Raw Carrot, Cashew & Pesto Tart

 

Work is now well underway with the new book, which means I’m up to my ears and elbows in ingredients whilst I recipe test this and that. Some recipes are ones I stored (not literally) from the last book (we just couldn’t fit everything in) but most are brand spanking new, and everyday there seems to be more – aaarrgghh! The hard task is deciding what ones to use so I’ll be filtering a few out from time to time here on the blog.

 

This raw tart is one such recipe. I absolutely loved it (and so did my Hubby) so I wanted to share it now rather than wait. Now, I know I was ranting on about stews and casseroles not so long along but I feel Christmas is far enough behind us that we can properly contemplate Spring and get our systems officially prepped and ready.

 

Raw food is a bit of a passion of mine and as the months become warmer I try to include more dishes like this in my diet. It’s not so much a cleanse but I can’t deny eating this way makes me feel kinda amazing and maybe a wee bit smug… although I know 100% raw is out of the question for me – I just love my stove/oven too much. In saying that,when summer hits I’ll be back to eating my two raw meals a day and one cooked (usually in the evening – I’m a sucker for a summer bbq), which I’ve discovered is a good balance for me.

 

This triple layered tart (pie, slice, whatever you want to call it) is a great combination of tangy, herby and subtly sweet – that’ll be the carrots for ya – and makes for an impressive little starter or lunch option. The trick here (and with all raw food really) is selecting/using the correct equipment – that is, knowing when to utilise the blender, food processor or, as is often the case with me, my trusty Delia mini chopper. That thing never fails me.

 

I sometimes get messages regarding raw cheesecakes or cashew cheeses saying the texture wasn’t quite as smooth as they had hoped, and usually this can be directly attributed to what equipment was used. That is, for crusts and cheeses, I will always use a processor or mini chopper (depending on the quantities) and for creams I rely on my blender. Now, this doesn’t have to be a fancy high-speed blender but I can’t deny my Froothie does help in getting those creams and cheesecakes especially smooth.

 

For the pesto part, it can go either way but my preference here is to go down the mini chopper route because you’ll want to retain a little coarseness to aid the overall texture – crucial with raw food, in my humble opinion. You might need to scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula but that’s no great hardship in the grand scheme of things.

 

You could achieve a firmer consistency overall by popping each layer into the freezer in between but seeing as I currently don’t possess one (although hopefully that will soon be rectified) I made do with the fridge and it turned out pretty great. To ensure the layers don’t bleed into one another, do make sure each one is fairly well set (it will never be solid) before adding the next – the coconut oil addition definitely helps.

 

I love serving tarts like this on a rustic wooden board in the centre of the table and let everyone help themselves. The vibrant colours go a long way to dispelling those longheld myths that raw food is all ‘rabbit food and deprivation’ and gives it more of an inclusive, accessible feel – not some holier than thou cuisine that serves to alienate half your guests. Not my style. I’m all about winning people over through delicious, wholesome, attractive food… and, thankfully,  I’ve not had any complaints yet.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Your raw food future is just a slice away – you might be surprised how good it actually tastes.

 

 

what you’ll need

for the crust

2 small carrots

70g walnuts

1 tbsp mixed seeds

1 heaped tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

salt & pepper

 

finely grate the carrots and squeeze out any excess juice into a bowl – reserve this juice for the sauce.

 

place everything into a processor or mini chopper and blitz until it forms a fine rubble. taste for seasoning and add a little more salt & pepper if necessary.

 

line a small tray or loaf tin with baking parchment and press the crust evenly into the bottom.

 

freeze or refrigerate for half an hour.

 

for the cream

130g soaked cashews

juice 1/2 lemon

50ml water

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

salt & pepper

 

place everything into a blender and blitz until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.

 

check for seasoning and then pour over the carrot crust, reserving one heaped tablespoon for the carrot sauce. Smooth out with a spatula.

 

freeze or refrigerate for around an hour.

 

for the pesto

30g basil Leaves

30g spinach

2 tbsp mixed nuts (walnuts and pecans work best)

juice ½ lemon

1 small garlic clove

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp flaxseed oil

salt and pepper

 

place the pesto ingredients into a small food processor or chopper and blend until coarse but spreadable. taste for seasoning and add a touch more salt and pepper if necessary.

 

refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 

for the carrot serving sauce

reserved carrot juice

1 tbsp cashew cream

1/2 medjool date

 

place the reserved carrot juice into a blender, add the cashew cream and date and blitz until completely smooth.

assembling the tart

 

carefully lift the tart out of the tin and ease it onto a serving board. spoon over the pesto and carefully spread out using a spatula.

 

drizzle over the carrot sauce and adorn with crushed hazelnuts

 

et voila, your raw vegan tart is served!

 

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Currently Coveting


 

I am just about clinging on this month so I need every materialistic comfort I can get my hands on to see me through. Surrounding myself with pretty things is just the ticket to beating these January blues and a good book (namely ‘Not That Kind Of Girl’) is also required, especially during this so-called ‘digital detox’ I’ve imposed upon myself. Luckily for me Lena Dunham’s witty writing style is perfect bedtime fodder and the make-do tea lights (more on those in a minute) are on point too in setting that sleepy-bye-byes mood.

 

A couple of things here are Christmas gifts from my Husband (that man truly gets me) but before I wax lyrical about my latest Mary Quant scarf let me draw your attention to the cute personalised stamps I acquired from NotOnTheHighStreet. I must confess, I’d never ordered anything from there before although I’ve always been intrigued by their wares. I’d intended to give out edible gifts at Christmastime (hence the stamp) but unfortunately due to my absolute self-confessed stupidity I listed the wrong postcode meaning it (along with the requisite cellophane bags) didn’t arrive in time. Ugh. Idiot. Thankfully I’ll still get good use out of them but I was infuriated (at myself) at the time.

 

Onto the scarf then. Another absolute beauty sourced online and given to me by my wonderful Husband… I adore Mary Quant and this colourful option is going to get so much wear during the summer. I’ve been playing around with different ways to style it although I think I’ll probably end up using it most as a headscarf. What can I say? J’adore.
 



 
The charm bracelet was a ridiculous (like, five quid ridiculous) bargain I found at a terrific vintage jeweller’s in Derry called The Whatnot. They have sooooo much incredible stuff in there, I could seriously spend hours browsing the shelves. We were actually on some official earring business (my Dad was buying my Mum’s Christmas gift) when I spied it out of the corner of my eye and knew I had to have it. I kind of feel like it’s an homage to our London days, even though it wasn’t actually bought in London. And I can’t deny, I did come over all nostalgic for those happy years we spent in the capital although I’m not sure how much fun it would be now. Rose tinted glasses, eh?

 

Herbal teas are where I’m at and Yogi is a fav brand of mine – this one was Sweet Chai and it has a real spicy kick to it. Sometimes I add a splash of soya milk and a teaspoon of agave but today I enjoyed it ‘au naturale’. I also love how each bag comes with a philosophical saying or quote. This one read:

 

In distant travel you learn about yourself

Too true.

 

Having just recently discovered my skin type is ‘dry’ (and what with this winter weather wreaking havoc with my skin) I was desperate to find a natural solution. I did some research (YouTube is a wondrous thing!) and Argan Oil came up a lot, so I knew I had to try it. I’ve been using it solidly since before Christmas (I apply it after removing my make-up in the evening) and now I’m a total 100% Argan Oil convert – it really does live up to the hype. Whereas before I was waking up in the morning with a tightness in my skin, it now feels soft and supple and totally hydrated. If, like me, you also suffer from dry skin then I honestly can’t recommend this stuff highly enough. The brand I went for was Dr.Organic, which can be purchased at Holland & Barrett. Go try it ! Now!

 

Oh, and those simple glass tealight holders once contained scented candles. All I did was wash them out and I must say I really am quite taken with them. That’s my kind of recycling! What are you currently coveting? Leave me comment below.

 

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‘Keep it Vegan’ at Waitrose Cookery School


 
PHOTO CREDIT – ALI ALLEN

Okay, so January isn’t exactly whizzing by but maybe that’s not such a bad thing … after all it gives us time to really adjust to those resolutions. If you’ve decided to give Veganuary a whirl or are just looking to tweak your diet for the better then why not join me for a full day of vegan cooking at the Waitrose Cookery School in Finchley on Saturday 24th January between 9.30am and 4pm. There are still some spots left on the course (but you best hurry before they sell-out!) where I’ll be taking you through some specially selected recipes from my book ‘Keep it Vegan’.

 

The price for the full day is 150pounds, which will supply you with all your ingredients and equipment plus wine with lunch. The course is not aimed directly at vegans either – everybody is welcome at my table and I am so excited to connect with you all in reality. So, even if you’re just a teeny bit curious or simply want to expand your vegan/veggie menu (especially handy when you have vegan guests!) I have endeavored to tailor the day to be as expansive and inclusive as possible.
 
Here’s what you can expect…
 
When you arrive you will be met with freshly prepared Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins and Bircher Muesli, which you will then learn to make yourself.
 
Afterwards we will begin preparing our lunch, which will include my Macaro-no Cheese followed by one of my personal favs from the book – the Indian Spiced Tacos. Next up I’ll be offering some tofu tips before taking you through my Sweet ‘n’ Sour Tofu dish step by step. This will be accompanied by my Green Bean Salad with Lemon, Garlic & Chilli as well as the ever-popular Cumin Spiced Carrots - because, in my opinion, side dishes are equally important as the main!
 
Dessert dishes will include my easy-peasy Carrot Cake Bites (for the health conscious amongst us) as well as my super-rich Fudgy Brownies (for those of us who don’t mind a little sugar in our lives). Yikes, I don’t know about you but I’m full already, haha!
 
To cap the day off I decided to go with my No-knead Carrot & Courgette Bread alongside my Balsamic and Black Peppercorn Cashew Cheese because they’re great ones to have up your sleeve. And that’s that!
 
I will, of course, be available to answer any questions you have so feel free to ask away on the day – look forward to seeing you there!
 

BOOK YOUR PLACE ON THE ‘KEEP IT VEGAN’ COOKERY COURSE HERE

 

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‘New Year, New You’ Cannellini Bean & Spring Green Stew


 
It’s a new year folks and I for one am ready to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Sayonara 2014, I’ve seen enough of your sorry ass and I’m more than ready to move on. In honour of this fresh beginning we have laid out before us (please be kind 2015!) I’ve decided to strip things right back to basics. Nothing fancy. No unpronounceable ingredients or long-winded instructions. Simply a straightforward stew. Comforting. Familiar. Seasonal. And super easy to make. I (and I hope you) approve.

 

I talked of resolutions in my last post and I’m pleased to inform you that one in particular has been something of revelation. The whole ‘no internet before bed’ thing is having a staggering effect on my sleep. Not forcing stimulation on my already tired, social-media sensitized brain is like a magic cure for overactive minds that tend to worry into the wee hours of the night. It’s quite literally like turning off the light in my head. If you haven’t made such a resolution yourself, I seriously urge you to give it a go – especially if you’re in need of a good nights kip like myself.

 

Back to the stew then. Straight-up comfort food is what I’m after during these dark months – not least in January when my morale is at an all time low. Just when I think I have a handle on things, boom, something else sidles out of the woodwork just to add an extra level of stress to my day. Hence the ultra pared down images with minimal accessories, which kinda reflect my current need to focus on the job at hand without any major distractions. Chance would be a fine thing.

 

I realise this probably all sounds like I’m talking in code but suffice to say the second book is underway meaning the next few months are going to be cra-zy. Not least because the current book is yet to be released in the US (it’s launching in Feb, by the way) so it’s all systems go. I’ll be blogging as much as I can during this hectic period – I actually find a lot of solace here and it’s also a great way for me to flesh out ideas. For now though, a soothing bowl of spring green stew it is.
 


 

what you’ll need

1 tbsp olive oil

2 brown onions

2 large carrots

3 celery sticks

1 sprig rosemary

several sprigs of thyme

a few sage leaves

4 cloves garlic

5 salad potatoes

1 vegetable stock cube

380g drained cannellini beans

two large handful spring greens

salt and pepper

30g flat leaf parsley

 

what you’ll do

heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery and add to pan. season, cover and sweat for several minutes until they begin to soften.

 

finely chop the rosemary, thyme and sage. add to pan and stir to coat. sweat for several more minutes. finely slice the garlic and add to pan. cover and let the garlic infuse for a few minutes.

 

roughly chop the salad potatoes and add to pan. stir to combine before covering with water and adding the stock cube. bring to gently simmer and cook for around 10-15minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

 

add the spring greens followed by the drained and rinsed cannellini beans, season and cover. let the greens wilt into the stew before stirring to combine, then simmer gently for around 10minutes. check seasoning and serve with a generous scattering of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. a hunk of crusty bread would be perfect to mop up any juices too.

 

 

 

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2014… the year that was

 

Well folks, that’s a wrap. For 2014 anyway. It’s been a mix of the very good (I released my first cookbook and signed a deal for the second) and the very bad (my Dad was diagnosed with Brain Cancer) – I think that’s called irony or perhaps it’s just ‘life’. Thankfully we have rallied together at this traumatic time and even though we’ve been essentially knocked for six, we enter the New Year positive and full of hope. Heck, what’s the other option?

 

I thought it would be an appropriate time then to take a look through the blog and pluck out a few of my highlights. As ever, I’m always looking to improve my content and I’m still refining my style (whether it be food or fashion) and the yearly blog review is a great way of tracking my tastes and how they continue to evolve. Being self-critical is par for the course in this game (as my fellow bloggers will verify) and whilst I’ll be the first to point out my failings, I find it nigh impossible to take a compliment graciously. So, even though I’m not one for resolutions I’m hoping to take it a little easier on myself in 2015… well, I’ll certainly try.
 


 

Other ‘resolutions’ (such as they are) include (1.) Eating our evening meal at the table (2.) Not using our phones before bedtime and (3.) Spending more time in the sea. In between I’ll be squirreling away on my new book (whilst still trying to promote this one – the US launch is in Feb!), getting back to Derry as much as I feasibly can to see my Dad and living my beautiful Cornish life. From me to you then I wish you all a peaceful, happy and successful New Year – see you on the flip side!
 

from the top…
 

1. Living the Dream

2. Vegan Beetroot Chocolate Cake

3. Spring Uniform

4. Keep it Vegan

5. Pomegranate & Thyme Mocktail

6. Vegan Wholemeal ‘Buttermilk’ Scones

7. Keeping it Real

8. Power Smoothie

9. In the Rushes

10. Eggplant Involtini
 

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Fiery Festive Ginger Tea Loaf


 

If you love ginger as much as me then you’re guaranteed to go gaga for this fiery tea loaf. It’s got real bite (thanks to the freshly minced ginger inclusion) with just enough sweetness to make it the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea… that’s how we roll in this house anyway but feel free to have it any time of day with whatever preferential beverage you please. Whilst I’ve not been doing as much baking and general Christmas cooking as I usually would (I simply don’t have the time this year) I made a point of rustling this loaf up the other morning in order to inject a little homemade holiday spirit into the kitchen – forcing the festive issue you might say. Being away from my own surroundings where I have all my utensils/tools etc. to hand can certainly be a challenge and even though I shouldn’t use that as an excuse for my blogging tardiness, I am. Ha.

 

With mere days to go, however, the familiar panic is palpable but I’m eager to get ahead of the game by starting my official Christmas prep tomorrow… technically I gave it a nudge today by making my first batch of homemade goodies that will (hopefully) be placed in some cellophane bags, tied with pretty ribbon and adorned with a personalised stamp. If they ever get here that is, as I cleverly put the wrong postcode on all my Christmas orders -HURRAH! I actually almost went into meltdown mode when I realised I’d done this (can you say facepalm?) but still await my Lakeland/Not On The Highstreet delivery with baited breath. Something tells me I’m gonna waitin’ a looooong time.

 

Regardless, the gifts will be made (I’m doing a mixture of truffles, ‘rocky road’ and brownies) and lovingly placed in some sort portable receptacle that will either impress or confuse. I’ve decided I’m not going to stress myself out too much about it though and enjoy these last few days before Christmas – we’re even shoehorning in an overnight stay in Dublin before picking my Sister up from the airport after which we will then literally be ‘driving home for Christmas’. Cue the singing.
 

 

what you’ll need

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup simple syrup or other sweetener

1 cup soya milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 deglet nour dates, finely chopped

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

 

what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/ 350 fahrenheit.

 

gently whisk the flour, sugar and spices together to get rid of any clumps.

 

whisk the coconut oil, soya milk, syrup, vinegar and extract together until thoroughly combined. stir in the dates and minced ginger.

 

make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the wet mixture. fold gently until everything is combined and then pour the batter into a medium greased loaf tin.

 

tap the loaf tin on the surface to get rid of any air bubbles and bake for 45-50mins or until a skewer comes out clean. remove from oven let it rest for 10mins before turning it out onto a wire rack. serve warm or let it cool and dust over a little icing for an extra festive flourish.

 

 

 

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Homemade Almond Milk

 

Please tell me I’m not the only one panicking about Christmas? Whilst I’ve now made a dent in my Christmas shopping (Thank God for TKMaxx!) I’m so behind on all the awesome plans I had for homemade gifts. I’ve also been away from my own home, which has somewhat thrown a spanner in the works with regards to my blogging… side note; nothing beats the light in Cornwall. Of course, it’s super spending time with the folks and I’m doing my best to make sure Dad is getting all the goodness he requires but that means this little space needs to take a backseat.

 

If you follow me on instagram you’ll notice I posted a seriously lush  ’Christmas CousCous’ dish I’ve been working on (I’ve gone persimmon mad this season) but I just didn’t like how the photos turned out so I’m keeping that recipe on the back burner for a bit. In place of that I thought I’d offer up my fail-safe method for Almond Milk of which I am always obsessed. And because I like my almond milk slightly sweet I’m happy to add a medjool date or two or even a squeeze of agave – actually my preference, as it doesn’t mess with the beautiful bright white colour of the milk… fickle, moi? For a flavoured milk why not play around with various extracts yourself or add a spoonful of cocoa/cacao for a yummy chocolately milk… really great for kids! I will be popping back throughout the week with other handy recipes to see you through the festive period. Now though, it’s time to hit Lidl to see what Christmassy vegan treats they have in store.
 

what you’ll need

85g (1/2 cup) whole raw almonds

350ml (1 1/2 cups) water

pinch salt

optional…

1/2 tbsp pref. sweetener (eg. agave) or two medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

what you’ll do

place everything in a blender and blend on a high speed until smooth. pass through a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag. chill for at least an hour before serving – will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

 

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Five Festive Favs


 
Can you believe we are less than three weeks away from Christmas? Seriously, where does the time go?! I’m here in Ireland helping out with my Dad (who is soldiering on magnificently, by the way) whilst trying to get myself in the festive spirit … and all without my Hubby by my side. He’s currently still in Cornwall but will join me here on the 20th. I. Can’t. Wait. My Sister flies in from the States on Christmas Eve (no doubt we’ll be the ones picking her up at the airport), which is when the festivities will truly commence. So, as you can see, it’s a bit of a weird one this year but I’m still as gung-ho as ever about maxing out all Christmas possibilities. And that means (first and foremost) family, (secondly but also crucial) food as well as films, fashion, beauty, gifts, wrap, cards and carols… and anything else that makes Christmas, Christmas. It’s a long list, so lets leave it there.

 

Anywho, here are some bits and bobs that are making my Winter a little brighter starting with the bling. Now, you’re probably thinking this necklace is a bit OTT and I would tend to agree. In fact, it’s so not me I’m amazed I actually bought it but hear me out before you click on another blog with decidedly better taste. I’ve been on the lookout for a statement necklace for a while. In truth I was hoping to nab one of those JCREW style pieces that make a simple outfit a standout one but (1) they are usually way out of my budget and (2) up until spying and trying this one I was unsure I could pull it off in the nonchalant way I desired. Fast forward to me wandering around Debenhams when this not-so-little beauty caught my eye in Phase Eight. I was wearing a denim shirt at the time (a JCREW one, in fact – ha!) and immediately threw it on. Let’s just say I was instantly smitten and my Mum loved it so much she actually bought it for me – thanks Mum! It’s going to get a lot of wear this Christmas – watch out for a plaid shirt, blingtastic statement necklace combo very soon.

 

Another day, another shopping trip and this time it was Wallis that came up trumps with their incredible range of leather-free boots and shoes… seriously vegans, check out their website pronto, they have an impressive array of footwear available and it’s all so reasonably priced! Again, I had been on the lookout for a pair of black ankle boots and was finding it impossible to find the right kind… y’know what I mean, cuban-style heel (not to high, not too low), nice textured pleather (always looks better than smooth) with a bit of an ‘edge’. Well, these ‘mid heel cowboy boots’ were (are) them. I almost shrieked when I checked the label only to discover they could be mine after-all … don’t you just love those ‘man-made’ fabric moments?
 


 
And then there’s this hat. A cute pompom adorned number that, yes, you guessed it, is also made from synthetic fibres. I’m on a roll here. It was love at first sight – although I did wrangle between the rust and mustard before settling on this one because, you know, mustard. It’s already a staple. If you’re after one yourself check the men’s section in New Look.

 

Confession time. I’m not a big wearer of nail varnish. Tootsies, yes. Fingernails, no. I think it was my violin playing past that put me off having anything of colour on my hands – I just found it way too distracting. However, I’m really trying to break the habit of a lifetime and this vegan friendly mustard gelly polish from cruelty-free beauty brand BarryM is just the ticket to ease me in. Whilst I’ve had it on my toes for a while now I think it’s time to give the aforementioned fingernails a go… and this gorgeous hue could not be more fitting. Check instagram for the upcoming nail varnish wearing evidence.
 

Dionne Necklace /Phase Eight @ Debenhams

Mid-Heel Cowboy Ankle Boots/Wallis

Navy & Mustard Bobble Beanie/New Look

Mustard ‘Gelly’ Varnish/BarryM

Patent Mary-Janes (similar here)/Topshop

 

Shoes, shoes, shoes. A girl can never have too many, am I right? I actually bought these patent Mary-Janes a few months back (and I can’t find the exact ones on their website now… sorry!)but knew they would come into their own around Christmas time. They really lift any outfit (equally perfect with pants, dresses and skirts) and are a must-have in my opinion. Again, it was squeal-time in Topshop when I realised they weren’t actually leather. Adorable and cruelty-free – what more can you ask for?

 

What are your current festive favs?
 

 

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Chocolate Chestnut ‘Mont Blanc’ Cups


 
I may be vegan but for me the queen of Christmas is, and will always be, the incomparable Nigella. No-one oozes festive cheer in quite the same way as the lovely Ms.Lawson and whilst I would love for her to promptly board the vegan bandwagon (Jamie and Hugh are both enthusiasts) and give us some plant-based recipes already I’m quite happy to veganize her already existing ones myself in the meantime.

 

I’m not ashamed to admit that leafing through ‘Nigella Christmas’ is undoubtedly one of my guilty pleasures at this time of year and I have a few firm favourites that I rely on regularly to help me out of any impromptu visitor fix – with her oh-so-easy ‘Easily Scaled Mont Blanc’ dessert being just one of them. I probably don’t need to tell you that this is one of the simplest veganisations (is that even a word?) ever. Simply swap out the whipped cream for sweetened whipped coconut cream or a dollop vanilla infused cashew cream (or even some soyawhip… I won’t judge if you wont!) and et voila you have yourself an awesome vegan alternative pronto.
 
But (but, but, but!) having done this several years on the trot I thought I’d go one step further and switch it up with my own (slightly healthier) version that still has the chocolately ‘soil’ bottom, unctuous chestnut filling and luscious ‘snow capped’ cashew cream peak… somebody has clearly been reading too much la Lawson lately, ahem.
 
In all honesty though, I was delighted with the richness of this (almost but not quite ‘raw’) dessert and despite being refined sugar-free (all hail the mighty medjool date) it felt decidedly indulgent – perfect for an alternative Christmas pud. Dont’ panic though, I’m still obsessed with these little French tins of sweetened ‘marron’ joy and you’ll probably find me spoon in hand eating it directly from said receptacle with gusto over the festive period. However, should I find myself in another chestnut bind (these things happen) I’ll know exactly what to do, safe in the knowledge the results will be equally decadent and impressive. Hurrah!
 


 

what you’ll need

for the chestnut puree

1 cup cooked chestnuts

3/4 medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch seasalt

 

for the base

1 heaped tbsp chesnut puree

1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 cup chopped almonds

 

for the cream topping

1 cup cashews

1 tbsp agave

1 tsp orange extract

 

what you’ll do

soak the cashews overnight. drain, rinse and blend with the agave and about 1/4 cup water until smooth, adding a little more water as and when needed. once completely smooth and creamy add the orange extract and blend until incorporated. chill.

 

blend the chestnuts with the dates, vanilla extract, salt and a splash of water until smooth. you may need to scrape down the sides of your processor several times. chill.

 

blend 1 tbsp of the chestnut puree together with the cocoa powder and almonds until it form into a putty. press about a tablespoon’s worth into 4 muffin moulds and chill in the freezer for about an hour.

 

remove the chocolate bases from the moulds and fill each one with chestnut puree. top with the orange infused cashew cream and finish with a little grated chocolate and grated orange zest. chill until needed or eat immediately.

 

 

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Super Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

 

Bundt tins are my ultimate baking weapon. There’s no batter they can’t remedy with their impressively pretty exterior making them a must have kitchen essential. Luckily this recipe is equal parts substance and style, which is just as well because I’ll be serving it up for Thanksgiving dessert tomorrow. Yep, I’ve forgone the usual pumpkin pie option for a sweet potato cake – risky, I know! Luckily my guests are complete Thanksgiving novices so they’ll probably be none the wiser. Served with a dollop of orange infused cashew cream and I reckon (hope) it’ll be a slam dunk. Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

 


 

what you’ll need

3 cups self raising flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 heaped tbsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

2 small sweet potatoes (1/2 cup puree)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup coconut water from a can

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup agave or maple syrup

 

what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven to 200 degree celsius. prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake for around 45mins. remove and allow to cool before scooping out the flesh and blending until smooth. turn the oven down to 175 degrees celsius.

 

place the flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices and sugar in a large bowl and lightly whisk.

 

whisk together the puree, coconut oil, coconut water, extract and agave until smooth.

 

make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the puree mixture. fold gently until combined.

 

pour the batter into a greased bundt tin and bake for 35-40mins. let it cool for 10mins before gently tipping out onto a cooling rack.

 

serve with a dollop of sweetened cashew cream or whipped coconut cream.

 

 

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