WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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HOW TO MAKE PECANS, DATES AND RAW CHOCOLATE TASTE UNHEALTHILY TO-DIE-FOR

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

One evening in July 2015, my flatmates and I found ourselves all at home at the same time, for the first time since we'd moved house. We moved in the first week of July, and because these days everyone has multiple jobs and no spare time at all, we hadn't even found time to sit and eat dinner together since moving in. However, this particular Saturday night we decided to have a wild one. We pulled together everything our fridge and cupboards had to offer, made a meal out of mismatches, dusted off my projector screen and had an old school movie marathon (featuring movies so terrible they're brilliant). We were thinking about movie snacks before we'd even decided on dinner, but what is a movie marathon without some sweet thangs? Popcorn gets stuck in your teeth and is nutritionally substandard. Chocolate - dairy/sugar/emulsifiers. Raw Chocolate - good but slightly boring. Sweets - just no, not these days. Chewy Bliss Balls / Cookie Dough Bites - chewy, sweet and salty goodness with raw chocolate. All natural, gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free, antioxidant, fibre and protein rich, and filling in a clean way. Well, that's just about the only way to christen a new home in my eyes, so thats exactly what we done.

This recipe is just the kind of recipe we all need more of. It is quick. It is seriously inexplicably delicious. And I practically made it with my eyes shut. I was concentrating on dinner, catching up with my flat mates and thinking about what films we should watch, whilst the food processor did the hard work. I also didn't measure any of the ingredients thoroughly, and chucked in whatever I could find. This recipe, although I have more or less estimated the quantities that I used, should work just fine. As long as you have the nuts and buckwheat flakes as the foundations, the dates and the coconut oil to bind and bring everything together, and the superfood powders to flavour, you'll end up with something delicious. The quantities only really alter the texture, not so much the flavour. So, if yours turn out too soft or wet, add more buckwheat flakes. If they turn out too sticky, and so stubborn they won't blend, add a little hot water. If they're too sweet, add extra lemon juice and/or salt/tamari. And if they're not sweet enough, add 1/2 or 1 date more.

In my defence of this seeming like a lazy recipe (why don't I just try it again and give you the exact measurements? Sadly, I. Don't. Have. The. Time), even if I did have exact measurements, the end result may not suit your personal tastes. This way, you can take inspiration from my recipe and work with it until you have it just the way you want it. I'm here to encourage you to create your own delicious foods, by providing you with the foundations and leaving the flavourings up to you. We're all different, and not everybody, for example, likes raw chocolate (shame on you tho). 

SALTED RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP & PECAN COOKIE DOUGH BITES

INGREDIENTS
100g Pecan Nuts
2 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
200g Buckwheat Flakes
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (room temp
1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Tamari
6 Medjool Dates
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice or Zest
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Hot Water - if needed to help things blend
½ Tablespoon Lucuma Powder
1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
1/2 Cup Raw Chocolate (I like Ombar), chopped

METHOD
Start by blending the nuts into a flour - usually takes around 1 full minute. Then add the buckwheat flakes and blend for another 30 seconds. Next, add the dates (halved), then the rest of the ingredients, apart from the raw chocolate. When fully combined and dough-like, transfer to a bowl and stir in the raw chocolate, kneading with you hands to combine (work quickly so the chocolate doesn't melt). Break the mixture into small chunks, roll into balls, flatten into bar shapes, or roll out gently and cut with shaped cutters to make raw cookies. Arrange on a baking tray or a plate and place in the freezer. Leave for 30 minutes, to 1 hour and remove 5 minutes before enjoying. I like mine straight from the freezer, and as they melt they become a fudgey consistency. If you prefer yours softer, leave them out for 10-15 minutes before enjoying. I'm sure you can work it out.

+ If yours seem too oily, wet, sticky, salty, sweet or lumpy, see above for directions.

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.

LEMON AND CHIA SEED WHITE CHOCOLATES

Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

Chocolates come in all shapes and sizes. Since stocking Qnola in The Food Hall at Selfridges, I have come to realise that no matter how long you spend wondering around that place, there is always a new Chocolatier to discover, a new chocolate to sample. I discovered the possibility of making healthy raw white chocolate a while ago (see here), and love to experiment with adding different natural flavourings and super foods to the base recipe to create a variation of delicious, chocolatey sweet treats.

Chocolate was always a Friday night kind of thing in my family. Aside from the fact it also made its way into our packed lunches, Friday night always seemed more of a chocolate occasion. It wasn't complete without a large bar of Dairy Milk or Galaxy, provided my the man of the house, positioned strategically on a table within arms reach of each sofa. 

These chocolates differ considerably to the kind we used to pass around and share square by square. They are made without dairy or sugar and instead consist of pure cacao butter, natural sweeteners and added super foods. They make the perfect snack to instantly enhance your energy levels, generally maintaining blood sugar levels - unlike conventional chocolatey snacks which are high in refined sugar and additives. They also make great gifts, are a brilliant activity for children to get involved with and are perfect after dinner sweets to share with a table of guests.

INGREDIENTS
(makes 25 Chocolates)

1 Bar Creamed Coconut (like this)
3/4 Cup Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
Juice of 1 Fresh Lemon (add the zest too if you want to)
3-4 Tablespoons Agave/Coconut Nectar/Raw Honey
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Powder or Fresh Vanilla Seeds from 1 Pod
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

OPTIONAL
Fresh Chopped Goji Berries
Superfood Powders of choice (I love maca, baobab, mucuna puriens and a drop of aloe vera juice)

METHOD

Start by melting the coconut oil over a low heat. Chop away at the solid bar of creamed coconut and then add that to the pan, stirring constantly. Add the rest of your ingredients, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon until everything has melted and combined together. 

Pour into chocolate moulds (you can even use an ice tray if you don't have proper moulds) and place into the freezer to set for 20-30 minutes.

+ Store in the freezer for really stiff chocolates, or in the fridge. Serve as a gift or after dinner snack, or enjoy as a mid-afternoon pick me up.

+ You can also experiment with making these with my lemon curd recipe. You can either stir 2 tablespoons of the pre-made curd into the mixture (reducing the amount of fresh lemon used), or you can use a small spoonful of curd to fill the white chocolates. Simply fill your moulds half way only, set, then arrange a small amount of the curd in the centre of the set chocolate, then pour over the remaining white chocolate mixture, and set again for 20-30 minutes.

BROCCOLI AND CELERIAC BRAZIL NUT SLAW

Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle copperman2 Comments

An incredibly refreshing, vibrant side of seasonal ingredients combined with a creamy, dairy-free sauce high in healthy fats and plant-based protein. This slaw is amazing served alongside other salads, plain protein sources such as salmon or chicken, served with quinoa or vegetable burgers and falafels, or enjoyed as it is. A perfect condiment for picnics in the summer or to refresh a warming meal in the winter - experiment with using whichever vegetables are in season. Celeriac adds the perfect crunch to this slaw, but you can substitute it for cabbage, kohlrabi or courgette throughout the summer.

INGREDIENTS

100g Brazil Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Cup Water
Salt or Tamari, to taste
Tahini
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tin Coconut Milk, solid
1/3 Broccoli, grated
1/2 Cauliflower, grated
1 Large Shredded Celeriac

METHOD

Start by making the slaw sauce. Place the brazil nuts into your blender with the water and blend on a high speed until smooth, for 2-3 minutes. Pour the 'milk' through a nut milk or jam straining bag into a jug, to strain it smoothly. Rinse the blender before returning the milk to it, along with the other ingredients. Blend on a high speed for a further 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt, garlic or lemon juice depending on your personal tastes. When you are satisfied with the flavour, leave to chill in the fridge temporarily whilst you prepare the vegetables. Grate the broccoli and cauliflower, and shred the celeriac in a food processor, with a mandolin slicer or with a large blade on your grater. In a medium bowl, combine the vegetables and pour the cheesy brazil nut sauce over them, tossing and massaging the sauce into the vegetables with your hands, to ensure everything is evenly coated.

Serve immediately. Will last 2-3 days in the fridge, but sauce tends to separate if left too lone.

RAW VANILLA SHORTBREADS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Gluten free, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

The recipe for these raw shortbreads came about quite accidentally. I was going through the stages of making Raw Caramel Shortbreads and got as far as step two, when I realised how good step one tasted solo. I scrambled the mixture out of the baking tin and chopped the raw biscuit base into fingers resemblant of the  traditional tea-time favourites. Despite having a buttery biscuit base (did I steal that from somewhere?), these biscuits are set in the freezer, instead of baked. If you're used to conventional biscuits you probably can't even begin to imagine how these must taste. But let me assure you; these biscuits are more melt-in-the mouth than a Rich Tea, any day. They are incredibly moreish, cleverly crafted and, simply put, very, very nice indeed. No matter how hungry or fed I am, each bite - even the tiniest nibble -  is a thrill that never loses its charge. 

Once set in the freezer to stiffen, these biscuits have almost exactly the same texture as a normal shortbread, just a little less crumbly. They are like a cross between shortbread and fudge - a winning combination if ever I came across one.

INGREDIENTS

100g cashews
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
A Generous Pinch of Salt
3 Tablespoons Tahini
5 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted on a low heat
2-3 Tablespoons Agave

Optional
Juice and Zest of 1 Unwaxed Lemon
Fresh Rosemary
Cacao Powder
Raw Chocolate Chunks or Raw Cacao Nibs
Superfoods of Choice - Lucuma, Maca, Mucuna and Chia Seeds work well

METHOD

Simply add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender. The speed and power of your blender is really important for this recipe, as the biscuit tastes so much better smooth. 

 + Experiment with flavours such as solid coconut milk or creamed coconut, for a clotted cream variation.

+ For a raw choc chip cookie, simply add cacao nibs or chunks of raw chocolate to the mixture, and form into flat discs instead of shortbread fingers. For a dehydrated version, click here.

+ serve with homemade cashew cream, runny coconut cream or coconut and ginger whip.

+ Try my raw caramel millionaire shortbreads.

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.

RAW LEMON, ROSE AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Sugar Free, Vegandanielle coppermanComment

Baked cheesecake was never something i made much of a fuss about. Fridge-set cheesecake on the other hand… now we’re talking. Theres just something about cream cheese mixed with sugar. Its so wrong yet so, so right and combined with a crunchy gingernut or digestive base - I’m weak at the knees just thinking about it. These days, with dairy, sugar and gluten no longer part of my diet, i rarely crave a slice of cheesecake. I also rarely opt for the fruit flavour on the dessert menu, not because of the fructose but because vanilla, chocolate and caramel will always have one up in my opinion. Lemon, however, is an exception. When i first discovered lemon curd as a 7 year old, i couldn’t get enough of it and loved the confusion of its sweet yet sour taste. Citrus flavours and creamy flavours create a perfectly balanced taste sensation when combined together. So, to celebrate the first week of Spring in London, i decided to recreate these flavours using healthy, natural ingredients. I wanted to use fresh, fruity flavours that reminded me of summer. The cashews, avocado and coconut milk make this cheesecake creamy and the fresh lemon combined with organic rose extract makes it vibrant and refreshing. This “cheesecake” honestly turned out better than i thought it would. It tastes just as good if not better than a conventional cheesecake, and comes without the side effects of dairy, gluten and sugar. It is also pretty easy and quick to make - you could call it a Smoothie Cheesecake as you rely heavily on your blender for most of it. Also, with no baking required, once you’re done making the mixture you just leave the hard work to the freezer. As it is raw and doesn’t require baking, this cheesecake keeps hold of all its nutrients, vitamins and minerals without destroying anything, making it incredibly nutritious. It makes a perfect dessert but i also think it is more than acceptable to have for breakfast. It is full of healthy fats, protein, long-lasting sources of energy, fibre and antioxidants and is also incredibly alkalising. You could even leave the base for another time and make the filling as you would a smoothie or a cashew pudding. Stir through some soaked chia seeds or serve as a smoothie bowl topped with nuts, seeds and clean granola/muesli.

BASE INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Medool Dates
1 1/2 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Almonds
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
Salt
2 Tablespoons Beetroot Powder

METHOD

Place the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the blender if it isn’t combining properly, and blend several times until the mixture is pretty much smooth. once combined, scrape into a tart or cake tin or mini tart tins and spread along the bottom. Press down until the mixture is compact. You can spread it up the side of your tin depending on the shape or it if you want a side crust too. set in the fridge.

FILLING INGREDIENTS

Fresh Lemon Juice of 1 1/2 or 2 Lemons
1 Cup Cashews, soaked briefly or overnight if you have time
1/2 Ripe Avocado
2 Teaspoons Agave
1-2 Teaspoons Rose
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
80g Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil (the cacao gives it the ‘white chocolate’ flavour)
2 Tablespoons OSB Skin Food or Maca or Superfood of choice
2 Tablespoons Solid Tinned Coconut Milk, or Coyo Original

METHOD

Place the cashews, lemon juice, avocado, agave, rose, vanilla and coconut milk into a clean blender. Melt the cacao butter in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Once fully melted, add this to the blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. You may need to stir to encourage the mixture. Blend until fully smooth and pour this over you prepared base(s). Spread evenly over the base and set in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour. It should be almost entirely solid when you remove it, and if it seems too solid, remove from the freezer and store in the fridge to soften before serving.

OTHER FILLING SUGGESTIONS
You can omit the beetroot powder from the base or substitute it for cacao if you want to experiment with different cheesecake flavours. I love mixing the base with cacao for a Raw Cacao Torte or a Vanilla Choc Chip Cheesecake.

CACAO
(makes one large torte)
120g Cacao Butter or Coconut oil
400g Cacao Powder
1 Teaspoon Spirulina
Handful Cashews, soaked
1 Tablespoons Organic Orange Oil or Extract (or Fresh orange juice & zest)
1-2 Tablespoons Agave (as the Cacao has quite a bitter taste)
Salt
Blend, pour onto base then freeze.

VANILLA CHOC CHIP
1-2 Fresh Vanilla Pods
100g Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Cacao Nibs
1 Cup Cashews
4 Tablespoon’s Solid Tinned Coconut milk
1/2 Cup Chopped Raw Chocolate or Cacao Paste (made by melting 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil or cacao butter with 2 Tablespoons Cacao Powder and leaving to set)
Salt
Blend, pour onto base then freeze.

CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL TART
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1/3 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Cacao Butter
1-2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Avocado, optional
Heat all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and whisk like this for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat then simmer for 10-15 minutes, whisking constantly. Transfer to a blender and blend until combined. Pour onto the base then freeze until almost solid.
Top with a layer of melted Raw Chocolate or Dairy Free Dark Chocolate. Either cover the whole tart of drizzle over the caramel. 
Freeze again until chocolate harden.

ROLOS AND RAW ROLO BLISS BALLS

Snacks, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

Caramel is almost on a par with chocolate in my opinion. I love the rich, creamy taste sensation of chocolate but is there anything more delightfully, mouth-wateringly confusing than the sweet ‘n’ salty combination? This recipe came about when i succeeded in making healthy millionaire shortbreads (recipe up tomorrow). Having proven it was possible to make a healthy caramel, i didn’t want to stop there and couldn’t wait to work it into brownies, muffins and raw chocolate treats. Rolo’s sprang to mind immediately and the lead up to Easter seemed the perfect time to give them a go. I would personally recommend making these if you only make one of my easter recipes this year. They are much easier than the eggs, don’t require buying any egg moulds and taste just as good, if not better!

FOR INDULGENT COCONUT CARAMEL

2 Tins Coconut Milk (use the solid coconut fat from each and only 1 tablespoon of the liquid)
3/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar 
1-2 Teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
1 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract.
3 Tablespoons Almond Butter or Cashew Butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Maca Powder - optional

METHOD
In a medium saucepan, melt the cacao butter or coconut oil depending on what you prefer. The cacao butter tastes better but they both act similarly in setting the caramel after the boiling process. Once melted add the rest of the ingredients and whisk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes on a medium to high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan, or worse, burn. Transfer to a bowl and set in the freezer for half an hour. Check on the caramel after 10 minutes and give it a stir. The coconut oil may separate a little so if this happens, transfer to the blender and blend before the coconut oil becomes completely solid. The cacao butter will be less likely to do this. Once the caramel is set but not entirely solid, remove from the freezer.

When the caramel has hardened, take teaspoonfuls of the mixture at a time and roll in to balls in your hands. Place on a plate and then leave in the freezer again to remain stiff whilst you prepare the chocolate.

FOR EASY, RAW ALMOND CARAMEL
(Makes 26)

INGREDIENTS

6 Tablespoons Smooth Almond Butter
1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Fresh Seeds From 1 Vanilla Pod
1 Tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar or Coconut Nectar
8 Medjool Dates
3-4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, room temp
1/2 Teaspoon Maca Powder - optional

METHOD
Simply blend all of the ingredients together in a high speed blender for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. This caramel won't be gooey like the heated version, but leave it to set in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes until it hardens. Then use a spoon or a small scoop to form the chewy mixture into balls.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE

100g Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil
6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1 Teaspoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar or Date Syrup
Pinch of Himalayan Salt (optional - the caramel is pretty salty itself so you can choose to leave this out)
2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk - if you want a milkier, milder chocolate

METHOD
In a heatproof bowl over saucepan filled with boiling water, place the cacao butter, agave and salt. Whisk until the cacao butter or coconut oil dissolves. Gradually add the cacao powder and whisk continuously to avoid any lumps. When everything is combined and fully melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside. Get the Caramel Balls out from the freezer and form into rolo shapes with a little squishing at the sides. Keep them in balls if you’d prefer or even make them into long rectangles for a curly-wirly or twix kind of snack. Anyway, if using the balls like i did, roll them gently in the chocolate until fully coated and place on a plate. Refreeze for 2 minutes, then repeat this process 2 or 3 more times to ensure a thick, crunchy layer of chocolate. You could also pour the chocolate into mini cupcake cases and simply take a small spoonful of caramel to place in the middle. Then top the caramel with more melted raw chocolate to make a caramel ‘cup’ - similar to a reese’s peanut butter cup, but in my opinion, far more delicious!


RAW ROLO BLISS BALLS
These are a little easier and simpler to make. Once the dates are smoothly blended there is nothing to worry about. I know a lot of people have difficulty blending dates effectively and i even know someone who’s Vitamix got defeated by a bunch of dates. They are strong, sticky little things so be careful. If you don’t have a very powerful blender i would suggest soaking them for a few hours before blending. However, if you begin this recipe by breaking the dates down with a little water, everything should go smoothly. If you are confident in the power of your blender simply chuck everything in at once and let it do all the work for you.

FOR THE CARAMEL FILLING

1 1/2 Cups Soft Medjool Dates (or unsulphered apricots)
6 Tablespoons Almond Butter, optional
2 Tablespoons Cashew Butter or Tahini
2-4 Tablespoons Water or Plant Based Milk
1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
4 Tablespoons Ground Almonds, optional
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
2 tablespoons Coconut Milk, solid parts only
1 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Dash of Organic Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Seeds

METHOD
Place the dates and the water into a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until a smooth paste begins to form. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again for another 2-3 minutes until everything is combined and smooth. Pour into a bowl and set in the freezer for half an hour. It should be firm to touch and when it is, take a teaspoon and begin to form the mixture into balls. Place the balls on a plate and then set in the freezer again whilst you prepare the raw chocolate coating.

FOR THE RAW CHOCOLATE COATING

100g Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil
6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1 Teaspoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar or Date Syrup
Pinch of Himalayan Salt (optional - the caramel is pretty salty itself so you can choose to leave this out)

METHOD
In a heatproof bowl over saucepan filled with boiling water, place the cacao butter, agave and salt. Whisk until the cacao butter or coconut oil dissolves. Gradually add the cacao powder and whisk continuously to avoid any lumps. When everything is combined and fully melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside. Remove the Caramel Balls from the freezer and roll them gently in the chocolate until fully coated. Place on a plate and refreeze for 2 minutes, then repeat this process 2 or 3 more times to ensure a thick, crunchy layer of chocolate.