Tag Archives: raw

Raspberry & Vanilla Raw Chocolates

Hand made chocolate instructions alert!

Raw Raspberry Chocolate | naturalkitchenadventures.com

Raspberry & Vanilla Raw Chocolates

I fell in love with the idea of using freeze dried raspberries when I assisted on desserts at Pure Taste Pop Up.   As well as being brilliant for adding flavour and for making desserts look super pretty, I couldn’t help wonder if they’d work in raw chocolate!

I’ve made raw chocolate before with coconut oil.  For that I follow an incredibly simple recipe that anyone can follow with not to much expense, or expertise, or equipment!  This time however I decided to be more adventurous and make use of cacao butter – the real stuff used to make commercial chocolate.  Cacao butter is the pure cold-pressed fat edible fat extracted from the cacao bean.  As well as being used for chocolate you may be familiar with it from its cosmetic use.  It’s creamy in colour, and solid at room temperature (kinda looks like soap) so works much better for raw chocolates if you want to keep them for any period of time outside of the fridge.  Cacao butter on its own actually doesn’t have much flavour.

The benefits of making your own chocolate are incredible.  Firstly you get to choose your own type and quantity of sweetener – enabling you to improve on shop bought chocolate which is usually made from cane sugar. Then you get the antioxidant benefits of using raw pure cacao too!

My cacao butter came from a health food shop – you can also buy it on-line.  You can usually find complete chocolate making kits online which include the cacao powder and butter along with instructions.  How helpful!

Here’s how I made mine;

Ingredients (makes 100g of chocolate – number of chocolates depends on the size of your moulds)

  • 100g cacao butter
  • 6 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of freeze dried raspberries
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence/extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of coconut palm sugar (or 2 Tablespoons raw honey).  Honey produces a softer, more truffle-like chocolate.

Method

  • Set up a bain-marie, and melt the cacao butter over a very low heat.  
  • Whilst the butter is melting place a pinch of raspberries at the bottom of each chocolate mould.
  • When the butter is completely melted stir in the cacao powder, and vanilla essence, adding enough sugar till you get the taste you desire.  The taste will be comparable to a rich antioxidant boosting dark chocolate – not a dairy milk chocolate!
  • Pour into the silicone moulds and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or fridge for 2 hours to set.  I like mine cold from the freezer.  They don’t store incredibly well at room temperature so keep them in the fridge or freezer (if you haven’t eaten them up in one go).  They will keep for a long time.

I have also tried adding the raspberries and vanilla (as well as a variation using ground cardamom and orange extract, plus one with sea salt!) using my coconut oil recipe which works really well.  For some reason the oil and cocoa quantities are in quite different proportions so make sure you follow the correct recipe whether you are using cacao butter or coconut oil.

If you can’t get hold of either then melt down some 70+% dark chocolate, add the raspberries, and vanilla (no need for extra sugar) and set in moulds as above.  Get creative with your chocolate!

TOP TIP:  If you can’t get hold of moulds for chocolate than cheaper ice-cube moulds work just as well.  Silicone ones are best.  You can also improvise with baking parchment, or film.

Spiced Fermented Carrot Salad

Adding a Bit of Spice

fermented carrot probiotic

Spiced Fermented Carrot Salad

Earlier this year I had my first fermentation experiment when I gingerly (get it?) left some carrot & ginger in a jar to soak away over the course of a week.  I discussed the joys of fermented foods a lot in that post but to recap basically fermented foods like this are great for gut health since they contain lots of natural pro-biotics.  The last experiment did work, but I was left with a salty taste in my mouth and wondering if I hadn’t quite conquered the task.

Having subsequently seen some recipes for Kimchi (also a fermented dish) doing the rounds, I decided to take my  carrot and ginger base, and add some exciting extras from the Kimchi recipes to oomph up the flavour.  After lots of research on the subject of how much salt was actually needed to ferment the carrots I bravely reduced my salt quantities by half.  You can’t taste it before if ferments, since the flavours change this this was a bit of a stab in the dark.

The end result was really surprisingly good – I loved the spice from the chillies and the unique flavour of the coriander seeds.  It was especially good when mixed with diced peppers sautéed in coconut oil, a sprinkling of parsley and served with my gunpowder lamb (recipe to follow). I’ll definitely follow this recipe again, and I now know I’ve a good base recipe to play around with in future.

Fermented carrot with added peppers, parsley and served with Gunpowder Lamb

Fermented carrot with added peppers, parsley and served with Gunpowder Lamb

Ingredients (makes quantity for pic above)

  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon (approx 25g) fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Celtic Sea or Himalayan salt

Method

  • Grate carrots (I use a food processor for speed), and combine in a bowl with the grated ginger, chives, chilli, coriander seeds & sea salt.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
  • Move the mix to a glass jar (don’t use plastic – Kilner jars are ideal)
  • Press mixture down into the jar with the end of a rolling pit (or your fist).  I continued to push to carrots for about 5 minutes – until the brine which leaks out from the shredded carrots covers the mix.  They reduce down in size massively.
  • Seal and allow to ferment at a cool room temperature for anywhere between 3-7 days or until to your liking (this batch was done in 4 days).  The tasty should be tangy.
  • Once fermented move to the fridge, where it will keep for a few weeks.

Raw Chocolate Brownies

I made these in honour of a low-carbon cake sale we had at work this week. The idea behind these brownies being low-carbon is that because there is no baking involved then no energy is wasted using up gas for the oven. OK I’ll admit I did have to use a little electricity for the food processor and blender and fridge power to help them set. BUT the fridge would have been on anyway right? And I’m sure the electricity is negligible in comparison to a loaf cake in the oven for 60 mins?

These brownies are made from very few ingredients (less packaging),  whole unprocessed foods (less carbon emissions from each processing stage) and on the whole Organic ingredients (less pollution from pesticides).  As they are also vegan there are no carbon emission to add from the rearing of livestock for eggs or dairy – Not bad going.  Oh and did I mention they are delicious too?

Other cakes in the sale were no-bake cheesecakes and cakes using locally sourced ingredients, or those people had on hand at home that would otherwise be chucked out.  If only my dates, walnuts, avocados and coconut oil were available in the UK… Maybe I should move to California to make these truly legit!  Anyway we made enough money from the bake sale to plant a tree and carbon offset some of our energy use for climate week. Hurrah!

These are so simple to do and there are literally hundreds of raw chocolate brownie recipes on the internet to chose from. I based mine with some small adaptations on the one on the Yoga Traveller website.  I first heard about these brownies from Yoga teacher Michelle who told me about them on my Maltese yoga trip last Autumn. Credit where credit is due!  This was my first attempt at raw brownies and I fear a love affair to follow… Maybe next time with pecans… or a coffee topping…

Ingredients (makes 16 small squares)
Brownies:

  • 180g walnuts
  • 200g soft pitted dates (I used standard dates, you could also use medjool just make sure they are soft and gooey and don’t buy the ones that have added vegetable oil – yuck. You are usually safe with Organic ones)
  • 50g 100% Unsweetened Cocoa powder (preferably organic, fairtrade, raw)
  • Pinch salt
  • Tsp vanilla essence

Frosting:

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 60mls melted coconut oil
  • 50g 100% unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sweet Freedom (this is made in the UK!)
  • Tsp vanilla essence

Method

Brownies:

  • Pre-heat oven… No not this time!
  • In a food processor pulse the walnuts until they resemble fine crumbs. Remove and set aside. No need to clean out processor in-between stages.
  • Add in the dates and process until they come together to form a large sticky ball. Add the walnuts back into the machine along with the cocoa powder, salt and vanilla.
  • Process again. At first the mixture will look like muddy crumbs and at this point I feared it wouldn’t come together, but have patience! Finally magic will occur and all the ingredients will come together to form a ball of sticky chocolate brownie dough.
  • Remove and place the dough in a square parchment lined square (roughly 7inch square) tin.  Tip:  If you use a long rectangle of baking parchment which overlaps 2 opposite sides then its easier to lift the brownie out of the tin when it is set. Using a spatula push the mixture out across the tin till its evenly spread a little less than 1cm thick.  It should be fairly malleable with a spatula.
  • Place in the fridge to set either overnight or for at least 30 mins whilst you make the topping.

Frosting:

  • Place the avocado flesh into a small hand blender beaker, and blend until smooth. Add the cocoa, melted coconut oil, sweet freedom, and vanilla essence and blend again till completely smooth and brown. You can adjust the sweetener to your taste and also the coconut oil. The more oil you add the more solidified the topping will be.
  • Using a spatula spread the topping all over the base which should remain in its tin.
  • Finish off by dusting with additional cocoa powder.
  • Place in fridge to set for at least 30 mins or ideally overnight.
  • Remove from tray and cut into 16 squares.

Be warned this is completely messy (if anyone saw Aki on UK Masterchef recently you will know what I mean).  The licking of the spatula and beaker afterwards is absolutely required!

You might recognise the frosting from my Chocolate cake frosting!  I made extra from the above quantities to serve as an indulgent pudding in a shot glass later this week! So versatile!