Posts tagged holiday food
Coconut Chocolate Slice

It’s now only a few days before Easter, and with plans and preparations already likely to be in full swing, I thought I would give you a simple recipe for a raw healthy chocolate alternative.  You can literally whip this up in minutes and store it in the fridge.

This chocolate is still super rich and decadent, but is made using only raw healthy ingredients. As with any ‘healthy’ dessert it should still be enjoyed in moderation, and since it is a very rich I found a little slice satisfied me so much more than regular dark chocolate would have done.            

I wanted to make a chocolate using coconut oil, or in actual fact using predominantly homemade coconut butter since I buy shredded coconut flakes (the raw ingredients for the butter) in bulk so it is extremely cost effective to make my own this way. Most of the other recipes I found for making raw chocolate used cacao butter instead, which may well create a slightly superior chocolate base and be less crumbly (I found the coconut butter does make it ever so slightly crumbly). However, for me the costs effectiveness and simplicity of using coconut butter along with the fact that this chocolate is still so very good lead me to decide against using cacoa butter.  I may well experiment along those lines in the future but I wanted to offer you a chocolate made using ingredients you would more typically have in your cupboard.  

For me, this chocolate does not taste overpoweringly of ‘coconut’ but then since I use coconut butter all the time I am a little immune to its taste. I would suggest that unless you have a strong dislike for anything remotely coconutty then you would love this chocolate! You can by all means use all coconut oil if that is more your thing, it will create a smoother textured chocolate without the slight grainy texture of the coconut meat content. If you go down this route I would suggest using about 1/3 less oil than the amount of butter the recipe states. You can always add more if you need to, to get a smooth spooning consistency.

You will note I have included both carob and maca powder in the ingredients list below. These ingredients are both optional but I would encourage you to include them if you have them as they create a much more complex flavour base. The carob gives a real richness to the compliment the cacoa and the maca has a ‘malty’ flavour which (depending how much you use) makes for a less bitter chocolate more of the ‘milk chocolate’ variety. If you omit the carob add a little extra sweetener or dried fruit as the carob is naturally sweet. To make this a raw chocolate you would need to use raw cacoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder, but again this is optional and cocoa could be interchanged here is preferred.

Have a happy, healthy….and chocolatey Easter!

For other super simple and versatile chocolatey recipes, check this dessert/mousse/frosting and this (soy free) frosting. Oh and not forgetting smoosh bars and these amazing fudge bites… they can be formed into any shape and they are still made on a very regular basis in this house!

Recipe: Coconut chocolate slice

Makes once very large bar (approx. 9x4 inch) so feel free to halve the ingredients to make a smaller version. 

Ingredients

  • 200g coconut butter
  • 50g coconut oil (the addition of the oil creates a less crumbly chocolate)
  • 50g raw cacao powder
  • 30g raw carob powder or more cacoa)
  • 1tbs maca powder (optional to taste)
  • 50g agave syrup (plus a tiny pinch of stevia if necessary to taste- I found it sweet enough without)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • Optional- fruit and chopped nuts

Method

Melt the coconut oil and butter and then mix everything together in a blender/food processor for a few minutes to achieve a thick glossy paste that is easily spoon-able.

You want to ensure that the coconut butter and oil stay warm and therefore liquidy to achieve the smoothest mixture. I used my Thermomix which has heat settings- by setting this at 37C I could maintain the right consistency as it mixed the ingredients together.

Once mixed, add some crushed nuts or dried fruit in last (if using) and briefly mix through evenly. I used coarsely ground almonds and cranberries.

Spoon the chocolate in to the bottom of a lined loaf tin (as I did) or individual moulds and pack down firmly. Store in the fridge to set for a hour. Once set this can be stored either in or out of the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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Classic Easter biscuits

Raisins, currants, sultanas… I never used to like these dried fruits until a year or so ago. Another one of the ways in which my tastes and appreciation for food has changed along with my diet.

Other food loves (from previous food hates) are… herbal teas, peanut butter and dark chocolate.  There is one thing that I still just can’t get my head around, and that’s mushrooms. It’s a shame as I have seen so many amazing and versatile recipes that use mushrooms, often as a meat substitute. I have come far though since I now enjoy mushrooms raw with a dip, but just not cooked (yeah, it’s ok I think I am odd too!)

Anyway, back to dried fruit. Namely currants. Classic Easter biscuits are reminiscent of garibaldi biscuits with a delicate crumb and the sweetness of the currants coming through. The tops are often glazed and sprinkled with a little extra sugar and the biscuits have a subtle warming spice.

These classic biscuits are also classically filled with refined sugars, flours, butter and egg.

Not here! 

I wanted to play around with achieving a moist delicate and slightly chewy biscuit using unrefined sugars, whole grain GF flours and coconut oil. I made a couple of different batches and each work really well, so it would seem this is a pretty versatile recipe.

The first batch I made used my classic mix of GF flours (buckwheat, ground almonds and tapioca flour) plus polenta to give a slight crunch to the texture. The second batch used predominantly blanched almond flour that I have had some fun playing with recently. The almond flour, along with various other flours and GF ingredients came from The Real Food Source, and now I have the pleasure of my almond flour variation being featured on their blog in the run up to Easter…..please check it out here.

Recipe: Classic Easter biscuits

Makes approx. 12 biscuits (depending on size and shape of cutter)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut butter - melted (if using coconut oil reduce to slightly over ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup agave plus a pinch of stevia if necessary
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or make your own)
  • 2 tbs ground flax or chia plus 3 tbs hot water (mix and allow to sit for 1 min)
  • 3 tbs polenta
  • 1 ½ cup GF flour mix (see above or use you own)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup currants
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and mixed spice mixed
  • Pinch salt

Method

Mix dry ingredients (except currants) together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in a small bowl and then add to the dry. Add the currants last (my currants were partially blended into smaller pieces but you can keep them whole if you prefer). Bring the dough into a ball with your hands. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a little under 1cm thick. Cut into shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Lightly brush the tops with soy milk and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar or rapadura if desired.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approx. 10mins until slightly golden.

These biscuits will store in an airtight container for up to a week, there will also freeze. The biscuits are dense and chewy by nature and so do not need to retain their crisp 'freshly baked' feel.

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Mint choc brownie (single serve)

Happy St. Patricks Day…wherever you may be celebrating!

I thought I’d do my bit by going down the green themed route with a mint choc brownie. I still had some lovely thick cashew cream in the fridge so though it would work perfectly with my little single serve brownie… a drop (literally) of food colouring, plus a tiny bit of agave is all it took. If I’d had some spirulina (or other greens powder) I would definitely have given that a go for an alternative way of making ‘green’.

I had another chaotic day of cooking and baking to prepare my various snacks for the week plus snacks for others too. So, a little single serving dessert was the perfect fit after a plate of veggies and dip for lunch.

I made this gluten free by using buckwheat and ground almonds but other GF flour combos or spelt (if not GF) would work here also. I had a couple of attempts at this as I felt the first ‘brownie’ was more cake-like that I’d have liked so I increased the yoghurt to two tablespoons and the result was much more gooey and brownie-like.

To be honest, I wasn’t the hugest fan of this cake…and for ages I couldn’t figure out why!

Then I realised… I’m simply not a big lover of mint and chocolate when it comes to cakes (or ice-cream for that matter!) hence why I’ve never created a mint choc combo on my blog before. Give me a little bit of choc orange and I’m well away…now that combo you do see a lot of… herehere and here for starters. But hey, it was ok and I’m sure many of you will give out the mint choc love on my behalf…. but that’s all good as I’m pleased I still gave the green salute.

Cheers!

Recipe: Mint choc brownie

One brownie

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbs ground almonds
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs ground chia/flax
  • 2 tsp agave
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs soy yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non vegan)
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • cacoa nibs for decoration- optional

Method

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Spoon into a ramekin lined with plastic wrap so that it can be removed (or simple eat it out of the remekin). Cook in the microwave for approx. 40 seconds depending upon your microwave setting, check after 30 seconds to see if the top feels done.

Serve with a dollop of cream/yoghurt or cashew cream (the cashew cream shown here is much much thicker than in the link as I added much less water) as I did here.

I flavoured the cream with couple of drops of peppermint extract along with the green food colouring.

 First attempt- more cake like

 First attempt- more cake like

 Second attempt- more gooey!

 Second attempt- more gooey!

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Irish potato farls

Ooo look I’m just in time…for St Patricks Day that is! 

I also had one other recipe I wanted to make, this time along the green theme but alas I didn’t quite get organised enough. Oh well I may as well just get that up tomorrow anyway on the actual day itself, I know it will be short notice but I am pretty certain it will a recipe for St. Paddy’s and far beyond!

So…. I wrote down and crossed off so many options for so many reasons:

…irish cream

….soda bread

…green smoothie

…. anything green!

Problem was I’d seen plenty of amazing looking recipes along these themes already. At some point I do want to attempt a soda bread though, but having never baked a GF loaf before I figured it might be best to wait for another time when I have time on my side to make a few mistakes and few attempts if necessary.

For today I wanted a fool proof recipe with a short ingredient list, but still decidedly Irish. I also wanted a savoury recipe (to compliment tomorrow’s sweet recipe!)

So, here we have Irish potato farls (with a little twist of my own that I couldn’t resist).  The traditional Irish recipe simply calls for regular potatoes and does not include any seasonings other than salt. The ‘cakes’ are meant to be plain as an accompaniment to a dish. However I wanted to add some sweet potato into the mix also adding a hint of seasoning whilst not being overpowering. I also substituted GF flours for the regular plain flour that would be more typically used. Feel free to mix things up as you wish.

One thing I would note is that the potatoes should ideally be ‘dry’ before they are mashed.  When I made them I didn’t let my potato dry very well after draining and had to add more flour to compensate, the flour is an approximation so add as much as it takes. It’s not a huge problem if you add a lot more, but better to let the potato take centre stage and not risk adding copious amounts of flour to the mix to alter the flavours.

I served my farls with a light salad as a brunch, I left the rest of the dough in the fridge to cook up at another time. The dry frying in flour is what really makes the farls, giving them a lovely crisp exterior and leaving a creamy soft interior.

Recipe: Irish potato farls

Makes 4-6 farls

Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 medium (or one large) sweet potato
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Approx.1/3 cup GF flour mix (I used tapioca and buckwheat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp mix of garlic and onion powder- optional

Method

Boil the potatoes for approx. 20 minutes until cooked. Drain the potatoes and let sit for a few minutes to let dry out properly.

Add potatoes to a bowl and mash well, once mashed add  all the other ingredients and mix through until a soft dough begins to come together. The dough should be sticky but if it is too sticky to handle add a little more flour until it becomes workable (note- allowing the potato to dry should help combat this).

On a well floured surface bring the dough together into a ball and flatten into a circle approx. 1cm thick- cut into 4 or 6 wedges using a floured knife.

Heat a frying pan and sprinkle a little more flour over the base, cook the farls fry in the flour for approx. 3 minutes in each side until browned.

Sprinkle with salt to serve.

This post is also in memory of my Grandma Marion, who's birthday it would have been today... had she been born one day later she would have been named Patricia! 

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