Delicious & Nutritious Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

raw choc mousse  

I've recently been getting my hands on some really lovely Hass avocados and I couldn't be happier! They are just so creamy and perfect for this recipe. I used to make this quite often back in London, but when I got to Doha I stopped as I couldn't find the right avocados, and trust me I tried, but not all avocados are created equal! So if you decide to make this recipe I would highly recommend using nicely ripe Hass avocados, they are usually more expensive but definitely worth it. This recipe calls for few ingredients therefore using the best quality ingredients really does make a big difference, and the end result is the most rewarding guilt and cruelty free deliciousness!

Avocado is packed with heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. It is also high in fibre which helps stabilise your blood sugar levels. And it's one of the best source of plant based foods for female fertility as it helps balance hormones - I mean just look at it, it looks like a womb!

Raw cacao is high in magnesium, which relieves cramping, probably the main reason why women crave chocolate at that time of the month. It also is great for cardiovascular health as it has shown to reduce the likelihood of strokes & heart attacks.

So ladies this one's for you because you'll be doing your body a big favour by eating this. I don't want to exclude the men here either because they will definitely enjoy it, my husband doesn't like avocado and I've fooled him on several occasions with this recipe!

 

Ingredients (makes 2)

1 ripe Hass avocado (see notes above)

3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons raw honey (maple syrup for vegan option)

1/2 cup almond milk (or non dairy milk of your choice)

1-2 tablespoons coconut butter/coconut oil (optional, it just makes the consistency creamier)

Toppings

Selection of fresh or frozen berries

Pecans or walnuts

Cinnamon powder to taste

 

Method

Place all ingredients except for the toppings in a blender and whizz until you have a nice smooth consistency, you may have to stop and give it a stir a few times depending on the size of your blender. It works beautifully in the magic bullet as it's got quite a small container.

Top with berries, nuts, cinnamon powder, a drizzle of honey and enjoy!

*You can also store it in the fridge for 30 mins to set for more of a mousse like consistency, I personally cannot wait that long and tend to devour it straight away!

Mini Gluten Free Cookies

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These cookies were a result of making lots of almond milk for orders of my weekly specials and not wanting to part with the leftover pulp, after all it's an excellent source of fibre! So I decided I would dehydrate it on the lowest setting in my oven for 12 hours as I would be left with raw, almond meal. Everything was going to plan, until about 10 hours in, I wanted to heat up my lunch in the oven, so removed it from the oven while I turned up the heat, warmed up my lunch put the pulp back in. About 5 mins later, I started to smell toasty, sweet almonds and realised what I had done! The almond pulp was now golden brown, a couple minutes longer and it would have burnt. So I took it out the oven, let it cool and whizzed it up in the food processor, resulting in a toasted almond meal. I decided to test it out by making cookies, and I'm so glad I did!

Luckily the recipe is quite versatile and can be made with normal almond meal/flour without having to go through the whole ordeal I did.

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Ingredients (makes 20)

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour or brown rice flour

6 tbs coconut butter or tahini

1 1/2 tbs date syrup or sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup)

6 tbs cashew milk or 4 tbs almond milk

Optional fillings:

Jam

Dark chocolate pieces (70-85%)

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Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, and prepare a parchment lined baking tray.

Mix the almond meal and buckwheat flour in a medium sized bowl. Then add the coconut butter, date syrup, and cashew milk, and combine until you have a cookie dough consistency. If it's too dry add more milk!

Spoon out roughly 1 teaspoon of dough, roll it into a ball, and place on baking tray. Continue until you run out of dough. Then either gently press down on the dough ball with the back of a fork to flatten leaving a nice imprint. Or use your thumb to gently press down on the dough ball, making a round indent in the centre, and fill with optional filling.

Pop in the oven and bake for 12 mins, turning the baking tray halfway through to brown the cookies evenly. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Enjoy with a nice cup of herbal tea!

Pistachio & Rose Amazeballs

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I started doing weekly specials about a month ago, selling the food products I make for catering jobs, or at home. I never imagined I would be selling my amazeballs, cashew milk, banana bread etc, but my friends and clients kept asking so I thought I'd give it a go! And I couldn't be happier, not only do I get to share my food with more people, which is what I love doing, but I've also met such wonderful new people! It has made me realise just how much people in Doha do want good, organic, whole, plant based food.

One thing I've sold almost every week and have been playing around with is what I call 'amazeballs'! They are the perfect little treat to have around as they all filled with pure goodness, no added sugars, fillers, words you can't read, let alone say, and my husband loves them, which is a good excuse to make them all the time. The different variations I've sold so far have been chocolate orange with maca, goji berry with flaxseed , and pistachio & rose with spirulina, which is this weeks' special inspired by my Iranian background and a little bit, but not really, valentines day.

Once you have the consistency of the base down, which is basically raw nuts, dates, and a superfood (this is optional, but so much better added in) then it's easy to experiment with flavour combinations etc. If you don't have all the ingredients, it's ok, you can sub it for something similar, or leave it out all together. Goji berries can be substituted for cranberries, medjool dates can be substituted for any other soft dates, raw honey can be substituted for date syrup or maple syrup etc, and you don't have to roll them in anything, they're also great just on their own.

P.S. I'm not really one for celebrating valentines day, I think that if you love someone, be it your family, friends or your other half, you should shower them with love (and amazeballs) every single day!

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Ingredients (makes approx. 20 pieces)

  • 80 grams raw, unsalted pistachios (peeled)
  • 50 grams goji berries (see notes above for substitutions)
  • 50 grams dried figs
  • 100 grams medjool dates
  • 60 grams unsweetened desiccated coconut (organic, preservative free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rose water

Toppings (optional) 1/2 cup dehydrated rose petals, or dried rose buds 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

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Amazeballs mudra!

Method

Place pistachios in the food processor and pulse until they are crumbly.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor, except for the toppings, and blitz on a medium speed for about 20 seconds then go to high speed for about a minute, until you have an even consistency (this will vary depending on how powerful your food processor is).

Scoop out approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, squeeze in your hand, and roll into a ball gently with the palms of your hands.

Prepare the toppings (optional) by using a spice mill, or pestle and mortar, to grate down the rose petals to a similar consistency as the desiccated coconut.

Mix the 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut and the rose in a small bowl, and roll the amazeballs in the mixture. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes (if you can resist) or eat as is! They should keep in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks, but they'll probably be eaten up way before then!

Enjoy and share with all the people you love in your life!

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If you are based in Doha and are interested in knowing more about my weekly specials, head over to my instagram or facebook page for more info! 

Quick Homemade Pickles

The winter season in Qatar is pretty much equivalent to Spring, as the weather is a lot cooler than the scorching summer months. Which mean this is the perfect time to start pickling any surplus veggies. Here is a quick and easy recipe that I found on My New Roots which I used to preserve the delicious locally grown organic produce I've been getting.

This is a great accompaniment to any meal and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I like to have it in my post yoga bowls which normally consist of steamed veggies (whatever I have in the fridge), buckwheat noodles/quinoa, and a topping of avocado, nuts and seeds. It adds a delightful vinegary crunch to your meal, and you're body will be taking in all the goodness from the raw veggies and apple cider vinegar.

Get creative and use any veggies you like, I had daikon, radish and cabbage spare so I decided to use them, but you can switch it up depending on what you have on hand. You'll need a 1 litre jar or several smaller ones.

Ingredients

  • 4/5 large radishes
  • 1 daikon
  • 1 cup green cabbage
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)

Method

Cut off the stem and root of the radishes and daikon. Slice the veggies into thin rounds, dice the cabbage, and set aside.

Measure out the apple cider vinegar and water into a cup, and add the salt and maple syrup. Stir to combine, making sure the salt has dissolved.

Add the radish to the jar, along with the a few peppercorns a clove of garlic, and fennel seeds if using. Then add the cabbage, again a few peppercorns and garlic as before, and finally the daikon, along with the remaining condiments.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies, making sure they're all covered and close the lid tightly over the jar. Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating, this will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Chocolate Mousse

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This is the easiest chocolate mouse recipe ever! I made it this morning after waking up too early and was instantly blown away. It requires minimal prep which basically involves putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night. By putting it in the fridge the coconut milk turns into a beautiful thick cream. I always make sure I have a can in the fridge in case I want to use it for coconut ice cream, quick desserts, smoothies, porridge etc. Make sure your coconut milk doesn't have anything other than coconut milk and water in it though as some have thickening agents and other nasties, so always read the label!

This is a nutritiously delicious way of getting your daily does of healthy fats, which help improve brain function, and works wonders for your skin! Cacao is a powerhouse of antioxidants and also helps alleviate anxiety and headaches. So eat this knowing you are doing your body and taste buds good.

This recipe is for one but can easily be doubled etc.

Ingredients (makes 1)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cacao powder / cocoa powder if you can't find cacao easily
  • 1 teaspoon date syrup / sweetener of choice
  • Crumbled walnuts (optional)

Method

Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight or for at least 4-6 hours.

Take it out when ready and turn the can upside down and open. This is in case any of the coconut milk hasn't solidified.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the thick coconut cream and place in a small bowl.

Then add the cacao powder and date syrup and stir it up until all ingredients are well combined.

You can top it with nuts or even fresh berries.

Finally, enjoy!

Gluten Free Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

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I first made this cake on a cold Autumn day in London. I wanted something rich, comforting, and of course with chocolate but still relatively healthy. I started researching recipes and found one that looked, and sounded delicious, a combination I had never thought of before, beetroot and chocolate! Luckily I had just been to the Notting Hill Farmers Market and bought a big bunch of beetroot so I decided to give it a go. I invited my neighbour Caroline over and we waited for it to bake in the oven, both curious to know the outcome. As it was nearly done, this beautiful sweet chocolatey smell started to take over the flat, and I knew it was going to be a good one! We both had a bite and were in heaven, it was a perfect balance of natural sweetness cut with the bitterness of dark chocolate. So I recently had some beetroot sitting in the fridge and decided to recreate the cake, but this time making a gluten free version using buckwheat flour.

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Buckwheat flour is a great gluten free alternative to whole wheat flours, also it is almost always organic as it grows very rapidly without the use of pesticides. It's high in protein which is great for vegetarians and vegans alike, and has a low glycemic index which means it slowly releases glucose into the bloodstream, which is beneficial for diabetics.

Beetroot helps reduce blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and also stabilises blood sugar. It is high in iron, which is great for women, as most women are slightly anaemic, and is also a great source of vitamin B6.

High quality dark chocolate and cacao are a great source of antioxidants, and mixing them with coconut oil super boosts your metabolism.

Do you need any more excuses to make this cake? I think not!

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories 

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup / honey
  • 70 grams good quality 70% dark chocolate, broken up into small pieces (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate)
  • 2 cups grated raw beetroot (approx. 2 medium beetroots)
  • 3 flax eggs (1 ground flax egg = 1 tablespoons flaxseeds : 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder pinch of salt (himalayan pink salt or sea salt)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Put the coconut oil in a saucepan on very low heat and add the maple syrup and dark chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and remove from heat.

Add the grated beetroot to the saucepan and mix well.

Whisk the flax eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the beetroot chocolate mix.

Sift all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then add in the beetroot chocolate mix, stir well until all ingredients are well combined.

Grease a cake tin with coconut oil and add the shredded coconut to prevent the cake from sticking.

Then pour in the mix and bake for 20 - 25 mins. The colour of the cake would have darkened and the top will have some cracks on it.

Remove from oven, let rest, if you can resist, and enjoy!

Dairy and Nut Free Ice Cream

IMG_6212 I love ice cream, I mean who doesn't?! The only problem is that immediately after I have eaten it I get an upset stomach, this is probably because my body just doesn't digest milk, it's been that way since I was little. However I used to ignore this and eat ice cream, well...because it's just so good! But as I have become more in tune with my body over the past couple of years, I really do notice how it reacts to different foods, especially dairy. So I started off my dairy free ice cream endeavour by making frozen banana ice cream, which quite simply is blending up frozen ripe bananas and adding the topping of choice, mine would always be cinnamon and cacao nibs. It's delicious and easy to make but I was not quite satisfied, it lacks the creamy consistency. Then I experimented with making nut based ice cream, which was also really yummy but my husband wasn't convinced, and I wanted to try and make something for people with nut allergies.

So after a lot a of research and experimenting, I bring you the dairy and nut (and ice cream maker) free ice cream! It's rich and creamy, the perfect alternative to normal ice cream, husband approved (he went for seconds), and you don't need any fancy equipment to make it! It requires some pre planning, which is just putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night and peeling some ripe bananas and placing them in the freezer for a couple of hours. It is a great base so you can add cacao powder, fresh berries or just keep it plain and simple. I served some on top of spiced poached plums last night and it was divine. So let your imagination run free and the little child in you will be very happy, I promise!

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Ingredients (serves 8) 

1 can full fat coconut milk (the only added ingredient on the list should be water, no other nasties!) 3 ripe bananas (frozen) 1 vanilla pod / 1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder Optional : Goji berries (1/4 cup)

Extra ingredients

Coconut sugar / maple syrup / honey Cacao powder Fresh mint Cacao nibs

Equipment

Food Processor / blender Tupperware / Glass Pyrex container / I use this

Method:

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge over night, or for at least 6 hours. When ready, turn the can upside down and open, you should have thick creamy coconut milk, scoop the contents into the food processor / blender. (At this point you will feel an urge to eat the solidified coconut milk straight out of the can, please try to control yourself!)

Add the bananas to the food processor / blender and combine, depending on your machine this should take around 5 mins to get a smooth consistency.

Meanwhile cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scoop out the seeds and add to the food processor / blender. This is the point to add in any other ingredients you want. I didn't add any sweetener to mine as I thought the bananas made it sweet enough for my palette but if you want it sweeter, add some coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey.

Then give it one final whizz in the food processor to combine all the ingredients (about a minute or so).

Pour the ingredients into the container and place in the freezer for 2 - 3 hours, at least.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 - 15 minutes before serving so that it is easy to scoop up.

Then add your favourite topping, or serve plain, and most importantly enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Madness Pt. 2

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So I know it has been a while since my last post...I was hoping to post part 2 of my raw chocolate experience quite soon after the 1st part as I made them both on the same day. However I got caught up with work and then went on holiday for a month, then I got back, had a serious case of the holiday blues and dived head-first into crazy working hours.

Anyhoo now I am back in the swing of things I am finally ready to put up the second part of my experiment, this time using cacao butter instead of coconut oil. I made this version into more of a healthy chocolate finger-esque bar, you can use a mould to achieve any shape you want, so it's fun to play around with. I had an Ikea silicone ice cube tray on hand and decided to use that. Alternatively you can line a glass oven dish with parchment paper, or basically anything that is flat and has sides which can contain the liquid chocolate mixture!

P.S.Using cacao butter definitely takes raw chocolate taste up to the heavens, but if it's not easy to get a hold of coconut oil is a pretty good replacement.

This recipe is inspired the one on Eleanor's amazingly beautiful blog, Earthsprout.

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Ingredients

1/3 cup cacao butter

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon maca powder

1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder

himalayan pink salt / sea salt

Crushed pistachio nuts (optional)

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a metal or ceramic bowl over a pot of hot water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Once melted remove from heat and sift the cacao powder, coconut sugar, maca powder and vanilla powder over the melter cacao butter and whisk together to combine. Then add a pinch of salt, this will enhance the sweet tones, and whisk away again, making sure all ingredients are well combined.

Pour out the mixture into the mould you are using, if you aren't using a silicone mould make sure to line with parchment paper. Sprinkle some crushed pistachio nuts on top, or whatever else you fancy, and pop in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Madness Pt. 1

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Yesterday I decided to finally try and make some raw chocolate, I had saved a fair amount of recipes and drooled over far too many photos of delicious and nutritious chocolate. According to my recipe research I knew that you can either use cacao butter or coconut oil to make raw chocolate, and since I had both on hand I embarked on a little experiment in The Vegetarian Treehouse Kitchen! I must confess that the finished product seems a lot more fancy and sophisticated than the process. There are very few ingredients required and once you have the basics down you can work with what you have on hand!

So the first test was with coconut oil, and the one thing I had in mind was the Chocolate Nut Butter Cups I had seen on The Whole Pantry App, so I read through the recipe and gave it a go. I changed it slightly according to what I had, i.e. tahini instead of nut butter, and I added in a few extra spices.

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Raw Tahini Filled Chocolate Cups 

These guilt free antioxidant packed beauties will melt in your mouth and work wonders for your skin, digestive and immune systems, as well as providing your body with all the essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. Maca is the epitome of superfood, it balances hormones, promotes mental clarity, alleviates depression, migraines and anxiety while boosting your body with calcium, Vitamin B1, B2, C and E - the list is endless! So enjoy these guilt free deliciously nutritious treats knowing that you are nourishing your body with every bite!

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Ingredients (makes 8)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup 100% pure cacao powder

1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt flakes

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons maca powder (optional)

tahini

cinnamon

handful of goji berries / cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Combine the cacao, salt and maca in a medium sized bowl, then add the melted coconut oil and honey and whisk well so there are no clumps.

Prepare some mini muffin cases (I used reusable silicone ones) and pour 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into each case and place the moulds in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until firm.

Remove from freezer and spoon 1/2 teaspoon of tahini in the centre of each case, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and place back in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the tahini has firmed up slightly, remove from the freezer and top each chocolate case with 1 tablespoon of chocolate mixture, and goji berries or cacao nibs ,if desired, then leave to set in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Remember they are raw so serve immediately or store in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.

Enjoy!

Raw Grape Ice Cream

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I've had an obsession with frozen grapes since I was a little girl. Growing up in Dubai it would get really hot in the summer and I would usually pop a cup of grapes in the freezer and a couple of hours later I would have a deliciously refreshing snack. Living in Doha reminds me a lot of Dubai back in the day and I guess it triggered a memory of having frozen grapes. So I bought some red grapes, gave them a wash, removed the stems, popped them in a tupperware and put them in the freezer. Since the weather isn't very hot here yet I completely forgot about them and when I went to get some ice for my drink the other day I saw the grapes sitting there waiting to be eaten or better yet made into something. So I decided to experiment with them as I had quite a big batch and decided to make a dairy free, raw ice "cream" and best of all, without an ice cream maker!

Red grapes are packed with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin K, while cashew nuts are filled with heart healthy mono-saturated fats which help lower cholesterol. Since all these ingredients are raw, your body will be benefiting from all the nutrients this ice cream has to offer.

Ingredients (serves 4)

100g raw cashew nuts
180g frozen red grapes
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons raw honey or agave syrup

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until you have a nice smooth mixture.

Pour into a tupperware and place in the freezer.

After about an hour, once the edges of the mixture start to harden slightly, take out of the freezer and whisk vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals.

Put it back in the freezer and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours or overnight)

Enjoy you're deliciously nutritious raw ice cream!