Posts tagged cashew
Easy raw chocolate brownies

Guess what... it's national chocolate week! Time for a little celebration with a new recipe I think! 

I wanted to give you an indulgent chocolatey classic, yet something easy to whip up in minutes.

I have just the thing.  Actually it's a spin on these chocolate balls which are always a winner with people whenever I make them and so  a pressed a sliced version was a nice alternative. For some reasons changing the format of things always makes them taste different! I always remember when I was younger how much more I loved Maltersers in the cardboard box compared to in the regular packets! (anyone agree or am I just a weirdo!!)

You could add walnuts here for an even more authentic brownie if you fancy. I dusted the top with a raw cacao and coconut sugar blend.

Eve though they are not baked, these slices have a beautiful cake like quality to them, deeply rich, slightly crumbly and melt in the mouth. Keep them in the fridge and they'll stay more robust. They also freeze very well too not that they'll be around for long enough!

Easy raw chocolate brownies

Recipe: Easy raw chocolate brownies

Ingredients: 

Makes approx. 12 slices

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoon coconut syrup
  • 12 pitted dates( based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cacoa powder (plus extra raw cacao to dust- optional)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Method:

Soak the dates in hot water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, process all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not to sticky to handle. Add the walnuts to the mix last and stir through by hand (or a couple of pulses) so they don[t break up too much.

Press the mix firmly into a lined 8" square pan. Dust the top with cacao if desired. Chill until firm before slicing. Keep in the fridge.

Easy raw chocolate brownies
Easy raw chocolate brownies
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Banana cashew cacao sponge

If you liked this easy apple and cashew pudding... then you'll be sure to love this banana cashew cacao sponge! A twist on the original, the banana creates an amazing sponge like texture... a cross between a cake and a dessert!

You've heard me mention a few times now that i'm creating an ebook for the Real Food Source all about nut butters (or more accurately nut pastes as sold in their store) this is one of the recipe that will be featured in the book.... and to check it out, hop over to the recipe page to check it out here!

One of the reasons I love this recipe is the simplicity and versatility... you could add a chocolate chunk to the middle to make an indulgent melty centre, or you could add a spoonful of cocoa to the mix or how about a handful walnuts or even some blueberries on top!

Here is another couple of recipes I have created for the Real Food Source in recent weeks... go check them out too!

Dairy free white chocolate

Creamy colada smoothie

white choc 1a.jpg

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up foemails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me in these places:

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Potato coleslaw

It’s all ‘red white and blue’ everywhere you look! Any one would think there was a celebration coming up…!

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is a pretty big deal, it’s not every day that comes around, plus we all get an extra days bank holiday! That said, I have been a little slow on the uptake and my patriotic baking creativity hasn’t really happened…but I may have a little something up my sleeve for Tuesday (the day of the Jubilee itself) but you’ll have to wait for it. Plus I will have another reason to celebrate on Tuesday…you’ll have to wait for that too.

In the mean time I thought I’d share some patriotic baking of another kind….these cakes were baked and decorated by the kids my mum looks after (she’s a childminder), I think the iced tops were supposed to resemble Union Jacks….not so much, but still pretty cute!

Yesterday's dinner time was a good opportunity to see what the garden had to offer. My mum wanted to dig up some of the potatoes she’d planted to see if they were ready. 

Um, that will be a no then....

I posted this photo via Instagram on twitter yesterday, so some of you may have seen it there.  I have recently joined Instagram, and the link to my profile is now added to the top of the page so please come and find me!

I had originally planned a potato salad with homemade mayonnaise, but due to the potatoes being less plentiful than hoped for, I made a potato coleslaw of sorts which was pretty good with great texture. I had no cabbage to hand so once i’d cooked the baby potatoes and coated them with the mayonnaise, I grated some raw carrot and courgette over the top and mixed it through.

A lovely simple side dish. This would be great served up with these burgers!

Whether you are celebrating or not, I hope you have a great weekend…I hope the Queen does too!

Recipe: Vegan Mayonnaise

Makes ¾ cup

Ingredients

  • ½ raw cashews (or 1/3 cup cashew butter)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup soy milk (I imagine water would also suffice)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch ground cayenne or parika
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Method

Grind the cashews along with the garlic to a paste (or use cashew butter). Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth and creamy.

Stores in the fridge in a covered container for up to 3 days.

For potato coleslaw, coat boiled new potatoes with the mayonnaise and stir through raw grated carrot and courgette. Sprinkle with fresh herbs or seasonings if desired and serve immediately.

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Chocolate raspberry cream cake - birthday cake for one!

Hello, I’m all excitable…today is my birthday!

I’m still allowed to get excited on my birthday…even if I am 29, that’s not grown up right?

Who wants to be grown up anyway? ‘Grown up’ often seems to imply being sensible, owning lots of credit cards, not being spontaneous, not giggling uncontrollably and not licking the plate clean when no-one’s watching…that kinda thing.

So I’m certainly not grown up. Well certainly not for a lot of the time.

So back to my birthday! It’s been a random kind of day. A fairly normal start (my Friday Pilates class), with a spot of helping a friend move house in the middle and lots of birthday relating baking goings on in between. So all is good! Tomorrow is where it’s at as I’ll be having a get together with family and going out for a meal to a tapas bar. Last weekend I also went out for a meal with friends to a thai restaurant…so it’s all about food really!  

This is how today shaped up on the food front:

Raspberry and almond breakfast cookie (with green smoothie just peeking in the corner) before my Pilates class, followed by a ridiculously indulgent- it ended up being quite a bit larger than I’d anticipated- chocolate cream cake for a brunchy snack (I was very full after that ooops!), followed by pesto cabbage and chickpea soup for a late lunch before meeting my friend, and then for dinner a carrot craving resulted in these carrot burgers with lemon tahini sauce….

Recipes to come…patience, patience.  But to start, I’ll share my chocolate cream cake as that’s the most birthdayish recipe after all and I like my little candle. Is it a bit silly to make your own birthday cake? Well I wanted a candle to blow out…you can’t be ‘grown up’ if you still blow out candles right?

This chocolate raspberry cream cake is super rich and indulgent. The sponge itself isn’t so much as I cut the oil since I was going for a cashew cream in the middle and so was more than happy to go for an oil-less textured sponge (I couldn’t tell the difference from my usual chocolate mug cake recipe anyway). The jam I used was sugar-free (fruit sugar only) and the cream is simply a thick plain cashew cream …but put all that together and you have a pretty crazy cake!

Perfect for a special occasion.

Recipe: Chocolate raspberry cream cake

Serves 1 (or two!)

Ingredients- sponge

  • 3 tbs wholewheat spelt flour (or GF combo)
  • 1 tbs agave and a few grains of stevia (or increase agave slightly)
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder (or cacao or carob)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2tbs soy yoghurt or apple puree
  • Approx. 3 tbs soy milk

Ingredients- filling

  • Cashew cream
  • (approx. 2 tbs)
  • Sugar-free fruit conserve
  • A few fresh berries- optional

Method

To make the sponge, mix the dry ingredients together and then add the wet and mix to form a smooth thick batter. Spoon two equal sized dollops on a large greased/lined microwavable plate and microwave for 1 minute. Alternatively bake the sponge in the oven on a baking sheet for approx. 10 minutes (note I have not tested this method.)

Meanwhile make up the cashew cream (or use an alternative cream/yoghurt) and also get the fruit conserve/berries ready to go.

Once cooked, the sponge should form two small flat cakes. Place one, flat side up, on your serving plate and layer up with cream, jam, fruit before placing the top sponge layer on top. Add extra cream/fruit to the top as desired…add a candle if you like!

It all just splodged out the sides as soon as I sank my spoon into it! Yummy.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.

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Cashew Cream

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

This sure is a simple thing...

...Cashew cream!

I first tasted cashew cream in the style of a thick cashew yoghurt served  with fruit as part of a buffet lunch at a recent ‘healthy Living’ Thermomix event. It was really good and a lovely change from my regular soy yoghurt. Once home, I was eager to whip up a batch for myself.

This recipe (if you can even call it that) is so simple and just requires a little bit of planning ahead to soak the cashews. It can be blended to various different thicknesses simply by varying the amount of water you use…yoghurt, thick cream, pouring cream or cashew milk (see note below).  I have served mine here as a dessert with fruit but by changing up the spices you could make this into a sweet or savoury white sauce, serve thick on porridge or as a side to a slice of cake. How about topping it with granola ! (In case you are wondering I do still have the granola obsession- more flavour trials were going on in the kitchen this afternoon)

The steps below make a thick cream (think the thickness of regular double cream) and I served this in a glass (no small bowls to hand at the time!) with some chunks of fresh pear and pomegranate seeds sprinkled with cinnamon. The perfect creamy, light and fruity breakfast or dessert.

Recipe: Cashew Cream

Makes 600 to 650 g thick cashew cream.

Ingredients

  • 250 g cashews (soaked in water for min. 4 hours, then drained well)
  • 250 g water for blending
  • ½ to 1 tsp real vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or 1 cm fresh or dried vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp agave syrup
  • ¼ cinnamon or other spice- optional

Method

Drain cashews and discard the soaking water. Blend cashews with remaining ingredients in a powerful blender (I used my Thermomix) for approx.. 1 minute until smooth.

Taste and add more flavourings if desired then blend again for a few seconds.

Note: For a really thick Cashew 'Yoghurt' add between 50-100g water. For a  pouring Cashew Cream similar to single cream use 500g water for blending. For Cashew Milk, use 750 g water for blending. Adjust flavourings as necessary.  If making a milk you may want to strain the liquid through a nut bag so that it is absolutely smooth.

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Baked Chocolate Fudge Custard Tarts

I’ve been looking to make a healthy vegan ‘custard’ for some time. Ever since my egg nog experimentwhere the warm and spicy flavours of vanilla and nutmeg enveloped me.

I was recently inspired by this recipe for a cashew custard by Quirky Cooking, it looked deliciously simple but since I was in a ‘tart baking mood’ at the time I decided to modify it a bit to create a thicker custard that would suit a tart or pie filling. I also added a little nutmeg for a warming spice kick. If you want a thinner custard suitable for pouring you could reduce the amount of cashews and chia a little and slightly increase the water (or simply follow this recipe).

I had fun playing around with tart case options.  Originally I wanted to go with a basic pastry shell and then pile the tart with fresh fruit berries, but as it happened I didn’t have any berries or suitable pretty fruit. So then I began thinking of ways to flavour the tart case in interesting ways.

Options…options!   Either gingerbread and chocolate initially sprang to mind. Since I also had planned to make some of my healthy chocolate fudge to snack on during the week I thought it would be a good opportunity to test it out as a baked crust!

So, the tarts in the photos have a baked chocolate fudge crust, but you could also use your own tart case recipe. Baking the chocolate fudge seems to work really well as a sweet ‘pastry substitute’. It was really easy since the dough itself is very soft and easy to mould so I flattened a ball of it in my hands and then pressed it into a tart case with my fingers, or you could roll the dough and use cutters.

Taste test for the sweetness of the custard as soon as it’s mixed before you spoon it into the cases and add extra agave or a little stevia as necessary. I used a sweet tart case so the custard itself didn’t  need to be overly sweet, if you were using a less sweet tart pastry style case then you may prefer a sweeter custard filling.

Recipe: Baked chocolate fudge custard tarts

Makes 1 medium bowl of thick custard

Ingredients- custard

  • 100g raw cashews
  • 400g water
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or powder (best quality)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs ground chia
  • 70g agave (plus a pinch of stevia if you require additional sweetness to taste)
  • 30g cornflour

Method

To make the custard, grind the cashews to get a fine meal. Add all ingredients along with the cashews to medium pan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes stirring continuously.

Alternatively using a Thermomix, grind the cashews for 10 seconds speed 9 and then add all ingredients to the bowl. Cook the mixture at 90C speed 4 for 5 minutes.

Lightly grease the tart pans and line with your chosen tart case. Spoon the custard into the prepared tart cases (if using the chocolate fudge crust line the tart pans with a 3mm thick layer of raw fudge dough) and bake at 180C  for  approx. 10 minutes until the tart tops are on the verge of going golden, keep a close eye so they don’t brown.

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Buffet Bites and the ‘Egg’ nog experiment

Well, these last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirl-wind.

Cake still adorns all surfaces- waiting to be eaten, unwrapped presents lounge in boxes and bags, post-it notes and ‘to do’ lists remain half ticked off….

…..but this evening I relaxed! Work in the office is over for the rest of the year and now I can look forward to the holiday season with increasing excitement and last minute preparations!

egg nog smoothie

Actually I have been getting quite excited this year, since the festive recipes have swung me into the holiday spirit, but some years Christmas is literally knocking at my door before I realise that time has come around.  That’s the problem with being ‘too busy’… if you’re not careful it’s easy to miss all the fun, particularly all the build-up and anticipation which is often just as much fun as the big day itself.

Sometimes you just need to take a little time out. Take a step back and spend just 5 minutes looking around you. Smile from within. Calm.

I’m always busy, always rushing and always have another plan up my sleeve. It’s the way I love to be, but I also know I can be my own worst enemy when things don’t go to plan. I am not very good at creating some flexibility and allowance for if things take a ‘slightly different turn’ from how you anticipated. It is very easy to blame others or to blame the situation, which only serves to leave you frustrated when in actual fact you simply need to build in a little contingency plan. That way you can’t lose…and if it does all go to plan- bonus!

This statement is definitely a case of ‘do what I say and not what I do’. I really need to learn to listen to my own advice. It’s crazy that I can see this so clearly sitting here on the sofa, as I type with a clear and peaceful mind, the house is quiet and it’s almost time for bed. Why is it that in the flow of day to day chaos my mind seems set in a permanent state of ‘fast-forward’. Stop…rewind…so what was it I said?

Sometimes you just need to take a little time out. Take a step back and spend just 5 minutes looking around you. Smile from within. Calm.

Ok, ok I’m listening. Practice makes perfect. Hopefully one day I’ll master the balancing act.

But now for food, since that’s probably what you came here for? Although you may find my questioning mind creeping in a little more! Sometimes simply writing it down helps.

I’m all caked out. So this is a savoury post…a round up if you like of savoury nibbles or buffet bites (as it sounds cute).

These healthy nibbles should help see you through the holidays and beyond. I have here a combination of my previous posts, plus the outcome of my ‘egg’ nog investigation and experiments that some of you will be aware of from my facebook page- we simply cannot get soy-nog in the UK!

Some savoury nibbles to get the party going….

Speedy seedy crackers - Great for dipping, also great cut into strips as a healthy alternative to cheese straws!

Coconut cashews - Er, no explanation needed!

‘Meat’ balls - Serve these instead of scotch eggs or sausage rolls, satisfying finger food!

Plus I came across a great idea for using up Christmas Day ‘leftovers’….. Pasties!

I will try and post this recipe and my results on boxing day as I plan to make the pasties, but in essence the method is simple….

Use four smallish plate sized rounds of rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (it’s usually vegan anyway but check the label). Add a mug of veggies and up to a mug of nut roast/stuffing all crumbled up together. Add a few dollops of sauce (whatever type you had with the meal- cranberry, bread sauce, gravy). Lastly add a few pinches of herbs. Spoon ¼ of the mixture in to the centre of each pastry round leaving 2-3cm of pastry round the edge. Lift up and seal the edges together making a semi-circle with the seam at the top. Place on a baking sheet, brush with soy milk and bake at 180C for approx. 40 mins until golden. Serve warm or cold.

So simple… I’ll try and post pictures on boxing day.

Now, for my ‘egg’ nog experiment 

(Gosh this has ended up being a long post- hope you're still with me!)

I checked out various recipes and they were all so diverse!! Some used tofu, some used nut butter, and some used banana.  There seemed to be various options to obtain the desired thickness.  I wanted to create a nog not using tofu, no real reason for that other than I fancied the challenge. A banana and nut butter combo inspired me as I didn’t want there to be an over-dominant banana-ry taste. I also used a thickener to ensure light and delicate flavours but it may also work by doubling the amount of banana and nut butter and omitting the thickening stage- note this has not been tested!

The result….? A  thick milk-shakey frothy drink that is creamy and lightly spiced. It tasted good to me but then I have never had real or soy egg nog before….maybe you can be the judge?

Recipe: Christmas Nog

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond butter
  • ½ a large banana- chopped (I used a frozen one but fresh should be fine also)
  • 4 dates
  • 2 cups ‘milk’ (I used a combination of 1 1/3 cups rice milk and ½ cup soy milk)
  • 2 tsp thickener (I used cornstarch but arrowroot/tapioca should also work)
  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • Spices- 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon

Makes approx. 2 large glasses

Method:

Mix thickener with approx. 2 tbs of water for form a paste. Pour the ‘milk’ with the thickener paste added into a small saucepan and also add the dates. Simmer until it boils and thickens and the dates begin to soften. (note: it should be at least half as thick as the nog will end up). Add the ‘milk’ mixture to a blender along with all the remaining ingredients. Blend until totally smooth and creamy and frothy on top.

Chill until cold and then pour into glasses to serve. Sprinkle some extra grated nutmeg to the frothy top if desired.

Cheers!!


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‘Twelve Days’ day 11: mini choco-nog sponges

I had really enjoyed my chocolate yule log, it was so indulgent yet not at all heavy and sickly sweet (meaning I could eat a lot in one go). It was the combination of the light and airy fat-free swiss roll sponge combined with the luxurious (but healthy)

chocolate frosting that made such an amazing pairing and so it got me thinking….how else could I achieve that same effect?

Frosting is the obvious answer, so this time instead of going for the obvious cupcake and frosting scenario, I decided to make another tray of swiss roll sponge but this time instead of rolling it up, I cut out circles with a cookie cutter and frosted those instead. So then you have mini chocolate sponges.  But the chocolate sponge needed something a little bit special and a little bit (ok, a lot bit) seasonal to top it. 

I’ve already given you a number of cranberry and mincemeat inspired creations (and I haven’t quite finished with the cranberries yet!) so I didn’t really want to go down the fruit route again.  This left the Christmas spiced combo up for grabs. Not that I mind…I love ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla- all warm and creamy dreamy. Mmmmm.

So egg nog anyone? Or maybe more accurately in this case, simply ‘nog’. Or even more appropriately… choco-nog mini sponges!

Ok, so now you’ll think I’m crazy…but…I have never actually tried egg nog. I’m not sure I’ve ever even come across it on the shelves (although often if you’re not looking for something you don’t realise it actually exists when its right in front of you face!)  So, here I am making what I call a ‘nog’ frosting having never actually tried egg nog before!  This may be nothing like real ‘nog’ but it’s a warm and creamy nutmeggy-vanillary frosting and to me that sounds like a noggy creation…or what I imagine one to be!

I’ve used banana in this recipe which does give a little bananary taste. If you would prefer a more neutral base to let the spices shout more loudly then feel free to reduce or omit the banana and substitute for more cashew (or other neutral) nut butter instead.

I know…I really must find some egg nog to try this Christmas, I’ve heard the vegan versions are pretty good so I just need to track some down! In the meantime whipping up a bit of this frosting with some almond milk and a dusting of nutmeg on the top may well just do the trick- I’d certainly recommend it and it's definitely the best way to clean up the remnants in your blender!

Recipe: mini choco-nog sponges

Ingredients

Frosting

  • ¾ cup cashew nut butter
  • 4 dates
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp rum extract
  • ¼- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ a frozen banana (or another ¼
  • cup nut butter)
  • ½ cup firm tofu (water pressed out)
  • 3 tbs maple syrup/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
  • Pinch of stevia powder (approx. 1/6 tsp or to taste)
  • 3 tbs coconut butter melted- if you want a thicker frosting (omit for a soft whippy frosting)
  • Makes approx. 1 ½ - 2 cups

Sponge

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Makes approx. 20 mini sponges (depending on their size and shape)

Method

Prepare frosting by adding all the ingredients to the food processor and blending together until smooth. If your blender is less powerful you may want to chop up the dates and soak them in a little hot water first. Once fully blended, the mixture will be thick but fairly runny. Set aside to use as a soft frosting or if you added the coconut butter for a thicker frosting, spoon into a bowl and allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or two.

To make the mini sponges. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment.

In a food processor, mix tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix (see note below). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter evenly and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Once the sponge is cool, lift out of the pan, place on a cutting board and using a circle (or any simple shape) cutter, cut rounds of sponge out of the slab. There will be a little wastage (or nibbles), so to avoid this you could cut the slab into squares.

Once the frosting is prepared, drizzle, spoon or pipe the nog frosting onto the individual sponges and serve immediately. The frosting and sponges can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored separately for last minute frosting.


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