (is that a word?) character. 
    Bath’s finest cafes are cosy, welcoming, beautiful and unique, but of course, they’ve never heard of almond milk or dairy-free baked goods. Their produce is local and fresh and the food is always amazing, but until Mr Twitchett and his Roundhill Roastery came to fruition, the coffee was instant and the milk choices, satisfactory. It’s easy to find milk sourced from the local farmers, which is of course delicious in so many ways, however, if you are detoxing, giving up dairy or completely intolerant to it, your only option is going to be soy. Again, nothing wrong with that, but once you’ve tasted nut milk and are aware of such creamy, flavoursome concoctions of nutrients, there will always be a pang for it. Cue, Society Cafe.

    As I ordered our almond milk cappuccinos at the counter of Society Cafe in Kingsmead Square, a slice of Lemon, Polenta and Pistachio cake with exquisite beauty caught our eyes. I ordered it without giving it a thought and we sat in awe after our first mouthfuls, painfully vowing that we would wait to continue once our coffees had arrived. It was amazing, and straight away I wanted to create a grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free version, using coconut milk and raw organic honey instead of butter and sugar. So thats what I done did.

    + I used amaranth instead of polenta as it is similar in physical features and I thought it would taste almost the same, and create a similar texture. I kept mine raw and I liked that the texture was quite bitty and crunchy, but boiling it first will soften it, making the cake smoother. Amaranth is a seed, similar to quinoa (you could probably use quinoa instead of amaranth, raw or gently boiled, if you don’t have amaranth). Amaranth is a complete protein, is full of vitamins and nutrients and is exceptionally high in fibre.

    (Guide to Bath coming soon).

    INGREDIENTS:
    Makes one large cake. Halve measurements if you want to make several small cakes or really tiny ones, in ramekins.

    200g Soft Coconut Oil
    150g Organic Raw Honey or Raw Agave
    200g Ground Almonds
    250g Amaranth, raw or boiled in water for no longer than 5 minutes, to soften
    1 Teaspoon Organic Baking Powder
    1 Teaspoon Psyillium Husk Powder
    3 Large Eggs
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    The Zest of 2 Unwaxed Lemons
    Handful of Whole Raspberries or Blueberries, optional

    TO GLAZE:
    The Juice of Two Lemons 
    2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Honey or Raw Agave

    METHOD

    Preheat the oven to 180c.
    Beat the coconut oil and honey together in a medium bowl, using an electric whisk. In a separate bowl, mix the ground almonds, amaranth (raw or briefly boiled), baking powder and psyillium husk together. Beat 1/3 of the dry mixture into the coconut oil and honey, then beat in one egg. When combined, add another 1/3 of the dry mixture and another egg and beat until combined. Now add the final 1/3 of the dry mixture and the final egg, along with the vanilla extract, and whisk until fully combined. Stir in the lemon zest and pour the mixture into a tin or ovenproof dish, greased lightly with coconut oil.
    Bake for 35-40 minutes.

    Meanwhile, juice the lemons and pour the juice into a small bowl, with the honey or agave. Mix together until combined.

    Remove the cake/s from the oven and let cool before removing the cake from the tin and placing it gently onto a plate. Stab gently at the surface of the cake with a fork and pour the lemon and honey mixture over the cake. Watch it soak into the cake, then leave in the fridge until ready to serve (it becomes even more dense, chewy and moist in the fridge thanks to the coconut oil), or serve right away. I enjoyed it with Buckwheat Yoghurt (recipe on the Qnola website soon), but cashew cream or coconut yoghurt will suffice. And the frosting below isn’t mandatory, but it is certainly advised.

    OPTIONAL WHITE CHOCOLATE & AVOCADO FROSTING:
    100g Cacao Butter
    2 Ripe Avocados
    1 Tablespoon Raw Organic Honey or Raw Agave
    1/2 Cup Cashews
    1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest (or juice, for a stronger lemon flavour)

    + You can also used creamed coconut instead of the Cashews and Raw Honey or Agave.

    METHOD:
    Place the cacao butter and cashew nuts into a food processor or blender and blend for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Now add the avocado, scraping at the flesh to gradually release it from the skin so as not to overwhelm the blender with large chunks. Add the sweetener and lemon zest and blend for another 1-2 minutes, until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth and a whipped consistency. Spread onto your cooled cake/s. This icing is prefect for any cake, and works especially well on cacao cake, banana bread and blueberry muffins.

    + If you don’t like lemon flavoured things, this cake works just as well without the lemon, and this frosting is delicious on the plain vanilla and berry sponge. Alternatively, you can use fresh orange juice instead.