May 23, 2015
Rainy Saturday mornings are my favourite. Hot chai. Blankets. Paper. The perfect end to a busy week.
I have an easy recipe to share today – a somewhat hybridised Coconut Rough. Rather than your traditional chocolate-coconut combination, I’ve thrown in some organic fine oats (with great success!).
I’ve been loving my oats recently – three ways – as bircher for breakfast some mornings, as a tea, and even as a liquid herbal extract.
Oats are full of B vitamins so they’re really good for extra energy and to help you out when you’re feeling a bit stressed. In addition to having them for breakfast, I’ve been taking an oatstraw infusion regularly – an infusion is just a tea really, although I let mine steep overnight before straining the plant material out (read how and why here).
The infusion, prepared in this way, contains all the nourishing vitamins and minerals from the plant. It’s really good for supporting the nervous system, boosting hair and nail growth, and increasing libido.
But did you know that oats are also used in herbal medicine? Oats seed (the mature seed) and green oats (the aerial parts) are both used and have slightly different properties.
Oats seed is used as a nervine tonic – that is, something that supports the nervous system. Great if you have nervous exhaustion, a bit of insomnia, or if you’re feeling really flat. Secondly, it also has a thymoleptic action – this just means it helps to lift your mood. The green oats are used as a nervine tonic as well, and have the added benefit of helping to ease anxiety.
Such a special plant!
Next week I will be writing more in depth on the benefits of oats, and sharing my favourite bircher recipe. But today, a little bit of oats appreciation regardless – a super quick Coconut Rough for you to enjoy.
It’s a special treat this one, and made with a real, raw chocolate base.
Hope you enjoy – and experiment with an oatstraw tea this week!
| fills a small baking dish, 25cm x 25cm |
- 200g cacao butter, liquefied
- 200g raw cacao powder
- 125ml 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
- 100g fine oats
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 2 little pinches of fine sea salt
- To melt the cacao butter, shave with a knife into small pieces, place in a pyrex jug, and stand in a bath of hot water.
- Transfer to a large bowel and stir in all the rest of the ingredients.
- Spread onto a small baking dish lined with baking paper, sprinkle with extra coconut to decorate.
- Set in the fridge for about 20 minutes, cut into squares to serve.
8 Responses to “Coconut Rough”
May 9, 2015
I have a confession to make: I am currently suffering from a chronic case of perfectionism. And until I can work through it and move past it, all I can do is lay it on the table and say I’m stuck in a sticky web of my own doing. You see, I’ve been trying to get my new website live, for oh, six months now. To be fair, I’ve been incredibly busy – work, study, setting up a business, you know, life.
But that should only account for a few months’ worth of my delayed launch. The rest? It’s my over critical mind! I am totally aware that in my need for things to be ‘just so’ – I am in fact crippling myself from publishing it and letting you guys enjoy the new look and offering! It’s absolute craziness! Can anyone else relate to perfectionism? I saw a great quote recently – ‘perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.’ Does that resonate? It does for me.
I frequently do the following:
- over analyse till the cows come home
- aim for the best possible result and feel miffed if it doesn’t turn out that way
- spend a ridiculous amount of time finessing the details of the thing – I mean – seriously – when I step back and scald myself at being so silly, I ask myself – is anyone else going to notice this small detail other than me?!
- second guess myself time and again (should I word my introduction like this? Or like this? No the first one, yes, that’s awesome. ***One coffee break later*** Damn it, let’s start again, I don’t like either. What was I thinking).
- miss my deadlines due to the simple fact that I haven’t gotten it quite how I wanted it
- fall onto my bed in the evening thinking ‘phew! What a day! All that chase-my-tail thinking was hard work!’ It’s exhausting stuff!
And here’s the double whammy.
I’m a Virgo. And if you don’t know, us Virgos are incredibly special people. Interestingly, the intestines are ruled by Virgo – and the intestines, just like us Virgos, are great at working, processing, analysing and separating. We’re also ruled by the planet Mercury – the planet of communication, the mind, and thoughts. Is there any hope for those of us with perfectionist tendencies who have the double-whammy of being the hard-working, critical Virgo?!
Of course there is. Part of it is just bringing this into your awareness so that you can work on it. Phew. So, I’m not claiming to have got there yet, but just wanted to put it out there. Because perfectionist tendencies pave the way to stress and digestive issues (being so ‘up tight’, not letting go, over processing things) and need to be unravelled and replaced with self love.
As an aside – I’ve noticed in my coaching practice that often digestive disturbances tend to be present in those incredible individuals with the A type personality and aforementioned perfectionist streak…
So: I here by solemnly swear to launch this website sooner rather than later in spite of my self-critical nature. It is beautiful. And it is enough. You will bloody love it. Please hold me to this. Comment on my facebook page if time lapses and you see nada. Help a sister out.
I can genuinely see that this pattern isn’t serving me and I have some creative, soft and loving ways in mind to help release it and move forward. As I said earlier, I’m sure that even just bringing this into your awareness means you’re half way there. You know what, if I can get over perfectionism – then anyone can!
In the meantime, I have been procasta-baking this week. Admittedly because I couldn’t find the right words for a page on my new site so I went to kitchen to mull things over. Silly I know, but guess what, you get to enjoy a very yummy recipe now.
I wanted to make a cake for Mother’s Day to share. So I made one. And it was yummy but I had a brainwave after the fact to make a new one using lovely autumn fruit – because – feijoas – yum (hard to find in Australia by the way – usually the more speciality fruit stores have them). So I went and made a second one (see what I did there? More absurd perfectionism creating more work for myself – two cakes! Two!!).
So, please admire the first, Raw Snicker’s Cake below. It’s really quite lovely (and I’ll share it sometime soon).
Today however, you have a beautiful Raw Feijoa + Kiwifruit Cake, with coconut, lemon and lucuma, sweetened with organic rice malt syrup.
Hope you enjoy it, and have a really special day with your mama’s tomorrow.
Love, your Virgo friend.
Raw Feijoa + Kiwi Cake
| makes a 9 inch cake |
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 10 Medjool dates, pitted (about 170g)
- 3 tablespoons almond butter (I use home made, which has less salt and a milder taste)
- Zest of one lemon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (should expand to 2 ½ cups)
- 1 cup nut milk
- ¾ cup coconut cream
- ½ cup rice malt syrup
- ¼ cup coconut butter, softened
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup lucuma powder
- 6 feijoas
- Zest of one lemon
Feijoa + Kiwi Jam:
- 2 kiwifruit, peeled
- 2 feijoas
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ¼ cup coconut flakes
- In a food processor, blitz almonds till crumbly, then add all other ingredients and blend till the mixture holds together when you press it.
- Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form cake tin with baking paper, then pat the mixture down evenly and set aside.
- Depending on your blender, this mixture may be best halved and done in two batches.
- Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender till smooth.
- Divide the mixture into two equal portions, pour one portion over the base of the cake tin and set in the freezer.
- Store the other half of the mixture in the fridge till you are ready to use it, you may like to re-blend it again for use.
Feijoa + Kiwi Jam:
- In a food processor, quickly pulse all ingredients except the coconut flakes.
- Fold the coconut flakes through last, and leave the mixture to set for a few minutes.
- One the first cream layer has set, spread the feijoa + kiwi jam evenly over the surface.
- Re-blend the second portion of the cream filling if you need to, and pour over the top.
- Decorate with a sprinkle of coconut flakes and sliced kiwifruit. Set in the freezer, let thaw a little before serving and keep in the fridge.
Manta: I am enough.
April 23, 2015
It seems fitting to make some yummy ANZAC biscuits for this year’s ANZAC Centenary on April 25th. I’m hoping to make it to the Dawn service this year too, to pay respects to all our Kiwi and Aussie soldiers who fought and died in Gallipoli. I remember our dear old Uncle Reg, and all his dusty war medals displayed in old jewellery boxes. He was the most gentle soul, he never spoke about the war.
ANZAC biscuits weren’t actually eaten by the ANZAC’s themselves, they had a raw deal actually – a rock hard tooth breaker also called the Ship’s Biscuit, according to the National Army Museum. They were in fact baked and sold back home, raising funds for the war effort.
The traditional recipe included basic ingredients – rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup. They became so popular and raised so much money that they became world famous in Australia and New Zealand, and they’re still a favourite, 100 years later.
However – those basic ingredients can most definitely be improved on – or health-ified as I like to say.
Brown Rice + Quinoa Flour
Instead of using white flour, I’ve used a mixture of whole grain, gluten free flours. Brown rice flour has a neutral taste, with a slight gritty texture, while quinoa flour has a quite distinct nutty flavour. Quinoa flour has the added benefit of being high in protein. Oats do contain gluten, however, it is a slightly different protein to the gliadin found in wheat. If you are celiac it is best to avoid them, but if it is just a sensitivity you have, you could try and source uncontaminated oats – that just means they haven’t being contaminated with any gluten containing grains during production.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is an alternative to using castor sugar like the traditional recipes do. Brown rice syrup is a complex carbohydrate and releases energy slowly. It does not contain any fructose, a simple sugar. Fructose can’t enter the body’s cells like glucose can, and instead, has to be metabolised by the liver. It then enters pathways that provide glycerol – the component that makes up the backbone of triglycerides – ie, fat. I don’t see anything wrong with using other natural sweeteners (that do contain fructose – it occurs naturally in plants) in small amounts – but if you are sensitive to sugar then this is the way to go. As an alternative – try coconut sugar – although you may find it makes the biscuits brown very quickly.
Coconut butter is always my go-to when substituting regular butter in a recipe. It is full of healthy, plant based saturated fats, and much more stable when heated at high temperatures. It also has a beautifully sweet taste.
Finally, a little bit of cooking chemistry here, apple cider vinegar is an acid – acetic acid – and when mixed with an alkaline or basic substance such as baking soda, it causes a chemical reaction. You’ll notice gas and bubbles start to form when you combine them – this is what aerates the biscuits and helps them rise (just a little) and expand while they cook – hence you have to keep them a small distance apart on the baking tray.
Hope you enjoy these, I can promise you that they taste amazing! (Comment from the boys: can you please make these again, but triple the recipe?).
“I hope that people will finally come to realise that there is only one ‘race’ – the human race – and that we are all members of it.”
– Margaret Atwood
Healthy ANZAC Biscuits – sugar free
| makes 10 large or 20 small |
- ¼ cup (40g) brown rice flour
- ¼ cup (35g) quinoa flour
- 1 cup (95g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (45g) coconut, desiccated
- Pinch of fine Himalayan rock salt
- 80g coconut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (90ml) rice malt syrup
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla (I prefer vanilla paste over extract)
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C and line a baking tray with non stick baking paper.
- Combine the brown rice flour, quinoa flour, oats, coconut and salt in a mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre.
- In a small pot, gently melt the rice malt syrup, coconut butter and coconut oil over a low heat.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
- Dissolve the baking soda in the 2 tablespoons of hot water then add to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix till well combined.
- Use 2 tablespoons of mixture if making large biscuits, or 1 tablespoon for smaller ones, roll into a ball then pat flat into a circle on the baking tray. Leave a gap between biscuits as they expand a little while cooking.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Be careful with the larger size biscuits when you transfer them straight from the oven, so they don’t break or crack. Store in an airtight container.
April 16, 2015
About 6 weeks ago I prepared a herbal infused oil, with organic olive oil and dried comfrey leaf and root. Today, I’m sharing how to turn that lovely, rich green infused oil into a healing, antibacterial, antiseptic salve to keep in your home apothecary.
Health and wellness extends far beyond the diet, so I love to make these simple, natural remedies free from parabens and other nasties, so I’m not adding to the toxic load on the body. Sometimes there are things that are hard to avoid – pollution, bus fumes and the like, but at least we can be mindful of what we put in our bodies, on our bodies (eg. organic and natural clothing rather than synthetic), and on our skin. What we put on our skin is particularly important – it is our largest organ after all.
The first step in making a herbal salve is to prepare a lovely, rich, herbal infused oil. In this process, the constituents of the plant are passed on to the oil, we then discard the plant material and make our salve.
Making the infused oil can be done by what is known as the short or long method. An example of the short method can be seen in this post here;
It involves heating the plant material in your oil over a double boiler, for a minimum of two hours. In a way, I consider this the long way really – because you have to stand there and babysit the oil as it simmers.
The long version involves filling a jar with your chosen herb, then covering it with oil, and leaving it to infuse for six weeks. But when you think about it, all you do is prepare your herbs and oil then leave it to do its thing, so if you’re good at planning in advance, this is such a simple way. For a step by step, read Part 1 here.
I was really happy with how the final product came out – I also added a few drops of essential oils (which you must do once the salve has cooled slightly – they evaporate with heat). I only had tee tree on hand, but lavender is equally as nice. Tea tree oil has a broad spectrum antibacterial activity, it is a great antifungal and also useful for acne and cold sores .
So, what to do with your comfrey infused oil?
Once it has infused over the course of six weeks, uncap the jar and pour the entire mixture into a fine cheesecloth bag, or similar, resting over a bowl or jug, then press the plant material as best you can to get all of the oil out. You really need a little muscle here, herbs get thirsty and absorb a lot of the oil. For this reason, you’ll notice you don’t get as much of the finished product out compared to the amount of oil you started with. That’s totally fine. You might like to repeat this straining process, sometimes a little gritty residue slips past, not ideal if you want a nice smooth salve. Discard the plant material when you’re finished. Right, you’re good to make that salve now!
For minor cuts, grazes, burns, bumps, sprains.
- To make things easy, use one cup infused oil
- 30g shaved organic beeswax (or beeswax pellets)
- ½ teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 10 drops tea tree or lavender essential oil (optional)
- Melt the beeswax over a double boiler
- Warm the infused oil gently so it is just warm to touch
- Pour the melted beeswax into the comfrey oil and stir well
- Remove from heat and let cool till it is warm to touch again
- Add the vitamin E and your choice of essential oils (vitamin E is a preservative)
- Pour into glass jars and leave to set
- Date and label, ready for use!
- Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and Practices of Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). China: Elsevier.
March 31, 2015
Holy sheeshkabob. Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free Hot Cross Buns. I don’t normally eat bread, mostly because there are far healthier options (gluten free whole grains like quinoa, cooked simply in a little vege stock – yum!). But it’s Easter. And there are buns galore. And I want one.
So, disclaimer – as you can see – these buns ain’t no oil painting, they cracked a little on the surface, and, they only taste good the next day if you slice them and toast them up, but they smell like heaven and they taste pretty damn amazing considering they aren’t made with any of your usual suspects.
It took four goes to get these to a good place. Four. The first time I made it, I started with a standard vegan hot cross bun recipe from the internet and subbed out the regular flour for a store bought all purpose plain GF flour mix. They were so terrible – hard as rocks. The boys sampled them – laughed at me – then shouted ‘more raisins!’.
Round two I changed a few things around and used quite a bit of apple sauce in place of eggs, an old favourite trick when you’re after a plant based alternative in baking. But, they were also terrible – doughy as all hell and wouldn’t set. They boys sampled them again and still kept shouting ‘more fruit!’.
Round three was made predominantly with quinoa flour. I thought I was getting all cool adding in a whole grain, protein rich flour. Again, terrible. Quinoa has a really strong earthy/nutty flavour that just didn’t do the recipe any favours. And yes, still the boys still wanted more fruit.
Round four, I made my own gluten free flour mix – a mixture of brown and white rice flour with tapioca starch. I’m not making a song and dance about the white rice or the tapioca flour as they are refined, but in the context of making a yummy tasting treat I think they’re ok. I also cut way back on the apple sauce and went crazy with the amount of spices. The boys were happy this time, no words, just scoffing. That’s a good sign. We’re up to a whole cup of raisins now, so if you want to go easy on the sugars cut it down to half or even ¾ cup.
If I had time I’d make this one more time – the recipe is absolutely delish – especially with lashing of soft coconut butter – but I think next time I will experiment with a leavening agent – I didn’t have any aluminium free baking powder in the cupboard to use for these as I don’t really bake.
Enjoy the fruits of my labours these last few days!
P.S: If you’re after some more healthy Easter treats, the following recipes are all raw, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free – and all are available on my Raw Desserts App:
- Celebration Cake (Chocolate, Orange, Hazelnut ice cream cake)
- Hot Cross Chocolates (raw chocolate with a hot cross bun filling – yes!)
- Chocolate Log
- Hot Date Brownie
- Coconut Lavender Truffles
- Black Forest Slice
- Chocolate Maca Buttercups
Gluten Free, Vegan Hot Cross Buns
- 200g brown rice flour
- 150g white rice flour
- 150g tapioca starch
- 1 cup warm hemp milk (or oat, almond)
- ½ cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon active dry gluten free yeast (equivalent to 1x 7g sachet)
- 2/3 cup applesauce
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon clove powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Zest of one orange and one lemon
- 1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons of the brown or white rice flour and enough warm water to mix into a paste, then pipe over the buns before they go into the oven.
Dissolve 1 heaped tablespoon coconut sugar in boiling water then brush over the top of buns after they’re cooked.
- Pre heat oven to 180˚C
- Mix the warm milk (body temperature is warm enough), maple syrup and yeast in a bowl and leave for five minutes
- In a large bowl, combine apple sauce and coconut oil. Then add the yeast mixture and whisk well
- Add the GF flour mix, spices, zest and raisins
- Kneed into a dough, adding a little water or flour if needed
- Dust a board with GF flour
- Pat dough into a rectangle then divide into 10 equal portions
- Shape them further into a bun and arrange them close together in a rectangle again
- Cover with a tea towel. Let sit to rise for at least an hour, although, to be honest, there wasn’t a lot of rising action happening (perhaps with a leavening agent?)
- Mix up the paste for the cross then pipe over the buns
- Bake for 15 to 20 mins
- Once cooked, brush with the glaze.