Dark Chocolate Apricot Bars

Inspired by Carla over at The Bee’s Knees Kitchen, I have been making tonnes of delicious raw cheesecakes all week (much to the delight of my hungry household). Rawness has become a bit of an obsession with me lately, I’ve been spending sleepless nights drooling over hundreds of incredible sounding recipes. Cinnamon ice cream, spicy samosas, stuffed vine leaves and even raw bread…. And It’s all good for me too, as the recipes are mostly vegan and gluten free. Woop woop.

These yummy bars are not entirely raw because of the chocolate but I’m not going to let that worry me. This is just a basic recipe that I’ve created, but you could mix it up anyway you like by changing the fruit and nuts or adding coconut and berries. Pretty much whatever takes your fancy.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bag of old nuts and some dried fruit!

Ingredients

1/2 cup Dates
1/2 cup Dried Apricots
1/2 cup mixed Whole Cashews, Almonds and Brazil Nuts
1 cup Ground Cashews
1 tbs Agave Nectar
1tbs Water
pinch Salt
1 bar Dark Chocolate ( my bar was 125g)

How To Make

Blend the dates and apricots together in a food processor until they form a ball.

Remove the ‘fruit ball’ from the blender and place in a large mixing bowl along with the agave nectar, water, salt and ground cashews.

Put the mixed nuts into the food processor and blend for about a minute or less. The nuts still want to be a bit chunky to give the bars some CRUNCH.

Add these nuts to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix it all together using your hands. This is a sticky job and takes a bit of time to get it all well combined.

Now spoon the mixture into a vessel of your choice, (I used a tupperware tub but you could use a baking tray or ceramic dish or anything) the larger the surface area, the thinner your bars will be so don’t go too big.

Stick in the fridge.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie. Whip the fruity/nutty gunge out of the fridge and cover with the melted chocolate.  Try to spread it evenly.

Stick the whole thing back in the fridge and wait for the chocolate layer to solidify.

Now you can slice it into bars and begin the feast.

(To make a bain marie, fill a saucepan half way with water and place a bowl inside so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan but is resting in the water. Stick on the stove and turn on the heat. Put the broken up chocolate into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon till all is melted. If you just melted the chocolate directly in the pan it would burn.)

30/06/2010 at 23:23 Leave a comment

Chickpea and Pomegranate molasses Salad

Salads are great. Here is one I made earlier.

Ingredients

soaked and cooked Chickpeas
chopped Spinach
chopped Tomatoes
chopped Dates
finely shredded Nori Seaweed
shelled Hemp Seeds

For The Dressing

Olive Oil
Lemon juice
Tamari
Pomegranate Molasses
Sea Salt

How To Make

Stick all the top ingredients in to a big bowl and mix them up.

Put the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and give it a shake.

Pour the dressing over the salad and stir it all up.

The End

23/06/2010 at 15:50 Leave a comment

Sprouted Chickpea Humus

Recently I heard about a restaurant in London where you can eat Raw Cake! Amazing I thought, how could this be? So I set about educating myself in all things RAW. I’ve been learning about all sorts of things like dehydrators and enzymes and have come across some interesting recipes too. So I decided to start my little foray in to raw foodism with a nice friendly humus, nothing too taxing or scary and I have been pleasantly surprised! I confess that this recipe is not entirely raw as I used roasted sesame tahini, because thats what I had in my cupboard. But hey its near enough. The humus has a definite green and healthy flavour to it, but I really liked it, so here it is…….

Ingredients

2 cups Sprouted Chickpeas
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
juice of 1 Lemon
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Tahini (more or less depending on how thick you want your humus to be)
large pinch Sea salt
2 tsps Cumin seeds
1 tsp Ground Coriander

How To Make

Place the chickpeas in to a food processor along with the garlic and blitz to a pulp.

In a small bowl or glass, add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil and stir. Now add this to the chickpea mixture in the processor and mix again.

Pour in the tahini slowly and watch as it thickens up the humus, the more tahini you add the thicker the humus will be.

Dry fry the cumin seeds in a pan until they start to pop and the fragrance comes out. Add these and the ground coriander to the humus.

Stick your finger in and see what you think…..you can always add more oil or salt or lemon to suit your own tastes.

Eat with whatever takes your fancy!

N.B If you do not have a food processor you can use a blender and a bowl instead. Or give your arms a good work out and use a fork, although this might take a while as the raw chickpeas are quite tough.

23/06/2010 at 15:03 Leave a comment

Dark Chocolate Marzipan Balls

Marzipan Balls Dipped in Dark Chocolate

This is not really a recipe at all. But, Marzipan and dark chocolate……..I haven’t specified quantities because you can make as much or as little as you like really.

Ingredients

1 quantity Marzipan (make sure it is egg free)
1 bar Dark Chocolate for cooking

1 packet of Cocktail sticks

How To Make

Break off small amounts of the marzipan, and roll into balls, roughly the size of a cherry.

Marzipan Balls

Lay the balls out on a sheet of grease proof paper, and push a cocktail stick into the centre of each ball.

Find a saucepan and pyrex bowl which fits into the top. Fill the saucepan with about 2 inches of water, and place the bowl into the pan, so that the water level rises slightly around the bowls base. Turn on the heat and keep it on low.

Break off chunks of dark chocolate into the bowl, stir occasionally, and wait till all the chocolate has melted.

Melting Chocolate in a Bowl

Now for the fun part! pick up a marzipan ball by its cocktail stick and swirl it around in the chocolate so it is totally covered – you may need to use a spoon to help with this. Once done, place back onto the grease proof paper and repeat till all your marzipan balls are covered in lovely chocolate.

Now repeat again, dipping each ball into the chocolate to give it an extra thick layer of chocolate.

Finally, place all the balls onto a plate and refrigerate for around 15 minutes, till the chocolate coating is hard.

Lovely Deliciousness!!

26/09/2009 at 15:54 Leave a comment

Apple, Cinnamon and Banana Loaf

Apple, Cinnamon and Banana Loaf Fresh from the Oven

I can’t stop eating cake right now. All day I think about it, and then rush home to eat some, and bake another cake or loaf! I made this yesterday, and needless to say, it has been consumed within a matter of hours.

Ingredients

1/1/2 cup Gluten-free Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup Vegan Margarine
3/4 cup Unrefined Cane Sugar ( natural golden Castor sugar)
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 medium Apples
1 medium Banana
1/4 cup Water
extra Margarine for greasing

How To Make

Preheat oven to 180ºc. Grease a loaf tin with vegan margarine.

Cream together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

Sieve together the flour, baking powder, Xanthum gum and cinnamon. ensure it is all really well combined.

Peel and grate an apple and add this to the margarine and sugar mix, along with a mashed banana. Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and stir in till a thick batter is formed.

Cake Batter

Now you will need to add roughly 1/4 cup of water til the batter is slightly runnier and less stiff.

Slice the last apple, lay the pieces in to the base of the greased loaf tin, pour over the batter and spread evenly with a spatula.

Sliced Apple in the Loaf Tin

Stick in the oven, on the middle shelf for 40 minutes, or until an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a rack and turn out.

Upside-down Loaf on Cooling Rack

25/08/2009 at 00:07 2 comments

Plum and Almond Cake

Plum and Almond Cake

Cake Cake cake and more cake! I made this for my friends birthday present yesterday, and then couldn’t wait till I gave it to him, so I had to bake another one just so I could eat some. Yes, I know I’m greedy. But then, I don’t get to eat cake all that often, so i think its fair enough. The best thing is that said friend, on eating a slice of the birthday cake, announced “you’d never now it was vegan and gluten-free either”, or some such like that anyway. I’ve since been fantasising about making another version with apples and blackberries, or rhubarb and lemon or pear or argghhh the list could go on!

Ingredients

2/3 cup Vegan Margarine
2/3 cup Unrefined Cane Sugar (natural golden Castor sugar)
2/3 cup Gluten-free Plain Flour ( I use Doves Farm mix)
1/2 cup Ground Almonds
1/1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Xanthum Gum
3 tbsp Egg Replacer
handful Flaked Almonds
extra Sugar for sprinkling
extra Margarine for greasing tin

How To Make

Preheat oven to 180ºc. Grease your cake tin or oven dish with the extra margarine.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and margarine till you have a light, smooth consistency.

Sugar and Margarine

Sieve the flour, baking powder, Xanthum gum and egg replacer, into a separate bowl, and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar and margarine, and combine until smooth. Now add in the ground almonds.

Dry Cake Mixture

The ‘batter’ will be quite dry and slightly crumbly at this point, so you now want to add in roughly 1/2 cup of water until a smoother and more elastic ‘dough’ is reached.

'Elasticky' Dough

Set the ‘dough’ aside and slice the plums into halves and then again into flat slices or sections, which ever you like best.

Scatter the sliced plums over the bottom of the greased oven dish or cake tin that you are using, and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Sliced Plums Sprinkled with Sugar

( I have made this recipe in both a 6″ deep-sided cake tin and also a 9″ shallow ceramic Quiche dish and it worked well both times, but turns out slightly differently, so its up to you.)

Now you need to dollop the dough over the plums and spread it about with a spatula until the whole surface is covered. as the cake dough is quite ‘elasticky’ make sure not to move the plums about too much.

Finaly, sprinkle the surface with flaked almonds.

Plum and Almond Cake Ready to Bake

Stick in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean.

Plum and Almond Cake with Flaked Almonds

You can leave it with the ‘flaked almond side’ up, or turn it out so that the ‘plum side’ is showing, what ever you like best. Still tastes delicious all the same!

22/08/2009 at 15:06 Leave a comment

Pear, Vanilla and Fig Smoothie

Fig, Vanilla and Pear smoothie

I woke up at about 3am this morning and had a craving for a big creamy smoothie – but I had to wait till a slightly more respectable hour before I got to make one for my breakfast. Luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

Ingredients

1 small Banana
1/2 ripe Pear
2 dried Figs
1/2 pint Soya Milk
dash Vanilla Extract

How To Make

Stick all the ingredients into a blender (or tall container if using a hand blender).

Blend well till there are no lumps left, you will still be able to see the tiny fig seeds but that is OK, they lend a nice contrasting texture to the thick creaminess.

Add in the soya milk and blitz again, then give it all a stir.

Finally, pour into a cup and DRINK!

16/08/2009 at 12:58 Leave a comment

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