Summer’s here, the sun is out and we all need more choc ices in our lives. These are a delicious version with a Middle Eastern twist. Something a little different and a little familiar. Kids love them and they are actually very healthy. Hah! I know that might put some of you off but please come back, give them a go, I promise you’ll be hmmmmming soon.
I love Lebanon! I also love choc ices!! And here we are. This is a recipe I make regularly and most people seem to love. Rich, creamy (from the tahini and coconut oil), sweet with a little crunch (maple syrup and toasted almonds) and coated in dark and crunchy chocolate. Who’s into that then!!?
Plus, so easy to make and just sits in the freezer demanding to be munched with smiles. It’s a sugar free dessert recipe, plus vegan and gluten-free so the vast majority of people are invited to this chocolate coated party.
This recipe can and does change regularly, the fillings can be anything you like. It is delicious without the almonds and figs for example, or you can add more chocolate (never a bad idea), pistachios, top with rose petals…..
It may sound strange, but salt is important in desserts, especially here. Please don’t skip it, a little pinch of salt transforms the flavours in these choc ices.
Not keen on rose? Many people aren’t. I’d recommend omitting it or adding a little orange blossom water instead.
Lebanese Halva Choc Ices – 12-14 slices
3 tbs coconut oil
60ml maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1 teas vanilla extract
2 large pinches sea salt
340g light tahini (normally 1 jar)
1 handful roasted almonds
2 dried figs (chopped into small chunks)
1 teas rose extract
2 tbs cacao / cocoa powder
2 coconut oil (melted)
1 tbs sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)
Pinch sea salt
Halva – Melt the coconut oil, you can warm it gently in a saucepan or place the jar in boiling water, then allow to cool to room temperature.
Mix the coconut oil with all the other ingredients together in a bowl. Told you it was easy!! Taste the mix now, make sure it is sweet enough for you, or has enough rose.
Line a 9 inch-ish by 6 inch-ish rectangular container with cling film. Pour in the halva mix, smoothing over the top with the back of a spoon. Freeze for 1-2 hours or more.
Chocolate – Stir together the chocolate ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
Now, cut the halva into 12-14 small bars, and place on baking parchment in a large tuppperware style container, suitable for the freezer. Using a fork or toothpick, dip each halva into the chocolate, coat well, and place back in the container.
Cover the container and freeze. Leave to sit outside of the freezer 10 minutes before serving.
Or, like the photo here, cut the choc ices and then simply drizzle over the chocolate sauce which will set very soon after. This technique looks nicer.
Hard to know where to start with these desserts. Tahini, cacao, coconut oil, almonds, figs….they definitely sit in a very sweet spot between decadent and healthy eats.
Tahini is very high in calcium, almost three times more than milk for example. Cacao is very high in anti-oxidants and almonds are tops for protein, magnesium and potassium. Figs are full of beneficial minerals and vitamins and a healthy dose of fibre.
Overall, this is probably the healthiest dessert I’ve ever made this side of a fruit salad!
I am very lucky to travel so much in my life. It’s basically called ‘not having kids’ according to many of my friends. The freedom to jump around the world and feast like a happy herbivore.
I’d always wanted to eat my way around Lebanon and learn more about this incredible country. I took the opportunity to stop in Beirut, as I headed back West from India earlier in the year. I had a unique experience, flying to Ethiopia before heading up into the Middle East. The views of Ethiopia from the plane window left me wanting to see more, and maybe a bit closer.
I was not disappointed by Lebanon in anyway, it’s a small country with a big heart and packs in some incredible sites and flavours for the curious and slightly intrepid traveller sort. There are fascinating places here which see very little tourism. But let’s start with the food….
MEZZA – LEBANON ON A (LITTLE) PLATE
Mezza (mezze/ tapas in the Middle East) was my main fuel for belly and tastebuds. Wow! Mezza in Lebanon made tables groan and filled me with a rainbow of colours and flavours.
Things like Baba Ganoush (Baba Ganouj sometimes), radiant salads, Ful (gorgeous, soft and rich fava beans), loads of pickled veggies, of course, gallons of creamy, sumptuous hummus (I’m not going over the top there), and falafels. Falafels, then falafels and more falafels. I ate piles of those delicious crispy lumps. Mainly in a wrap. I could have done a falafel recipe, but truth is, there no different to the gazillion that are out there now. They are light and cripsy and in one of Lebanon’s most famous falafel places, Falafel Sayhoun, they are heavy on the black pepper. A bit of a surprise. I’ll write more about falafels soon.
I’m a vegan, falafels make up a large part of my dining out diet. Therefore, I probably eat as many falafels per year as your average Lebanese person. I was in good company.
My style is cheap. What to do! I love to travel which means that expensive restaurants are off the menu. I’m fine with that. I seek the best food in the street, down alleys, from little windows and stands, in peoples homes and local restaurants. Basically, the food everyone is eating. the culinary pulse of a place. Cutting edge is great, but I like to go straight to the heart first. I’m very rarely disappointed. I have no interest in decor if the food is bang on.
What we have here are a selection of vegan Lebanese staples. There is one vegan/ vegetarian restaurant in Beirut, but really, the Lebanese cuisine is vegan friendly, there’s a falafel joint on every corner and thats just the beginning. You’ll pick up a fresh juice without any problems, juice bars are all over the place. Plus, there are loads of shops selling nuts, seeds and Turkish delight (normally vegan). Ideal travel snacks when you’re wandering around in search of interesting nooks of cities and towns. Maybe you’re a hiker? Perfect.
One difficulty about ordering/ writing about Lebanese food is that it’s such a diverse place, with bags of culture/ influences, the names and spellings for many dishes seem quite fluid. But here goes, many of which are lifted from scribbles in my notebook.
WHAT I ATE – VEGAN LEBANON
Where to begin? Stuffed vine leaves. Mujadara (rice and lentils – recipe in ‘Peace & Parsnips‘) normally with a tomato sauce, Manouche (see below – like a massive, thin pancake, stuffed with punchy za’atar and loads of olive oil, although fillings vary). What else……sumac was there……..
I really enjoyed the veggie version of Fasoulya Hammanieh, a really rich bean stew which loved warm flat bread. The chickpea is a hero in these parts. I ordered an interesting sounding dish one night and what turned up was just a bowl of chickpeas in their cooking broth with a pinch of cumin on top. Basic, but was really tasty. The cumin, wow, potent stuff.
It goes without saying that the hummus is incredible, creamy and rich. I wrote about hummus recently. The tahini is also, as expected, next level plant-based creaminess. You might know by now, and I not shy to say, tahini is probably my favourite thing in the world. Taking a fried courgette/ aubergine and introducing it to a light tahini sauce is a beautiful act.
I did not manage to find any veggie Kibbeh, which was a shame, but there was enough to keep me occupied. I enjoyed Makdous, bigger aubergine pickles stuffed with nuts. Shades a pickled onion. Batata Harra were a constant source of yum, baked or fried potatoes with a spicy, more-ish coating. Spoon them in with hummus and pickle and again, we’re going somewhere nice for a while.
If you are Lebanese, or just know, what is the difference between Baba Ganouj and Mutabal? Smoking?
LEBANON LOVES FOOD (AND DRINK)!
Lebanese people LOVE eating and many Lebanese dishes can be traced back thousands of years. If it ain’t broke….. Most restaurants and houses I visited had large groups of people sat around lots of dishes of food, drinking sometimes beer, wine or coffee and taking their time. Maybe its the Mediterranean that does this to us. Slows things down, makes us enjoy the good things in life a little more.
Lebanese beer and wine is very good quality, I didn’t know much about it before, but some of the central valleys in Lebanon are making great wines and not too expensive. Arak is popular, an aniseed alcohol which can also be good quality, but is normally proper rocket fuel.
When you drink, you eat. I like that. In the little, bespoke style bars of Beirut, I regularly got a little tray or bowl of something with my drink. A nice touch, especially when you see the price of the drinks!!
Tea and coffee are not such a big deal in Lebanon. At least in public. Unlike Egypt and Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries I’ve visited, there are not many tea shops or cafes. I was told that people tend to drink tea in their homes and Lebanese coffee (Ahweh) is served in the Greek/ Balkan etc style of finely ground (Turkish grind), boiled in a little vessel and served in small, espresso size cups. It’s robust. The resulting coffee is strong, sometimes flavoured with things like cardamom, and leaves that tell-tale sludge at the bottom of your cup.
I didn’t actually sample many Lebanese desserts. Most were dairy based and I was happy with the ubiquitous fruit, I was also normally stuffed from the meals and all that flatbread. Halva, the nutty types, are normally vegan, but I find them overly sweet. I like a little nibble though and it is delicious. Of course, the tahini variety is a favourite.
Is set on the Mediterranean coast and was not long ago, a cosmopolitan city influenced by the French, attracting tourists from around the world with stunning architecture. It is one of the oldest cities on earth. Beirut has had it’s problems, you probably know all about them. Basically destroyed by the recent civil war it is a city being rebuilt, pockets of nightlife, galleries, museums are springing up amidst the ongoing problems. In parts of Beirut, you could be in places like soho, tiny bars and lots of well heeled trendy sorts hanging out drinking cocktails. I stayed in a wonderful hostel in the centre of a well-to-do corner of the city, plush in parts, a place teeming with offices, restaurants and the occasional hummer.
The hostel has a sprawling, open air restaurants downstairs, serving excellent, inexpensive food, with regular live Arabic bands. It was a buzzing place, never dull and the staff were incredible. Saifi Urban Gardens.
Beirut is good for a couple of days looking around and then serves best as a base for travelling around Lebanon, only a few hours on a bus will take you to any corner of the country. Most people staying at the hostel, which is a real hub, were students of Arabic. They did not seem to travel around much, citing tensions and security issues, but most local people just said “Go for it, all is cool.” So I did and was rewarded with many memorable experiences.
A RANDOM VEGAN POKE
Mar Mikael and Gemmayze are where the richer, trendy sorts hang out and there is a thriving bar and cafe culture in these areas, not to mention a diverse restaurant scene. Over the road from my hostel, I bumped into a chef who showed me around his new restaurant, the theme is Poke (pronounced with an accent on the ‘e’, like ‘Ole!’). Have you heard of it? A concept he picked up in Hawaii, mainly seafood and veggies in a bowl. Food that looks outrageously beautiful and he made me a special plant-based bowl. It was dark, no pic. It was interesting to be eating Hawaiian in Beirut.
Poke, Buddha bowls, whatever you want to call them, a very nice way of presenting a variety of foods and punchy flavours. Don’t mix things up, keep them separate and appreciate each ingredients qualities. I think it makes a nice change. If you’re not familiar with these things, you’re probably not on Pinterest/ Instagram (like me).
Of course, being a vegan traveller you right off the majority of most menus when you move around. But in Lebanon, what is left is so delicious and generally varied, that you would not dream of feeling left out of the moveable feast. I lower my expectations and am normally just happy to get fed. In Lebanon, I revised that, and realised that most Lebanese people love their veggies and pulses.
Lebanese cuisine is well up there with my favourites, being vegan, it’s even a little healthy, all that hummus, tahini, vivid pickles, fresh juices and normally wholemeal flatbread.
Lebanon left a big impression more to come soon……The Perfect Falafel and more travel stories On The Road in Lebanon.
I love these little energetic things. The perfect way of cramming loads of nutrition and energy into the smallest possible area. These little balls are packed with protein power and full-on flavour and are highly portable! They went down a treat yesterday, I had to share them with you.
Nuts and dried fruits are nutritional power houses and contain vast amounts of good stuff; sugars and fats. The last two should of course be enjoyed in moderation and these little balls are perfectly portion controlled. Unless you make them the size of a cricket ball ( I prefer more of a squash ball size and smaller) then you’ll be getting the optimum levels of everything you need from a revitalising, healthy between meal booster.
I have kept these very simple and natural. No added flavours, just the nuts, seeds and fruit. I like to use seeds primarily because they taste amazing, but they are also less expensive and work just as well as nuts. I used a good mixture of nuts, but you can mix and match with whatever you have handy. Nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds blend smooth, it is more tough to get a Brazil nut to play ball! This is great when mixed with other nuts, adds a crunchy texture. The same can be said for sunflower seeds, once soaked they blend up nicely, unlike pumpkin seeds which take a little more blitzing action. If you have a high powered blender, non of this really applies, as they will take care of anything you put into them. They’d quite happily blend a bean tin I’m sure (this is an untested theory).
BENEFITS OF SOAKING YOUR NUTS
I mention nut soaking quite a lot in Peace & Parsnips, I think its important to know about and can really accentuate the flavour, texture and nutritional properties of nuts and seeds. It takes a little forward planning but is very much worth it. Nutrients are tucked away in our food and in some occasions, are missed by our bodies. They are not available to the body, so we miss out on all the goodness. This is known as the ‘bio-availability’ of nutrients and soaking nuts in water before using them opens up the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. They have known this for thousands of years in India and soaked almonds are promoted within the Ayurvedic diet for a number of health boosting reasons.
Soaking nuts in water, preferably overnight, inhibits the potentially harmful effects of enzymes inhibitors, tannins and toxins in nuts. Nature doesn’t want seeds and nuts to germinate until the right conditions are present, by soaking nuts and seeds we are creating these conditions. They literally come to life! Enzymes are essential to good health, just as important as minerals and vitamins. Soaking releases more beneficial enzymes that our bodies love. Most nuts also taste better after they have been soaked, they plump up nicely and become crisp. We normally soak to order, but you can soak in bulk. This just means that your nuts need to be dried out a little. You can do this in a dehydrator or in a low oven. The nuts can then be stored in a air tight container and used on cereals and salads.
TOP FIVE REASONS TO SOAK NUTS, SEEDS (AND LEGUMES)
1 – Increase the amount of vitamins, especially B vitamins
2 – Produce greater levels of beneficial enzymes
3 – To make digestion easier
4 – Allows easier absorption of protein
5 – To limit enzyme inhibitors, tannins and potentially harmful toxins
We soak nuts in warm water and some people add a little salt. Cover the nuts and leave them overnight, between 7 – 24 hours is best. That’s it!
REASONS TO LOVE TAHINI (AND SESAME SEEDS)
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is one of our favourite ingredients. A wonderful source of vegan creaminess that creeps into dressings, sauces, stews/ curry’s or mixed with jam/ molasses/ maple syrup and lathered on toast and crackers. Tahini normally comes in light and dark varieties, dark has a much more toasted, full flavour. Its not only the delicious aspects of tahini that are attractive, nutritionally its a proper superstar, its is actually one of the best sources of calcium found in nature and also keeps your skin vibrant and muscles toned. It contains 20% protein which is higher than most nuts and is high in very good fats of the unsaturated variety. See our Foodie Fact below for more nutritional bits and pieces.
Feel free to sweeten them as you see fit (taste the mix before rolling up) but I think they are mighty fine with just the apricots. Good dried apricots will not be bright orange. Try and get some un-sulphured apricots, they are out there and well worth the effort and slightly higher expense. Hunza apricots especially (from Afghanistan) are really interesting. If you are living in an area where loads of apricots grow, you could dry your own and even use the kernels instead of nuts or seeds. Apricot kernels are delicious and becoming quite popular in the UK.
We love to play around with combinations of nuts, seeds and flavourings. The possibilities are huge and its much more satisfying and cheaper to make these at home. The main thing is having a dried fruit to bind everything together, normally soaked so that they break down nicely into a sticky paste. Then add nuts and seeds to the equation, any type that takes your fancy and flavour with things like citrus zest, cocoa/ cacao, rose water, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, pomegranate molasses, spices……etc. Energy balls are a medium for a healthy snack charged with all the nutrition we need when leading an active and healthy life.
Nice sticky mix
The Bits – For 12-15 energy balls
300g mixed nuts and seeds (soaked in water for at least 7 hours beforehand. I used cashew, walnuts, brazils and sunflower seeds)
150g dried apricots (soaked in water for at least 1 hour before hand)
4 tbs toasted sesame seeds
2-3 tbs light tahini
2-4 tbs sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)
Drain your nuts and place in your blender/ food processor. Blend them for a minute of so, scraping down the sides of the blender a few times. Add the drained apricots and continue to blend until a chunky paste is formed. You can keep the apricot soaking water, its lovely and sweet. The mix should be sticky, you will be able to form small balls with it between our fingers. Stir in the tahini and sweetener (if using).
Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate and spread out. With damp hands (stops the balls sticking to your fingers) take a roughly squash ball sized amount of mix (3-4 tbsp) and roll in your palms into a ball. Pop it onto the plate and roll in the sesame seeds. Apply a little pressure when doing this to make them stick. Place the finished ball onto a serving plate. Repeat until all the mix is used up.
These energy balls will firm up in the fridge and keep well in a plastic container out of the fridge. Of course, they will not be lasting that long…..!
These type of energy balls are designed to be portable and travel perfectly. They are especially good sustenance when exercising, down the gym or hiking. They are a boost anytime and sometimes I like to nibble one before a busy day in the kitchen. Intensely nutritious and easy to roll.
Chocolate and Coconut Energy Balls – a simple variation with walnuts, sunflower seeds, cacao, coconut and vanilla extract
Tahini is a great friend of the BHK. Very high in many vitamin B’s and vitamin E. It also contains lot of minerals like iron and potassium and contains chemicals that help our liver detox. Tahini is alkaline which makes it easy to digest and helps with weight loss. As mentioned above it is very high in protein and even higher in calcium. Try a scoop of tahini in the morning instead of dairy products and you are covering yourself for calcium and a healthy raft of other things.
Have you met Cosmos yet? He’s our new garden cat. You may remember our dear Buster who has moved on…….where to we are not sure> Cosmos is a character and it’s good to have him hanging out, lying down and occasionally purring. Cats are great teachers in so many ways.
Tarifa is one of the windiest towns in the world, home to windsurfers and a whole host of eccentric folk (apparently the relentless wind sends people mad!) Most places in Spain have three winds, Tarifa has five! It is located directly across the med from Tangiers, an equally nutty Moroccan town.
Tarifa has long been regarded as a great example of the merging of all things Hispanic and African, not to mention, there is an awesome band named Radio Tarifa who rock our worlds (see below), they’re also a mix of Moroccan, flamenco and other beats. Really when you get down to this coastline, cultural borders blur into one hectic mix of all things med. There is an ancient feel in the air around here, Romans, Greeks, Punics, Carthagens…… it makes sense that people who want to live in such beautiful climes and always have done.
I learnt to make good cous cous and tagine on the open fires and portable gas stoves of Morocco, in garages, date plantations and even the odd oasis. Moroccans are like Italians when it comes to their cooking, namely, don’t mess with it brother!!!! Keep it the way it has always been and momma knows best et al. Which is cool, makes things easier. I cooked a tagine in the Atlas Mountains and added beetroot to the mix and then spent the rest of the evening in some form of food induced exile. They turned their nose up at my meddling with the ancient, alchemical laws of the tagine. Seems I haven’t quite learnt my lesson!
I have had a good meddle here. I love to add a little tahini to the mix to add some richness and paprika is a superb local delicacy that creeps into most things I cook over here on the Costa Calida. The rest is all fine, fresh, fresh, med veg and fistfuls of cumin from the markets of Marrakech to get things flowing in the right direction.
The secret here is a thick and rich sauce to start with and gently steaming the other veggies over that. This makes this dish brilliantly tasty and the veg chunks are cooked until perfectly tender and succulent. The nature of tagine recipes is wide and uber-complex, but this one is straight forward and mighty fine. A tagine is just the pot’s name really, it’s unique conical shape, but it’s what goes into it that matters.
I serve this with fluffy cous cous in a tagine dish, there is plenty of gorgeous sauce to make the cous cous nice and moist. My tagine dish has a very sticky base, otherwise I would cook the sauce in the tagine base and then whack the lid on. That would be the authentic route, but I have used a pan here to make this easier and avoiding sticky situatioGod, I love Morocco, the dunes of the Sahara and the peaks of the Rif mountains are just a hop, skip and ferry away from here and it is calling my name in capital letters. It’s such a massive empty place, full of amazing people and tasty treats. This tagine takes me back……
Tarifan Vegetable Tagine
2 med onions (finely sliced), 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 3 inch cube of ginger (finely chopped), 5 big fat plum tomatoes (chopped rough), 1 courgette, 1 large red pepper, ½ large butternut squash, 4 large carrots (all veg chopped into large chunks), 4 teas ground cumin, 3 teas paprika, 1 teas cinnamon, 1 teas ground coriander, ½ handful roughly chopped dried apricots, 6 dates (finely chopped), 1 heaped tbs dark tahini (dark has a more intense flavour, but regular tahini is fine), 2 cups good veg stock, s + p to taste
350g cous cous (for three), 1 pint good veg stock, 1 teas cumin seeds,
Get a nice good glug of olive oil hot (high heat here) in a large saucepan, pop your onions in and cook until soft and going golden, add your garlic and ginger and your spices. Stir well and often, get it all combined nicely, then add your chopped tomatoes and stir in. It should all be smelling amazing and cooking down well. Taste and adjust accordingly. When the tomatoes have all broken down, 5-10 minutes, add all of your other veggies, stock and dried fruit stir in a little. Stick a lid on it and leave for 30 minutes to cook slowly, no peeking!
When the lid is taken off, you’ll have a gorgeous tagine waiting with plenty of rich sauce to be soaked up by the cous cous.
To cook your cous cous, warm a pan with a little oil and toast your cumin seeds for one minute, then pour in your cous cous and stir well, add some s+p to taste and pour in some freshly boiled water (straight from the kettle is good).
Cover the cous cous with water, 2cm above and then cover tightly with a lod and leave for 20 minutes to cook off the heat. When you lift the lid, fluff the cous cous well with a fork and add a little oil if it needs a little help.
Puerto Mazarron Sunset
As warm as you can, in a tagine dish preferably. Lay out plenty of cous cous on the base, spoon over plenty of sauce and then scoop on your vegetable tagine. Cover with more sauce and a good drizzle of great olive oil.
We like to eat out of the tagine dish in a communal fashion, pop it in the middle of the table and enjoy with your nearest and dearest, just like in Morocco. We had ours with hummus or a nice garlic yoghurt.
At the shepherds house – Bolunuevo, Mazarron
We use tahini in many ways, but here it adds a creamy richness to the tagine without the use of our old friends butter/ cream and the dairy gang, with the added advantage of awesome health benefits and easy digestions. Tahini is full of vitamin B’s, essential for keeping the body ticking over, enhancing metabolism and sorting the immune system out.
Tahini is also rich in calcium and a small blob can contain up to 35% of your required daily intake. Many people believe that tahini boasts the highest levels of calcium in any food!
Here’s the soundtrack to our Tarifan Tagine, the incredible Radio Tarifa:
This is a variation on our Raw Summer Berry Cheesecake that was SOOOOO GOOD we thought we would do it again… only adding some different ingredients to make it tastier and a little more interesting (and smaller!). One for the sweet tooth and can be eaten on a raw food diet too. Try it, it’s amazing!
It was a beautiful sunny day so I put on my shorts, went in the garden, felt super-summery, and then decided to surprise Lee with a beautiful treat for when he got home from work. The strawberries were farm-fresh, juicy, and looked oh so irresistible in the fridge, and the result was a delightful delicate mix of this rich nutty sticky base with it’s thick creamy sweet fruity topping. Such sunny decadence!!!
I just love raw food preparation and cooking. It’s quick, there is very little mess or washing up, and I really feel like I am learning so much about how to combine the ingredients and flavours. It’s so incredible how tasty these blends of foods can be and how versatile these ingredients are – the topping in this recipe is unbelievable! Tahini never tasted so good.
Raw Strawberry Tartlets
200g soaked almonds
Large handful sultanas
Large handful cashew nuts
A shake of cinnamon
A shake of ground (or chopped ginger)
The delicious creamy topping
1 large banana
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
So here’s how it’s done!
Base – Blend the ingredients for the base in a food processor. Make little balls with the mixture and squash flat to make little round mini-bases. This took the longest out of everything because the mixture gets so sticky. Make as many bases as you want, any size or shape you want! Worth persevering with your sticky fingers for the end result 🙂
Topping – Blend everything together and smooth the lovely thick mixture on to your bases. Throw on some chopped strawberries, or any other fruit you may have that looks beautiful; and serve straight away.
You can keep the base and topping separate in the fridge and they will keep well for a few days.
Only add the fruit just before serving for the freshest taste imaginable!
We like it all left out of the fridge, at room temperature. Served in the garden and eaten with teaspoons (to prolong the happiness). Normally with a nice cup of Rooi-al (Rooibos tea with almond milk) or Rooi-soy (with soya milk). The perfect little summer treat.
We Love It!
This is so simple. The most delicious dessert and minimal effort…leaving more time for eating!!!
Strawberries are actually native to Europe, and technically a ‘creeper’. Nothing evokes summertime in Britain more than the coming of the strawberry. Strawberries are very high in vitamin C, our anti-oxidant friend and vitamin B. They also contain plenty of vitamin B and E and have good levels of mineral content. They are also full of phyto-nutrients that are brilliant for the body, they fight diseases and other nasty things. Oh, and they are low in calories.
We are in love with this. It is going on or in most things that we are munching on at the moment. Like most Beach House recipes, its super easy and quick.
Jane and I are both missing big flavours, I normally use a lot of spice in my cooking and they are lacking in our current diet. Jane, of course, adores chocolate. The sensual experience of raw eating is totally different, but this is a very creamy and more-ish dressing to go with the crunch of our salads.
The quantity of each flavour depends on your palate, maybe you like it sweet, maybe you like slightly sour. Have a play here. The flax seeds add a nice crunch and the garlic a little heat. If you are not a huge fan of raw garlic (its fiery) omit the garlic. It will make a great dressing.
We make alot of this, it keeps well in the fridge and I’m sure will soon become on of your ‘house’ favourites.
Makes a decent bowlful
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 tbs tahini
2 cloves garlic (crushed, optional)
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 teas brown rice syrup (or other sweetener)
1 tbs flax seeds
1 teas braggs liquid amino acid (or a pinch of sea salt).
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and bled together with a fork. Taste, adjust flavour according to taste. We like ours quite tangy, so we add a little more vinegar, but there should be a good balance of sweet and sour over the creamy tahini.
You can douse it on vegetables, salads, it would be amazing on new or roasted potatoes (leave overnight in a fridge and let the flavours mingle and soak).
We Love It!
We can’t stop making this and devouring it, smothered on whatever it takes!
Apparently cider vinegar increases memory and concentration, which we need quite desperately. Cider vinegar contains over 90 substances and is actually less acidic than coca cola.
The glorious colours of raw food
We thought you might like to see what we actually put this dressing on.
Above is a picture of last nights dinner, served with the ‘Beach House Dressing’. Jane’s ‘Traffic Light Salad’ with a delicious ‘Butternut Squash and Seaweed Salad’:
Diced butternut squash and courgette, grated carrot and red onion, topped with diced cauliflower and nori (soaked overnight).
This sweet tasty little dessert only took about 20mins to make; a wonder! Any fruit combination is good; summer fruits, tropical, and I’m imagining it tastes just as lovely with the good old British apple or pear come autumn.
We used a tasty selection of mixed berry fruits; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries for this special weekend treat. I decided to make it to surprise Lee because he deserves a treat!
We have really splashed out on fruit and veg at this time of rawness and our nut reserves are well topped up and we’re brimming over with seeds. We have invested in a diverse range of ingredients in order to treat ourselves (primarily our bodies). Some of these treats are not seasonal or local, which is a shame. Next time we may try 100% raw in August/ September when the berries more abundant. We hope that wherever you are in the world, your berries are ripe for the picking!
If you are a raw one, this is the rich, sumptuous dessert that you have been dreaming of. It will also impress any guest, at any dinner party in the world!
You may like to half the filling, this will make more of a tart to a full on cheesecake.
185g almonds (soaked 12-14 hours), 185g dried dates, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla extract
2 avocado, 2 large banana, 8 dates, 4 tbsp tahini (light), juice of a lemon, berries (enough to cover, we used cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries).
Whizz up your almonds in a food processor until they are as small as they will go, and until they are starting to stick together. Add the dates and blend again so that the crust mixture goes all sticky. Add the vanilla essence. If you think it needs to be even stickier add a couple of drops of water. But not too much in case of sogginess.
Put it in a cake tin or bowl; something flat-bottomed and press it down lightly round the edges. Looking like a cheesecake base? Mmmmmm!!
Then it’s time to make the filling. (It’s best made fresh because of the banana).
Blend the banana, avocado, dates, tahini and lemon together until you have a smooth non-lumpy sauce. Should be nice a thick. Spread onto base.
Chop up your fresh fruit and scatter it on, giving a good even covering.
Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour to set. Then serve with big smiles and spoons.
Raw Berry Cheesecake – deconstructed and good to go….
You can deconstruct the cheesecake if you want to keep it over night, it saves the crust getting too moist. Then you just tip the filling onto your own portion like a hearty custard.
I’m quite keen on the custardy option, especially since the sauce is much better eaten fresh and the crust looks like it will keep over night. If there’s any left…
We Love It!
It’s a fruity sweet treat, a healthy equivalent of feasting on a massive bar of chocolate!!!
Fruit (and lots of it) is bursting with goodness! Less is known about the almond – think of them like protector nuts – giving you supplies of all the protective minerals like calcium and magnesium for strong bones. They have vitamin E and many phytochemicals in them, which can protect our bodies from the big C. Dates have all kinds of minerals in them – quite unbelievable. They are not just sugary, they also have a lot of fibre in them too and make for healthy bowels 🙂
This was the soundtrack to raw berry cheesecake times in the BHK, ‘Man on Fire’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:
It was time to wish Savannah goodbye and good luck for her trip to Spain, so we made her a beach house special raw lunch. Over the last few days I have come to realise I LOVE preparing food raw. It is a new found passion for me! It’s so quick, easy, the washing up takes two minutes, and I am learning about some amazing ingredients that make everything SO tasty. Plus the herb garden herbs are becoming so bushy of late they are just perfect.
This makes a jam jar full 🙂
3 large carrots, half an onion, chopped parsley, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp water
Chop the carrot and onion (we used the grater blade in our blender which grated everything perfectly), put everything into the blender and blend for a couple of minutes and then have a little taste – YUM!
We Love It!
This adds a nice bit of richness to our salads and can be used for dipping or spreading on your favourite things.
Tahini has an incredibly high nutritional content, full of most of the vitamin B’s and calcium. In most diets, calcium is taken in via cows milk which is not great for the digestive system, potentially leading to irritation and other difficulties. Many people believe that tahini has the highest calcium content of any food.
Fresh coco and nut yogurt
We thought we’d add this little snack on, we made it as a fatty number to be eaten 3 hours after our sugary morning fruit salad and before dinner (see our Raw Food No No’s for why?) We chopped up fresh coconut, a handful of mixed nuts (unroasted) and a good blob of soya yogurt.
Here was this lunch offering, made by Jane and Sava. A crunchy wonder, with bucket loads of veggies, topped with the ever intriguing, elephant garlic flowers.
This was Savannah’s last meal with us and we wanted it to be special. We rustled up a few different salads, dips and even a piquant beige guacamole.
Sava is originally from South London, but is currently masterminding world domination (Sava style) which means spreading love, happiness and vibrant energy to all corners of the world. Sava is also an ace vegan chef and was the perfect house guest during this raw time at the Beach House. We have spent most of our time sitting around talking about food and travel, two of our most favourite chat topics. Its been a gas….
Sava has an brilliant travel website, all about travelling the world and living your wildest dreams. Its called travel butterfly. Sava has just returned from travelling around Central and Southern America and there are loads of wonderful tales, images and tips to be found there.
These garlic flowers have thick stems with a potent garlic punch (the whole house stank of garlic after chopping a few up). The flowers seem edible, with small yellow petals. One bunch has lasted us quite a few days as its best used sparingly. Warning, if you are worried about garlic breath, do not approach these flowers (and stop worrying).
You may like to add some spirulina, wheat grass or barley grass powder to the topping if you are raw, or even if you aren’t, this would give you a serious boost. These are three heavyweight contenders of the superfood world. It is said that you can live on these green powders (the barley grass actually tastes of dried fish) but not even I will venture this far down the road of cleaning my internals up. The barley powder we have is labelled as a ‘powerful’ food and should be eased into, you wouldn’t want to over do it (this all seems very tame compared to my tequila slammer days, but unimaginably healthier!).
These salads are always super easy to get together, we’ve made them per person so you can just have it yourself, or share with the people you really, really like. This is a big salad and designed to be a main meal so there is a lot of ingredients in it. We realise this goes against some of our ‘The Big Four Raw Food No No’s’ but we are trying to be good! We topped it with the elephant garlic flowers so we could measure the amount we ate with eat spoonful, it also looked great.
Elephant garlic flowers
Per person – Handful of baby corn, 1 carrot (chopped), handful of mangetout, 1 ripe tomato, 1/2 courgette (chopped), 1/2 apple (green and sour is best, chopped), 1 stick of celery, handful of cucumber (chopped), handful of cos lettuce (chopped), 2 teas linseeds, 1 handful of mung bean sprouts, 2 teas alfalfa sprouts.
Topping – Handful of elephant garlic flower (chopped), handful of sunflower seeds, splash of olive oil.
Mainly because Sava made it and she is very lovely indeed. The elephant garlic is amazing and well worth seeking out, it explodes in your mouth and adds a spot of romance to the plate.
Native Americans believe wild garlic to help against ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma and scurvy.
Our Morning Juice Routine
Is stuttering along. We are still getting into the routine of a mid-morning juice. I used to have a nice jug of coffee, now its a yogurt pot full of fresh juice. I know which one my body prefers (bit sometimes I miss that aroma).
Jane made a magic juice this morning with the trusty Magimix. Simple and not really worth a separate post, its similar to a couple we have done before. It was a zesty Apple, Carrot and Ginger. The perfect balance of sweetness with a kick of ginger. Here is Jane mid juice:
Jane making morning juice
We aim to be drinking at least one juice per day and are finding that we are not hungry in the mornings. This would make sense, all of our nutritional requirements are being met, so the absorption cycle of the body doesn’t really kick in until 12pm. That’s when we whip out the salads.
We plan on getting a 25 kilo bag of carrots from a farm down the road and really getting juicy next week. Apparently, if you drink too much carrot juice, you actually turn orange. Watch this space, will make for interesting pictures I’m sure.
This is a staple wonder paste at the B.H.K. I make hummus at least once a week and in my many experimentations with pulverized chickpeas, I can say that this is our fav.
It is nice and simple, lightly spiced and has the lovely sweetness of well-stewed onions. Not your conventional hummus and I don’t like to use loads of oil, I use the chickpea cooking juices and this makes the hummus lighter and lower in fats.
After tasting this recipe, the hummus from your local supermarket will seem salty and stodgy in comparison, and expensive!
We make a big batch that lasts us a few days.
Gigglebeans in the sun
Approx. 3500g dried chickpeas (soaked for a day, then cooked in slightly salted water on a low heat for at least an hour until tender. You can use canned, but their texture is not quite as good), 2 onions (organic if you can, finely chopped), 1 teas cumin, 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas paprika, 1 teas turmeric, 1 teas thyme, 1 teas rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 cup of olive oil, 1 big tbs dark tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed of course!), s + p. Do It
Good glug of oil in a frying pan, gently fry onions for 10 mins, season, then cover and lower heat. Do not colour, gently cook. Leave for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, then take off lid and add spices and herbs, cook for 15 mins more until golden and most of the juice has gone.
Take your cooked and cooled chickpeas and place them in a blender (you can do this by hand, but you need big muscles), add onions, garlic, lemon and tahini, season with s+p. You should add around 1 to 2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid here, use more later to make smoother.
Begin to blitz, adding a steady stream of olive oil as you go. Stop regularly, taste, adjust seasoning, add more lemon, spice, s+p etc, get it just right for you. Remember that the flavours will come together when left in the fridge for a while, getting more intense, also the texture will stiffen so make it a little runnier. A splash of water or chicpea stock is recommended to lighten your hummus. You know how you like it! I like to be able to taste the lemon and tahini over the spices.
On anything! Warm pitta of course, I normally finish it with another glug of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, maybe some sesame seeds if you’re feeling flash.
We regularly have it as a side with a main dish, it adds great richness and creaminess to anything it touches, especially when added to stews (normally just before serving).
The mighty Garbanzo (U.S.), Giggle bean (Germany) and Chick pea (other places) is a super legume. It is incredibly versatile, makes great flour and very good for us. What a natural beaut!
Chick peas are full of fibre, they actually lower our cholesterol and are full of antioxidants. They are colon friendly having a lot of insoluble fibre. Love your colon!