Cacao

Chocolate Chilli Overnight Oats

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I love overnight oats because they're quick and easy to make, are super versatile and you can take them on the go with you when you're pressed for time!

Now that the weather is cooling down I like to keep my internal body temperature warm by using ingredients that help keep my internal fire going. This recipe is filled with super boosted medicinal foods which support a healthy immune system to keep the seasonal colds at bay.

The use of cayenne pepper in this recipe is to activate the healing benefits of the turmeric while also making you feel all warm and tingly inside. Turmeric is a superfood root which is dried and powdered, the benefits of using it are numerous. For me the most important thing is that it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is your body's response to injury which is great! However, our modern diets and lifestyles of eating highly processed sugars and dairy, drinking alcohol, feeling stressed etc can also cause inflammation in the body. Therefore by adding turmeric to our diets we can aid our bodies by reducing it's workload. It's not a cure all and it also helps to be more mindful of what we fuel our bodies with, both nutritionally and mentally.

Cacao is also a very powerful antioxidant, high in magnesium, which helps relax our muscles, hence why women crave chocolate when they are about to start their cycle. Please make sure that you use good quality raw cacao powder for this recipe as nutritionally it makes a big difference. Most cocoa powder you find in your local supermarket has been heated at very high temperatures which kills a lot of the nutrients. It is more expensive but a little goes a long way with so it's worth investing in some as it will last quite some time.

If you don't have all the ingredients don't worry, get creative and substitute some or leave others out. Or better yet why not try your hand at making your very own signature version?!

Ingredients
(Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings)

  • 3 Tbs chia seeds
  • 3 Tbs rolled oats
  • 1 Tbs almond meal
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbs goji berries
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 Tbs cacao nibs
  • 1/2 Tbs coconut flakes
  • 1.5 cup non dairy milk (I used sunflower seed milk)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method

Mix everything into a bowl or jar using a fork, making sure it's all well combined. Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! *This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Delicious & Nutritious Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse

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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!

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!

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!