Plummy Blueberry Cherry Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a while since I’ve made one of my famous raw cakes, much to the distress of my poor husband, who then has to resort to junk-food sweets to stave off his inner sugar-monster. Part of the problem has been my new blender. I was kind of dreading facing the reality of having swapped out a seriously mean machine for a pathetic piece of you know what.

It’s part of being a mum. When your son says how much he loves and misses the blender (after he moves out) and you know he probably won’t eat fruit otherwise, it’s hard not to resist giving him the mean machine. The things that love does. Sigh. Continue reading

Lavender Fudge Cheesecake

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1 cup macedamia nuts

1/4 cup toasted buckwheat groats

1 tablespoon of unhulled tahini

8 pitted medjool dates

Put all of these ingredients in your food processor and crush/blend until the mix looks like cooked cake crumble or fresh bread crumbs. To check whether you need more dates, pinch some of the mix between your fingers to see if it squeezes together and holds together if you roll it into a ball in your hand. A taste test at this stage helps too! Is it sweet enough for you?

“Why do they have to be medjool dates?” my husband asks.

“Because they are THE dates. Manna from heaven!”, I replied. They aren’t just sweet, they make everything stick together. It’s got to be sticky enough to firm a fairly firm base in the bottom of your dessert dish, without being too sweet. Add coconut oil or prunes for extra moisture if your food processor isn’t powerful enough to pull this off. Not water- that makes the cakes icy instead of creamy. These are freezer cakes, so keep in mind that they won’t shrink and pop neatly out of a cake tin when you turn it upside down, so be clever about the dish you choose to put your mix into.

MIDDLE

1/2 – 1 *banana

1 cup of walnuts

1 cup of cashews

12 pitted medjool dates

Vanilla essence or seeds (a splash or 1-2 seedpods)

*Bananas are surprisingly strong in aroma and taste, so their use needs to be careful, if you don’t want it to over-power other flavours, but they do give you more bulk without needing extra nuts. If you don’t like the taste of banana in this cake, replace the banana with another cup of nuts

Blend everything in the food processor. Keep going until it clumps together and becomes fairly smooth. I actually prefer texture in most of my meals/dishes, so I don’t make it completely smooth. More moisture does help with smoothness so if you prefer your cakes this way, add coconut oil or use cashew butter instead of cashews.

Remove 1/4 of the mix and put it aside (in the freezer) to use as the base for the ‘icing’ (the top layer).

Now add 1 tablespoon of cocoa or cacao powder to the remaining mix and blend again (Use even more if you really love chocolate and your food processor is tough!) Yum! Spread this mix over the base layer and put your dish into the freezer.

TOP

1 tablespoon of melted cacao butter

1 tablespoon or more of lavender flowers

You can adjust the lavender quantity and add more, but lavender is powerful, so a little bit goes a long way. Stir these ingredients into the 1/4 mix you had set aside in the freezer. If you want some more vibrant colour in this layer, mash/stir/blend in some blueberries.

Spread this mix over the middle layer of your cake and your cake is finished! Put your cake in the freezer over-night and serve the next day. These cakes can last months in the freezer, but do keep them covered.

My daughter (the tea-tasting expert) suggests having a cup of lavender or cocoa husk tea with this cake. We love cake with tea! The flavour balancing is so much fun!

Enjoy

Love Om

Almond and Banana Smoothie

I love delicious, therapeutic food, so I was delighted recently when a friend’s eczema cleared up after I taught her some new recipes. We aren’t exactly sure which ingredient or combination of ingredients worked it’s magic, but the common denominator throughout was almonds, so they are our primarily lead in this wonderful investigation. Having said that, they true champion may be the way certain foods and plant constituents are working together as a whole.

Why might almonds help eczema? Good question. Here are some thoughts:

*In eastern medicine, Almonds clears stagnant Qi from the lungs and lubricate the intestines. When elimination organs like the bowels and lungs are working more efficiently, this supports the health of the skin (another elimination organ).

*Almonds are high in calcium, and in the vegan cheese and dessert recipes I taught my friend, the calcium becomes very bio-available because the Almonds are being softened and moistened by the addition of water. Eczema is associated with calcium deficiency.

*Other potentially eczema-helpful nutrients in almonds include Vitamin E, EFA’s, zinc, B vitamins, biotin, flavonoids, methylquercetin, and catechin.

ALMOND & BANANA THICKSHAKE

*Soak a handful of almonds in water, in the fridge, overnight
*Peel and freeze 1-2 bananas overnight
The next morning, drain and rinse the almonds, and break the frozen banana into smaller pieces so they will fit in your blender.
Add both to the blender along with 1-2 pitted dates for extra sweetness as required, and a dash of vanilla essence to make it even more yummy.
Add soy/nut/oat milk, so that it covers all the ingredients. Soy milk is an excellent calcium choice.
Blend and drink!


(if you would prefer to have this drink towards the end of the day or for dessert/dinner, do the freezing and soaking in the morning rather than the evening)

For extra calcium in your shake:

*Replace the dates with dried figs. You could experiment with chopping and pre-soaking them to make them softer.
*Add 1/2 a teaspoon of powdered kale, which you can get from supermarkets (woolies?)
*Add a few spinach leaves

FB_IMG_1435203512238 Here is a photo from one of my friends, of a drink he made based on this recipe. He added a handful of mixed berries! This is how he describes his technique:

“1 handful of almonds soaked in water overnight. I banana chopped and and frozen. 1 handful of mixed berries. Add to blender, cover with liquid of choice, blend and enjoy. Add more liquid as needed.”




Snack foods high in calcium:

*Dried fruits, esp mango and figs, are very high in calcium, but keep in mind the effect of sticky, chewy sugar on teeth!
*Pink Grapefruit

Other foods high in calcium:

*Parsley and Basil can be grown in pots at home, chopped finely and added to salads, or sandwiches, soups, vegan cheeses/dips/salad dressings etc
*Garlic cloves
*Spinach
*Almond butter spread (instead of butter on sandwiches)
*Chia seeds (instead of muesli, or sprinkled over muesli for breakfast)
*Sesame seeds (try tahini paste an another alternative spread, or use multigrain bread with sesame seeds)
*Tofu
*Blackstrap molasses.

Flowers and Berries Ice-cream Cake

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Being a herbalist I often don’t see much distinction between food and herbs. They all contain the same phytochemicals and can have a therapeutic effect, they are simply used in different ways. Many herbs used in herbal medicine are also considered foods and visa versa, such as oats, nettles, dandelion leaves, artichoke, aniseed, rosemary, turmeric, alfalfa, fennel, ginger, garlic, kelp, tamarind, peppermint and so on. For me, the lines tend to blur between them at times. I delight in pondering the herbal actions of specific foods and exploring the food-like uses and qualities of herbs. And when I’m in the kitchen, this merging of herbs and food can be a lot of fun! Continue reading

Banana Walnut Cake

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7 medjool dates

3 medjool dates soaked in water overnight

2 cups of brazil nuts soaked in water overnight

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together. I prefer a little chunkiness to my mix, but you can keep going until it becomes smoother if you like. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a cake tin. (the kind with sides that spring open when you are ready to release the cake!)


THE BODY

3 peeled bananas

2 cups of walnuts soaked overnight

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/2 vanilla pod

1/4 cup of coconut oil

Add all of the ingredients (except for two of the bananas) to a food processor and blend until relatively smooth. Spoon half of this mix onto the previously prepared base. Then cut one of the bananas up and press the pieces into this layer. When down, add the rest of the mix. Smooth the surface and cut up the third banana, pressing it into the surface. Add a few pieces of walnut to complete the decoration, then put in the freezer to set overnight and eat the next day.