Posts tagged no-bake
Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 1 includingcake.jpg

What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

baubles bliss balls includingcake.jpg

Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

Base*

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Cheesecake

  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)

Method:

Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.


Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!

Method:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 2 includingcake.jpg
gingerbread wreath cheesecake 3 includingcake.jpg


Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)


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Portugal so far... plus chocolate recipe with a quirky ingredient!

Hello!  I am at Merkaba in the mountains of Northern Portugal!  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will already know all about this!  i decided to treat myself to a month long birthday present so deeper my own inner journey and spiritual growth.. you'll find more on all that over on the mindset blog.

I am here for the entire month of May (well just over 3.5 weeks) and am settling into community life. It is an incredible space... and the view is stunning! That said we did have ten full days of torrential rain- though luckily out of the other side of that now. Sunshine looks set for the rest of my stay! The rain was a great teacher and afforded me much thinking space.

Check out the amazing Kitchen space!  This is where I have been unleashing some creativity :-)

Check out the amazing Kitchen space!  This is where I have been unleashing some creativity :-)

I'm off to join the yoga class on the bus deck shortly (yes the deck next to a converted double decker bus!) and so will leave you with a quick recipe (and some extra food pics)!  

One of the guys cooked up way to too much couscous so I tried tho think of as many ways to use it as possible.... these chocolate bars were a huge hit!   You could use any grain really- I would typically go for quinoa as a more nutritious and gluten free option. Or how about millet of amaranth?

.... apologies for photo quality. I only had my phone an the lighting was not too great!

.... apologies for photo quality. I only had my phone an the lighting was not too great!

Recipe: Chocolate cous-cous snack bars

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups cooked cous-cous (or other grain- see notes above)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy is good for added texture)
  • 1 cup chopped dates (with 1/4 cup hot water to partly soften them*)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup soaked seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar if needed- adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs (mixed through or press on top)
  • chocolate drizzle- optional (cacao coconut oil and coconut sugar)

Method:

Blend the peanut butter, coconut oil and soaked dates (I softened my dates simply the processor here is very basic).

Stir all remaining ingredients together then add the wet 'paste'. Stir/mash evenly to coat fully then press into a lined brownie sized tin. I added a little chocolate drizzle to decorate

Firm up in the fridge before slicing into squares.

Recipe: Chocolate Cous-Cous Snack Bars
Recipe: Chocolate Cous-Cous Snack Bars

Here is a little teaser to some other meals I've been enjoying here...

Al food is plant based and organic as far as possible. Much of it is also raw, so I've been trying out loads of raw nut and seed based sauces, I really want to share this one of mine with the gang soon! Also lots of decadently healthy raw desserts. For my first two weeks here Tracy from Raw Happy was here- she is a raw food chef and also amazing yoga teacher and cooked up some incredible meals and treats of us all.  

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Home made chocolate... with a twist!

This was a totally last minute recipe, an idea that came to me yesterday morning and I so whipped up and posted over at Real Food Source all within a matter of an hour. Boom! Super productivity... or maybe I just had a chocolate craving. Ha yeah, that's probably more like it! ;-)

So here I have a super simple last minute Easter recipe for you... this would also make a great gift or treat anytime of the year too!

I love making my own chocolate and lately I have been adding all sort of nutritious ingredients to give it a boost and turn a treat into a health experience. I used the Energise powder blend from real food source, but you could use any you had to hand- maca, lucuma, baobab, beetroot, ace to name a few. I haven't been brave enough to try with greens powder but there is no reason why it wouldn't work, i'm just not sure on how much the flavour will come through.

I used the 'as raw as it gets' chocolate couverture blocks for the most nutritional rich option, but any dark chocolate base would work well, then simply add your extras. The coconut oil helps thin the chocolate mix which is needed to maintain a good consistency when adding dry powders so don't omit this.

I added orange extract, partly because choc-orange is my favourite flavour but also because I want to hide any possible hints of the powders coming through. You could also use almond, mint or rosewater extracts too. I added freeze dried berries on top as I was trying them out for the first time but you  could add anything you like- raisins, chia, crushed nuts or even my Wholeplus Toppers (I made another batch with those on top!)

The options are literally endless! It's the kind of recipe I love :-)

Recipe: Home Made strawberry Chocolate

Recipe: Home Made Chocolate... With A Twist!

Ingredients: 

*note: you don't need to add extract, but depending on the powders used the flavours may come through and I found that adding an extract best compliments the chocolate and strawberry topping.

Method:

Chop the couverture coarsely and then melt carefully in a water bath (or similar) along with the coconut oil and orange extract, until fully melted.

Stir the Energy blend (or powders if using) through the melted chocolate leaving no lumps. Pour onto a lined baking sheet and spread to approx. 3-4mm thick (silicone liners are best as it makes it easy to peel the chocolate slab off) or alternatively pour into chocolate moulds.  Add a generous sprinkle of freeze fried fruit last to decorate. 

Chill for an hour to set.  Best served from the fridge.

This recipe was created for Real Food Source as I made it for them whilst testing their ingredients. 

Enjoy and have a beautiful Easter!

Recipe: Home Made strawberry Chocolate

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Cookie dough dip

At the time I was experimenting with my bitter chocolate thins in sandwich form I also came across a recipe for a cookie dough dip on  Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog. It uses chickpeas as its main ingredient which had me intrigued since I’ve used chickpea here in my baking before. The principle of the recipe was so simple that I couldn’t help having a go myself. This is now the second time I’ve made this dip and in the process I added a few small changes to the original recipe.

In case you’re wondering I then als had to make some chocolate cookies to truly test the dip out. Cookies dipped in cookie dough …. Oh yes, double whammy! 

This dip would also be great used as a frosting (thin out with a little more soy milk as necessary), as the cream for a chocolate thins sandwich or dipped with fresh fruit. Feel free to throw in some chocolate chips or whatever you fancy if you eat it on its own as a dessert.

Oh and just one more thing… the notion of big globs of ‘cookie dough’ then triggered an idea for another yummy twist on this recipe… don’t worry I’ll be sharing all very soon!

Recipe: Cookie dough dip

Makes 1 small bowlful

Ingredients

  • 100g cooked or canned chickpeas
  • A pinch of salt
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 2 tbs soy milk powder (optional but I think it helps give a more sweet-vanilla-milky edge)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs peanut butter (or other nut butters for a more ‘neutral’ taste)
  • Approx. 3 tbs soymilk
  • 3 tbs ground oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup agave plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon or nutmeg

Method

Blend everything together in a food processor until very smooth. If not eating straight away, store in the fridge with clingfilm pressing down on surface so a ‘skin’ doesn’t form.

P.S. You may have noted that my title bar has a new page added called ‘Baking tips’.  I’d had a few queries from readers regarding conversions for the recipes where I’ve used Metric instead of American standards.  For a while now I’d also been meaning to put together a summary of the basic principles that apply to my approach to baking as a whole. So, it was a good incentive to stop dithering and get it written… I hope you find it helps!

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No-Bake Protein Packed 'Power Cubes'

The ‘power cube’ was an early recipe generated by a practical need for a healthy quick fix protein kick after a gym session. They were first conceived as bars with the intention of a being a healthy cereal bar but the consistency was denser and soft (not dry and crisp) lending itself to a flap-jack style bite sized cube.

Thus, the 'Power Cube' was born! 

I feel these bars could be a bit ‘Marmite’ in that you’ll either love em or hate em! The notion behind the cube was less ‘treat’ and more ‘nutrition’ but over the weeks and months I have refined the recipe to my own personal tastes, and so I happen to love them! My family members however do not proclaim these to be among my best work (but again, let me remind you of their reason for being, so best not compared to an indulgent cake!) They are very flexible and accommodating so feel free to change things about and throw in what you fancy- the idea being you get a dense protein rich oaty bar as the end of it!

These bars are rich in a balance of protein fats and carbs and so are also great to grab on the run when you are not sure when you will next be eating or to have a couple tucked away in your bag in case of emergency as a mini meal replacement! The cubes are also raw further boosting their nutritional status.

Recipe: No-Bake Protein Power Cubes

Makes a 20x25cm tray cut into 25 cubes.

Ingredients:

  • 400g oats
  • 30g dessicated coconut
  • 30 hemp seeds (other small or ground seeds can be used)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs ground ginger or cinnamon (optional)
  • 150g isolated soy protein powder (Note: any mild flavoured plant protein blend would work)
  • 3 tbs almond butter
  • 3 tbs smooth peanut butter (or use all PB or almond if preferred)
  • 1 ripe banana- mashed
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • ½ tsp stevia
  • Approx ¼ cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk (just enough to hold the mixture together well)

Method:

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix and mash wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix together adding as much soy milk as needed to create firm sticky dough. Firmly press the mixture into a 20x25 cm tray (or whatever similar size you have). It is easiest to line the tray with baking parchment as this will then simply lift out when ready to cut. Place the tin in the fridge for an hour (or longer) to firm up. When firm cut into cubes and store in the fridge. The cubes will keep for a week or more in the fridge and also freeze well. 

I like to make ‘gingery’ power cubes as I love ginger but feel free to vary the spices and cocoa content to your own preference.


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