WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

Summer

Upside Down Apricot + Almond Cake

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Summerdanielle coppermanComment
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Inspired by a cake my mama threw effortlessly together last week in desperation to use up some of the plums from the tree in our front garden, this cake is super simple and seasonally delicious. It is one of the moistest, lightest cakes you have and will ever encounter, I'm sure of it. Most of the flavour comes from the natural juices and essence of the fresh apricots (you can also use peaches, plums, nectarines or other seasonal fruit of choice - it will literally work with anything; berries, banana, citrus fruits etc etc), which goes so well with the creamy, nuttiness of the ground almond batter.

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This is such a summery recipe and it feels so energising, refreshing and nourishing to eat the vibrant fruits that nature offers up this time of year. I am a firm believer that we truly need exactly what the Earth provides for us in certain seasons / situations. I have been craving juicy, hydrating fruits all summer - probably due to the dry, hot weather - and feel so grateful to have things like peaches, apricots and nectarines thriving in abundance right now. 

This is such a quick and easy recipe and I would seriously recommend it, especially if you have some over-ripe fruits to use up. All the ingredients, as always, are 100% natural and unrefined and thus dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free.

+ A quick note on sugar: my opinion is that all sugar is sugar, it is received very similarly by the body, however it does make a difference using coconut sugar as it's is higher in fibre and other vitamins and minerals than regular white sugar or other highly processed sweeteners. I also use almost half the sugar required in most similar standard cake recipes, so that's something.

Components

8-10 medium apricots (or a similar amount of other fruits of choice. I'd suggest roughly 5 peaches or nectarines, 8-10 plums, 4-5 oranges or lemons - also feel free to use a combination of several different fruits)
120g  ground almonds
3 eggs (replace with equivalent of flax or chia gel for vegan option, although I haven't tested this)
100g coconut sugar
140g coconut oil
25g water
65g buckwheat flour (can also use self raising gluten free flour or standard self raising flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, paste, powder or fresh vanilla pod seeds
Pinch of salt
+ extra coconut oil and coconut sugar, for greasing

Method

Preheat the oven to 170c.

Line a 9 inch cake tin (I like to use one with a removable bottom, for ease) with baking paper and grease with the coconut oil and sprinkle with coconut sugar (enough to evenly cover the entire base) and a pinch of salt. 

Slice your fruits of choice into flat disks, however possible. I sliced my apricots in half only once, and removed the stone, but for peaches and nectarines you might want to slice four times for thinner layers. Then, lay the fruit - open side facing down and skin side facing up - over the entire base of the tin. Cover as much of the tin as possible and fill any gaps with smaller slices of fruit.

Next, make the batter. Whisk all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl or combine in a mixer or a food processor. Once smooth, pour the mixture into the tin, covering every inch of the fruit. Smooth to even out with a spatula or back of a spoon.

Bake for 40-45 mins, testing to see if the centre is cooked through by poking a knife or skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it is ready, but if it brings a lot of raw looking mixture with it, leave it to bake a little longer. If the top begins to darken too much, cover with foil for the remaining time. 

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Remove the cake from the tin and gently flip it upside down onto a large plate or cake stand. Carefully remove the baking paper, pressing it away from you as you peel it away, to avoid any pieces of fruit coming with it.

Leave to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes, then either enjoy warm or leave for longer and enjoy at room temp. 

I enjoyed mine with yoghurt (I like soy, almond, cashew or coconut, but you can also use natural probiotic yoghurt). You could also serve with vegan cream (I like Oatly). I also added a little fresh grated ginger, but it would also be nice with fresh herbs like mint, thyme or lemon verbena, depending on the fruits you've used.

+ Store in an airtight container either at room temperature or in the fridge. I left mine at room temperature and it lasted for 4-5 days.

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Summery Vegan Lemon Curd Tart ~ Vegan & Gluten Free Ofc

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Summer, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian, Recipedanielle copperman3 Comments
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Ah, this could be just about the dreamiest thing I've ever made. I thought it would be impossible to recreate a favourite of mine (and many's) - The Lemon Tart - using all-natural and vegan ingredients, but it wasn't, and that's why we're where we are today. First off, this post contains around 3 to 4 individual recipes in itself; not only a lemon tart but also a lemon jam, a lemon curd and a biscuity base you can use for all kinds of sweet treats, desserts, freezer granola (I'll explain later) or simply enjoy as a snack. 

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+ You can make this recipe into one big tart to serve sliced (right), or you can use smaller tart dishes to make individual tartlets (left). You can also make this into more a cheesecake pot if you don't have the right kind of tart dish, by filling small ramekins, small bowls or even glasses with some of the base mixture followed by the filling on top.

The Basic Biscuity Base

You can take inspiration from pretty much any recipe for a raw dessert when looking for a quick and simple base for a conventional dessert; whether you intend to make an entirely raw dessert or not. You can make a basic base for any dessert with pretty much any combination of nuts / seeds, coconut oil or butter and a little natural sweetener. I've given up using recipes as it is so easy to judge by eye how much oil and by taste how much sweetener you need to add to any amount of nuts / seeds for it to work as a base. The magic of a raw base like this is that the hard work is done by the coconut oil / butter and the fridge / freezer. It is so simple, and the result is always perfectly crunchy, creamy and crumbly. I use the same kind of recipes as the bottom layer for dessert pots, the base for cheesecakes and as an easy alternative to pastry shells - as I have done here.

+ You could make this tart on a more conventional pastry shell if you feel so inclined / prefer it / have more time and patience on your hands. The pastry from my recent Savoury Vegan Picnic Tartlets recipe would work amazingly with this filling.

Components

Makes enough for 1 medium to large tart dish, or about 8-10 small individual pots / tart dishes

200g raw cashews
200g raw almonds
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3-4 tablespoons honey, medjool dates or other natural sweetener of choice (I find 3 tablespoons is enough to make the dough stick but add more depending on your taste preferences)

+ You can of course use a combination of any other raw nuts and / or seeds you have on hand. I love using pecans or walnuts, and sunflower seeds for a nut-free option.

Process

Simply add your nuts / seeds of choice to a food processor and blend until ground into a fine, crumbly consistency. With the machine still running, slowly pour in the coconut oil followed closly by the honey or other natural sweetener of choice.

The mixture should begin to clump after 30-60 seconds on a high speed. Add a little more oil if the mixture seems too dry and/or a little more honey or sweetener of choice if the mixture isn't sticking and holding together when you press it with your fingers of the back of a spoon or spatula. You want it to stick and hold a compact shape.

Now, cut a strip of baking paper almost twice the diameter of your tart dish (do the same for each small individual tartlet dishes if using). Lay the baking paper across the tart dish as centrally as possible, with the baking paper flat to the middle of the tart dish, and the ends of the laying long outside of the dish. This will help you to lift the tart out once it is set.

Next, transfer the base mixture into your tart dish or tartlet dishes, and use a spatula and / or your hands to spread the mixture evenly to the edges. Press the mixture down until it is compact, and use small handfuls to press some of the mixture up and around the sides of your dish too. 

The base should be about 1/2 cm - 1 cm thick at the base, probably naturally a little thinner around the edges. Transfer to the freezer to set whilst you make the filling.

+ Leftovers tip: You can use any leftover base to energy balls or bars, either rolling it up or pressing into bar moulds or even tuppaware boxes. You can also crumble it into a small container and leave it in the freezer to enjoy as an instant granola for breakfast.

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The Lemon Curd Filling

I have previously made an all-natural lemon curd recipe but it contained eggs and quite a bit of coconut milk which made it quite heavy and rich. This new versions is incredible, I'm genuinely smiling just thinking about it. 100% vegan / plant based and 100% natural and unrefined, you won't find the usual eggs, overload of sugar or butter that is traditionally used in conventional recipes / lemon curd products, or any additives, preservatives and weird thickeners or acidity regulators (err, sorry what?).

As mentioned in the intro, you get 3-in-1 with this recipe. The earliest stage of this filling makes the most delicious lemon jam, which can be used on toast, in yoghurt or enjoyed with baked goods. The next stage makes the perfect lemon curd, which can be used as a spread, a dip or a side for fruit salads or other desserts. And the final stage is your lemon curd tart filling, which could also be used as a slightly richer and creamier spread, dip or side for other desserts. The choice is yours.

Components

140g coconut oil, melted
juice of 6 lemons
160-180g honey, coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of choice
6 tablespoons arrowroot powder
6 tablespoons soy yoghurt (can replace with other yoghurt of choice such as coconut, oat or almond yoghurt. Those who eat dairy can also use probiotic dairy yoghurt or double cream)

Process

Measure the lemon juice, oil and honey into a medium saucepan over a medium - high heat. Immediately whisk in the arrowroot. Add 3 tablespoons first then whisk until fully combine, then add the remaining 3 tablespoons and whisk again.

Heat over a medium - high heat until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. It should become incredibly gloopy. Also, during one of my test runs, a lot of the oil separated and sat on the surface, but if this happens it will all turn out fine, so don't worry.

As the mixture becomes thick and gloopy, remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture vigorously for 1-2 minutes (may need longer if your oil has separated slightly). The mixture should calm down and become a smoother more creamy looking texture. Return to a low-medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking every so often to avoid any sticking and burning.

When the mixture is thick, smooth and glossy looking, remove from heat and then whisk in the soy yoghurt (or whichever alternative you might be using), one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. This will make the mixture thin a little but don't worry, it will set perfectly.

Pour the mixture into your tart base or tartlet bases, filling it up to come almost level with the edges of the base. This time, place in the fridge for about 1-2 hours to set fully.

+ Leftovers tip: If you have leftover filling mixture once you've filled your tart or tartlet bases, pour the remainder into a jar or container and store in the fridge. You can serve a dollop alongside the tart for anyone who wants extra, or you can use to accompany breakfasts (such as granola and yoghurt, fruit salad, spread on toast or on porridge) or other desserts.

Once set, slice and serve with an extra dollop of soy yoghurt (or you preferred alternative) and a side of fresh, seasonal fruit. Keeps for 1 week in the fridge. To keep for even longer, slice and store in the freezer; it thaws back to perfection in no time.

+ Decoration tip: You could try swirling an extra dollop of soy yogurt into the middle of the filling before setting, to create a marbled effect. You could also garnish with edible flowers, lemon slices or other fresh fruit of choice

CARAMELISED COURGETTE, PEA, MINT AND MACADAMIA DIP

Seasonal, Sides, Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Dips + Spreads, Dairy Freedanielle copperman1 Comment

I've been on and off home turf the past couple of months but everytime I do stop by I head straight for the kitchen to regurgitate information and inspiration gathered during my time away. Some things are inspired by new places and new cultures. Some things are inspired by local cuisine. Some things are inspired by seasonal produce. And some things are inspired by me just having too much time to myself to think about fun new things I could try when I get home.

This recipe is mostly inspired by the fact that we are in peak pea season, with some influence coming merely from me having had too much time to think about the things you could do with peas. I've made pea and mint houmous in the past and I'm a huge dip lover in general, as they require next to no thinking at all, and pretty much the same amount of effort. Dips and spreads are one of my favourite things to make purely because they are so easy and customisable. You can disguise any ingredients you don't like the taste of by combining then with ones you do, and you can also invent your own new combinations by simply getting creative with whatever you can find in the kitchen (within reason).

I've been wanting to develop some good summertime recipes (although it has seemed pointless since it still feels like winter in the UK), but have been caught up in the waves of life, and by that I mainly mean work. June felt like the heaviest month. The energy was low and dull, the weather was grey and practically everyone I know was feeling totally depressed about the EU Referendum results. I honestly believe that the energy of others around you has a huge effect on your own energy, even the energy of people you don't know. But, I also believe that seasonal produce provided by the Earth exists to help us cope with certain times of the year, by providing us with what we need, when we most need it. Natural, life-rich produce has transferrable energy. It has so much to give, and all we have to do to attain it is consume it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, the peas are here to help. I had leftovers of this for breakfast this morning and the sun is currently out. It hasn't even rained yet today (!?). I'm feeling good about July already, and sending total Bye Felicia vibes to June.

INGREDIENTS

180g Garden Peas (cooked)
200g White Beans, Butter Beans, Cannelini Beans or Chickpeas
70g Olive Oil
20g Filtered Water
30g Avocado Flesh
100g Sliced Courgette, sauteed (can also substitue for sauteed broccoli or cauliflower)
Large Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt - to taste
15g Tahini
10g Fresh Spinach
1g Lemon juice
15g Macadamia Nuts (Pumpkin Seeds + Brazil Nuts would work well too)
6g Mint - optional but v v nice
1/2-1 Clove Garlic - optional (I am mildly allergic so I didn't include this but if you're into it I think it would be a sure)

METHOD

If using frozen peas, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes until soft, then strain and leave to cool. If your peas are pre-cooked and ready to go, start by sauteeing the courgette in a little olive oil and salt, over a medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the peas, your beans of choice, olive oil, water, salt, avocado flesh, tahini, spinach, lemon juice, nuts and mint and garlic - if using - in a high speed blender. Blend for about 1-2 minutes, using a tamper to get things moving properly. Keep an eye on the courgette and flip them as they begin to sizzle and brown. Once cooked well on both sides and soft in the middle, add them to the blender and blend for a further 1-2 minutes. Ideally, the blender should be able to run smoothly without the help of the tamper, as this will create the smoothest result. If it's really struggling, add a little more water.

Once you are happy with the texture, taste and season with extra lemon, garlic or salt, until you are happy with it. Transfer to a bowl or tuppaware and leave in the fridge to cool before serving.

To serve, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and either some chopped macadamia, sesame seeds or hemp seeds, dukkah or za'atar, to add a little crunch.

 

QUINOA CREAMED CHIA SEED PUDDING

Essentials, Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman3 Comments

This is my new favourite. My new favourite several things. My new favourite breakfast. My new favourtite snack. My new favourite chia seed pudding. Hell, it's the best chia seed pudding I've ever made, and it's the best chia seed pudding you'll ever make, and I'm not even nervous to make that promise cos I know I can deliver.

Chia seed pudding comes in many forms. You can soak these tiny but powerful, simple but effective seeds in any liquid at all, and they will gel together to form a pudding within minutes. The simplest recipe would involve water, coconut water, or shop bought / ready made plant milk. Something a little more special would involve handmaking plant milk with less water to make it thicker and creamier, making the gel around the seeds creamier and plumper. And something even more spectacular (and even creamier and even more nutritious), would include making a cream out of cooked quinoa and plant milk. Let me elaborate:

Ingredients

150ml Plant Based Milk (I use oat, almond or cashew)
5g Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste, Vanilla Seeds or Vanilla Powder
80g Cooked Quinoa, rinsed and cooled
1 Teaspoon Maca
30g Coconut Milk (the more solid part) (you can also experiment with 15g Avocado Flesh or Banana instead of Coconut Milk)
10g Sunflower Seeds
10g Coconut Syrup, Date Syrup, Honey or other Natural Sweetener of Choice
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
25g Chia seeds

Optional
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon or Cardamom
10g Cooked Quinoa (to stir through before serving)
Fresh Cherries
Pink Grapefruit
Nut Butter
Tahini

Method

Simply measure out all of the ingredients, apart from the chia seeds, into a blender and blend on the highest speed for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Add a little more salt or sweetener (and maca and any spices you are using) to suit your taste and blend again to combine. Once smooth, pour the mixture into a bowl, jar or tuppaware and weigh out the chia seeds into the same bowl. Stir or whisk with a fork to fully combine the seeds, and leave to absorb for 5 minutes. Stir again to ensure the seeds are fully coated in order to absorb the liquid evenly, and then set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. Stir again (at this point, if you want to, add some leftover cooked quinoa if you want to bulk the pudding out a little more) and then leave in the fridge until ready to serve. Leaving overnight will make the seeds the perfect softness and plumpness, but you can enjoy after as little as half an hour.

Top with your choice of fruit, nut butter, tahini, extra spices and superfood powders, granola, qnola, nuts and seeds. Enjoy for breakfast, as a snack, stirred through smoothies, stirred through porridge or served alongside desserts.

SMOOTH SWEETCORN PANCAKES

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

I’m incredibly aware that things have become quiet around here during the last couple of months. In fact - I’ll be real - make that the last year. It’s like I’ve been a terribly terribly unprepared parent, neglecting the fairly low maintenance first born in becoming completely tied up and overwhelmed with the bringing up the second. Thankfully, at only 22, I’m talking theoretically and about actual children of mine, but it's a pretty accurate comparison in my opinion. Qnola happened to me completely out of the blue and i was unprepared to say the least. 

Almost 2 years in, i still work through the night, but i now have a help, which means i can finally start dusting off the recipes i’ve been recording since 2014 that never quite made it to the stage of being uploaded. there are some wonderful recipes buried deep inside my computer, along with valuable travel tips from my recent adventures of living in new york and travelling the world whenever i can. to start with though: a recipe just over a month late which i intended to post in time for pancake day, but which got intercepted by general life. in my opinion, and ok, in attempt to justify my lateness, one day is simply not enough time to give pancakes the praise they deserve, so let’s ignore last months hype and have pancakes whenever we want to.

As a child, i excelled in making pancakes and that was more or less the purpose of my life from the age of 8 to i’d say, well, the present day if you ask any of my friends who still demand a pancake party the morning after they stay over. These pancakes, though, are not like those from my childhood. I’m more conscious than i was then and have replaced the gluten, removed the dairy and injected these nourishing pancakes with antioxidants, healthy fats and plant proteins. I also made them as neutral as possible in flavour, meaning they work with both savoury and sweet toppings. Pictured here with savoury chicken salad and homemade nut and seed pesto, but enjoyed the leftovers with fresh lemon juice, thyme and coconut palm sugar.

INGREDIENTS
100g Almond Milk
10g Olive Oil
150g Sweetcorn, cooked
10g Hemp Seeds
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
30g Quinoa, cooked
2 Eggs (can replace with chia seed gel or flax seed gel)
50g Buckwheat Flour
Fresh Herbs - optional 

METHOD
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on a high speed. You can add your choice of fresh herbs or even spinach or kale to make these pancakes even healthier and more flavoursome. Once the mixture is completely smooth, heat some coconut oil in a large saucepan until it has melted, then take a large spoonful of the batter and create 3-4 small pancakes - as your frying pan space permits. Fry over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes and then flip when the underside can be loosened from the pan. Flip and fry on the other side and re-flip if you want a crispier result.

Top with sweet or savoury toppings like coconut palm sugar and fresh citrus, homemade raw cacao spread, honey and coconut yoghurt, or pesto, houmous, raw/cooked vegetables, fish/meat or this dairy free chicken salad.

CHICKEN SALAD

INGREDIENTS
Serves 2-4

200g Shredded Chicken (This works best with tender meat generally from around the bone, but i used sliced chicken breast and it worked perfectly)
2 Egg Yolks
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
½ Clove Garlic, sliced
Small Handful Coriander
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
1 Teaspoon or Pinch Nutritional Yeast - optional
30g Avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds)
½ Teaspoon Mustard - optional

Optional:
20g grated apple
20g grate kohlrabi
20g grated courgette
chopped basil optional
chopped black or orange apricots

METHOD

Start by blending the egg, oil, salt, garlic, coriander, citrus zest and juice, nutritional yeast and avocado (or soaked sunflower seeds) until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl, and stir through the grated fruit and vegetables (if using), the herbs and finally the chicken. When fully coated, top each pancake or serve as a side. Perfect for salads, sandwiches and picnics.

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.

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.

THE ONLY SALAD DRESSING YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE

Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Freedanielle coppermanComment

This week, despite the non-stop rainfall we are experiencing here in London, I've been embracing good, seasonal produce and have found myself in a cherry rut. My body clock feels so confused at the moment. I go to bed gently suntanned and wake up in a gloomy room from which I can see nothing but soggy grass and blustery drizzle. Recently moved house, I have been exploring my new local area, and one of the best fresh fruit and vegetable stores is just a few minutes walk for me. They have almost made a landmark out of the deepest, darkest cherries, positioned confidently in the doorway to greet - and entice - customers. If they don't make their way into your basket on your way in, you'll see them again as you leave, and you won't be able to go home without them. Every time I go to stock up on juice or dinner ingredients, they end up in the same place - first the basket, then in my mouth and soon all dinner plans are demoted.

This time of year (or any, really, for that matter), I don't plan many meals. If i'm having people over then a little more thought goes into it, but otherwise, I just fill my kitchen with anything I think looks good, and with things I know and love. This way, I end up eating a lot of random meals, but am constantly pleasantly surprised at how well they turn out. So whilst I might sometimes get sidetracked at the vegetable store and forget to buy what I actually went there for, it is often the meals made with no real structure but pretty much anything that happens to be in my fridge, that end up becoming my favourites. 

This time of year, I like to spend less time in the kitchen. There is little need to use the oven as an extra source of heat like I do throughout the winter, and comforting, warm meals are also less essential. For this reason, more of my meals are raw, cold or leftover. My blender, as always (somethings never change) still features heavily in my day to day routine - more than usual, in fact. And let me tell you, it's not only smoothies that come out of that thing, but also dips, soups, gazpachos and dressings. Yes, that's what happened to the cherries this week. Those that I didn't snack on during the (2 minute) walk home from the store, said goodbye to their sweet life as grocery store decoration, and went through what I can only imagine as hell, all for the sake of a delicious summer salad dressing.

Like I said, I'm not as committed to spending hours over a stove (ok, bit dramatic) during the summer, and making dips and dressings in a blender is the quickest way to add flavour and an abundance of accessible nutrients to a meal. If the sun does come out in England, a lunch, snack or dinner that takes just minutes to make is exactly what we all desire. Choose your flavours, your base ingredients, your seasoning and your herbs and blend everything together to instantly upgrade some raw vegetable crudités, a salad, a sandwich or some leftovers. Before this, there was pesto, houmous and mustard dressings. But this recipe is even simpler to make and goes with absolutely anything. Make a big batch, serve with everything and take to work, on long journeys, or as an offering to barbecues and picnics.

CHERRY, LIME AND TAHINI DRESSING
(serves around 4 people - covers a large salad)

6-8 Large Cherries
1 tablespoon Tahini
6 tablespoons Olive oil
½ lime juice
Salt or tamari

OPTIONAL
1 Teaspoon Mustard 
A few drops Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch Wasabi Paste
2 Slices Fresh Ginger / 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch Fresh Mint, Basil or Coriander

METHOD
Slice your cherries in half and pull apart, removing the stone. Place in a food processor or blender, and add the oil, lime juice, tahini and tamari. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until entirely smooth. Add additional ingredients from the 'optional' list, if using, and blend for a further 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl or pour directly onto your salad. Serve with meat, fish, salads, raw vegetables, over vegetable slaw or with cooked vegetables (especially good over roasted cauliflower).
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

+ Featuring, thrown together salad of rocket, watercress, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, soft boiled egg, shredded chicken, roasted sweet potato, avocado, macadamia nuts, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes (topped with savoury Qnola - available soon)

SWEET POTATO, CHICKEN, AVOCADO AND QUINOA NORI ROLLS

Snacks, Summer, Lunch, Recipe, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Free, Brunchdanielle copperman1 Comment

You can't go wrong with anything that is rollable. Whether its fajita's, a quick tortilla lunch wrap, some homemade savoury crepes, burritos or sushi, there's something for everyone, and each individual has a unique way of filling, customising and rolling theirs to really make it mean something to them; or just to make it their own kind of tasty. Fajita's featured a lot in my house growing up, and as soon as there was a tortilla on each plate, everyone fell silent, concentrating on building their ideal meal. There's something so satisfying in combining your favourite things to create a few incredible mouthfuls that no one else will ever quite achieve in their own constructions, or experience to the full extent.

This recipe is - hang on, I'm about to say it again - one of my favourite creations. I was inspired by conventional sushi which, ever since moving to London from Bath (a small town where people would assume you'd just sneezed if you asked where to find some sashimi), I have been obsessed with. The recipe below isn't in keeping with many Japanese traditions, but it doesn't have to be. You can mix and match your fillings, and you don't have to use rice and raw fish. You can literally use anything. The seaweed has such a mild flavour that whatever combination of fillings you choose will work well.

It may not look like it, but this is such a simple recipe - which is always a bonus. Anyone who loves fresh food and vibrant flavours will appreciate that you can bung everything you love onto one nori sheet, roll, squeeze and enjoy instantly. If for whatever reason yours don't roll perfectly, this is not an indication of failure - it will still taste amazing. 

I love a recipe that you can really personalise, as I'm sure most of you do too. If you don't like an ingredient, you don't have to use it, and instead can combine all of your favourite ingredients in one meal. You can use any fillings you like here - I have simply provided a couple of my personal favourites. Where normal sushi uses rice, I've used Quinoa, as I find it more gently filling in comparison to rice, and it is also higher in protein and fibre, and in some cases, easier to digest. (It also suits anyone on a paleo diet). That's more or less the only similarity that these nori rolls have with traditional sushi. My fillings combine all kinds of cuisines. You could call them Confused Rolls. Whatever - they're delicious.

For vegetarians, you can experiment with a range of raw or cooked vegetables. I love using mashed or pureed sweet potato or beetroot houmous with the quinoa as it is a creamy, sweet way of binding the other ingredients together. I'd suggest cutting the vegetables into thin strips to make for easier rolling. Avocado, courgette, cucumber, red pepper, carrot, beetroot, kohlrabi, cabbage (or sauerkraut), spinach, kale and broccoli would be top of my list. Make sure you also throw in as many fresh herbs as you can too. Mint, parsley, coriander and basil add a refreshing flavour. You can also improvise with your own dips and spreads in the place of sweet potato or beetroot houmous. Try them with any kind of houmous, avocado puree or guacamole.

For a meaty version, experiment with either chicken - like I have below - or fish (cooked or raw). In the past, I've made these with locally sourced organic salmon sashimi which you can pick up from almost any fishmonger. Ask them if it is sashimi-grade, and ensure it is as fresh as it can be. Don't leave it in the fridge for a few days before you plan on making these - use it the day you buy it. 

You can either prepare your meat beforehand like i have below, flavouring it with honey, oil and lemon juice or you can keep it plain. It is best to use it cold as it will roll better and won't affect the shape of the nori rolls too much.

 INGREDIENTS
(makes around 14 rolls - perfect as a quick lunch, snack or starter)

1 Packet Plain Nori Sheets (like these)
1 Large Sweet Potato, mashed - or Beetroot Houmous (recipe below)
1 1/2 Cups Cooked Quinoa

FILLING OPTIONS
. Sliced Vegetables - I like kohlrabi, carrot, cucumber, courgette, cabbage, chopped spinach, beetroot or broccoli / cauliflower rice. With crunchier vegetables, slice them thinly lengthways.
. Shredded or Chopped Chicken (try marinating in Tamari, Ginger, Ground Coriander, Agave and Olive oil).
Flaked Fish (salmon or tuna), Raw Fish or King Prawns.

METHOD
Take one nori sheet at a time and lay it flat onto a dry surface. I use a sushi mat which helps, but it isn't essential. Spread a layer of sweet potato onto the nori sheet, in a rectangle. Don't let it get too close to the sides of the sheet. Next, spread a layer of quinoa on top, followed by the chicken or fish and your vegetables. Starting with the end nearest to you, being to roll. It can get really messy! Just go with it. I tend to almost fold the sheet in half and then roll it back towards me, tucking it into the filling as I go. I roll and re-assemble a few times to get the filling tightly packed. Squeeze the rolls with dry hands to ensure they become as compact as possible.

Once rolled, take a really sharp knife and wet it slightly. Holding the roll at one end, slice diagonally down the middle, careful not to put too much pressure on the roll or to tear the sheet.

Serve with an Asian Inspired dip, a salty dip or a sweet dip (recipes below).

BEETROOT HOUMOUS
(serves 4-6)
2 Tins Chickpeas
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
10 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic - optional
2 Small - Medium Cooked Beetroot, chopped
1 Tablespoon Beetroot Powder or 1 Extra Beetroot, chopped
3 Tablespoons Tahini
Juice from 1/2 or 1 Lemon (depending on your personal preference)
Himalayan Pink Salt or Tamari - to taste
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast - optional
1 Teaspoon Mustard - optional

METHOD
Start by blending together your chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, tahini and mustard, if using. Blend on a medium to high speed, and add the water gradually. Once smooth, add the chopped beetroot and blend for a further 2 minutes. Add more water if it isn't blending smoothly. Serve instantly, or chill in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

SALTY TAMARI DIP
(serves 4-6)
1 Tablespoon Tamari
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil or Avocado Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Tahini, optional

METHOD

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small small bowl, stirring with a fork to combine everything fully. Serve chilled. If the you leave the dressing to sit, or in the fridge for a while before serving, stir again before enjoying, as the oil, tamari and tahini tend to separate.

SWEET TAHINI DIP
(serves 4-6)
1 Teaspoon Tamari
2 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Agave / Raw Honey /Date Syrup / Coconut Nectar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground or Grated Ginger
Crushed Garlic - optional

METHOD
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring and mashing lightly with a fork, or use your blender if you want to get a smoother dressing and ensure there are no lumps. Serve as a dip for the nori wraps, or drizzle over the top.

WASTE NOT | STRAWBERRY TOPS

Summer, Recipe, Lifestyle, Drinksdanielle coppermanComment

As I sit and write this in the Bath countryside in which I grew up, I feel content. And - whilst I'm at it - I feel wildly grateful. I'm letting it be. Whatever it is. Sure, there are things I would change - like being able to tan the lower half of my left arm instead of sitting uncomfortably with it in a cast, in which it is gradually overheating. But you know what? That's all part of the plan. Being one arm less recently has, again, made me feel grateful. Not only for being blessed with two arms usually, but also for the people around me who've constantly been there to (laugh at and graffiti me) support me. They're good guys, really.

With all of my belongings sat in boxes in my parents garage, in the past 2 months I've learned that I feel most free and most grateful without any of them. It's funny how little you need, and how simple and uncluttered life becomes when you remove everything you've spent you're life collecting. You begin to appreciate anything you do have, which is pretty much where the whole idea of mindfulness comes from. Instead of focussing on what you don't have, what you want and what you wish for, you focus on what you do have, and over time none of the other stuff matters. 

Anyway, what have strawberry tops got to do with this? Making the most of things, and appreciating the less significant things in life, that's wot. We all love a good strawberry, especially this time of year. But we are all too quick to dispose of the leafy greens that sit beautifully on top of them. I know. There is no need for them, and no one has any desire to eat that part. I know. But this doesn't mean they can't serve a purpose other than satisfying our tastebuds. They really can. You'll also notice how much of the actual strawberry you waste by beheading them. There is perfectly juicy, flavoursome flesh going to waste here. It's really not on.

Here's what to do:

+ Freeze your strawberry tops and use them as ice cubes
+ Freeze your strawberry tops and add them to your smoothies - the greens on them are just as edible as the greens you are used to. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.
+ Use your strawberry tops to infuse a glass or jug of water, or add them to your water bottle
+ Barbecue or grill your strawberry tops and top them with nut butter for a warm snack. If you don't want to eat the green leaves, they will fall apart from the strawberry flesh with ease as they become more tender during the cooking process.
+ Use them as decorations to top cakes, scones, cookies or cupcakes
+ Mash your strawberry tops in with whole berries to use if you are making Eton Mess. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.
+ Add them to soups to thicken the texture and also to add a little sweetness. I imagine this would work well in tomato, carrot, sweet potato, squash, spinach or broccoli based soups. Make sure the strawberries are organic, and make sure you have washed them well.

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.

ALMOND, SWEET POTATO AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA

Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle copperman1 Comment

F O C A C C I A . It's just fun to say. But it's even more fun to eat, especially when it contains absolutely no gluten, wheat, dairy or unnecessary additives or preservatives.

This is by far the easiest bread recipe I have developed since cutting wheat and gluten and generally unhelpful ingredients out of my diet. I always enjoy the challenge of making something I love without using any of the main ingredients usually involved. Eton Mess without meringue was a tough one. Raw Rolo's was just ingenious and much simpler than it might seem. And bread has actually proven tastier when made completely 'not right'. In baking, there are a lot of rules, backed by a lot of science. Things must rise, things must proof, things must have specific consistencies and textures. That is according to proper chefs (I still don't class myself as a proper chef as I thrive off improvisation and hope rather than actual skill and years of practice). But in my kind of cooking, it's not about making something exactly right. It's merely about making something healthy, taste just as good, if not better than the unhealthier version of itself. And dare I say, I almost always succeed. Things may not have exactly the correct properties, but as long as they taste good, nourish from within and fill a gap where something we previously adored used to be, then thats all that matters.

Bread is definitely one of those things that has to be just right. It has to grow, develop, proof and become all kinds of things from stretchy to doughy to twice the size of what it was when it began. However, in my opinion, as long as it is crisp, doughy and/or fluffy in some way, it's an instant pass. I love miracle bread for a crispy, crunchy bread. I love warm seeded rolls for my doughy bread needs. And I love this focaccia because it is the fluffiest bread to have come out of my oven.

Adding vegetables and fresh herbs to your bread may not seem the obvious thing to do, but it is all about getting those vegetable into as many meals or snacks as you can. You're not likely to eat a bowl of broccoli as a snack, but if you dice or blend it into a bread batter, you will, much more willingly. Play around with the vegetables you put into yours. You can also use carrot, beetroot, cauliflower, courgette or sun dried tomato. Just try to avoid anything too wet, as this will affect the texture of the bread.

I N G R E D I E N T S

2 Cups Ground Almonds
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Sumac
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped or kept whole
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage or Basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
4 Tablespoons Buckwheat Flour (can also use ground almonds instead)
Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
1/2 Garlic Clove, Crushed (optional)
3 - 4 Tablespoons Raw Sweet Potato, grated
1 Teaspoon Arrowroot
2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk or Yoghurt, optional (this will make the bread more moist, but it also works well and turns out fluffier without)
1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast, optional (to add a cheesy flavour)
.
Fresh Rosemary, to top
Sweet Potato Discs, to top 
Flaked Almonds, to top
Crushed Garlic, to top
Himalayan Pink Salt, to top
1/2 Teaspoon Organic Raw Honey, to top
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, to top

M E T H O D

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a load tin or a flat baking tray or a heat proof dish with a little coconut oil. 

Start by adding the eggs to your blender or food processor, followed by the ground almonds, dried herbs, baking powder, salt, arrowroot, oil and the garlic, coconut milk and nutritional yeast, if using. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Stir through the whole fresh herbs and grated sweet potato (i like to keep them whole as they add more flavour and texture to the focaccia, but you can also blend the herbs and the sweet potato into the batter - either will work). Pour into your prepared tin/dish, spreading evenly and ensuring the mixture reaches the sides. Now top with whatever you like. I used flaked almonds, fresh rosemary, salt and sweet potato discs.

+ For caramelised sweet potato, heat some oil and honey in a griddle pan and place the thinly diced sweet potato discs over the surface of the pan. Heat through and turn the discs over a few times, until they begin to brown and soften. Then lay them on the top of the focaccia batter. They will crisp up nicely in the oven.

Place in the oven and cook for 12 mins on 180. After 12 minutes, reduce the heat to 160c and cook for 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the depth of the dish you are using, so keep an eye on it as it bakes. Poke a knife into the middle of the loaf, and if it comes out clean, the bread is done. If it comes out with batter on, leave it in for another 10 minutes or so.

+ If the toppings are cooking or beginning to brown, cover with foil.

Let the focaccia cool before cutting into individual slices.

SALTED VANILLA, RAW CARAMEL AND AVOCADO GANACHE (MALTEASER) CHEESECAKES

Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

This is one of those recipes you need to brace yourself for. There are so many recipes out there, and in particular, so many healthy ones, that seem intimidating. No amount of raw chocolate or promised health benefits can persuade everyone to spend hours soaking nuts, de-fleshing coconuts or fermenting vegetables. Raw cheesecakes - a.k.a cheezecakes - are a good example of this, and were, about 6 months ago, something I self-categorised into recipes 'I'm relatively afraid of' / don't have time for. 

The thought of whacking open a fresh coconut (regarding you can actually get hold of one wherever you live), and remembering to soak your cashews the night before is definitely no encouragement. Before I'd made my first raw cheesecake, I found the idea of flying back to LA (where I'd first had a slice of raw, vegan food actually done well) to pick up a pre-made one more appealing than doing it myself. But, be assured, it isn't that difficult, it isn't even that time consuming and it is defilingly worth it.

Obstacle number one
Find a young, Thai coconut
.
Obstacle number two
Hack that coconut open without ruining your hand(s)
.

Obstacle number three
Soak your cashews
(not really an obstacle but something you have to think ahead with)
Min. 2-4 hours / Ideally 8 hours

 

Lining up your shit in preparation makes everything about raw dessert making so much easier and more enjoyable (not that there is anything particularly unenjoyable about making raw caramel and eating raw biscuity leftovers). Approach the situation with the right ingredients, the right equipment (you need a good blender and/or food processor) and plenty of confidence. Reduce the pressure you may have put upon yourself by knowing that if, for whatever reason, things don't go to plan, there is absolutely no way that anyone is capable of making fresh coconut flesh, creamy chocolate and a 'buttery' biscuit base taste bad. If it doesn't go right, just call it something else and eat it anyway.

T H E  B A S E 
(makes one large cheesecake. If you have any left over depending on the depth of your crust, 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)

M E T H O D 

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 oil and lemon 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.

R A W   C A R A M E L   L A Y E R

5 Medjool Dates
3 Tablespoons Almond Butter
2-3 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Maca
2 Tablespoons Agave
2 Tablespoons Nut Milk or Boiling Water (only if the mixture needs help blending in your blender)

M E T H O D
Making sure the dates are pitted, place all of the ingredients into your blender or food processor and begin to blend, beginning at a low speed, and gradually increasing. If the dates are breaking up instead of coming together into a paste, add a little more coconut oil along with some boiling water to help it to blend smoothly. Once smooth, scrape the caramel from your machines and spread it evenly or in clumps across your base. It is sometime nice to just dollop a bit here and there, as a full layer can be quite rich.

Return to the freezer whilst you prepare the cheesecake layers.

S A L T E D   V A N I L L A   L A Y E R

1 Cup Cashews, soaked
2 Cups Young Coconut Flesh, optional (can also use solid tinned coconut milk)
3/4 Cup Almond Milk (or other plant based milk of choice)
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or Splash of Tamari
1/4 Cup Agave or Coconut Nectar (can also use raw honey or date syrup)
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil, soft but not melted
1 Teaspoon Nutritional Yeast, optional (to add a cheesy flavour)

M E T H O D
Start by blending the cashews, coconut flesh (or milk), almond milk, lemon juice and salt in your blender on a medium speed. Increase it to a high speed, and gradually add the agave and the coconut oil whilst the mixture is still blending (if your blender permits). Add the nutritional yeast, if using, and add a little more coconut oil if the mixture is clogging in the blender and refusing to blend with ease. Taste, and if you're happy with the flavours, scoop the mixture over your caramel studded biscuit base. Depending on your personal taste preference, you may want to add more salt, more sweetener or more nutritional yeast.
Once spread evenly over your base, return to the freezer whilst you make the chocolate layer.

+ NOTE. If you want to create a marble effect between the two layers, don't return the vanilla layer to the freezer. Set it aside in a cool place whilst you prepare the chocolate layer, but if you chill it, it will harden and you won't be able to stir it through with the chocolate layer.

A V O C A D O   G A N A C H E   L A Y E R
(you can also make a raw chocolate sauce to top your vanilla with, which with set to be crunchy. Simply follow my instructions for raw chocolate here).

1 1/2 Cups Cashews, soaked
The Flesh of 1/2 Ripe Avocado
1 Cup Almond Milk (can also use other plant milk)
1/4 Cup Agave 
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder/Seeds/Bean Paste/Extract
1/2 Cup Cacao Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
2-4 Tablespoons Cacao Butter, optional / not essential (only if you want to make a really rich cheesecake)

M E T H O D

Start by blending the cashews, avocado flesh, almond milk, agave, vanilla and salt in your blender on a medium speed. Increase to a high speed, and when it has begun to become smooth, stop the blender and add the cacao powder. Blend again, and add the coconut oil whilst the mixture is still blending (if your blender permits). If you are using cacao butter, add this now too. Add a little more coconut oil if the mixture is clogging in the blender and refusing to blend with ease. Taste, and if you're happy with the flavours, scoop the mixture over your salted caramel layer. Depending on your personal tastes, you may want to add more salt, more sweetener or more cacao powder.

Take your fully layered cheesecake, and if you want to create a marbled effect, pour the chocolate layer evenly over the salted vanilla layer. Make sure the top layer finds its way to the edges of your tin. Take a teaspoon and gently begin to swirl and spread the mixtures into each other. Use the spoon end, not the handle end, and make gentle movements. Be careful not to smudge the two mixtures too much, or they will end up combining and you will just create a single coloured, light brown cheesecake, which will still taste delicious but won't look as impressive.

Top the cheesecake however you like! Use chopped nuts, chopped raw chocolate, cacao nibs, berries or even banana to create a banoffee taste sensation. I also shaved a little of the cheesecake flesh from around the edges to create flaked chocolate pieces.

Return to the freezer for at least 45 minutes. You can store in the freezer until 30 minutes before it is ready to serve. If it is for your own enjoyment and not for a particular occasion, id suggest cutting it into small portions and freezing them, so that you can have a freezer stocked full of healthy snacks/desserts.

Enjoy!

#modelmangetout  #atastierwaytomindfuleating @dcopperman

RECIPELESS | THE FOUNDATIONS OF A GOOD PESTO

Snacks, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunch, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Free, Brunchdanielle coppermanComment
pesto.jpg

There are times when I have made exceptionally good food by simply clearing out the fridge, using what I know will work but what I know isn't textbook stuff (or cookbook stuff). Some of the greatest meals I have had are down to impulsive improvisation, and involve me throwing unlikely ingredients together and hoping for the best. Really, thing's can't go that wrong. If you're baking or attempting a recipe with a little science involved, then maybe. But with things like dips, sauces, spreads, goodness bowls and quick and easy lunches or dinners, there really are no major rules, and no major risks when it comes to making things up with whatever you have to hand. 
A few secrets to successful recipeless improvisation:
Mindfully stocked cupboards and fridges
Creativity
Imaginative Determination
Openness
Confidence
And Hunger.

Welcome to my first example

We have blenders to thank not only for smoothies and soups, but more recently dips, spreads and nutty goodness. You know how nowadays, we're all like "there's an App for that". Well, when it comes to the kitchen, it's more like "there's a way to blend that". I'll admit to getting carried away and sometimes ruining a perfectly acceptable solid/3D meal, but most of the time, if I enjoy a food enough, I will use it in any way that I can, and that definitely means I will somehow make it into either a dip (like pesto or houmous), a soup, a dressing, a sauce, a drink or a pudding. You just gotta know your ingredients, know what to add what not to add, and I guess have a lot of trust in your blender. 

Pesto brings back certain memories for me. It never played a huge part in my childhood - always seemed very Mediterranean in comparison to our crustless, white breaded ham and cream cheese sandwiches (which our dad used to cut into heart shapes for us much to our junior-self's embarrassment). However, when I met Lamont, one of my best friends from secondary school (who was later nicknamed Sacla' - read on to find out more), things in packed lunch and after school snack land changed drastically for me. Her parents owned a deli in town named Goodies (what a great name?). After school we would stop by the deli, ravenous and ignorant to the fact that the store was only about 1/2 a meter wide and full of dignified customers waiting patiently. We'd bustle into the deli, hang our by the cured ham and take in the smell of real proper olive oil and antipasti essentials whilst Martha (or Sacla' if thats easier for you to keep up with) found out from her mum if there was anything going spare. Pesto was always involved in this excursion, not to mention in every single sandwich or homemade quiche that my culinarily developed friend ever brought to school with her. And so developed the nickname. She was branded Sacla' by a bunch of boys in our friendship group (who clearly just did not understand pesto like she or we did). 

Although I think she has since reduced her intake of pesto (probably ever so slightly), every time I hear the word or slide a dollop of it onto my place, I will think of her, and all the good times at Goodies.

Anyway. The real point of this post: blenders are great, and pesto is delicious. But one thing pesto isn't is difficult. Nor does it have to be unhealthy. There will be no parmesan cheese (unless you want there to be), and more goodness in the form of dark green vegetables and healthily fatty nuts and seeds than any other pesto you have had before. Dips and spreads are hands down the easiest, most flavoursome and most crowd-pleasing way to make anyone in the world eat some form of vegetables (in most cases, without them even knowing it). 

There is no real recipe here - just a few helpful guidelines on how to make the perfect pesto without fail every single time. Hurried, indecisive lunch time after hurried, indecisive lunch time I'd find myself making pesto in answer to all of my hungry confusion, usually using whatever i could find in the kitchen. The fridge and the cupboards between them usually permitted great things to happen and no matter what I used, it always tasted pestoey, and always tasted goooooood. Whether I made it with spinach, kale or watercress, and whether I used brazil nuts, cashews or sunflower seeds, I was always left with a winning combination. But writing out pretty much the same method and on very slightly different recipe for each one seemed pointless. So, instead, I've outlined the foundations of a successful pesto below, along with my favourite combinations and flavour suggestions. There is no need for you to write down what you use just so you'll remember for next time. You should make it differently each time. It will always work, it will always taste good, it will always be nutritious, and it will just keep exciting you. Off you go now.

+ And be sure to make far too much than you need, because you can store it in the fridge to use for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners for up to 2 weeks, and too much pesto in this place is not a depressing matter.

T H E   F O U N D A T I O N S   O F   A   G O O D    P E S T O
(for one pretty large portion)

1 Handful Nuts or Seeds
1 Large Handful Basil Leaves
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Handful Green Leaves
Generous Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt or a Splash of Tamari
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon or Lime Juice
Nutritional Yeast, optional
1/2 - 1 Clove Garlic

+ If the mixture seems to thin / runny, add a few more nuts or seeds.
+ If the mixture is too thick / chunky, add more oil, or a little boiling water (cold water will not combine with the oil and the consistency will be ruined
+ If the mixture is too bland for your personal taste, add more salt, garlic, lemon juice or nutritional yeast (can also use cheese if you are not dairy intolerant / vegan

T H E  N U T S  &  T H E  S E E D S

.  Almonds
.  Cashews
.  Sunflower Seeds
.  Walnuts
.  Pistachios
.  Brazil Nuts
.  Pumpkin Seeds
.  Pine Nuts
.  Chia Seeds
. Hemp Seeds

M Y   F A V O U R I T E   C O M B I N A T I O N S

.  Spinach and Sunflower Seed
.  Brazil Nut and Cavelo Nero
.  Cauliflower Leaves and Almond
.  Watercress and Brazil Nut (I love Watercress as they support local farmers and their products are 100% organic)
.  Kale, Pumpkin Seed and Cashew
.  Basil, Sunflower Seed and Walnut
.  Broccoli and Mixed Nut
.  Basil, Pistachio and Parsley
.  Roasted Red Pepper and Basil
.  Sun Dried Tomato, Cashew and Basil
.  Avocado Pesto Cream (just add 1/4-1/2 Avocado to your usual pesto recipe, and maybe a little more oil)
.  Rosemary, Basil, Watercress and Sunflower
. Walnut, Spinach, Basil, Avocado and Tahini Creamy Pesto
. Sunflower, Pumpkin, Ground Flax, Watercress and Spirulina Basil Pesto

 

COCONUT ETON MESS

Summerdanielle copperman2 Comments
 Photo by  Rita Platts . Food Styling by  Louie Waller .

Photo by Rita Platts. Food Styling by Louie Waller.

It is officially BBQ season, and by that I mean the season of flooded gazeboes, burnt chicken and soggy, rained-on salads is upon us. In England, it is a well-known fact that at the mention of the word Barbecue, a storm is imminent. At the first glimpse of sun, supermarkets sell out of meat and plastic kitchenware, and barbeques are rapidly dragged out of the shed and de-greased to remove any evidence of last summer’s antics - in the hope that the sun will stay out long enough for at least the halloumi kebabs to cook through. I love Barbeques and to be honest it is always more fun with a bit of rain. People rarely carry memories of a well-cooked burger through life with them, but they'll always cling on to the image of their other half or their dad panting over an inundated bbq, looking as if they are working their way through an impossible assault course.

For me, desserts were the highlight of any al fresco dining experience. Eton mess - as well as being the nations favourite Spring/Summer dessert - has always been mine too. However, not only do I prefer now not to eat dairy (cream) or refined sugar and additives (meringue), I also prefer the taste of this coconut version, and don't miss the aftertaste or sugar coating on my teeth that were often side effects that accompanied an eton mess bender.

My own interpretation of this traditional treat is dairy free, sugar free and gluten free. I know you probably have little faith in this statement, and are probably thinking, if it is true, it’s probably going to taste impossibly revolting. It took me a while to come up with a worthy substitute that would provide the same crunchy sweetness as a meringue. There are three ways you can do it. Sub the meringue for plain toasted coconut flakes. Sub the meringue for homemade, naturally sweetened toasted coconut flakes. Or invest in some Beetroot or Limited Edition Strawberries & Cream Qnola (available mid June). The coconut flakes develop a smoky flavour as they toast, and, combined with a little coconut palm sugar, create the perfect level of sweetness. I swear when you bite into them the coconut milk is released making the flavour incredible and increasing the creaminess to the entire dessert. The Qnola adds a much more flavoursome crunch to the Mess - making it fruitier and more vibrant - not to mention much for nutrient and protein rich. Add to either of these coconut yogurt or thick coconut milk for a dairy free alternative to thick whipping cream, or if you aren't cautious about eating dairy, some organic natural probiotic yoghurt.

INGREDIENTS

2 Tins Coconut Milk (or Coyo or Natural Probiotic Yoghurt)
1/2 One Bar of Creamed Coconut, melted
1 Teaspoon Coconut Palm Sugar, Wildflower/Raw/Manuka Honey or Agave, optional
200g Toasted Coconut Flakes or Beetroot or S & C Qnola (or a combination of both)
50-60g Flaked Almonds
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
1 Tablespoon Maca and/or Baobab
1-2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, diced
150g Strawberries, chopped or gently mashed
50g Raspberries, chopped or gently mashed
100g Blueberries, chopped or gently mashed
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder/Seeds/Bean Paste, optional

OPTIONAL

Passion Fruit
Mango Puree
Ripe Avocado, cubed
Homemade Berry Chia Jam
Chopped Medjool Dates

METHOD

Start by whisking the solid part of the coconut milk (or your yoghurt of choice) to whip some air into it. Fill a small bowl with boiling water and place the sealed bar of creamed coconut inside to soften it. Whilst it melts, chop your berries, and prepare your avocado or exotic fruits, if using. When the creamed coconut has completely melted, snip one corner off and add half of it to your cream mixture. Whisk again to combine. When the mixture begins to thicken, stop whisking and stir through your berries, chia seeds, honey or sweetener of choice, maca, fresh mint, lemon juice and half of the coconut flakes. Stir to combine and then either stir through the remaining coconut flakes or your Qnola, or use them to top each dessert to ensure they stay as crunchy as possible.

+ You can also use homemade cashew cream, cashew pudding, coconut cream or almond cream. Either blend 1 cup soaked nuts with 1 cup nut milk and a little coconut oil for a thick, whipping-style cream, or blend the soaked nuts with 3/4 cup water, strain the mixture, and then blend again until it becomes a smooth thickness you are happy with (this will become more like a runny cream).

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.

VEGAN AND NUT-FREE AVOCADO MAYONNAISE

Snacks, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lunchdanielle copperman3 Comments
 

Mayonnaise is another one of those things that, when you embark upon a healthier journey through life, you think, 'God, I'm gonna miss you'. I certainly did. Before i knew anything about food and the importance of feeding our bodies sensibly, I had mayonnaise with everything. I whenever I had it, it covered my entire plate, not just a small fraction of it as it was designed to have done.

This recipe seriously puts mayonnaise to shame. Homemade mayonnaise isn't actually that unhealthy, as long as you use organic, free range eggs and good quality oils. However, it takes a bit of effort. Shop bought mayonnaise is mainly just chemicals, emulsifiers, additives and colourings in a bottle. So, seriously, do not eat it. This recipe is made with actual, real ingredients. The main ingredient is avocado, which is high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. The texture of the avocado combined with the oil is even creamier than normal mayonnaise, and makes the egg yolk you find in conventional mayonnaise recipes really unnecessary. This recipe is ridiculously simple and quick. All you need is to ensure the avocados are so ripe they are almost inedible, and a blender which will do the work for you. No hours of hand whisking involved!

INGREDIENTS

2 Ripe Avocados (preferably so soft that you wouldn't actually want to eat them on their own)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
A Gentle Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

+ OPTIONAL
Organic Wasabi Paste (Biona), Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper, Capers, Nutritional Yeast

METHOD

Slice the avocado in half, tap your sharp knife into the stone and pull it out. Score each half of the avocado vertically and horizontally and then gently scoop or squeeze out the flesh. Place the flesh into a blend or food processor along with the lemon juice, salt, apple cider vinegar and any other herbs or spices you choose to use. Blend on a medium speed. Gradually add the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add more and more, until the mixture combines. It should be blending smoothly and should become thick. As you add more oil, increase the speed of your blender or food processor. Blend smoothly for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides if you need to.

Serve cold as a condiment for meat, fish, raw vegetables, salads, crackers, gluten free toast, eggs, quinoa or buckwheat burritos, or as a dip for raw vegetables and sweet potato chips/wedges.

 

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.


PUY LENTIL AND OLIVE HOUMOUS

Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten freedanielle coppermanComment

Simply the best.

INGREDIENTS

100g Cooked Puy Lentil
1 Tin Chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup Olive Oil
50g Black Olives, pitted
Juice from 
1/2 Fresh Lemon
3 Tablespoon Tahini
1/4 Cup Water
Lemon Juice
1 Large Handful Fresh Basil

METHOD

Simply place all ingredients in your blender and blend for 2-3 minutes on a high speed. Add a little water if the mixture needs help to get going. Season to taste and enjoy.