Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A 'stand your spoon in it' raw chocolate malt

When I lived in London in the 90s, I can remember going to a place called Ed’s Easy Diner in the Kings Road. It was an American style diner, where you could perch on high stools at the sparkling crome-edged counter top and watch the chef flip burgers through a kind of fried food smog. But as far as I was concerned there was only one reason to go there – the ‘so thick you could stand your spoon up in it’ chocolate malt.
I can’t imagine having such a dairy laden confection now and I must admit that this one is far more delicious and healthier too. It’s made with sesame seeds and mesquite which gives it that malty taste. It’s a brilliant find as John has recently found out that his body is low in calcium which puts him at risk from osteoporosis. So we’ve been experimenting with sesame seed mylk which is high in calcium and this raw chocolate sumptuousness is the result.
A high speed blender and a fine mesh cloth or nut mylk bag
1 cup sesame seeds, soaked for an hour in filtered water and drained
2 cups filtered water
3 – 4 Medjool dates
1 heaped tablespoon of raw cacao powder
1 level tablespoon of mesquite
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Add the sesame seeds and water to the blender and blend until smooth. You will probably need to have the blender on at the highest setting for a few minutes to break down the sesame seeds.
Pass the blended mixture through the fine mesh cloth or nut mylk bag to remove all of the broken seeds and you should end up with a mixture which has the consistency of a single cream.
Return this to the blender (remember to rinse the blender out first!) and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
You can drink this straight away but you can pour into glasses and leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours for an even thicker shake. Spoons optional.  


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Warming Vanilla Chia Porridge

There is snow forecast today. It hardly seems fair since the last batch has only just left us - in fact there is still a little on the vegetable patches. The cats aren't going out either and prefer to stay indoors snuggled into the soft eiderdown on the bed. I can't say that I blame them.

To warm up, I made this creamy vanilla porridge this morning with chia seeds. Chia seeds are full of essential fatty acids (omega 3’s) so they really are one of nature’s superfoods. They are brilliant because a little goes a long way and can stop you feeling hungry for quite a while so it makes them the perfect breakfast food. I warmed mine in the dehydrator but if you don't have one, you could heat the porridge on the stove until it's just warm to the touch.


A large glass jar with well fitting lid


1/3 cup of chia seeds

2 cups almond mylk (or filtered water for a less rich porridge)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste

Serve with blueberries or sliced bananas



Place the chia seeds with the almond mylk and vanilla in a large glass jar and give it all a good shake so the chia seeds are well covered by the liquid.

Leave it for at least 45 minutes for the chia seeds to absorb the mylk. They will swell up and look a little like cooked tapioca when they are ready.

Spoon into cups and warm in the dehydrator (or you can warm it in a saucepan on the stove before serving). Top with fruit to serve.

This should be enough for 2 - 3 people and will keep for a day in the fridge.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Raw Food for Foodies

If you've stumbled upon my blog before you'll know that I'm a real foodie and I’m set to debunk the myth that raw and living food is just about salad.
The raw and living food movement is growing in popularity because it makes people feel better, provides real health benefits, enhances natural energy, and helps lose excess weight.  Eating a high raw diet gives us clear skin, sparkling eyes and can even make you feel and look younger (and who of us doesn’t want that!)

If you are interested in finding out more about raw food, I’m running a class this coming Saturday
11th February 11am – 4pm at Tracebridge Soursough,
just 5 miles south of Wellington (nearest train station Tiverton Parkway).
Set in the breathtaking countryside of the Somerset/Devon borders, The Space at Tracebridge really is an inspiring and beautiful location.
This five hour class offers an overview of the benefits and principles of raw food and range of raw and living foods from sea vegetables to super foods.  This class isn’t about turning you to a raw food diet overnight, but teaching you how to bring the benefits of raw and living food into the your current way of eating.
On the day, we’ll be making fresh juices, green smoothies and nut milks, breakfast foods, a mouth-watering Pad Thai with nut dipping sauce, dulse noodles, wilted greens and seaweed wraps and pate. You can also sample some delicious raw granola, tomato crackers, spicy pepitas, cheesy kale crisps and raw chocolate. In the afternoon we’ll make a raw chocolate fudge cake served with a refreshing raspberry sorbet.  This is definitely raw food for foodies.
If you’d like to reserve a place (and there are only a couple of places left), follow the links to email me or Katie Venner or telephone Katie directly on 01823 672301.
All the food will be free from meat, fish, dairy, soya, wheat and gluten and will be suitable for vegans. Some nuts will be used in the class.

Organic lunch and full recipe pack included in the price of £60.  
The nearest station is Tiverton Parkway, and if you’d like to make a weekend of it, we can recommend local accomodation.  
I do hope to see you there

A juice for Spring

This weekend was Imbolc, a celebration in the Celtic calendar which welcomes in the first signs of Spring. I must admit that over the weekend it didn’t feel as though Spring was very close. With the three to four inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures on Saturday, I was very grateful for our open fire on Saturday evening.
Now the snow is melting there are signs that Spring could be on the way. This morning I've noticed snowdrops in the garden and a crocus or two just peeping through.   
St Brigid, the goddess closely associated with Imbolc, was known for her healing powers so it seemed appropriate to put together a nourishing juice to celebrate the onset of Spring. This one contains celery which helps to reduce a build-up of lactic acid which can lead to joint pain, pineapple which aids digestion and spinach for an alkalising super boost. Don’t be put off by the colour and the unlikely combination – it really is delicious.  
¼ pineapple, skin removed
1 lime, peeled
5 stalks of celery
2 large handfuls of spinach

Push it all through a juicer (a masticating juicer is best for spinach) – and enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The mousse, tart and mocktail question

I've been putting the finishing touches to the Healthy Fresh Start class at Harts Barn Cookery School this coming Sunday (22nd). I've decided on many of the recipes that I'll be sharing but I thought there might be room for a couple more.

I couldn't decide between a fresh fruit mousse, a raspberry tartlet, sunset mocktail and a raw tarte tartin. 

In the end I've come down on the side of the apple. Apples are aways plentiful here in the forest and the dish involves a couple of techniques that can be used for other desserts.

I'll be sharing a few mocktail recipes. I've also decided to share the secret of the sunset mocktail. It's unbelieveably mouthwatering, creamy and delicious and everyone who I've made it for has loved it. I hope they'll love it too.

Monday, 9 January 2012

New Classes at Harts Barn Cookery School

I'm delighted to be running some new classes at Harts Barn Cookery School in Gloucestershire this year. I really want to debunk the myth that raw and living food is just about salad. If you've been following my blog you'll know that I regularly make raw noodles, crepes, pizzas, cheesecakes and chocolate cakes, pates and crackers...and a whole lot more.

Most people think that raw food is a hippy diet...but I'm not a hippy and those I know who eat raw food aren't either. We know how good we feel when we eat this way.  

So these classes are not aimed at promoting the latest fad craze or hippy diet or turning people to a raw food diet overnight, but teaching you how to bring the benefits of raw and living food into your current way of eating. 
The raw and living food movement is growing in popularity because it makes people feel better – provides real health benefits, gives people more energy, helps to lose excess weight and makes us feel and look younger (and who of us doesn’t want that!)  

A Healthy Fresh Start to 2012
Sunday 22nd January 10am – 12pm
If you fancy getting fresh and losing any excess weight in 2012, this two hour class includes some delicious tasters and ideas that you can try straight away and you’ll be amazed by.
The class covers: The principles and benefits of alkali and living foods, raw food preparation techniques, breakfast recipes, lunch ideas, sauces, spreads and wraps and delicious healthy dairy-free and soya-free banana ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Yes there is such a thing as raw chocolate! Refreshing soft drinks without refined sugar.
They’ll be a pack of recipes and notes to take away and lots of other raw food tasters on offer too. For the recipes you’ll only need a knife and/or a blender/food processor.   
£25 per person – Introductory offer: bring a friend and pay only £45 for two people.

Raw and Living Foods Made Easy with Lunch
Saturday 4th February 10am – 2pm
Or… how to create a more youthful body, lose excess weight, gain an extra two hours in your day and feel better than you’ve ever done before (and still eat chocolate)
Fresh fruit and veg are great for your health and have all the flavour of cooked foods when you know how. Often called ‘raw or living food’, this introductory workshop will give you an overview of the principles and show you the range of raw and living foods from sea vegetables to superfoods. 
·         Benefits of raw and living foods
·         Raw food groups and principles of combining
·         Overview of equipment for preparing raw and living foods (including sprouter and dehydrator)
·         Raw food preparation techniques
·         Menu planning
We will demonstrate delicious recipes including:
·         Juices and elixirs
·         dairy and soya free mylks,
·         a silky smooth warm chocolate drink
·         spreads and pates
·         warming wheat free vegetable noodles to beat the February chills
·         garlic mushrooms and marinated veggies
·         wraps and lunch ideas
·         raw chocolate and a healthy rich and dairy free raw chocolate mousse & a delicious raspberry sorbet.
If you want a break from dairy or to eat less meat or get your kids to eat more fruit and veg, this workshop will give you lots of ideas – and lots of tasters of a whole range of new and exciting foods.
You will also get a substantial delicious lunch (which includes a range of raw foods – not just those demonstrated) and a recipe pack with course notes to take away. £45 per person.

“If you’re interested in raw food as a concept, and are curious to find out what it’s all about, I’d recommend Deb’s course as a great introduction – light on lecture - heavy on experience.  Give it a go, you, and your body might like it!” Andrew, Artisan Southwest

Harts Barn Cookery School is a lovely setting for these classes. It's a great space and the views over rolling countryside are amazing...  To book a place you can email or telephone 01452 830954.
I hope to see you there.
Deborah x



Getting creative with raw chocolate

Happy New Year! I was busy over Christmas making lots of lovely raw chocolates for friends and family as well as lots of other scrummy things (..but more about that later!).
I put together some classic combinations: chocolates infused with orange peel formed into orange segments; coffee creams - a soft coffee flavoured ganache topped with walnut; hazelnut pralines; chocolate raspberry truffles dusted with cacao powder; and some delicate peppermint thins wrapped in mint green foil. I also added some superfoods for good measure; hempseed, blueberry, goji berry, maca and almond.  

I think my favourites were the peppermint creams and the violet flowers – the latter were flavoured with botanical extract and I hid a chewy sour cherry in the middle of each chocolate.  

Some glass bowls found in thrift shops made pretty containers. After a few days in the kitchen, it was such a pleasure to visit friends with their gifts of raw chocolates – and I had lots of fun making them too!

My basic raw chocolate recipe is
·         75g raw cacao butter, chopped small
·         3 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder
·         A pinch of Himalayan pink salt
·         Sweetener to taste – I used a mix of raw agave and xylitol.    
The most important part of the method is to ensure that the cacao butter doesn’t melt to a temperature above 42 degree C. I melt mine in the dehydrator set at 105F, but you can also melt the cacao butter by placing it in a glass bowl set into a bigger bowl of hot water until the cacao butter melts. It helps the melting process if it is either chopped into small pieces or grated.  Then stir in the other ingredients until all are dissolved. I usually add some mesquite powder to the mix too – it’s high in calcium, iron and zinc and is a gorgeous sweetener with a slight malty taste.
It was great to be able to eat chocolate over the holidays without the guilt! I made bags of raw Follyty Street to dip into over the festivities.