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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand - Mother Teresa

RASPBERRY COCONUT LOAF

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A loaf cake should be quick to make and deliciously light and fluffy in texture, perfect for afternoon tea or dessert when guests pop in for a visit. This raspberry coconut loaf ticks every box; it’s a vegan cake with a light fluffy crumb. Its light texture comes from using chickpea water that works like whisked egg whites. The fluffy coconut topping is made from whipped Coyo, a pure coconut yogurt. It’s best to whip the coconut icing just prior to serving so the icing is chilled when served. The cake may be topped with a variety of seasonal fruit, like raspberries or mango for summer, peaches for late summer and autumn or pears for winter. For a garnish, sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top. The cake is great to pack in a wicker basket for a summer picnic or finger-licking delicious for afternoon tea as the snow falls.

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Health benefits:

·       Natural coconut yogurt is gluten free, lactose free, soy free and dairy free. A 170 gram serve contains 75 calories and provides calcium, magnesium and B12. Coconut yogurt contains fibre which descreases the risk of constipation and aids digestion. The lauric acid, a fat in coconuts, is helpful to the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

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RASPBERRY COCONUT LOAF

Makes a 14cm x 25cm loaf

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

65 grams, 1/3 cup buckwheat flour

200 grams, 1½ cups almond meal

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

pinch of Himalayan salt

125 ml, ½ cup maple syrup

60 ml, ¼ cup almond milk

water from 400ml tin of unsalted chickpeas

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven 200’C. Line the bottom and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well to remove any lumps. Add the wet ingredients, and whisk until the mixture is the consistency of a cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes (25 minutes in a fan-forced oven), until the skewer comes out clean. Set aside on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing to completely cool. When the loaf is cool, spoon the coconut icing over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

COCONUT ICING

400 grams (13 fl oz.) Coyo coconut yogurt, refrigerated overnight

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the coconut yogurt using an electric beater until it becomes thick, about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s thick and holds its shape, drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and continue whisking for another minute until the mixture is completely thickened.

RHUBARB GALETTE W BASIL ICE CREAM

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Summer desserts feature delicious in season fruit in tarts, galettes and lightly roasted fruit with fruit or herb ice cream, sorbet and granita. There’s something special about this rhubarb galette. It’s slightly tart deep ruby flesh is delicious when combined with a nutty sweet hazelnut crumb and cooled with fresh tasting basil ice cream, a delicious dessert dream. You could substitute favourite stone fruit or add strawberries to the rhubarb, even add a grating of ginger.

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Health benefits:

·       Rhubarb is one of the vegetables with low calories and it is often recommended for people who are struggling to lose weight but still want to remain healthy. 100 grams of rhubarb contains only 21 calories.

·       Rhubarb is extremely low in fat and cholesterol and it poses no threat to cardiovascular health as can actually increase the levels of good cholesterol due to the presence of dietary fibre.

·       The high amount of dietary fibre found in rhubarb can guarantee a healthy digestive system by bulking up the stool and making sure that bowel movements are smooth and regular.

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RHUBARB GALETTE W BASIL ICE CREAM

Makes a 30cm galette

V, DF, RSF

 

For the sweet pastry:

1½ cups spelt flour, or GF plain flour

¼ cup coconut sugar

pinch Himalayan salt

1/3 cup non-dairy butter, chilled

¼ cup chilled water

For the hazelnut base:

¾ cup peeled, roasted hazelnuts

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 lemon, grated rind

For the filling:

¾ cup coconut sugar

½ lemon, juiced

500 grams/2 bunches rhubarb stalks, cut into 7 cm lengths

Preheat the oven to 190’C/350’F/Gas mark 4. Pour the flour, coconut sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small discs and rub into the flour with fingertips to make a breadcrumb consistency. Using a blunt knife, gradually mix in chilled water to make a pastry. Bring the pastry together and lightly knead. Wrap in baking paper and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. For the filling, combine coconut sugar, lemon juice and 200 ml of water in a saucepan over high heat for a minute, add the rhubarb and simmer gently while turning gently for 2-3 minutes. For the hazelnut base, place the hazelnuts on a lined baking tray and roast for 8-10 minutes. Take out from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool, rub the nuts to remove the dark brown skin. Add the coconut sugar and hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper into a 35 cm round. Scatter the hazelnut crumb over the pastry, leaving a 5 cm border. Arrange drained rhubarb (reserve syrup) in a zigzag pattern to form a 30 cm circle, fold the edges of the pastry over the rhubarb, pleating as you go. Slip onto a baking tray, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or warm with basil ice cream and drizzles of the syrup. Enjoy!

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BASIL ICE CREAM

V, DF, RSF


½ cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed

400 ml tin coconut milk

¼ cup rice malt syrup

pinch Himalayan salt

Add ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy with no bits of basil visible. Follow your ice cream maker instructions, and allow it to churn until thick, use immediately. May pour into a loaf tin to freeze for 6 hours, but is more like a granita in texture. Enjoy!

STRAWBERRY COCONUT PANNACOTTA

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Strawberry and coconut pannacotta is a taste of summer whenever you desire a light sweet to finish a meal. Vegans most commonly keep it simply as a coconut pannacotta, yet I prefer it made with many favourite fruits, like mangoes, lemon and especially strawberries because who can resist a blushing pink colour.

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Pannacotta is a simple dessert, a softly set pudding that’s usually made with cream, sugar and gelatin. It originated in Northern Italy in Piedmont, where the earliest recipes mention simmering the cream with fish bones, the collagen that would set the cream. The name pannacotta literally means cooked cream. The pannacottas I create are coconut milk or cream based, flavoured with fruit and set with agar agar, the jelly-like substance obtained from algae that’s available from most health food stores. The amount of agar agar should be carefully measured as too much will give a rubbery texture, and too little the texture would be runny.

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Health benefits:

·       There are over 600 varieties of strawberries. The sweet, slightly tart berries rank among the top 10 fruits and vegetables for antioxidant content.

·       A Harvard study found that regular consumption flavonoids found in berries can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.

·       The antioxidants in strawberries have all been shown to reduce the formation of harmful blood clots associated with strokes. The powerful antioxidants in strawberries may work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.

·       Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to people with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body.

·       Strawberries are a low glycaemic index food and high in fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows.

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STRAWBERRY COCONUT PANNACOTTA

Makes 6 glasses

V, RSF, DF

 

625 mls / 21 fl. oz. coconut milk

320 grams / 11 ounces strawberries

1½-2 flat teaspoons agar agar

50 ml rice malt syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend the coconut milk and strawberries until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl, and whisk in agar agar. Set aside for 15 minutes. Pour into a saucepan, and add rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. On a medium flame, heat until it starts to boil, simmer another 3 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into glass cups or oiled ramekins, and refrigerate overnight. Serve alone or with slices of strawberries. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SLICE

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When I’m craving a sweet, vegan chocolate is my go-to. Until recently, caramel didn’t appeal until I discovered @lovingearth’s salted caramel chocolate. I’ve had a long love affair with slices as they were the recipe my mother asked me to make every weekend. We cooked together every Friday afternoon, making savouries and sweets for the weekend meals. She delved into her recipe books where she kept slips of paper with handwritten recipes. There were many little slips of paper tucked into several of her favourite recipe books, gathered from friends and family over the years. Most were slightly yellowed, watermarked and crinkled; definitely well used and well loved. Lately, she has been sharing her favourites with me and I keep telling myself that I must make a collection soon, hand written in a leather bound journal as I think they deserve such a place to be kept for posterity.

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In this chocolate caramel slice, I’ve made medjool dates the feature for their binding factor and caramel taste. You’ll notice that I’ve also added the superfood mesquite powder, for its high mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. I’ve chosen this superfood in particular, as mesquite has a sweet, distinctive flavour with a caramel hint. Of course, it’s not imperative you include it. I’ve also chosen almonds as my nut of choice for this slice as there’s something about pairing the flavour of medjool dates and almonds that I love. I’ve used almonds in the base, and the nut butter in the caramel. If almonds don’t rock your boat, then brazil nuts or cashew nuts would be equally suitable. You’ll notice I’ve used vanilla powder. Again, if you can’t locate it substitute with vanilla bean extract.

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Health benefits:

·       You do not have to worry about weight gain when you eat medjool dates; they don’t have any fats or sodium or cholesterol. So, go ahead and indulge in eating this healthy fruit snack!

·       Medjool dates are great foods to control addiction for sweet foods. Their high fibre content keeps you full for long hence curbing the cravings.

·       Medjool dates are loaded with calories, carbohydrates, proteins and no fat. The sugar in them is usually glucose, fructose and traces of sucrose and maltose.

·       Medjool dates have a great amount of dietary fibre, supplying you with 27% of the recommended daily allowance. 

·       With 18 percent of the recommended daily allowance of copper mineral, medjool dates are useful in the body for absorption of iron, formation of collagen, red blood cells formation, healthy nervous system as well as energy generation.

·       The anti-oxidants in medjool dates play an important role in ridding from the body bad fats as well as reducing the risk cancers. 

·       The high natural sugar levels in medjool dates as well as potassium keep you invigorated with energy. Potassium in medjool dates (by the way they contain more potassium than bananas) builds muscles tone, enhancing you physically.

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CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SLICE

Makes 23cm x 23cm tin or 23cm x 34cm tin

V, RSF, DF, GF

 

For the almond base:

2 cups almonds

2 tablespoons nut butter

2 tablespoons cacao powder

12 medjool dates, pitted

pinch Himalayan salt

For the caramel:

12 soft medjool dates, pitted

6 tablespoons almond butter

½ cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

For the topping:

½ cup vegan chocolate chips

To make the almond base, place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the rest of the base ingredients and process until combined and sticky. Line a cake tin with baking paper. Cut into the corners of the baking paper by cutting a square into each corner at the tin’s base. Evenly press the almond base into the tin.

Add all the caramel ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Spread the caramel over the almond base. Scatter the chocolate chips randomly over the caramel and set in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Cut into squares to serve or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

COCONUT BERRY TARTS

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My ideal dessert must look appealing, be healthy and easily made ahead of time. These coconut and berry tarts tick all the boxes. The coconut filling is a silky white pannacotta, and delicately sweetened. The colourful berries are more than a garnish to decorate, some claim they’re some of the healthiest fruits to eat! The crust, made with almonds, coconut and raspberries, is a perfect pale companion to the pannacotta. If you own a food processor, the crumb is easily made. The pannacotta requires a few minutes of whisking, yet I find solace standing by a stove whisking and dreaming, don’t you?

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If you’re not a fan of tarts, make the coconut pannacotta alone, pour the mixture into six small glasses, set in the fridge and serve with a few berries.

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Health benefits:

·       Coconut helps prevent obesity by speeding up the metabolism, providing an immediate source of energy with fewer calories than other fats.

·       Improves heart health by providing healthy fatty acids that are essential to good health.

·       Coconut is high in dietary fibre rivaling other fiber sources like psyllium, wheat bran, oat bran and rice bran.

·       Coconut improves digestion and symptoms of inflammatory conditions linked to digestive and bowel disorders.

·       Coconut gives a quick energy boost that provides a super nutritious source of extra energy. The body uses coconut to produce energy, instead of storing it as body fat.

·       Coconut contains NO trans-fats, is gluten free, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic healing properties.

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COCONUT BERRY TARTS

Makes six 12cm (5 inch) mini tarts

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

For the crust:

2 cups almonds

12 medjool dates, pitted

2 tablespoons nut butter

pinch Himalayan salt

For the filling:

1½ cans coconut milk

1/4 cup maple syrup, to taste

1-1½ teaspoons agar agar powder

For decoration:

Assorted berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants 

Add all base ingredients into a food processor and process for a few seconds until crumbly. Grease six mini tart pans with coconut oil, press the mixture into the base and sides of the pans. Place filling ingredients into a saucepan, whisk to combine and bring to boil on a medium heat. Turn to simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes whisking constantly. Pour ½ cup of filling in each tart pan, chill to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours. To serve, gently remove tart from the pan, place on a plate and decorate with berries.

Enjoy!