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

PEACH & FIG GRANITA

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While the temperature soared near the 40’Cs this weekend, our family met for lunch and I thought, considering how hot it was, the dessert would have to be chilled. The granite was so delicious we had to have seconds, even wee Ezra kept asking for more. The granite is refined sugar free and except for having to rake it with a fork several times while it freezes, it’s simple to prepare. I prefer to serve sweets to guests in the summer, which don’t need prep on the day, like this granita that are a no fuss sweet.

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Health benefits:

·       Peaches are a characteristically fuzzy fruit native to northwest China. They are a member of the stone fruit family, having one large middle seed, like cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines.

·       According to studies, stone fruit like peaches, have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

·       The study suggests that stone fruits have bioactive and phenolic compounds with anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties that may also reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) associated with cardiovascular disease.

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PEACH & FIG GRANITA

V, RSF

 

5 white peaches, destine and halve

4 figs, halve

1 vanilla bean, scraped

½ cup maple syrup

2 cups water

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Pour into a shallow tin and place in the freezer for an hour. As the liquid freezes, rake with a fork to form crystals. You will need to do this every hour, scraping from the outside of the tray inwards as it freezes, (usually taking up to 3-4 hours). Scrape the granite with a fork until it’s snow-like before serving. Serve in chilled glasses. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE ICECREAM

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A vegan snack that’s dairy free and as easy to make as blitzing the ingredients and spooning into a tin to freeze is my kind of sweet in the hot months, because who wants to over-exert themselves in the kitchen when the beauty of summer beckons you outside to sit in the shade of a leafy tree and chat with friends during the long daylight saving evening hours.

I’ve been experimenting with making a one-step, non-machine mixed vegan ice cream for several years, endeavouring to create a soft and creamy texture, and came across the idea (from my dear sis who did it by accident) of using a pure organic coconut yogurt to keep the ice cream from going grainy and icy. Evidently the fat from the coconut yogurt does the trick. Also, I’ve provided an alternative to using bananas as the base for the ice cream, simply freeze a can of coconut milk and use the ice blocks as the base.

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Health benefits:

·       Cacao powder has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. It’s ORAC score is 98,000 per 100 grams. ORAC scores measure the antioxidants ability to absorb free radicals (toxins), which causes cell and tissue damage that can lead to diseases like cancer.

·       Cacao powder is the highest plant based iron known, at 7.3mg per 100 grams, compared to spinach at 3.6mg or beef and lamb at 2.5mg. Raw cacao is one of the highest plant based sources of magnesium, which is important for a healthy heart and enables your brain to work with focus and clarity.

·       Cacao powder has more calcium than cow’s milk, at 160mg per 100 grams compared to 125mg per 100ml of milk.

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CHOCOLATE ICECREAM

V, DF, RSF

 

4 frozen bananas, sliced OR 400 ml tin coconut milk frozen into ice blocks

3 tablespoons cacao powder

1 tablespoon protein powder, optional

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons Coyo yogurt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the frozen bananas are thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients, and the texture is smooth and creamy. Spoon into half a tin loaf tin and freeze for 1-2 hours. Serve scoops on a cone or with berries and a sprinkle of hazelnuts. Enjoy!

VEGAN CHRISTMAS CAKE

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I’m guessing you either love or loathe Christmas cake, as it’s kind of a polarising food. My family is quite partial to a slice during the festive season, so I make cakes to give away as presents. I created this recipe to be wholesome, easy to make and moist to eat. It’s vegan, made of fruit and nuts, with no flour or sweetener. Making it is easy as you combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir, pour into a lined cake tin and bake for two hours.

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Health benefits:

·       Dried fruit is highly nutritious, contains a lot of fibre, is a great source of antioxidants which improve the blood flow, aids digestive health and reduces the risk of many diseases.

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VEGAN CHRISTMAS CAKE

Makes a 20cm cake

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

500 grams mixed fruit

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons olive oil

zest and juice 1 orange

water from 400 gram tin of unsalted chickpeas

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

75 grams walnuts

300 grams, 2½ cups almond meal

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 160’C fan forced. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, with at least four layers of paper on the sides and bottom to prevent overcooking the edges. Add all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the batter into a cake tin and bake for 2 hours. If the bottom of the skewer doesn’t come out clean, bake a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 weeks. Enjoy!

GINGERBREAD CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE

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Christmas in Australia is hot, or you could say it’s best to have a meal that requires very little use of the stovetop and oven. To choose the desserts to make for Christmas dinner, I usually make my fruit cake and a chilled raw treat, both pre-prepared and stored, a win-win, keeping the preparation to a minimum on Christmas day. This year, I chose traditional flavourings for the chilled cheesecake: gingerbread and cranberries.

The recipe looks long and the method slightly cumbersome, yet it’s quite simple as you need only gather the ingredients and blitz them in a food processor. I even suggest delaying the cleaning of the food processor bowl until the recipe is finished.

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Health benefits:

·       Cranberries are a ‘healthy’ food because of their high in nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent a range of diseases. They are low in calories with half a cup containing 25 calories.

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GINGERBREAD CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE

Makes a 23cm cake

V, DF, RSF, GF

 

For the base:

1½ cups pecan nuts

½ cup activated buckwheat

1 cup (12) medjool dates, pitted

1 tablespoon organic molasses

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon all spice

pinch of Himalayan salt

For the spice filling:

2½ cups soaked cashews

400 ml can coconut milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cardamom 

½ teaspoon all spice

For the cranberry filling:

2½ cups soaked cashews

1 cup cranberries, unfrozen

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup maple syrup

Toppings:

Red currants

½ fig

Line the base of a 23 cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper. Place the base ingredients into a food processor and process until the gingerbread mixture is crumbly. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and press evenly onto the base. Add the spice filling ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth and creamy without a grainy texture. Pour into a bowl. Add the cranberry filling ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth and creamy (without a grainy texture). Pour both the spice filling and the cranberry filling into the cake tin from either side at the same time (you may need someone else to pour one of the fillings). Swirl the fillings with a spoon to create a marble effect. Place the cake into the freezer and allow to freeze overnight. May be kept in the freezer up to 2 weeks. When serving, place the cake on a cake stand, surround the base with fresh red currants and top with a few sprigs of red currants and half a fig. Serve slices after it has thawed for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

PB CHOCOLATE BITES

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As a child, I was never given bought sweets to eat; granted Mum and Dad couldn’t afford little luxuries, yet I think they didn’t want us to get in the habit of buying sweets whenever we wanted. So it wasn’t until I met my husband that I became aware of sweets like Snickers, Mars bars, Twix, and found I wasn’t overly fond of their excessive sweetness. Instead, I’d make sweets at home for our children and allowed them one treat a week: raw treats and tarts, bliss balls and biscuits (cookies).

These PB chocolate bites are like bliss balls but with rice puffs and eaten partly frozen. Maybe these PB chocolate bites are a favourite, because who can resist the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, it’s a pairing made in heaven.

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Health benefits:

·       Eating peanuts and peanut butter suppresses hunger without leading to weight gain.

·       Studies found peanuts lowered the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

·       People getting the most niacin from foods were 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Peanuts are one of the foods the highest in niacin.

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PB CHOCOLATE BITES

Makes 18 bite-size cookies

V, DF, RSF, GF

1 cup smooth peanut butter

12 medjool dates, pitted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup hemp seeds

2 cups rice puffs

1 cup vegan chocolate chips

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup vegan chocolate

Place peanut butter, dates and vanilla in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a paste. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Either press the mixture into a tray lined with baking paper. Melt chocolate in the microwave for 2 minutes, pour over the mixture and spread evenly with a knife or dip the top of cookies in the chocolate sauce. Refrigerate until set, remove and slice into logs, store in the fridge until ready to serve for an afternoon tea or after school treats. Enjoy!