raw plum tartlets + saying goodbye to summer

raw plum tartlets

It’s officially autumn now and, while the temperatures are still warm, little signs of change are becoming perceptible. It’s dark now when I wake up to head to yoga. The mornings are cooler, the breeze crisper. All little, wonderful whispers of the season to come. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of summer – the cooler months are definitely my jam. I’m so looking forward to breaking out the knits and blankets, lighting candles in the afternoon and snuggling up with a cup of tea.

But it’s not quite winter yet, so I decided to farewell summer with the last stone fruits: plums. After the peaches and apricots and nectarines have faded, the plums linger well into the first month of autumn. They are the quintessential transition fruit. They bake up perfectly into cakes (the German cake, Pflaumenkuchen, a yeasted dough baked with plums on top until they’re jammy and soft, is one of my favourite cakes), but I thought I’d go for a light, summery raw vibe.

A creamy, soft filling, flavoured with plums and vanilla (and perfectly pink!), is topped with slices of ripe, sweet plums. It’s slight girlish, like a giggle. But, it’s not sickly sweet or over the top, with a balance between the fresh plums, sweet dates and creamy cashews. (Even Adam, who is rarely a fan of raw desserts, thoroughly enjoyed these little tartlets.) If you’re in the northern hemisphere, with no plums at hand, I’d suggest blueberries, raspberries, or even blackberries as a good substitute (frozen would be fine).

So long summer, you’ve been grand. X

almonds
plum preparation split
saying goodbye to summer
plum tartlets
raw plum tartlet
ready for a bite

raw plum tartlets

makes 4 12 cm tartlets

recipe notes

  • it is only worthwhile making these with soft, sweet plums. if decent plums aren’t available, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries would make a delicious substitution. as would figs, or mango.
  • don’t be tempted to over-sweeten the filling as you are making it – the bases are very sweet.
  • these can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container (still in their tins) in the freezer until required. remove from the freezer and top with fresh fruit when ready to eat.

ingredients

for the base:

  • 1 cup (140g) raw almonds
  • 6-8 medjool dates, pitted
  • a pinch of sea salt

for the filling:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 4 hours
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 plum, stoned and flesh diced (about 1/2 cup)

to serve:

  • 3 plums, stoned and sliced very thin (~0.5 cm thick)
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped

In a food processor, blend almonds with a pinch of salt until they form a fine meal. Add dates and blend to combine – the ‘dough’ should hold together when pressed between your finger and thumb.

Divide the base mixture evenly between four 12 cm fluted tartlet tins (the kind with a removable base). Using moist fingers, press the base firmly and evenly around the tins. Place tartlets in the freezer until required, or at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine all the ingredients for the filling. Blend on high until silky smooth. This could take a few minutes (depending on your blender), and will required the sides of the blender to be scraped down with a spatula a few times.

Equally divide the filling between the tartlets, gently tap pin the sides of the tine to settle the mixture. Return tartlets to the freezer for 2-3 hours, until solid.

To serve, remove tartlets from freezer 15 minutes prior to serving, and let them sit at room temperature. Arrange plum slices on top, and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

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taco fiesta + raw garlic sauce + simple tomato salsa

taco assembly

We’re big into Mexican flavours in this house. Burrito night at our favourite Taqueria is at least once a week, and at home, burrito bowls, mini-burritos and tacos make a regular appearance. There’s something magical about the bringing together of corn, lime, tomatoes, avocado, beans and chilli. It’s fresh and tasty and always satisfying.

Here I’ve included a little recipe for corn-free and gluten-free taco tortillas (adapted from Elenore’s recipe over at Earthsprout). They’re definitely not traditional or authentic in any sense, but I think they’re a nice little change. Also – unlike the gluten-free tortillas you can get from the supermarket, they’re not full of numbers (because numbers are crap). These tortillas are best served straight away, but the next day they also work up nicely into a quesadilla.

The accompaniments are also crucial – lime-y tomato salsa, and a raw garlic sauce that is just so delicious. It uses cashews as the base, so the sauce is creamy and smooth. It’s also great over soups, in sandwiches, on top of salads, or as a dip.

One of my favourite aspects of this sort of meal is that you really can put almost anything in a tortilla – it really depends on what you’ve got on hand – some of my favourites are: fresh (raw) corn, salad mix, avocado, massaged kale, black beans, coriander leaves, sliced spring onions. Basically whatever is good.

Adam and I enjoyed this taco feast last Friday for Valentine’s day, and the next day, the leftovers were just as good. Happy taco-making, friends!

taco-split
simple salsa
tortilla stack
assembly line
taco spread
taco

multigrain tortilas

makes about 15 taco-sized tortillas

adapted from Earthsprout

notes:

  • these are best served straightaway, however the next day they’re excellent warmed and then used to make quesadillas

ingredients:

  • 1/2 c buckwheat flour
  • 1 c millet flour
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2.5 c water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil + more for frying

In a large bowl, combine flours, salt + baking powder. Create a well in the centre, and pour in the water and oil. Whisk to combine. All to sit for 10 minutes – by this time, the batter should have a thick, but flowing consistency.

Heat a frying pan over high heat. Lightly brush with oil. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, tilting it to spread the batter around. Cook for 1 minute or so, until bubbles have formed and the surface is no longer shiny. Using a spatula, flip and cook for another minute.

Remove the tortilla from the pan and wrap in a tea towel – this step is crucial as it traps the steam and softens the tortilla, making it possible to use it for tacos.

Repeat with remaining batter, making sure to lightly re-oil the pan for each tortilla. If not eating immediately, wrap in your tea towel and store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed. The tortillas can be reheated by covering in a damp tea towel and gently heating in an oven until hot.

simple tomato salsa

makes ~ 1 cup

ingredients

  • 125 g cherry tomatoes, diced small
  • 1/8 large, or 1/4 small red onion, diced small
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of 1/4 lime

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and allow the flavours to mingle for 30 minutes before serving. The salsa will keep in the fridge for 2 days or so.

raw garlic sauce

makes ~ 3/4 cup

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight, then drained
  • 1 fat, or 2 small, garlic cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a blender (the higher the speed, the better). Blend on high until the sauce is thick and silky smooth – this make take some time, and will require you to scrape down the sides of the blender every so often. It may be necessary to add 1-2 tbsp water to thin, if desired – but take care to only add 1 tbsp at a time. The sauce should be pourable but not watery. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge until required, where it will keep for 3-4 days.

taco fiesta filling ideas

  • mixed salad leaves
  • fresh, raw corn corns
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • sliced avocado
  • hot sauce (naturally)
  • lime wedges
  • black beans
  • sliced spring onions

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!

mango coconut creamsicles

mango and coconut creamsicles

If summer in Brisbane had a flavour, I’m reasonably sure that it would taste like these creamsicles. Fruity, mango-y, creamy. I really, really, like these creamsicles. You know what I like even more? How smile-inducingly simple they are. There’s no need for added sugar, or topping up with liquids. Throw everything in the blender and you’re there. The perfect summer dessert, no?

A few weeks ago, my mum and I split a tray of lovely mangoes. And, for a few days, Adam and I ate mangoes at nearly every meal. Sliced over breakfast, creamsicle after lunch – heck, we even had Laura’s marinated cucumber noodles over a thick wedge of mango. The good news is, mango season is far from over (it’s not even officially summer yet). And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to spend most of this summer subsisting on LARGE quantities of fruit. Because as I’ve mentioned before, I do not handle heat well (yesterday it was certifiable disgusting – over 30 C (86F) and 65% humidity – needless to say I spent most of the day napping), which means that any food that is cold and only requires a minimum of peeling and cutting is fair game.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet today – I’m presenting at a conference on Thursday, and my paper is well, you know…(not even started)…so I’d better be getting to work. Big love to you all – H.

mango
mango too
creamsicles ready for the freezer
untitled
creamsicles in a row
best summer dessert
 
mango coconut creamsicles
makes 10
 
recipe notes

  • My popsicle moulds take 1/3 cup of mixture (which I think is pretty standard).
  • I’m going to be pretty insistent on using the vanilla bean directly. Extract isn’t going to cut it here.
  • You’ll also need 10 popsicle sticks – I can pick these up pretty easily from a newsagent or craft store.

ingredients

  • 450 g mango flesh (2 large mangoes’ worth)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/4 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (270 ml) whole coconut milk

In a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Evenly pour into your popsicle moulds. Freeze for 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for a further 2-3 hours, until fully frozen. To enjoy, run the mould under a little hot water to loosen the creamsicle.

massaged kale salad w a maple-lemon truffle dressing

massaged kale salad w strawberries, tomatoes + maple-lemon-truffle dressing

The salad screams of the transition between winter and summer. The kale is still going strong at the markets, which are also flush with strawberries (though it’s almost the end of strawberry season…sniff) and tomatoes. What better than to combine them into a massive, delicious kale salad? Nothing, dear reader, could be better than that.

This is a picnic-friendly, make-ahead, forget-about-it-in-the-frigde-for-a-few-hours kind of salad. It actually gets better the longer you leave it sitting in its own dressing (a rare beauty in the salad game). After a little while, the strawberries and tomatoes start to release their juices, enhancing the already kick-ass dressing, which by itself is zingy and light, with a touch of I-don’t-know-what thanks to the truffle oil. The almonds are toasty and crunchy, throwing their nutty, roasted flavour profile in the mix.

I took this salad to a birthday-picnic this past weekend, and perhaps it’s just my ego (a little), but this sturdy salad seemed to go down a treat. It makes a lot, and is definitely a salad to share. Need I mention the sheer physical joy of massaging kale? You may feel a little weird at first, but kale needs love (like everything), and getting your hands in there is the best way to go about it. After its massage, and a few hours marinating? macerating? (what verb to use?!), the kale softens and becomes silky, with the dressing clinging to all its nooks and crannies.

I think I’m going to be eating riffs on this salad all summer long. It’s simple and easy to make, but incredibly to both look at and taste. My sort of food. I’m already craving the next one. Enjoy! x

curly kale
torn kale leaves
tomatoes
the pinkest strawberries
strawberries + tomatoes
fresh mint
the salad of spring
massaged kale salad

massaged kale salad with maple-lemon truffle dressing

serves 6-8

recipe notes

  • If you don’t have truffle oil, don’t worry! Use regular olive oil, and it will still taste great.
  • If you’ve got basil instead of mint, feel free to substitute! I hand mint on hand, so used it.
  • I can’t stress enough how the kale really needs a decent massage here. Don’t be meek. Scrunch, rub, and crinkle it into a massaged glory.

for the salad

  • 1 bunch (3 stems) curly kale, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • 250 g (just over 1/2 lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 320 g (about 5 smallish) tomatoes, sliced into bite-size wedges
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup spring onions, finely sliced

for the dressing

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp truffle oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • lots (about 1/2 tsp) freshly cracked black pepper

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake, or mix in a small bowl. Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces, similar in size to the halved strawberries. In a large bowl, combine the dressing and torn kale. With your hands, massage dressing into kale leaves for at least one minute, preferably a couple more.

Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl and stir (with your hands or spoon, whatever) to combine. Here, I usually add even more black pepper, but – up to you.Refrigerate until required, but eat the same day.

zucchini spaghetti with sun-dried tomato and cashew sauce

zucchini spaghetti for two

If there’s been one meal, above all others, that I have missed since going gluten free, it’s pasta. Holy shit. Pasta is comfort food; is when-you’re-sick food; was THE meal I ordered at restaurants. I know good gluten free pastas exist, but I’ve never found one I’ve loved.

And then, I picked up a beautiful new book The Green Kitchen (from the writers of the equally beautiful blog), and saw this recipe, and it went straight to the top of my list. Zucchini can be noodles?! Consider me intrigued.

spaghetti components
cashews for saucin'
prepared zucchini slices

I was not disappointed. Zucchini noodles are the closest ‘noodle’ to regular spaghetti I’ve found (even Adam agreed, really, and he’s a skeptic). And the sundried tomato and cashew sauce is ridiculously good. I ate it with a spoon. (I imagine it as an excellent dip for raw veggies.)

The Green Kitchen is a truly gorgeous book, full of recipes that I want to make. I’m also in love with the photography and design (a must for cookbooks), so I thought I’d share a few photos from the inside.

the green kitchen 1
the green kitchen 2
the green kitchen 3

I couldn’t find any mushrooms worth eating at the markets (which David and Luisa serve with the noodles in the book), so went for avocado and parsley instead (creamy avocado – in some weird way = vegan version of mozzarella slices. amazing).

Next time, I’d add even more parsely (we’re parsley freaks round here), and even though it ruins the raw-tasticness of the dish, some toasted almonds/pinenuts/pepitas. This dish is all about texture for me, and flavour too. Garnishing with chewy strips of sundried tomato is a also must. (I think you could also make this work with a basil pesto that’s on the runny side, perhaps with a few fresh tomatoes tossed through.)

Even though it’s practically winter here, this was hearty and satisfying. Having said that, however, I’m looking forward to enjoying in on a summer evening, after a 32 degree day, with a vat of iced tea. Divine!

zucchini spaghetti

Zucchini Spaghetti with Sun-dried Tomato and Cashew Sauce

serves 4 slightly hungry people or 2 very hungry people

Recipe Notes:

  • If you’ve got a julienne slicer, or mandoline, go for it. Otherwise, time to practise your knife skills (which is also handy, really).

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 6 hours or overnight
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 200 g (~1 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil and roughly chopped, a few reserved whole for garnishing
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Using a julienne slicer (or your wicked knife skills), slice the zucchini thinly lengthwise to form your noodles. In a blender, combine drained cashews, zest, juice, garlic, oil, and sun-dried tomatoes. Blend until creamy and relatively smooth. Season to taste. Toss zucchini noodles with sauce and 3/4 of the parsley. Arrange on plates, topped with avocado, slices of the reserved sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining parsley. Serve with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

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.