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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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!

buckwheat granola + breakfast oats for one

granola

Hello – right off the bat – I missed you guys. But now my chapter is in (fucking, yeah!) and I can return to my little corner of the internet newly reinvigorated and ready to fill your screens with marvellous things. Ready?

I’ve had several little realisations lately – like that my favourite colour is yellow, not blue – or that the metal circle on the side of my toast tongs is a magnet (genius, by the way) – or that to make the perfect French press coffee you need to plunge straight away – or that granola is almost infinitely tastier and better in every dimension when you make it with buckwheat, not oats.

Madness, you say? Maybe, but the right kind of crazy, I assure you. Making granola on buckwheat requires a teensy bit more prep (soaking), and a longer, slower cooking time, but it’s absolutely, assuredly worth it. The buckwheat absorbs a lot of liquid during soaking which then evaporates in the oven, leaving crunchy crunchy deliciousness. It’s also fragrant and tasty in a way you could never achieve with oats. I’m not saying I’ll never make granola with oats again, but this buckwheat version is going to be in very frequent rotation (bonus: it’s totally gluten free!).

Now that I’m back on campus and the working year has commenced, breakfast suddenly becomes a very important part of my day. I’ve been doing lots of breakfasts in jars – make them the night before (or even days before), and in the morning you’ve already made a good choice (go you!). I can grab it out of the fridge and take it to uni if I’m in a rush, or eat it at home. Easy peasy. Soaked oats, birchers, chia puddings have all been getting a good work over in my mason jar. Here I’ve got the simplest, most basic version of soaked oats I make. Treat it as a base to use whatever fruit or toppings you have around. Berries, granola, cacao nibs, stewed plums, and almonds all make regular appearances. But spiced stewed apples or pears would also be freakin’ delicious. Make it your own, lovelies!

raw buckwheat tight
buckwheat-granola-split
mix-ins
easy breakfast
layered oats + granola
buckwheat granola
stripey stripes
buckwheat granola feast

buckwheat granola

makes ~2-3 cups

recipe notes

  • this recipe has a long cooking/prep time, but – before you run away – it’s mostly inactive – which means you can have a cup of tea and watch a movie/read a book/be awesome while the granola’s doing its thing
  • really make sure you give the buckwheat a good rinse after the first soak to get rid of the slimy coating it develops
  • if you’re not into seeds or cranberries, feel free to substitute – i’m a lazy cook, so seeds appeal to me because hey, no chopping
  • if your granola still seems too wet after 1.5 hrs, keep checking every 10 minutes or so until it seems dry enough, bearing in mind that it will crisp up as it cools

ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 g) raw buckwheat groats
  • scant 1/2 cup (60 g) sunflower seeds
  • scant 1/2 cup (60 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the buckwheat in a bowl, cover with filtered water and soak for 1 hour. After 1 hour, drain, rinse well, and cover the buckwheat with fresh water and let soak for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 120 C (250 F) (no fan). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and drain the buckwheat, rinsing again. Let the buckwheat sit and drain for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once the buckwheat has drained, add it to the other ingredients, stirring thoroughly to coat. Tip the granola onto your baking tray and with wet hands, work it into as flat a layer as possible. Place in the oven for 1.5 hours. When cooked, the granola should be lightly golden and not feel completely wet to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. It should form little granola sheets as it cools. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks (though mine never lasts that long).

breakfast oats for one

serves one

recipe notes

  • as I mentioned above, this recipe is a completely blank slate – do with it what you will – fruit, toppings, flavourings can all be customised to your whim. in this version I’ve topped mine with 2/3 c frozen blueberries and a decent handful of buckwheat granola.

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c milk of your choice (almond, cashew, soy, whatever) or even water
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • optional: berries (even frozen – they defrost by the morning); stewed plums, apples, granola, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, ad infinitum.

In a 400 mL glass jar (with a screw top lid – mason jars are perfect), combine the oats, chia seeds and salt. Give in a quick mix, then stir in the milk/water and lemon juice. Top with some fruit, granola or your toppings of choice. Seal the jar and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, it’s ideal to let the jar sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature, but not necessary. Enjoy!

blackberry + spelt mini loaves

blackberry + spelt mini loafs

How you know you’re on holidays: You type ‘loafs’ in the title of this post, and stare at it for a good 30 seconds before realising that it’s wrong. Then having to check the dictionary just to make sure you got it right. Phew.

It’s been a big year, friends. HUGE, really. And boy, am I glad to be on holidays. That being said, I’m still going through the awkwardness of those first few days – figuring out what I’m going to do each day, trying as best I can not to set enormous list of goals, slowly relaxing and letting things go. I’m sure most people can relate. Here however, is a short précis of what I’ve got in mind: yoga. walks. beach. day trips. food. books. And Christmas (holy cow – only two weeks away!).

I made these little loaves over the weekend when I visited a friend – perfect for tea or coffee time in the afternoon. It was magic to get lost in conversation for a few hours. The loaves are soft, moist and utterly yum. There’s a slightly nutty flavour from the spelt flours, which plays off really well against the tart berryness of the blackberries. They are quick and easy to make, and if you don’t have a mini loaf tin, can be made in a muffin tin I’m sure (making 12 muffins).

If you’re not into blackberries (or don’t have any around), feel free to substitute with your favourite berry (raspberries or blueberries in particular) or even apple, pear or peach would work nicely. This recipe is more than versatile – shape it to your whim, lovelies.

My holiday brain is struggling with what else can be said – just take my word for it – they’re pretty great.

loafin' around
tea time?
mini loaf
gone

blackberry + spelt mini loaves

makes 8 mini loaves or 12 muffins

recipe notes

  • As I note above, these can be made in your standard muffin tin, and should yield 12. You will have to adjust your baking time (perhaps 20 minutes instead of 25).
  • Substitute for your favourite berry or fruit if you prefer.
  • Also – feel free to run wild with your favourite add ins – lemon zest, seeds and nuts would all work great.
  • To make one flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flaxseed (linseed) meal with 2 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with a fork and set aside for 10-15 minutes before using.

ingredients

  • 1 cup (160 g) wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 cup (130 g) light spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) organic panela sugar (evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) – no fan. Prepare flax eggs. Using some extra coconut oil, grease your tin.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder. Add the sugar to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together flax eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla and applesauce. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter evenly into prepared mini loaf tin, and gently press blackberries into the batter. Bake for 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the loaves are a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then gently remove mini loaves from the tin with a spatula. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.

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.

almond + chickpea felafels

almond + chickpea felafel

Ok, so you’re getting into the healthier side of things. You’ve started making your own nut milk (Yay you! That’s awesome!), which is pretty rad. But the sight of all that nut pulp going to waste hurts your inner-recycling genie. Well have I got the recipe for you: almond and chickpea felafel.

I know the universe has been going a little crazy for nut-based felafels lately, and they’re delicious to be sure. But, I wanted to challenge myself to use that bag of frozen almond pulp that’s been sitting in my freezer for months (because I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away). I’ve tried making nut-hummus (but didn’t fall in love with it) and I’ve even made my own almond meal by drying the pulp slowly in the oven (extremely delicious, but a little time consuming and the meal doesn’t have the shelf life of store-bought versions). So with several felafel ideas doing the laps around my brain, out came these babies. And aren’t they tasty.

And versatile! I threw these on top of salads, Adam put them in sandwiches, and I even popped a couple in my mouth for an afternoon snack. Also – the sauces you could serve these with are endless. How about: garlicky tahini, hummus, pesto, coriander cashew cream, creamy dill dressing, or a chunky tomato relish? There’s a lot you can do with them, and I think that’s a big part of their charm for me!

Need I even mention their stellar protein content? And wonderful fats? Since first making this version, I’ve also done a super herby mix (with loads of parsley, coriander and mint), which also turned out great. These felafels are a blank (but not bland) canvas for you to make your own. If you do, I’d love to hear your take on them!

Big felafel-y love X

in the processor
rolled felafel
felafel time
baked felafels
a simple serving suggestion

Almond and Chickpea Felafels

makes about 12

Recipe notes

  • I’m pretty sure almost any nut pulp would work here in place of almond, but I can’t vouch for them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond nut pulp
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp tahini (I used unhulled, but hulled would work fine too)
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) no fan, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine chia seeds with 3 tbsp hot water and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to form a gel. In a food processor, combine garlic, onion, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Process until finely chopped. Add pulp, tahini, chickpeas and chia gel. Season to taste. Process to combine – you may have to scrape down the sides a few times.

In a bowl, combine sesame and nigella seeds. Roll the felafel mixture into balls with your hands, then roll them in the seed mix to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until required. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the felafels are crisp on the outside and golden brown.

banana chai popsicles

banana chai popsicles

Summer is upon us in every sense of the word (sorry to my lovely northern hemisphere readers). It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s almost hard to move around.

As you may have picked up on, I don’t deal well with the heat. Sure, I enjoy the opportunity to lounge around in shorts and breezy dresses, but shit still needs gettin’ done. Trying to pay for lunch out with a friend the other day, it took at least 3 tries before I could work the machine properly. It almost borders on the ridiculous, and there’s probably some room for toughening up on my part. But in lieu of toughening up, here’s how I deal with sky-rocketing temperatures: large volumes of water and iced tea, raw things (I know Adam’s rolling his eyes), and frozen treats. Once the day gets hot, all I want to do is eat watermelon, nap and if I get hungry at all (which I often don’t if it’s super hot) somehow fashion a salad if I can get my brain to work my arm to chop the vegetables.

I’m being horribly melodramatic I know, but it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything when you feel like you need to take your second or third shower for the day, amiright? Here’s where the frozen treats come in (you were wondering about those, I’m sure). I firmly believe that any task to be completed above 30 C (86 F) can be successfully accomplished with one hand, while you lick/bite/suck/enjoy a popsicle with the other. I’m sure it’s a measurable fact. Frozen treats, like these popsicles, always succeed in cooling my body temperature down just enough to make everything seem doable. I highly recommend them the next time you’re in the middle of a heat-induced brain-fuzz or full-blown meltdown.

These popsicles are just sweet enough, creamy enough and flavoursome enough to satisfy everything you could want from a popsicle, without crossing over into the ‘slightly-less-healthy’ category. When you consider that each popsicle is only about 1/3 cup in volume, you can totally justify eating two in a row. Or one after breakfast, and then another after dinner. Whatever floats your popsicle loving boat. I know there’s probably a few people thinking that banana and chai might make a funky combination, but trust me, it’s divine. These little lovelies are almost caramel-tasting. In fact, I think I’m off to grab one out of the freezer right now.

organic chai tea
bananas
chai in the pot
golden beauties
banana chai joy
banana chai popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

recipe notes

  • If you’re not into soy milk, I think you’d be able to get away with cashew milk (the fat content feels pretty similar to me), but I haven’t tried this. Also make sure it’s unsweetened.
  • Feel free to substitute a red/roiboos chai if you prefer, but personally I like the colour the black tea gives to the popsicles.

ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 c (500 ml) soy milk
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp organic black chai tea
  • 1 cinnamon stick

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the soy milk, agave and vanilla. Add the tea leaves (I put mine in bag, but you can leave them loose, just strain through a sieve once you’re done) and cinnamon stick. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring until it starts to steam, but do not boil. Cover and allow to cool completely with cinnamon and tea to infuse. Once cool, remove tea and cinnamon stick (with a sieve if necessary). Combine in a blender with the bananas and blend until completely smooth. Pour into popsicle moulds (each should take around 1/3 cup). Place in the freezer for 30 mins, then quickly remove and insert 1 popsicle stick into each mould. Return to freezer for 2-3 hours, until completely frozen. To remove popsicles from mould, run the mould under warm water to loosen the popsicle. Enjoy!