raspberry + rosewater (valentine) smoothie

valentine-smoothie

Valentine’s Day – it’s pretty commercial, and I’m not into that side of it – but I’m definitely ok with taking a moment to express gratitude for the friends, family, and loved-ones that constantly bring joy and love into my life. And chocolate. I’m definitely ok with the chocolate.

This past year I’ve also really woken up to the truth of loving yourself so you can better love others. So in the spirit of that intention, I’ve created a delicious (and probably over-the-top) smoothie that loves your body as much as you’ll love it (I hope). It’s packed full of raspberries, banana and pear, and made extra kitschy by the addition of rosewater. Topped with rose petals, cacao nibs and pistachios, I think it fulfils nearly every corny Valentine’s requirement.

Happy Valentine’s Day friends, whoever you’re loving. For me, I’m going to try and carry that open expression of love throughout the rest of the year. XX

valentine smoothie ingredients
rose petals
love in a glass
valentine smoothie: raspberry and rosewater

raspberry + rosewater smoothie

serves 2 as a snack, 1 as a meal

recipe notes

  • if you’re not into raspberries, strawberries are also delicious

ingredients

  • (~70 g or 1 small)¬†frozen banana pieces
  • 1 cup (120g) frozen raspberries
  • 1 small (~90g) pear, cored and diced
  • scant 1 cup (220 ml) cashew milk (or almond/soy/oat/cow etc)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup/honey/agave
  • 1/2-1 tsp rosewater
  • to serve: cacao nibs, organic dried rose petals, chopped pistachios

In a blender, combine banana pieces, raspberries, pear, cashew milk and maple syrup (or other preferred sweetener). Blend on high speed until smooth and silky. Add 1/2 tsp rosewater, blend and then taste. Adjust sweetness if you would like it sweeter, and add more rosewater if you desire (it can be overpowering, so it’s better to start small and add a little bit at a time).

Pour into glasses and top with cacao nibs, rose petals and chopped pistachios. Soak up the love!

stracciatella ice cream

vegan stracciatella icecream

Oh boy, it’s true, I inherited an ice cream maker. Readers, gird your loins for an influx of recipes for ice creams, sorbets, and all manner of delicious frozen delights. I’ve got a raspberry-cashew idea floating around, along with a hankering for something rich and chocolatey. I knew as soon as I had my eager hands on that ice cream maker (kindly given by Adam’s parents, who weren’t using it), that stracciatella ice cream would be high on my list of priorities.

My trip to Venice just over two years ago is largely dominated by memories of all the gelati I ate. Which was a lot. Four scoops a day? I’m not even lying. It was truly excessive. But delicious. There was lemon, and 70% chocolate, and watermelon, and hazelnut, and strawberry. Served to you, at my favourite gelateria, by a man who my friends and I christened ‘Hot Nasty’ (he was incredibly gorgeous, but slightly surly). But my favourite gelato flavour, guaranteed to be nestled in beside whatever other flavour I was trying, was stracciatella.

You see, the thing is, I’m a vanilla girl. Not that I don’t love chocolate (I really do). But, if you held a gun to my head and said that I had to pick between vanilla and chocolate for the rest of my life, I’d pick vanilla. Hands down. (What would you pick? I’d love to know!) Stracciatella combines, for me, the best of both worlds. It’s vanilla-y and creamy soft, with flecks of dark chocolate smattered throughout. Bliss (if you eat dairy, which I was at the time). Now, I return to Australia, after a dreamy (but hectic trip) and what do I find? That all stracciatella versions I come across are missing something, something subtle, something delicious. I ponder (for a long time). Then, serendipitously, one night at our favourite pizza place, the waiter tells us their gelato flavours that night: vanilla, strawberry, and stracciatella. “Which is vanilla, with flecks of dark chocolate and roasted almonds,” she tells us, in no way understanding the breakthrough she’d just thrown me into. Needless to say, Adam ordered some and I snuck a mouthful (we’re still in the dairy-days here).

And there it was, the something that was missing: toasted almonds. But without any crunch or hint as to their existence. And that really is the secret – grinding them to form a ‘dust.’ So as soon as that ice cream maker was in my kitchen, I knew a vegan-friendly stracciatella was on its way. It’s made on a base of coconut milk, sweetened with maple syrup, and flavoured with what you might think is almost too-much vanilla. It’s silky and smooth without being rich. With the toasted almond and cacao nibs ground to a coarse dust, that ‘oh-my-what-is-in-this?’ feeling is retained. This stracciatella has a depth of flavour that makes me so very happy, recalling memories of a wonderful trip, and the city and people which made it so special. Buon Appetito!

the only coconut milk to use
vanilla bean
sprinkles of cacao nibs
roasted almonds + cacao nibs
almond and cacao dust
stracciatella waves
stracciatella w roasted almonds and cacao nibs
stracciatella ice cream

makes about 750 ml

recipe notes

  • You will make more of the almond-cacao dust than you need for this recipe, but fear not! You’ve just created something that is great as a topping on smoothies, granola, oats and probably even waffles. Store in an airtight container.
  • If you’re not keen on cacao nibs, you could use dark chocolate chips instead (but I haven’t tried this). Blitz them along with the cooled almonds, but be careful they don’t melt everywhere.
  • You could also use agave instead of maple syrup, but personally I enjoy the flavour which maple adds..

ingredients

  • 2 c (500 ml) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 c (250 ml) water
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine coconut milk, water, maple syrup, vanilla seeds, extract and xanthan gum. Whisk to combine. Continue to heat, whisking regularly (so the bottom doesn’t burn) for 10 minutes, or until it comes to the boil. Once it reaches boiling, immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before proceeding.

While the mixture is cooling, combine the toasted almonds and cacao nibs in a coffee grinder or food processor, and blitz them for ten seconds or so, so form a coarse ‘dust.’ Once the liquid has cooled, add to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once everything is moving about, add 2 tbsp of the almond-cacao dust. When finished, store in an airtight container in the freezer. Allow to thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving.

food crush: dates

Welcome! Today I’m introducing a new series to the blog: food crush. Once or twice a week, I have these moments where whatever I’m eating at the time suddenly becomes the most amazing and delicious foodstuff in the whole fucking universe. I’m sitting at my desk, and suddenly I’m like, “Holy Shitballs, <insert food here> is the most amazing thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Ever.”

And then I proceed to swoon over said food for a good five minutes, fantasising about the ways in which I’m going to cook and eat it next. Adam has borne the brunt of many a food crush, as they appear seemingly at random – striking with such a force that it requires immediate, effusive, and loud vocalisation. BAM! Suddenly I need to talk about the majesty of a date, or broccoli, or sweet potato or mint.

So, now, instead of pouring my food crush obsessions into Adam’s ears (actually, I probably still will – sorry A!) I’m going to share my food crushes with you. I’ll aim to provide a recipe for a favourite way to eat my food crush, with links to several of my other favourite recipes.

dates

Now for today’s food crush: dates. Holy crap, guys, have you ever eaten one of these things?! (And not the weird dried out ones, I’m talking Medjool.) Of course you have, and if you haven’t, please, please do! Eat them, and be swept up into a swoon of caramelly, chewy, soft (can something be chewy and soft at the same time? I think dates can!), sweet, rich, and moist. Procure one as soon as possible, put it in your mouth, and that way we can crush on dates together.

date

My love for these little suckers knows no bounds. Not only because of they amazing flavour by themselves, but you can do so much with them. Raw desserts? Baked desserts? Sweetener? Snacks? Dates can do EVERYTHING. Plus, PLUS: all that fiber’s gotta be good for you.

ready for the freezer

The most frequent ways I eat dates are: by themselves as a snack (perfect for afternoon sugar cravings!), or in raw desserts (or snacks, no judgment here!). The recipe I’ve included here is for raw cacao chip brownie balls (a hybrid of recipes from My New Roots and oh, ladycakes). Make them, shove them into your mouth and relish their chewy, truffle-y goodness – brought to you by the magical properties of dates, of course. I should note the truffle-i-ness is offset by crunchy cacao chips, which is just about as good as it gets in my books. Perfect for emergency sweetness and chocolate cravings – pull one out of the freezer and BAM! date-y goodness for you to enjoy.

A few of my other favourite date-licious recipes:

A few more ideas for using dates:

  • Bake them into banana bread, or banana muffins.
  • Like in this recipe, use them to replace sugar.
  • Add them to savoury Morrocan tagines (spicy, tomato-y sweet potatoes with dates?! DIVINE).
  • Remove the seeds and stuff them with almond paste.
  • Pop them into smoothies for natural sweetness and toothy texture.

stirring in cacao chips cacao chip brownie balls

Raw Cacao Chip Brownie Balls

makes about 30

Recipe notes:

  • You could press the dough into a brownie tin, freeze, then cut it into slices. But, I really prefer the tablespoon and roll method. The tin method is good, but I can never cut the brownies into the right size.
  • Use any combination/amount of nuts you like (as long as you’ve got 2 cups total): almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • If you like, reserve 1/4 cup of any nut, chop them and stir them back into the dough at the end with the cacao nibs.
  • If you’ve got half a vanilla pod lying around, scrape the seeds in, for extra flavour.
  • For an extra cacao hit, you could roll the balls in more cacao before you put them in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds or raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

In a food processor, blend the almonds/cashews (I used cashews in this version), walnuts, hazelnuts and cacao powder into a fine meal. Add the dates, water and salt, blend for a further minute or so, until the dough forms and sticks together when pressed. Stir through the cacao nibs. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop level tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, rolling them into balls. Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes, and they’re ready. Stored in an airtight container in the freezer, they should keep for ~ 6 months.