Cashew Cream Cheese

I’ve been wanting to make my own nut cheese for a while now. I’ve scoured the wonderful internet and found many a hard cheese recipe that involved exotic ingredients and equipment that most people have never even heard of, let alone would actually have.

In my searching I found a blog called This Rawsome Vegan Life and she has created a creamy cashew cheese and placed it in a raw burger. This is my take on that recipe in two different styles. One will be with the raw burger and the other just as a snack.

Raw Burgers:

8 portabello mushrooms with stalks removed

Olive oil

Terriyaki sauce

Sea salt

For the filling:

6 spring onions, chopped

3 large tomatoes, diced

Dried chives

For the cheese:

400 grams cashew nuts

2 shot glasses of water

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

The juice of one lemon

2 cloves of garlic

A tablespoon of herbs de Provence

A teaspoon of sea salt

Method:

  • Poor a good glug of olive oil, terriyaki sauce and a large pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Rub each mushroom in this newly formed sauce and place on a greaseproof sheet in a baking tray.
  • When this is done you have two options. If you have a dehydrator they go in there for 4 hours. If you have an oven, they go in there for 3 hours on the lowest heat setting.
  • Mix the filling together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Next it’s cream cheese time! Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  • Scoop all the cheese out and leave covered at room temperature for about two hours so the consistency thickens slightly.
  • When the mushrooms are cooked, serve the two halves like a burger bun stuffing them full of the cheese and the filling and pressing together.
  • Eat with your hands! (Or if this is too messy for you, use a knife and fork. 😉 )

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There was quite a lot of cheese left over and it kept outside the fridge for three days before we finished it all off, mainly on crackers with lots of chilli and garlic crushed over the top.

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This cream cheese is absolutely delicious, healthy and totally addictive. I actually cannot wait to make more.

Enjoy amigos!

 

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Raw Millionaire’s Shortbread

Another great raw treat which is also great for pre and post workout food. I took this to the gym with me and about 15 people tried it seemed very impressed.

I first heard of this delight at a vegan potluck when my friend’s daughter Amy made a batch. Her’s were much more eye pleasing and tasted just as good. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m ever going to be good at making food look professional, but I’m learning with time.

Biscuit Base

Ingredients:

  • A large handful of dates
  • A large cup of almonds (preferably soaked for 12 hours and then rinsed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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Method:

Grind all ingredients in a blender until the mixture is sticky and has the consistency of crushed digestive biscuits (similar to a traditional cheesecake base). Grease a dish with coconut oil and then press the mixture into the dish, packing it tight.

Caramel Layer

Ingredients:

  • Half a  jar of light tahini
  • Half a small bottle of maple syrup
  • Two tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

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Chocolate Topping

Method:

Blend all ingredients until smooth and then pour over the “Biscuit” base. Put dish in freezer for around 15-20 minutes to allow the “caramel” to set.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw cacao (or unsugared coco powder)
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 3 tsp coconut oil

Method:

Simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand. The mixture starts to set quite quickly, so it is a good idea to put the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with hot water to keep it soft. Once your “caramel” has set, pour the chocolate on top spreading it evenly and then return your shortbread to the freezer to set. Once the chocolate is hard, remove your Healthy Millionaires Shortbread from the freezer, cut in to squares and serve!

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Raw Coconut & Date Cookies

These cookies were a hit with everyone who ate them and we will definitely be making them again. They are stocked full of good carbs such as dates and bananas, so they are great to eat about an hour before exercise. They are also jam packed with protein from the flax and pumpkin seeds. Combine that with the good carbs and you also have a great post workout snack too, or you can just have them as a cheeky dessert.

We decided to make these cookies raw because we love raw food. It’s always so full of flavour and the health benefits are enormous. For example when you cook food, you denature (destroy) the enzymes contained within that food, some of which are very beneficial to your health. Also with green vegetables, the vitamins and minerals contained within them tend to be water soluble, so if you cook them in water you will lose a lot of nutrition. (Personally I prefer to roast, dehydrate or eat all of my veg raw.)

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas.

A large handful of pumpkin seeds, chopped coarsely.

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200 grams of milled flax seed.

200 grams of shredded, unsweetened coconut.

8 dates, chopped and depitted. (We buy ours with the pits already removed.)

3/4 bottle of agave nectar

2 tsp. cinnamon

Method:

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. We used a potato masher. Be patient with this because it can take a while to get to the right consistency. It was a workout making these cookies in the first place.

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Make into cookie shapes and place on grease proof paper on a dehydrator tray. (If you don’t have a dehydrator you can now choose to bake for 15 minutes or you can eat them just as the dough.)

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Dehydrate for approximately 15 hours if you want them to still be slightly soft and gooey inside.

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Thrive Banana & Coconut Pie (Raw)

This is something that Mykey made me whilst I tidied the house. It made enough for me and him to have it as a post workout protein cake for a week. I apologise for American measurements. He kind of made it up as he went along and it came out great.

Crust:

  • 1 cup hemp protein powder
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger

Filling:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 pear
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, soaked
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Procedure

Make crust by putting all ingredients into food processor and processing until dough like. Remove and spread out onto a pie plate, pack down. Put all filling ingredients into food processor and process until creamy. Fill pie crust by evenly spreading out filling. Put in the freezer for about 60 minutes.

Don’t forget that because this is basically a raw dish, it’s very nutrient dense whilst lower in calories. Eat raw food and clean whole foods often to obtain maximum level of health.

 

 

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Let’s talk about fats baby! Let’s talk about you & me!

Fat gets a really bad rep in the media. Low fat this and low fat that. A  healthy vegan diet is naturally low in fat. We must strive to remember however that fats help in the transportation of certain vitamins around the body, improve skin and hair, insulate and protect your internal organs and especially the fatty acids, help with nervous function and therefore brain power.

If you eat junk food that is laden with fat and do very little exercise, of course you’re going to put on weight. You can also be at risk of heart disease and cancer. However if you eat a small amount of healthy fat each day, you can improve your health, lose/maintain weight and look great.

So what are the fats to avoid?

Chinese takeways or any takeaways for that matter are often deep fried in vegetable oils or lard. An average takeaway can have up to 20 grams of fat. That’s a woman’s entirely RDA. Having a takeaway isn’t forbidden, but it’s probably better to make it more of a rare thing than a regular thing.

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100 grams of crisps (a couple of bags)  contains over 30 grams of fat. Don’t even think about going for the low fat versions either. Cut them out altogether. They are nutritionally void, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or stay fit.

Crisps

Fast food burgers and chips are again absolutely full of fat and especially trans and saturated fat which are really bad for your heart and circulatory system.

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Cakes and sweets are also loaded with unnecessary fat that you don’t need.

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What are good sources of fat then?

Linseed and flaxseed. I put half a teaspoon in a smoothie or on porridge everyday and it doesn’t taste of anything.

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Now this might surprise you, but leafy green vegetables. They don’t provide huge amounts, but they do have enough Omega 3’s to keep you going. I love kale and spinach and I’ll eat it for both lunch and dinner if I can.

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Avocados are quite calorific and that’s because they are full of good fats. As long as you don’t eat like 5 a day, you’ll be fine. I generally have about 3 a week and normally in salad, although I do like making guacamole out of them.

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Nuts and especially almonds and hazelnuts. They are at their best when they are unsalted and eaten as a snack instead of a bag of crisps.   hazelnutsimages

Good luck guys and make healthy choices.

 

 

 

Saf – Kensington

Mykey and I do occasionally like to splash out on an exquisite meal and our visit to Saf in Kensington ticked all of the boxes. Now situated on the first floor of Wholefoods on Kensington High Street, it’s about 200 metres from the tube station.

For an aperitif we had a bourbon cocktail which is described in there menu like this:

Kentucky On My Mind

For those who love to try something different. A very delicate taste of Heaven Hill bourbon mixed with triple sec, fresh apple juice, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters. Served with a slice of dehydrated apple

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It was absolutely delicious and bourbon was of a very high quality and this is coming from someone who normally refuses to drink it because they are a total whiskey snob. (That’ll be me!)

We also had some raw guacamole and crackers whilst we waited for our starters.

Raw Nachos with Guacamole

Hand cut raw potato and courgette nachos served with freshly made guacamole

The guacamole had a very bold feel. You could taste all the individual ingredients. Smooth avocado, crisp lime and a hint of chilli. The nachos were also delicious and they were available to buy from Saf in boxes.

When our starters came we also ordered two large glasses of red wine. It was thick and juicy, just how a red should be.

Malbec, Tizac

Catamarca, Argentina
Cigar box fruit, blackberries with just the right level of tannins are what to expect here.

Mykey had some gyoza and I had some dolmades. (Quite funny seeing as my favourite food is Japanese and his is Italian.)

Spinach & Sorrel Gyoza

Grilled rice pastry dumplings filled with spinach, sorrel and courgettes served with a tamari-sesame vinaigrette

Cheese & Cauliflower Dolmades

£6

Vine leaves stuffed with our signature tarragon cashew cheese, cauliflower rice and fresh herbs, served with lemon-aioli dip and herb oil

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The cashew cheese was to die for. I really need to learn how to make it because they were the best dolmades I have ever eaten. Mykey’s gyozas were smothered in a spiced vinaigrette which gave them a great kick. (Of course I stole a bite. Who wouldn’t?)

For our main courses I went for a raw lasagne and Mykey went for a noodle and tofu dish. Again we both tried each other’s food. The vegetables in Mykey’s dish were cooked to perfection. Not too hard and not too soft and the tofu was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way it should be. The walnut, almond and sun dried tomato sauce on my lasagne totally blew me away. It really made the whole dish, but didn’t overwhelm the other flavours.

Lo Han Chai

An energizing bowl of rice noodles with tamari marinated shiitake mushroom, sautéed baby spinach, mange tout and courgettes, grilled baby corn, grilled organic Saf brand tofu and water chestnuts

Lasagna Verde

Layers of courgette, marinated spinach, walnut almond and sun-dried tomato bolognese and a cashew and yellow pepper béchamel sauce served with a green herb pesto and side salad

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Dessert is quite often off of the menu for us at normal restaurants, so when we go to a vegan place we have to indulge. We shared ice cream and sorbet and also a Victoria sponge trifle. We spent the whole time we were eating the ice cream and sorbet guessing what the flavours were and we were totally wrong when we asked the server what they were. Haha! I still can’t remember what they were, but they were delicious and very unusual combinations. The Victoria sponge trifle is something that I need to go away and learn how to make. That would win Come Dine With Me it was so good. I sat there making mmmmm noises with each mouthful.

Ice Cream & Sorbet

Three scoops of our signature ice cream and sorbet served with crispy rhubarb biscuits. Please ask your server for daily specials

Victoria Sponge Trifle

Traditional and indulgent British pudding done Saf style, with raw vanilla cream, forest berry coulis, and soft sponge cake pieces

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When we had finished our meal, we had to dash because we had spent too much time getting involved with our food that we were running late for our gig that evening. Luckily eating a majority raw and wholefood meal kept us full of energy the whole night and we didn’t feel sluggish at all as we often do after heavy cooked meals.

At £84 it wasn’t cheap, but we did have absolutely everything on the menu including alcohol. I’ll give Saf a 9/10 only because it was so expensive.The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. Well and truly recommended.

http://www.safrestaurant.co.uk

Where do you get your protein and calcium? *Sigh*

The animal agribusiness giants have certainly been successful in their plans to indoctrinate the general public from the mid-20th century onwards. Nearly everyone I speak to including some vegans, believe that it is hard to get protein and calcium from non-animal sources. This is due to a massive advertising campaign by the meat and dairy industries in newspapers, on television and now on the internet.

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The funny thing about the image above is that Hugh Jackman employed Brendan Brazier, a well known vegan ultra-marathon champion and nutrition expert to help him slim down the fat and bulk up the muscle for roles such as Wolverine in X-Men and Charlie Kenton in Real Steel. Brendan only promotes a high raw, vegan wholefood diet. Interesting?

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Then you have all the vegan bodybuilders and sports people who have more muscle than the average non-vegan Joe could ever dream of. How do you explain that?

It’s easy really. Protein and calcium can be found in a variety of foods. If you have a varied and healthy diet, there is no reason you won’t be meeting your daily recommended intake whatsoever. Calcium deficiency is quite rare in the wealthy nations of Europe and America and protein deficiency does not even have a medical term anywhere in the world because it’s practically impossible. Everything has some protein in, even potatoes.

There is evidence to suggest that over consumption of meat and dairy can lead to bowel cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and even early onset dementia. Also there is a positive correlation between the consumption of dairy products and the incidence of osteoporosis in countries that consume it as a staple part of their diets. (Books such as The China Study and Diet For A New America go into to more detail, but I wanted to keep the health implications of animal product consumption brief.) Sadly this isn’t common knowledge because of the influence animal agribusiness has on all forms of media and the government. (Remember learning about protein at school?)

Let’s look at some protein rich foods to start with:

Beans & Legumes

Beans

Beansprouts

Sprouts

Tofu

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Wholegrains

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Nuts & Seeds

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Hummus

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Now let’s look at some calcium rich foods:

Kale

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Oranges

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Soya Milk

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Oats

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Spinach

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Dried figs

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The above protein and calcium rich foods are just some examples of vegan food that contains both of these important building blocks. There is a huge variety across the board to suit all tastes.

Here is a tasty brunch that is rich in protein and calcium. Spinach, carrot and onion salad, raw orange peppers, soy yoghurt and mint dressing, baked beans and scrambled tofu.

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So there you have it!